Reface or Replace Your Kitchen Cabinets? 9 Ways to Tell
Let’s be honest… remodeling your kitchen can be expensive, and cutting down costs is always a positive thing, right? So, in the age of DIY, you might wonder if refacing your kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them is a key area to save money.
Refacing means replacing your cabinet doors and drawer fronts to get a whole new look or stripping the cabinets down to repaint them. Refacing might be the perfect option for you if you can answer yes to the following:
- Do you still enjoy the function, size, layout, and structure of your cabinets/kitchen?
- Are the cabinet doors the most outdated part you would like changed?
- Are your cabinets still structurally sound inside the cabinet box and on the exterior?
- Does your current cabinet layout complement your overall vision for your kitchen?
When resurfacing cabinets, it is common for homeowners to begin the tedious process only to discover that it costs more (a lot more) than they were initially expecting to transform their old cabinets into something new. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is always a bad idea to repair your cabinets instead of replacing them. There is a time and place to reface! However, it is important to know when to surrender the cosmetic makeover and say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.
Here are 9 ways to tell if your kitchen cabinets need to be replaced.
Replace or Repair Cabinets That Last
Before investing the money and time into new kitchen cabinets, you want to know why they need to be replaced. Sometimes they are old and worn, and other times, cabinets prematurely wear out. Before replacing your cabinets, you will want to identify the preventable reasons your cabinets have worn out beyond repair to ensure that the same problem does not happen again.
1. Water Damage
Do your cabinets swell, not close properly, or have dark-colored spots? It is likely your problem is water damage. Water damage is a common problem as kitchens tend to be moist environments, and wood is easily damaged by water.
Occasionally, water-damaged cabinets can be repaired, but this is rare. You will want to look at replacing your cabinets if any of the following applies:
- The wood is warping
- Cabinets have bubbles on the outside or inside
- Outsides of the cabinets are de-laminating
- Wood has started to blacken or change colors.
- Cabinets show signs of mold.
- Cabinets do not open or close properly.
2. Frustrated by Lack of Function
Are you frequently frustrated with the function of your cabinets? If the overall function of your cabinets isn’t working for you, then it might be time to replace instead of repair. Unfortunately, no number of cosmetic facelifts will fix your frustration with your cabinets’ function.
Here are several signs the design of your cabinets could do with an upgrade:
- Are your cabinets difficult to access and require removing items to reach other items stuffed into the back?
- Do the cabinets open up incorrectly or at funny angles? For example, do your cabinet doors slam into each other?
- Do the drawers get stuck when opening? Sticky drawers could be another sign of potential damage, and simply replacing the drawers will not fix the issue.
3. You Big Softie
Take a minute to push on the sides of your cabinet walls. Do they feel soft? If yes, this is a sign that your cabinets are damaged and need to be replaced. The sides of your cabinets are vital for maintaining structural integrity, and if they are compromised, it is best to replace them entirely.
4. Mold, Anyone?
Mold is a silent killer and can grow on countless surfaces, including your poor kitchen cabinets! If the mold is caught early on, it can be cleaned, and the cabinets do not need to be replaced. However, if the mold is left unnoticed, it can compromise the structural integrity of your cabinets, and large quantities of mold can pose a health threat to your family. Mold often occurs due to a water leak, and the source should be identified before replacing your cabinets to prevent future damage.
5. That Cabinet Box Has Seen Better Days
If your cabinet box is so worn you cannot drill new holes or mount new hinges, then the cabinet’s structure will not support new cabinet doors. If you cannot work with the current wood, your entire cabinet box will need to be replaced. To save yourself time, money, and frustration, ensure that the wood can support new holes and hinges before purchasing materials for potentially unsuccessful repairs.
6. What’s That Smell?
Did you know there is often a small space under your cabinets and behind them? Unfortunately, these spaces can be challenging to clean, and pests, mold, and small crumbs can become trapped in there. When left unchecked, these spaces can cause a serious stink that doesn’t go away. If an odious odor is present, it is best to rip out the cabinets and remove the source.
7. Cabinet Materials
You Have Flimsy, Cheap Cabinets
If your cabinets are made of cheap or flimsy material, they will not withhold under the everyday wear and tear time brings. For example, your cabinets might be made of MDF, a common cabinet material composed of a type of composite material that is part wood but mostly glue and filler material. If your cabinet material is cheap, adding new doors or drawer fronts will not pose a long-term solution as the cabinet’s body will not last long.
The Cabinets are Made of Metal
Once upon a time, metal was a popular cabinet material choice in kitchens. Unfortunately, if your kitchen is still rocking this vintage vibe refacing your cabinets will be extremely challenging. It can be possible but is extremely difficult and often not worth the hassle.
8. You Need a New Layout
Sometimes it isn’t the actual kitchen you hate but the flow of your kitchen space. For example, if you hate the flow of your workspace and find it inefficient, it might be beneficial to replace your cabinets when reorganizing the layout. Additionally, if you plan to transform your cabinets’ layout, simply moving the old cabinets and replacing the doors and drawer fronts isn’t the best solution.
9. You’re Selling Your House
If you are preparing your home to go onto the market, a remodeled kitchen can boost your sales price and potential buyers’ interest levels. Through remodeling based on current homebuyers’ preferences, styles, and trends, you can better ensure you’re selling your home for a fantastic price!
Yes, refacing your kitchen cabinets can potentially save you money, and considering this option is worth it in some instances. But if any of the above applies to you, then replacing the cabinets will save you heartache, help you achieve the look you’re after, and in the long run, save you money by cutting down on the number of repairs needed.
If you decide that upgrading your kitchen cabinets is the best choice for you, you have come to the right place. Yes, we are giving ourselves a shout-out, but we are passionate about cabinets and our customers! We have an eye for design and details paired with 15 plus years of experience to help you fulfill your kitchen cabinet dreams. Please reach out for a free design consultation today to develop your kitchen vision! Are you looking for inspiration on the latest and greatest in cabinets? We got you covered with our inspiration board!