Kitchen Reno – To Replace or Refurbish?

Customers wanting to change the look of their kitchen are faced with the same big question – do they update their existing cabinets or replace the old with brand-new cabinets? This is a budget-based decision of course, as most consumers are faced with a big expenditure when it comes to updating their cabinetry. Here are some factors to consider when trying to decide which option to choose for your renovation project.

When refinishing your cabinets, you are choosing to do it yourself and there is a lot of labour involved, but this means quite a bit of money you won’t have to pay a professional to do for you. All the doors, panels, and drawer fronts must be taken off the cabinets, all hinges and hardware must be removed, and the countertops must be removed. Then the cabinet components all have to be moved into a work area where they can be sanded down and then be re-stained or painted. Then everything needs to be brought back into the kitchen and re-assembled. You may decide to replace the drawer tracks with new soft-closing tracks and the hinges with soft-closers. This is also some work to do, but again, it’s money you are saving by not paying someone else to do it.

When you reface your cabinets, you are buying new doors, panels and drawer fronts from a door manufacturer or cabinet shop. First you need to take exact measurements of all the components, and then order the components in the style and colour you have chosen from your manufacturer. Then everything must be removed just like in refinishing. A big thing to be aware of in refacing is that the existing cabinets will not be a perfect fit for the pieces you are purchasing, no matter how exact you try to measure everything. They will be very close, but everything has not been built together so it’s a bit like the old saying “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.” It will still look new and better than before but many people are bothered by the not-quite-perfectness of their new cabinets. This is something we have to know about ourselves and our tolerance for things being just right.

Also, if they are not high quality cabinets to begin with, it may make more sense to replace the entire kitchen. Other items to note are things such as past plumbing damage and excessive wear and tear.

Another factor to weigh out is that approximately 70-80% of the cost of new cabinetry is in all the visible components. The cabinet boxes are quite simple and inexpensive to construct and the material is low cost in comparison to the doors, drawer fronts and end panels. With this in mind, some people will opt to spend the extra money and order a new, custom built set of cabinets. The quality of a modern custom-built kitchen is better than what we find in most older kitchens that are being updated.

Another big consideration is your current kitchen layout – is it efficient and functional? Do you have all the options in your kitchen cabinetry that you want? Your best option may be to start over, possibly change cabinets to deep drawers or different shelving options, adding an island is a huge plus to most kitchens, and taking the upper cabinets to the ceiling to gain a bit more storage and get rid of the dust-bunnies up top that never seem to go away.Many times, committing to the expense of a project justifies spending a bit more to really achieve all the aspects of the new kitchen you’ve dreamed of.

All of these factors can be helpful in making a decision on the type of kitchen renovation you ultimately decide to do.


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Call us at (778) 412-3399 or check out our kitchen guide.



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101 B 369 Oliver St, Williams Lake, BC V2G 1M4

(778) 412-3399


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