Cabinet Refacing Or Refinishing: Which Should You Choose?

Homeowners with older kitchens may be struggling with the costs of a total renovation and so they continue to live amongst outdated décor and interior design. But they need not remain in these nooks of yesteryear as there are cost-conscious options for reinvigorating these rooms and ushering them into the 21st century.

The key here is to focus on the kitchen cabinets as they are the most visible components of the room because they take up the most square footage. If you step into your kitchen and think you’ve gone back in time, it’s likely the cabinetry is making you feel that way.

So spruce it up! But which method of revitalization is best suited for your kitchen and your budget? Fortunately, you have two choices to consider: cabinet refacing or refinishing. The choice is yours but it’s best to understand how each impacts your kitchen and your wallet before you make your ultimate decision.

Homeowners who choose to refinish kitchen cabinets will often spend less than having the cabinets entirely refaced as the latter can incorporate more time and labor. But let’s examine how each can have a rejuvenating effect on your kitchen as both are far less expensive than purchasing and installing brand new cabinets.

Cabinet Refacing

This is also referred to as resurfacing and it means completely replacing your current cabinet doors and drawer faces with new ones. After the replacement is complete, they are painted, veneered, or stained so that the new components match the rest of your cabinetry.

Cabinet Refinishing

This option means removing your current cabinet door and drawer faces for the purpose of stripping away the existing finish (which may be faded, chipped, or altogether worn out) and adding a new coat of paint or stain.

You’ll notice that each option does not involve the removal of the cabinets but instead they remain intact. The work being performed is merely to freshen up the front-facing elements of the cabinetry so that your kitchen has a livelier and contemporary appearance.

So which one should you choose? That may largely depend on the condition of your current cabinets and any disrepair that might be evident upon close examination of all your major components.

If you are considering San Marcos cabinet refinishing you will need to make sure that all of the essential elements of the cabinetry are intact and in good working condition. For those of you who have some damage or excessive wear and tear on these elements and refinishing is not the best option, then refacing is the way to go since these components are going to be replaced anyway.

But remember, we’re mainly talking about the facades of your cabinetry, the cabinets themselves and the box portions of your drawers will still remain so they must be in good condition.

If you’re unsure whether or not your cabinets should be refinished or replaced, do a complete assessment of your cabinetry along these important factors:

Interior Inspection

Open your cabinets and look closely for any structural damage in the form of fractured or broken side panels, loose joints, water or rot damage. A good way to do this is to use a sharp object to poke and prod at critical stress points. If you find any soft portions or cracked areas, you may need to replace the entire cabinet instead of refinishing or replacing the facades.

Water Damage

This is critically important so be sure all of your cabinets are free of this damage placing a particular focus on the cabinets that are near and underneath the sink. If you detect any signs of sagging or soggy wood, you will need to have them replaced. Make sure the cabinet is entirely straight and all components firm and nothing has been compromised by moisture.


Take a good hard look at all of the shelves in your cabinets. If any of them have become dislodged, cracked, loose, or display signs of sagging, then you will need to address these problems immediately. It doesn’t make much sense to beautify the exteriors of your cabinets when their functionality has been damaged so as to make them mostly useless. Dismantled shelving is not effective for storage.


You’ve inspected the cabinets now take a look at your drawers. Do they all roll smoothly as you open and close them. Do the drawers open all the way or is there a blockage of some kind preventing them from extending and retracting properly? You must also check the drawers themselves, particularly the boxes. Are they intact or are they coming apart at the corners. Do you notice any cracks or sagging portions along the bottoms?

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