Refacing finally gets accepted in remodeling industry

It took more than 25 years, but refacing is finally being accepted by the kitchen and bath industry as a legitimate remodeling solution for the consumer. In a recent issue of Professional Remodeler magazine, for the first time in history, refacing is not only mentioned, but included as the fourth
item in their list of “Kitchen and Bath Design Trends.”

So what made the powers that be finally recognize this creative remodeling technique? Apparently, so many people are choosing to reface, rather than replace their cabinets, they didn’t have much choice. Especially since the results are not only beautiful, but with additional accessories, they rival the functionality of an all-new kitchen, and at the same time save the consumer money. The process couldn’t just be ignored anymore, no matter how much they tried.

Granted, in the past, refacing (or resurfacing as it is also called), used to conjure up a less-than-beautiful kitchen, where the material covering the cabinets and doors didn’t look real and would peel off in a few years. While this may have been true 20 years ago, the materials and adhesives used for refacing have improved dramatically. Most contractors who offer this service now replace the door and drawer fronts and cover the cabinet with the same material the new fronts are made of.

Today, a custom refacing job, if done properly, looks just like a new kitchen and lasts just as long.

The selection of replacement fronts has expanded exponentially over the past few years. You can now get real wood, and select from maple, cherry, alder, birch, pine and exotic woods. If you want to go with laminate fronts, there are close to a hundred colors to choose from, and now the laminates can be handcrafted with a glazed finish or Italian high gloss lacquer, justlike real wood. Add to this themodern internal conveniences that you find in new kitchen cabinets and refacing becomes a viable alternative.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve found that the three most popular reasons for refacing cabinets, rather than replacing them, are the three Cs: convenience, conservation and cost. With our hectic schedules, most of us don’t want to have our lifestyles disrupted any longer than necessary. It’s hard enough getting everything done that we’re supposed to each day without having construction going on for several weeks. Refacing takes much less time than replacing a kitchen and is much less stressful than a total renovation, and in most cases, it’s usually much more economical and environmentally friendly than installing a new kitchen. I say usually much more economical because there are factors that can increase the costs of refacing. When you select thermofoil replacement fronts, the cost is about 50 percent less than buying and installing new, all-wood cabinets. However, if you choose special shapes or wood fronts, the savings begins to diminish. Another factor that can add to the expense of refacing is changing the layout of your kitchen. You realize the greatest saving when no alterations are made to the floor plan. If you intend on changing more than 10 percent of the cabinets in the kitchen, it makes more sense to think about replacing all of them.

If you are considering renovating your kitchen, bath or wall unit, it certainly would be worthwhile to investigate all the possibilities, especially now that the taboo associated with refacing has been lifted. It’s a good idea to visit showrooms that offer both new cabinets and refacing. And, with the wide range of replacement fronts available, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Paul Bookbinder, is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck. He can be reached for questions at 777-0437 or

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