Dear Diva, Is it cheaper to have my kitchen cabinets refaced or to just replace them?

Thanks, Powell

Powell, that’s a great question! Let me start by first saying that while kitchen cabinet refacing can be less expensive, it depends on what type of cabinets you were planning on replacing your old ones with. If you were going to go to your local big box store and pick out in-stock cabinets, then it could actually be less or about the same price as hiring a professional to reface your existing cabinets. However, if you were looking at having custom-made to order cabinets installed instead, then refacing would definitely be less expensive. This is because in-stock cabinets are usually made of MDF and come in common sizes. By contrast, custom order cabinets come in a variety of materials and tend to cost more because they’re made to order.

For example, in-stock cabinets at a big box store might cost around $1000-$2000, depending on the size of your kitchen. Made to order custom cabinets on the other hand, would probably start at $2500 (for a small kitchen) and go up in price to $15,000 or more, depending on the size of your kitchen and the type of wood you select. Also, these prices don’t include all the extras, like trim, moldings, organizers, door styles, and the upgraded hardware that you won’t get with in-stock cabinets. All of these upgrades are just one of the reasons why price is a hard point to consider when it comes to replacing or refacing your cabinets.

Replace Or Reface Kitchen Cabinets

On top of the price debate, there are also pros and cons with regard to replacing and refacing your existing cabinets. I would advise you against just going with the cheapest option available in either case. Instead, ask yourself whether you like the layout and size of your existing cabinets? If the answer is no, then refacing your cabinets wouldn’t be a good fit as your cabinets would look nicer, but they would still be lacking the desired functionality and size. If the answer is yes to the above layout question, then refacing your cabinets would be a great option!

The average price of professional kitchen cabinet refacing is 20%-30% of the cost of getting new cabinets. I would point out that this price is the cost of going with custom-made to order cabinets, and not off the shelf cabinets found in a big box store. Like the price of new custom cabinets, this cost will go up or down depending on the options you choose. You’ll have the option to choose new door fronts, as well as, new hardware and trim. So once you find out the base price of refacing your cabinets, you’ll be in control as to how much you’ll spend on the extras. It will be completely up to you.

Like so many questions about home improvement products and services, there isn’t any one right answer to the “replace or reface kitchen cabinets” debate. Instead, it’s important to figure out what you’re looking to gain from this kind of upgrade and then go from there. Regardless of whether you end up replacing or refacing your existing kitchen cabinets, remember to consider the useability of the space and not just the price of the cabinets. At the end of the day, you don’t want to waste money on something you won’t be happy with in the long run.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe (diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!






Written by Amanda Hartley