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Cabinet Refacing vs. Replacing: Which Is More Cost-Effective?

Posted on : April 15, 2024

Cabinet Refacing vs. Replacing: Which Is More Cost-Effective?

When revamping your kitchen, a significant choice arises between refacing or replacing your cabinets. This decision impacts not just the look of your kitchen but also your finances and project timeline. Updating cabinets can enhance your kitchen or bathroom's appeal and boost your home's value. However, the dilemma lies in choosing between refacing or a total replacement, considering factors such as budget, desired aesthetics, and the condition of existing cabinets.

Let's delve into this blog post to get a better understanding of both choices and find the one that works best for you. 

What Is Cabinet Refacing? 

Cabinet Refacing

For homeowners who are looking to update their kitchen cabinets without having to replace them entirely, cabinet refacing is a popular and affordable option. The cost of refacing cabinets typically ranges from $4,500 to $7,000, depending on the materials and layout of your kitchen.

You can quickly, and at a discounted price, update the look of your kitchen without having to do a full renovation by choosing cabinet refacing. This can save you up to 50% more compared to if you were buying new cabinets. You can also finish refacing cabinets in just a few days, making it a less disruptive and quicker option than a complete renovation that would otherwise affect the kitchen layout.


  • Design Opportunities: Refacing offers a spectrum of design choices, ranging from contemporary to traditional aesthetics.
  • Swift Installation: Unlike the lengthy process of cabinet replacement, refacing is a quicker and more convenient alternative if you are short on time.
  • Eco-Friendly Approach: By utilizing the current cabinet framework, refacing reduces waste and promotes sustainability.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Refacing tends to be more economical than complete cabinet replacement, catering to budget-conscious homeowners.


  • Fixed Layout: Refacing is constrained by the existing cabinet arrangement, potentially overlooking functional or storage concerns.
  • Bound by Current Cabinet Structure: Refacing might not fully address structural issues or low-quality cabinets, limiting its effectiveness in certain cases.
  • Not Suitable for Structural Damage: Refacing isn't ideal for cabinets with significant structural damage beyond surface issues. In these cases, replacing the cabinets entirely might be a more suitable option.

Average Cost

The average national cost falls around $6,000, with most homeowners spending between $1,000 to $9,000 to reface their cabinets.

What Is Cabinet Replacement? 

Cabinet Replacement

Cabinet replacement involves removing existing cabinets entirely and installing brand-new ones, allowing for a complete redesign of the kitchen layout, materials, colors, and finishes. Unlike refacing, which retains the existing cabinet boxes, replacement replaces the entire cabinet structure. 

This process typically starts with removing old cabinets and preparing to install new ones. New cabinets are assembled, secured, and aligned for functionality, with additional trim or decorative elements added for aesthetic appeal. Costs vary depending on factors like kitchen size, chosen materials, installation complexity, and location, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 or more. While more expensive than refacing, replacement offers a complete transformation and the chance to create a custom look.


  • Complete Makeover and Design Flexibility: Replacing cabinets provides a blank canvas and the ability to create a kitchen precisely tailored to your tastes.
  • Improved Functionality: New cabinets can enhance functionality by providing better storage solutions, optimizing space, and featuring updated hardware for improved usability.
  • Extended Durability and Cost-Efficiency: Although comparatively pricier initially, high-quality replacement cabinets provide a long lifespan and long-term durability and value.
  • New Layout: Homeowners can establish a fresh layout in their kitchen or bathroom, a feature often unattainable with methods like cabinet refacing or other less extensive renovations.


  • Cost: Cabinet replacement can be expensive and cost more depending on specific needs and location.
  • Disruption: Replacing cabinets can disrupt your daily routine. It involves removing existing cabinets and installing new ones, which may require additional construction work and time.
  • Timeline: Cabinet replacement often takes longer than other renovations because of its extensive nature and potential delays in obtaining custom cabinets.

Average Cost

The average cost of cabinet replacement can fall between $2,000 to $24,000.

Comparing Different Aspects Of Cabinet Refacing vs. Replacing

Let's compare some of the major aspects of refacing vs. replacing kitchen cabinets:

1. Labor Costs

Cabinet refacing involves less labor than replacement, as it only replaces doors, drawer fronts, and hardware, keeping existing boxes intact. This results in substantially lower labor costs, around 50% less on average, compared to cabinet replacement.

2. Material Costs

Refacing a cabinet is typically less expensive than replacing one, mostly because material costs are lower. Whereas replacement necessitates buying all new parts, refacing just entails replacing the cabinets' exterior. Refacing material costs can vary depending on style and material quality and include new doors, drawer fronts, hardware, and veneers or laminates to cover existing boxes.

3. Other Expenses

Since refacing doesn't require altering the cabinet layout, it costs less. On the other hand, additional expenses for remodeling or repainting may occur if replacement changes the layout. The costs associated with recycling or disposing of old cabinets, along with the cost of permits, inspections, and any additional materials or labor for other kitchen installations should all be considered when selecting between refacing or replacing your cabinets.

4. Environmental Impact

Unlike complete cabinet replacement, refacing preserves existing cabinet boxes and minimizes landfill waste, making it an environmentally friendly option. Refacing has a much smaller environmental impact than replacement because it uses less energy, produces less waste, and creates less demand for new materials.

Comparing The Cost Of Refacing Kitchen Cabinets vs. Replacing Them

Average Cost Range$1,000 - $7,000$2,000 - $24,000
Time Required2-5 daysAverage of 6 weeks
Long-Term ValueShorter lifespan, potential need for replacement in a few yearsLonger lifespan, up to 50 years when installed correctly
Return on InvestmentInitial cost savings, potential future replacement costsHigher initial cost, better long-term value, and durability
Customization OptionsLimited to existing cabinet structure.More flexibility in design and layout.

Cabinet Refacing vs. Replacing: Which Option Adds More Value To Your Home?

Generally, replacing cabinets is more valuable than just refacing them when considering potential increases in home value. Replacing the existing cabinets with new ones greatly improves the look and function of the kitchen. 

This is a good choice if the kitchen layout needs to be changed, the cabinets are in bad shape, or you're building a new home. Replacing the cabinets allows for a thorough makeover, guaranteeing that it is attractive and modern, potentially raising the value of your home. 

On the other hand, though refacing cabinets is less expensive than replacing them, it might not add as much value, especially if the current cabinets are old or in bad shape.

Renew Your Kitchen Cabinets Today With McClellands Contracting and Roofing 

Overall, the decision between refacing cabinets vs. replacing them is complex, with each offering specific benefits and factors to consider. For homeowners looking to make a complete makeover, cabinet replacement offers unmatched design flexibility and longevity, while cabinet refacing is a more affordable and efficient option. Your decision should be based on your long-term terms for your kitchen, your unique needs, and your financial constraints. 

Choose McClellands Contracting and Roofing as your partner for professional advice and excellent workmanship on all your kitchen cabinet installation requirements. Our team can help you through the decision-making process and realize your vision with our strong track record for excellence and customer satisfaction. For superior roofing services that improve the durability and curb appeal of your home, rely on McClellands Contracting and Roofing. Give us a call today at (412) 353-5660.

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