Bob Vila Radio: Reface or Replace?

Before ripping out your existing cabinets, think about keeping the frames intact and refacing the cabinet and drawer fronts.

By Roseann Foley Henry | Updated Aug 21, 2013 12:00 PM

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Are your kitchen cabinets dated and worn? Or maybe they’re just too dark for your taste. New cabinets can be a costly proposition, so you may first want to consider refacing.


Listen to BOB VILA ON REFACING CABINETS or read the text below:

Refacing Cabinets


When you reface cabinets, you replace the cabinet and drawer fronts but keep the frames (the overall cabinet structure). You then typically refinish the cabinet’s front and end pieces to match the new faces.

Refacing is quicker and less disruptive than replacing, and it’s significantly less expensive. But mind you, nothing is truly cheap: You may be surprised at the quotes you get, so shop around.

Particularly if color is your only beef with the current cabinets, a cheaper, easier, and DIY-friendly option may be to simply refinish the existing cabinetry yourself. But beware: Doing it yourself can be a messy, time-consuming project.

Refacing isn’t always the right choice. If you hate your cabinets’ layout or functionality, you may find yourself going through the expense of refacing only to rip it all out in a few years. And if your cabinets are poorly constructed or in any way compromised, don’t reface. Why throw good money after bad?

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.