Kitchen Cabinet Refacing 101
You can save thousands of $$$ on updating your kitchen if you reface cabinets instead of replacing them. The lower cost of modifying existing boxes, installing new doors and drawer fronts, and new hardware, will help you to allocate more money to other expenses of your project like: countertop, backsplash, flooring, etc. Cost of refacing is about 1/2 of new cabinets.
There are a few basic ways of refacing kitchen cabinets:
You can refinish existing frame, with painted application, and change doors, drawer fronts and hardware. All components need to be finished in the same color, very seldom in different ones. This is the least expensive option.
You can reface existing frames with 1/4” plywood and replace all doors and drawer fronts, all in the same design and color. This is more expensive option since applying plywood over existing frame requires more time than just refinishing it. In this case, it is very important to ask your contractor to take care of inside edges of the frame, most do not finish them because it is time consuming. This detail greatly effects the quality of refacing project.
You can apply veneer over existing frame and panels. This option is mostly used for high quality refacing project when stained wood grain beauty is very important for the customer. Inside edges of the frame should be refaced with the same veneer as the face. Then all surfaces should be stained in a chosen color and given a good protection, a few coats of acrylic polyurethane will deliver smooth, durable, lasting finish and enhance beauty of the natural wood.