A kitchen makeover is probably the most beneficial renovation for a house. Most people don’t think twice about replacing counters, but the cabinets can involve a more complex decision. You basically have three choices: Replace, refinish or paint. Here’s how to decide.
Assess what you have. Take a good look at your cabinets, their condition and style. Are they dated, worn or broken? Maybe a replacement is needed. Another aspect to consider is their height. In today’s homes, 42-inch cabinets are the most popular. They look great and you’ll love having more storage space.
Replacing. Out with the old and in with the new can be exciting and give you a whole new look since it’s not just the color that changes but the design itself, the lines and style. It is also the most expensive. As with any big purchase, get at least three estimates. Be certain to look at online reviews and Better Business Bureau profiles for the companies you are considering. You might be surprised to find that the big box home improvement stores may be a little pricey compared to local, independent cabinet makers. Cabinet making is a craft and sometimes you can find locally owned cabinet shops that have been in a family for generations.
Refinishing. There are three aspects to refinishing. If you have stained cabinets and want to keep a stained look you can have the old finish removed and a new stain and a clear coat applied. This will involve sanding the doors, drawers and facings, and applying a new finish. This process will cost about one third of replacement costs. If your cabinets are painted and you want to stain them the process is more labor intensive since the old paint must be completely stripped before the stain can be applied.
The third type of refinishing is known as refacing and involves getting new cabinet doors and drawer fronts and covering the facings of the cabinets with a thin wood veneer of your choosing. The new cabinet doors and drawer fronts can dramatically change the look of your kitchen. In terms of cost, refacing cabinets is somewhere between refinishing and replacement, coming in at about half the cost of replacement.
You may have no choice but to reface or paint if the cabinets are not solid wood, but are made of particle board behind the existing finish.
Painting. If your cabinets are already painted and you just want fresh paint, it is pretty simple. Hire a professional painter to be sure you get a quality finish. If the cabinets are stained then the process is nearly as simple. Ask to see sample photos of your painter’s work. For inspiration, check out 2cabinetgirls.com.