Replace, Reface or Refinish? Make the most of your kitchen cabinets for savings and a fresh new look
When it comes to kitchen remodels, new appliances may be pricey and flooring costs may floor you, but cabinets can be the single biggest expense of all. That's why it literally pays to take a close look at what you've already got and consider the options carefully. Depending on the configuration and construction of your cabinets, you can replace, reface or refinish them on the way to your kitchen redo. Following is a rundown of each approach to strengthening the bones of your kitchen.
REPLACE -- If your kitchen remodel involves a new footprint and additional storage needs, partial or complete replacement of cabinets is the way to go. Just remember that this approach involves major demolition and consideration of such critical elements as plumbing and appliance placement.
There are three levels of cabinet customization:
REFACE -- Refacing cabinets involves replacing the doors and veneers on existing laminate or wood boxes. It?s not a job for the novice, but also understand that if you hire a pro to do the job, your satisfaction with the results will be directly proportional to their skill and level of craftsmanship. Quality of existing cabinetry and the new materials applied also impact the end product.
REFINISH -- If you like the style and configuration of the cabinets you have, and they happen to be made of wood or laminate, refinishing them is the clearest route to remodeling cost control. Most older cabinetry is well built, so preserving it is usually worthwhile?just be sure to examine the construction carefully before pulling out the sander, because if paper-thin veneers cover every surface but the solid fronts, you?ll need to rethink your refinishing plans. Veneers can?t be sanded or stained, so painting will be the only option if they?re involved. Whether painting or staining, choose an oil-based finish, which is far more durable and forgiving of everyday kitchen grime than latex finish.
Checked your cabinets and they?re clear for approach? Great?Here are the steps to a fabulous new finish:
Finally, don?t forget to update all those knobs and pulls?new hardware is the bling that brings personality and freshness to a kitchen remodel!
Note: Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. To find a local radio station, download the show's podcast or sign-up for Tom's free weekly e-newsletter, visit the program's Web site.