What Is The Difference Between Refacing And Resurfacing Cabinets?

What Is The Difference Between Refacing And Resurfacing Cabinets

Whether you are remodeling your kitchen or have some cabinets in your living room that need refurbishing, a new surface is a good way to get the best results. Knowing the difference between refacing and resurfacing can drastically change the look of your cabinets.

Refacing a cabinet means removing old hardware, such as doors and hinges, and replacing them entirely with new hardware. Resurfacing a cabinet is stripping off the old surface and reapplying a new veneer, stain, or paint to create a brand-new look.

In the DIY world, there are many advantages to refacing and resurfacing cabinets, especially when working on a tight budget. This article will discuss what resurfacing and refacing mean and how you can decide which will work best for your cabinets.

How Does Refacing A Cabinet Work?

Cabinets are made from several different components, starting with the basic interior frame that holds the cabinet together. The top of the cabinet could be a wooden shelf, or it can be left open, depending on where it is used, while the interior of the cabinet has shelves with exterior doors and perhaps a drawer or two.

When refacing a cabinet, you replace the front-facing parts of the cabinet, the front of the drawers, and the doors. DIY builders can build custom doors and shelves or order custom-made parts from suppliers worldwide that deliver the same quality.

Refacing the cabinet usually means leaving the interior parts of the cabinet as is and only replacing the parts that face outwards. Most often, the trim around the cabinet will stay the same color as these are attached to the cabinet and cannot be easily removed.

How Does Resurfacing A Cabinet Work?

When resurfacing a cabinet, the parts you are resurfacing are entirely up to you, with most DIYers removing the entire cabinet for easy access. Resurfacing involves replacing every surface with a new veneer, including the trim pieces that are permanently part of the cabinet.

If working on a solid wood cabinet, DIYers prefer to sand down the entire cabinet and re-stain it, giving it entirely new colors. Resurfacing a cabinet can also involve painting the entire cabinet, giving the interior surfaces and the outward-facing parts a completely new look.

Resurfacing a cabinet involves harder work than simply refacing it, requiring one or two days of work on just one small cabinet. The upside of resurfacing a cabinet is that you can fix issues, strengthen it, and give the cabinet a unique look.

Is It Better To Resurface Or Reface A Kitchen Cabinet?

When deciding to resurface or reface a kitchen cabinet, inspect the cabinet thoroughly and check its current condition. It will be better and more affordable to replace a water-damaged cabinet than to repair it.

A cabinet with the right aesthetic for the kitchen can be refaced to give it a fresh, new look. When renovating newer homes, refacing the cabinets can allow entire rooms to look completely different and new.

Older undamaged cabinets that suffer from minor scratches and no longer seem to fit any style benefit greatly from resurfacing. Giving everything a fresh veneer, stain, or coat of paint can ensure that the cabinets fit in with newer appliances and the colors you have chosen for the area.

Is It More Cost Effective To Reface Or Refinish Cabinets?

In the short term, refacing a cabinet with new doors and drawers is cheaper because of the affordability of mass-produced hardware. Over time you might have to replace these as they go out of style or tarnish due to wear and tear.

Resurfacing a cabinet can be labor intensive and cost more as you have to buy veneers or enough paint to cover every surface. A resurfaced cabinet will last longer. Minor repairs can be made to damaged wood during the resurfacing process. This will ensure that the wood will last a while longer.

Resurfacing and refacing a cabinet can become prohibitively expensive if you choose only to use high-quality veneers, hardware, stains, and paints. Before deciding which option to choose, decide your budget and how much repair work is needed on the cabinet.

Cabinet Resurfacing

Is Cabinet Resurfacing Worth It?

Determining the worth of resurfacing cabinets comes down to what you like about the cabinet and the materials used to build the cabinet. Solid wood cabinets are often worth resurfacing, as refacing with the same type of wood will require expensive custom-crafted hardware.

Modern cabinets use cheaper wood, especially for framing, making it unaffordable to try and fix. Often, the cost to repair the cabinet, replace broken parts, and get new materials can cost as much as the standard set of cabinets that you can buy from department stores.

When deciding whether or not resurfacing a cabinet is worth it, measure the total surface and calculate how much paint or veneer is required. With this cost, you can compare how much it would cost to reface or replace these cabinets.

More ideas for your cabinets in Can I Just Replace The Doors On My Kitchen Cabinets

How Long Do Refaced Cabinets Last?

The best part about refacing a cabinet is how long you will enjoy them in your home, with the average refaced cabinet lasting another 15 to 20 years. Often these cabinets will be refaced long before they have reached their end of life, further extending their life.

Consider your motives before you reface your cabinet. Are you refacing because the cabinets are worn or out of style, and you would like a revamp, or are you selling your home and would like the cabinets to look stylish and new and improve the resale value?

If you are refacing for your own needs, buy the best materials you can, as you won’t need to replace them often. If you are refacing to sell your home, then perhaps consider a less expensive option, as most new homeowners reface all the cabinets because they like to personalize styles or colors.

Do Refinished Cabinets Chip?

Refinished cabinets with a fresh veneer or stain will be unlikely to chip after 24 hours, becoming hard enough to use like a regular cabinet. Repainted and refinished cabinets are highly likely to chip for the first week after applying the paint; the paint needs to cure fully to become chip resistant.

It should be noted that when referring to chips in this manner, it does not mean dropping a microwave point first onto the cabinet; not even granite can resist that. Instead, the refinished cabinets won’t chip when using them as usual, with knives, groceries, or cutting boards.

Cabinets that have been resurfaced are still soft wood under the new surfacing, which makes them susceptible to being chipped. Many homeowners refinish their cabinets specifically as their families grow older and accidental damage from day-to-day life becomes much less likely.

Learn more !!!!!Is It Cheaper To Reface Or Replace Cabinets?

More ideas to upgrade your kitchen How Do I Upgrade My Countertops On A Budget?


Refacing your cabinet means replacing the hardware on the cabinet, including the doors and drawers, with brand-new ones. Resurfacing your cabinet means separating the cabinet, sanding everything down, and applying a new surface, either stain, paint, or veneer.

Tips for your kitchen upgrade: What Goes In First Kitchen Cabinets Or Flooring


Sherry Petersik, John Petersik – Google Books

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