Painting vs. Refacing Kitchen Cabinets – What’s Cheaper and Better?

benefits of painting vs. refacing kitchen cabinets

I have a few old friends and relatives asking questions about painting and refinishing their kitchen.

One of the most common is what’s the difference between refacing and painting cabinets!

And which of the two methods will cost them less?

I always answer that the cost of refacing cabinets will be on the cheaper side than repainting or replacing them entirely. 

But wait, there’s a catch: it will hold true only if you use the basic front-facing design and not the most luxurious one.

Painting cabinets can be cheaper if you’re just painting the cabinets yourself from the front without using expensive tools, paints, and other paint materials.

In today’s article, I’ll take a deeper look at both methods in detail, the pros and cons of each, and the approximate cost associated.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

The process of cabinet refacing involves changing the front-facing components of your cabinetry. This includes doors, drawer fronts, and hardware.

You can also add new features like crown molding, light rails, and glass doors.

The basic idea is to give your cabinetry a “new face” rather than replace it entirely.

Cabinet refacing is simply a cost-effective way to give your kitchen an entirely new look without the hassle and expense of gutting the entire space.

When compared to replacing your cabinets or painting the whole space, cabinet refacing is a cheaper and faster option as it can be done DIY style.

When to Reface Your Cabinets?

Ideally, you should be refacing your cabinets when they are in good structural condition but just need an aesthetic update.

This means that the cabinet boxes, doors, and drawers are all still in good condition and don’t need to be replaced. You just need to update the handles and fittings.

Cabinet refacing is also a great option if you’re looking to update your kitchen on a budget.

If your cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom are in poor condition or you’re looking for a more major kitchen renovation, then cabinet refacing may not be the best option for you.

In this case, it would be better to replace your cabinets entirely or to paint the whole kitchen.

What is Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

Cabinet painting is exactly what it sounds like – you’re painting your cabinets!

The thing is, with painting, you can save on the cost of doors and drawer fronts. You will only be paying for the cost of the materials and labor to paint them.

On the other hand, with refacing, you will be spending more on the door and drawer fronts since you will be buying new ones.

But you will save on the cost of painting since all you need to do is to replace the old doors and drawer fronts.

This will hold true, especially when you already have a high-end set of hardware on your cabinets and want to replace them with even more luxurious ones.

When to Paint Your Cabinets?

Painting your cabinets may be the best option for you when you have a limited budget and are not planning on making any major changes to your kitchen layout.

Particularly when your cabinet doors, inside drawers, and frame handles are in good condition but you want to change the color scheme to freshen up the overall look of your existing kitchen – painting can be a good option.

drawbacks of painting vs. refacing kitchen cabinets

Painting vs. Refacing Kitchen Cabinets – The Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to reface your cabinets.

The Pros and cons of refacing cabinets:

  • Cabinet refacing is cheaper than replacing your cabinets entirely
  • The process is faster and can be done in a DIY style
  • You can add new features and design elements to your cabinetry
  • The drawback is you will need to buy new doors and drawer fronts
  • The process can then be more involved and costly than painting

Pros and cons of repainting cabinets:

  • You can save on the cost of expensive doors and drawer fronts
  • The recoloring process can be faster and can be done in a DIY style if they are in good condition
  • The drawback is you might need to sand and prep your cabinets before painting
  • You may need to repaint your cabinets more often than if you reface them

What’s The Average Cost Of Cabinet Refacing and Painting?

The cost for getting your kitchen cabinets refaced can range from $500 to $10,500 and even higher.

This will depend on what type of work you are planning to put in and the size of your kitchen.

If you are just replacing the knobs, hinges, and pulls, for example, it can cost anywhere from $2 to $50 per piece. So, if you are on a budget, this might be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you want to add new features like glass doors or crown molding, then you can expect the cost to be on the higher end.

The cost of painting your kitchen cabinets, on the other hand, can start at around $1,000 and can go to $3,500 and above.

It really depends on the size of your kitchen, the number of cabinets you have, the type of materials you use, and whether or not you hire a professional to do the job for you.

The cost of repainting or refacing can also increase if your cabinets need some repair work before painting.

This can sometimes include the replacement of wood paneling, moldings, or trim.

The higher the quality of wood veneer and kitchen area, the greater will be the cost.

To sum it up, cabinet refacing is generally cheaper than cabinet repainting.

However, deciding which of the two methods will be more affordable and better for you depends on your budget and the design you want for your kitchen.

The refacing cost can quickly increase if you go and add new features like glass doors or crown molding.

Similarly, the painting cost might be higher if your cabinets need some repair work before painting.

In my opinion, if you want a quicker and easier option, then painting your cabinets might be the best way.

But if you want to add new features and design elements to your kitchen, then refacing your cabinets might be a better option. Ultimately, the choice is up to you!

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