How Durable is Cabinet Refacing?

How Durable is Cabinet Refacing?

Question: How Durable is Cabinet Refacing?
Answer: Cabinet refacing is durable if done properly, with materials like wood veneers or laminate providing long-lasting finishes.

How Durable Is Cabinet Refacing? Understanding the Longevity of a Kitchen Upgrade

If you’re considering revitalizing your kitchen cabinets, cabinet refacing offers an appealing alternative to a complete replacement. However, before committing to this renovation, it’s important to understand its potential lifespan and the factors that influence it. Let’s explore everything you need to know about the durability of refaced cabinets.

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What Is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing involves transforming the look of your existing cabinets without replacing their core structure. The process encompasses installing new cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Your contractor will also often apply a veneer over the exposed portions of the cabinet boxes. This comprehensive refresh masks the old surfaces and gives your kitchen a brand-new appearance.

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Related Article: How Long Does Cabinet Refinishing Last?
Related Article: What is the Difference Between Resurfacing and Refinishing Cabinets?

Factors Affecting the Durability of Refaced Cabinets

Quality of Materials

The primary factor influencing the lifespan of your refaced cabinets is the quality of materials used. High-grade materials such as solid wood or rigid thermofoil (RTF) withstand the test of time far better than cheaper options like particleboard or laminate.


The skill and attention to detail of your contractor can make or break the long-term success of your project. Proper installation and precise alignment of the new components ensure durability. Sloppy workmanship, however, can lead to issues like warping, peeling, and premature wear and tear.


With proper care and maintenance, you can extend the life of your refaced cabinets. This includes regular cleaning, avoidance of harsh chemicals, and prompt attention to any minor damage or moisture.

Wear and Tear

Consider the level of daily use your kitchen experiences. Cabinets in a busy family kitchen may endure more stress than those in a less heavily used space.

Potential Issues with Refacing

Although refacing is generally a durable solution, be aware of potential problem areas:

  • Peeling or Chipping Veneer:

    Lower-grade veneers might peel or chip over time, especially if exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures.
  • Warping or Sagging:

    If the original cabinet boxes are structurally unsound, they may warp or sag even after refacing.
  • Misaligned Doors and Drawers:

    Improper installation can lead to uneven gaps or difficulty closing cabinets and drawers.

How Long Do Refaced Cabinets Typically Last?

High-quality refacing, expertly installed and meticulously maintained, can last for 15-20 years or even longer. However, it’s important to be aware that the cabinet boxes—the underlying foundation of your refaced cabinets—are still the original components. If those boxes were of low quality or have existing damage, it might impact the overall lifespan of your updated kitchen.

Maximizing the Lifespan of Your Refaced Cabinets

Here’s how to ensure your refaced cabinets enjoy maximum longevity:

  • Invest in quality materials:

    Prioritize durable materials that withstand regular kitchen activity.
  • Choose a reputable contractor:

    Research thoroughly and select a contractor experienced in cabinet refacing and known for quality workmanship.
  • Practice proper care:

    Clean your cabinets regularly with appropriate products and attend to any minor damage immediately.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Cabinet refacing delivers a dramatic visual transformation at a more budget-friendly cost than a full kitchen remodel. Moreover, it’s usually a less disruptive and time-consuming process. If you seek a significant aesthetic change and your existing cabinet boxes are in good condition, refacing can be an excellent investment.

However, if your cabinet boxes are deteriorating or poorly constructed, the longevity of a refacing project may be compromised. In those cases, a complete kitchen remodel may be more beneficial in the long run.

Making an Informed Decision

Before undertaking a cabinet refacing project, consult with a professional kitchen designer or contractor. They’ll assess your existing cabinets, discuss your needs and goals, and help you determine whether refacing offers the durability and results you desire. With careful planning and consideration, refacing can give your kitchen a fresh appearance for many years to come.

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