If you’re ready for a new look and feel in your kitchen but don’t want to replace the cabinet layout or your cabinet doors, refinishing your existing kitchen cabinets is a great option. To be a good candidate for cabinet refinishing, your cabinet boxes and doors need to be in good condition. Cabinet refinishing includes taking down your doors, sanding or stripping the surface, preparing the doors with primer as needed, refinishing them with as many coats of stain or paint are necessary, then re-hanging them in their original locations. If you’re not in love with your kitchen cabinet layout, talk to a designer or contractor about creating an alternative. Refinishing simply means adding new shine to the existing setup, so if you’re dying to have a pull-out pantry or maximize wall space by going flush to the ceiling, you may want a different approach. Functional and stylish ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets can be similar in cost to refacing your existing cabinets, so keep the budget-friendly RTA option in mind when making decisions.
In any kitchen, the cabinets are the main focus, so you want to make sure new or replacement cabinets are installed correctly. A professional carpenter can properly, securely mount new cabinets to the wall; the national average cost for this service is $7,725, although the cost varies widely depending on the type of cabinets, their material and their size, and the accessories you add. A typical fee is $70 per linear foot to remove existing cabinets and assemble and install new ones; the cost is less if you do the demolition and removal yourself. Stock cabinets are the least expensive to have installed, ranging from $75 to $400 each; semi-custom cabinets range from $150 to $900 each; and custom cabinets cost from $500 to $1,400 each. Wood cabinets are more expensive than those made from plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and finished with a laminate. Wood cabinets range in cost from $80 to $160 per linear foot. Laminate-finished cabinets cost $35 to $75 per linear foot, on average.
Cabinet refinishing revives dull or dinged-up doors and drawers. The cost of cabinet refinishing will vary based on factors such as the number of linear feet of cabinetry you have, the amount of nicks and scratches that need repair, the level of detail on your cabinets, and more. The pros typically will remove the cabinet doors and then sand or strip them down to create a beautifully smooth new surface. After prepping the surface with primer as needed, the pros may then repaint or stain the doors to give them a new lease on life. Cabinets with intricate detail or extensive surface damage will likely cost more to refinish, as they will take more time and effort. Keep in mind that you should only elect to do cabinet refinishing if the cabinet boxes are structurally sound and you plan to keep your current kitchen layout for a number of years. The investment will be wasted if the cabinet boxes are in disrepair and will need replacement soon, or if you’re planning a remodel in two years. The national average price range for cabinet refinishing is between $1,500 and $6,000.
Custom cabinets can be built for any room, including bedroom closets and built-in armoires. Measured carefully and built precisely, custom cabinetry can increase storage and beautify any room. The national average for building custom cabinets ranges from $500 to $1,200 per linear foot. The cost is highly variable because there are so many styles, colors, glazes and other options. In general, the linear footage of the cabinets, the materials used to build them, and the cost of the labor will determine the cost. Solid wood costs more than plywood and wood veneer, and costs vary among different types of wood; maple and cherry cabinets are more expensive than pine. Glass-front cabinets can cost more, as can decorative hinges, handles and door pulls, which can cost $2-$45 each; choose carefully to stay within your budget and pull off the exact look you’re going for. Some carpenters also charge for installation, on average $100 per cabinet box. Additional molding and trim, such as crown molding at the ceiling, cost an average of $70 per 8-foot section, and adding finished ends to exposed cabinets averages $100-$200.
Resurfacing kitchen cabinets means that you retain your original cabinet boxes and existing cabinet layout and simply remove and replace the front layer of your cabinet doors. Cabinet resurfacing can also entail replacing damaged cabinet doors, keeping those that are in good shape, and installing a new surface on all of them. Cabinet resurfacing may also refer to a decision to completely change out cabinet doors because they are damaged or their style is out of date, but keeping the existing cabinet boxes and layout.
If you’re handy and have all the proper tools, cabinet resurfacing can be a DIY project, especially if you’re simply repainting. However, if you’re not comfortable removing and replacing your cabinet doors, doing precision measurements and cutting, or working with sanders and power tools, then this may be a project better left to the pros. You or your handyman or cabinet installation specialist will remove all cabinet door and drawer fronts and all hardware, then prepare the surfaces for a new layer. The pros should also update the veneer or laminate the frames to match. Once the new laminate, veneer or surface has been applied and new hardware installed, your cabinet doors and drawers are hung once more in their original locations. The national average cost for refacing cabinets is $5,000.
Resurfacing laminate cabinets is an affordable and relatively easy way to give an outdated kitchen a fresh new look. If your existing cabinets are in good shape and you like your current cabinet layout, putting a fresh face on your kitchen could mean simply painting over the current laminate or putting a new laminate surface on the doors and drawers. Cabinet resurfacing may be possible for the capable DIY homeowner, but if you don’t have the proper tools or the know-how, it’s wise to call a handyman or a cabinet installation specialist to ensure you have a professional-looking outcome. To make sure your kitchen is right for cabinet resurfacing (as opposed to completely replacing your cabinets), ask yourself:
- Do I like the layout of my current cabinets?
- Are the cabinet boxes structurally sound?
- Are the floor and framing in good condition to keep cabinets supported over time?
- Are the cabinets free of water or wood damage?
In general, home service providers such as electricians, plumbers and contractors are professionals who don’t expect tips. They expect to do a job for you for the specific price they quoted. Of course, they may appreciate a tip for a job particularly well done or for which they’ve gone beyond what’s normally expected, such as completing the project early or under budget. Even better than a tip, it’s always appropriate to leave a positive review online after a good experience.