What is the Difference Between Refacing and Resurfacing Cabinets?

What is the Difference Between Refacing and Resurfacing Cabinets?

Question: What is the difference between refacing and resurfacing cabinets?

Answer: Refacing cabinets involves replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, while resurfacing typically involves applying a new veneer or laminate to the existing cabinet surfaces.

What is the Difference Between Refacing and Resurfacing Cabinets? Unraveling the Terms

As a vital element of kitchen décor, cabinets contribute significantly to the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space. Over time, however, they may show signs of wear, prompting homeowners to explore ways to revive them. Two commonly debated options are cabinet refacing and resurfacing. Often used interchangeably, these terms reflect different processes. To clarify the differences between refacing and resurfacing kitchen cabinets, this article will delve into their meanings, processes, cost implications, and time frames.

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Defining Cabinet Refacing

Refacing is a process aimed at revitalizing the appearance of your kitchen cabinets without altering their original structure. The process involves the replacement of old cabinet doors and drawer fronts with new ones. Simultaneously, a new veneer is applied to the exposed cabinet frames, aligning the look of the entire set. This procedure provides your kitchen with a fresh, updated look while maintaining the integrity of the existing cabinet structure.

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Related Article: How Long Does Cabinet Refacing Last?
Related Article: Does Cabinet Refacing Include Painting?

Decoding Cabinet Resurfacing

Cabinet resurfacing, also known as refinishing or repainting, is another technique for refreshing the look of your kitchen cabinets without replacing them entirely. Here, the focus is on revamping the existing surfaces. The process involves preparing the existing cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and visible surfaces by sanding them down, followed by applying a fresh coat of paint or stain. Resurfacing changes the appearance of the cabinets without altering their structure or style.

A Comparison: Refacing Vs. Resurfacing

Having defined refacing and resurfacing, let’s delve deeper into how these two processes differ.

The Approach: Comprehensive Change Vs. Surface-Level Revamp

In terms of the procedure, refacing offers a broader scope of change, transforming the visible parts of the cabinets by replacing the doors and drawer fronts and introducing a new veneer. This substantial change can dramatically update the look and feel of your kitchen, akin to installing new cabinets without the cost and hassle of full replacement.

Resurfacing, conversely, provides a surface-level update, relying on the current doors and drawer fronts. Although this process freshens up the cabinets, the transformation is not as drastic as refacing. The existing style of the cabinets influences the final result, making it a suitable option if you’re happy with the current design and only wish to update the color or finish. [ 1 ]

The Cost: A Balance between Investment and Result

Cost plays a crucial role when deciding between refacing and resurfacing. Refacing generally comes with a higher price tag due to the more extensive use of materials, including new doors, drawer fronts, and veneers. However, when compared to the cost of installing new cabinets, refacing is a more economical choice.

In contrast, resurfacing involves fewer materials and thus, is usually less expensive. The final cost can vary based on several factors, such as the quality of paint or stain used, the condition of the cabinets, and whether you hire a professional or take the DIY route.

The Time Frame: Quick Refresh Vs. Detailed Overhaul

The time required for each process is another distinguishing factor. Refacing, due to its more comprehensive nature, takes longer than resurfacing. Depending on the size of your kitchen and the number of cabinets, the process could span from a few days to a week.

Resurfacing, being a less labor-intensive process, can typically be completed faster, possibly within a couple of days. However, the exact duration depends on the extent of preparation needed and the drying time between coats of paint or stain.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Considerations

While refacing and resurfacing primarily focus on aesthetic improvements, they may also indirectly affect the functionality of your cabinets. Refacing, by virtue of replacing doors and drawer fronts, can resolve issues related to faulty mechanisms. Resurfacing, on the other hand, might be a missed opportunity to fix such operational problems, as it focuses on the surface alone.

Conclusion: Making the Best Choice for Your Kitchen

The differences between refacing and resurfacing kitchen cabinets are clear: each offers a distinct approach, cost, and timeline. Your decision should be based on a careful consideration of these factors, balanced against your budget, available time, and desired outcome.

Refacing provides a significant visual transformation, making it a good fit for those desiring a dramatic change without a full cabinet replacement. Conversely, resurfacing is an excellent choice if you’re satisfied with the current design of your cabinets and want a quicker, more cost-effective update.

Understanding these differences empowers you to make the right choice for your kitchen and home, ensuring your satisfaction with the final result.


1. https://www.angi.com/articles/when-refinish-kitchen-cabinets-instead-refacing.htm

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