One of the most important remodeling decisions homeowners face is deciding whether to replace or reface their kitchen cabinets. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages and understanding them can help you make the right choice.
A smart first step is to take an objective look at your kitchen’s functionality to assess how well it fits in with your lifestyle. Problems associated with an outdated layout can’t be fixed by cabinetry upgrades alone, so it’s wise to consult with an experienced kitchen designer who can advise you on new floor plan options. If you’re considering new appliances, counters, plumbing, lighting, flooring or islands, a kitchen designer can provide valuable information that will save you considerable time and money.
If your current floor plan is workable, cabinet refacing can be the easiest and most affordable remodeling option. Refacing can save you thousands of dollars over the cost of purchasing new cabinets and typically takes only 2-4 days to complete. You can choose to pocket the money saved or redirect it towards other construction costs that will enhance the look and feel of your kitchen beyond just cabinetry improvements.
Generally, there are three finish options involved with refacing:
- Plastic Laminates
- Rigid Thermofoils and
- Wood Veneers
All three terms are contractor talk for surfacing materials that cover or mask the underlying wood. Each one can provide a clean, updated look to your current cabinets but if you are looking for a better alternative, consider hiring a contractor that uses a process whereby wood “shells” are placed over your existing cabinets. It’s only slightly costlier but the value is far greater because your cabinets will look as if they are brand new and custom constructed.
Take great care in choosing a contractor. Many kitchen remodelers steer you towards refacing options that are more advantageous to them than to homeowners. A reputable refacing contractor will ask you questions about how you use your kitchen and share ideas on how to maximize space and storage opportunities. He’ll insist on using quality soft-close drawer slides instead of cheaper, generic ones that can jam or break after only short periods of use. He’ll provide you with a wide selection of knobs and pulls than will compliment your choice of finishes. He’ll even share ideas with you on improvements such as countertop and backsplash options that can put the finishing touch on your kitchen remodeling project.
Be wary of online sites that promote contractor reputations. Many of them are funded by contractor fees and even some of the positive recommendations posted are of questionable origin. Smart homeowners ask for and get references from actual customers and the best contractors are glad to offer them without reservation.
If you ask the right questions and select the right contractor, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing the choice you made added real value to your home.
Free consultations are always available from Craftworks Custom Cabinetry.
~ By Michael Quatela, Owner, Craftworks Custom Cabinetry
Michael Quatela is owner of Craftworks Custom Cabinetry, a cabinet and furniture manufacturing business that has been serving the Rochester region’s finest homes and businesses for almost two decades.