Refacing vs. Replacing Kitchen Cabinets: Which is Better?

refacing vs. replacing kitchen cabinets

You know your current kitchen needs a facelift. Maybe it’s outdated and in serious need of some trendy updates. Or maybe it’s not in the best shape and could use some sprucing up. Either way, refacing or replacing your kitchen cabinets is a must-do to get your kitchen where it needs to be.

Refacing vs. Replacing Kitchen Cabinets: The Difference

First, let’s explain the difference between refacing vs. replacing kitchen cabinets. With refacing, you keep your existing kitchen cabinet frames intact. Your kitchen is given an updated look by either adding a laminated veneer to your cabinets or replacing cabinet fronts.

With replacing, all of your existing cabinets are removed. New upper and lower cabinets are installed. You can design an entirely new layout, or use the same layout that you had before with fresh, new cabinets.

Is it Better to Reface or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including:


Since refacing doesn’t replace the entire cabinet, there are less materials and labor involved. That makes the overall cost lower than completely replacing the cabinets. If your budget doesn’t allow for a full kitchen remodel, refacing could be a happy medium.

According to HomeAdvisor, cabinet refacing costs $7,133 on average, and it’s usually about a 30% to 50% lower cost than replacing custom or semi-custom cabinets. New cabinets can take up as much as 50% of the total renovation budget, and changing a layout can involve moving plumbing and electrical, as well — increasing labor costs.

Budget winner: Refacing


Kitchen cabinet refacing is a quick, convenient update that gives your kitchen a newly remodeled look in a fraction of the time it takes to do a full remodel. In just days, rather than weeks, your perfect kitchen is constructed with minimal disruption to your day-to-day life.

Fully replacing existing kitchen cabinets involves demolition to remove the old cabinets, designing and ordering the new cabinets, and installation. Replacing your kitchen cabinets will take longer than refacing.

Time winner: Refacing


If your existing kitchen layout is efficient and traffic flows smoothly, you have the ideal scenario for cabinet refacing. But if your kitchen could be improved with an optimized layout, you’re going to need to replace the cabinets.

Kitchen refacing uses the existing cabinet and countertop layout — there’s no way to make improvements to the layout and design when refacing. However, a full remodel allows you to better optimize the space and improve efficiencies in the kitchen.

Functionality winner: Replacing


Refacing or replacing kitchen cabinets: Which is better for your home’s resale value? In hot housing markets, a fully updated kitchen with an efficient, functional layout is almost certainly a good investment for resale. Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, and an updated kitchen will surely spark interest when selling your home.

Resale winner: Replacing


Going hand-in-hand with the length of time it takes to finish the project is how inconvenient it will be for you, the homeowner. A kitchen is a central part of the home, and during demolition and remodeling, it becomes unusable. When replacing kitchen cabinets, you can expect to be without a kitchen for weeks or months. On the other hand, the cabinet refacing process will likely only leave you kitchen-less for a week or two.

Convenience winner: Refacing

Whether you choose to update your kitchen with cabinet refacing or a complete remodel, the process is smooth and seamless. We help you choose materials, make design choices, determine your budget and establish the installation schedule. No matter which option you select, your end result will be a stunning, refreshed kitchen.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing and Replacing Solutions

Every home deserves a kitchen that’s beautiful, welcoming, and functional — designed for the way you live. Established by two long-time central Ohio homebuilders and craftsmen, The Creative Kitchen Co. offers customized kitchen remodeling and refacing solutions. Contact us for more information.