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Comparing Cabinet Refacing Cost vs Buying New Cabinets

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, you’ll encounter a crucial choice: reface your current cabinets or invest in new ones. The appeal of a modernized kitchen is undeniable, but budgetary factors must be taken into account. This is where the dilemma between cabinet refacing expenses and the cost of purchasing new cabinets arises.



In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the details of both options, examining the financial aspects and considering the advantages and disadvantages.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing cabinets is a cost-effective and strategic approach to refresh your kitchen’s look without the need for a full replacement. This process involves replacing cabinet components like doors, drawer fronts, and hardware while keeping the main framework intact. By undergoing cabinet refacing, you can achieve a revitalized appearance for your kitchen without the inconvenience and expenses associated with entirely tearing out and replacing the cabinet structure.


The typical steps involved in cabinet refacing are as follows:

  1. Assessment and Planning: A professional contractor evaluates your existing cabinets and discusses your design preferences. This step helps determine if refacing is suitable based on the cabinet’s condition and your desired outcomes.
  2. Material Selection: You have a range of options for new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, including wood veneers, laminate, and rigid thermofoil. These materials offer various finishes, colors, and styles, allowing you to personalize your cabinets to match your kitchen’s aesthetic.
  3. Preparation: Thorough cleaning and preparation of cabinet surfaces ensure proper adhesion of the new materials. Any necessary repairs, such as addressing minor imperfections or replacing worn-out components, are also done at this stage.
  4. Installation: Careful installation of the new cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware onto the existing cabinet frames is crucial for a seamless and professional outcome. Precision and attention to detail are key.
  5. Finishing Touches: To complete the transformation, additional elements like molding, trim, and accessories can be added to enhance the visual appeal of the cabinets. These finishing touches contribute to an overall cohesive and polished look for your kitchen.


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Cabinet Refacing Cost: Is It Cheaper to Reface or Replace Cabinets?

Revitalizing your kitchen without the hassle of a full cabinet replacement, cabinet refacing presents an appealing option for budget-conscious homeowners. Let’s break down the numbers to get a clearer understanding:


  • National Average Cost: On average, cabinet refacing costs around $10,000 nationwide. This covers the replacement of doors, drawer fronts, and hardware while keeping the existing cabinet framework intact.
  • Average Range: The typical cost range for refacing varies from $7,000 to $12,000, offering some flexibility based on factors such as materials, kitchen size, and design intricacies.
  • Low-end Estimate: For a basic cabinet refacing project, you can expect to spend approximately $6,000 on the lower end.
  • High-end Investment: More elaborate projects or the use of premium materials can result in costs of up to $22,000.

Material Matters: Cost Breakdown

The material you select for cabinet refacing significantly influences the final cost. Take a look at the cost per linear foot for different cabinet materials (materials only):


Cabinet refacing cost


  • RTF and Melamine: These budget-friendly options range from $60 to $70 per linear foot.
  • MDF and Laminate: Slightly more upscale, MDF and laminate fall within the range of $70 to $100 per linear foot.
  • Pressure-Sensitive and Wood Veneer: Known for their versatility, these options come with a cost range of $80 to $100 per linear foot.
  • Plywood: Stepping up the ladder, plywood refacing can cost between $100 and $150 per linear foot.
  • Hardwood: For top-quality results, hardwood refacing requires a substantial investment ranging from $200 to $500 per linear foot.

The Bottom Line

While cabinet refacing undoubtedly provides cost savings compared to a full replacement, it’s crucial to consider the scale of your renovation. Cabinet refacing is an excellent choice if you’re satisfied with maintaining your existing cabinet layout and your cabinets are in good condition. However, if you’re seeking a complete transformation, require layout changes, or your cabinets are damaged, the higher investment in full replacement may be warranted.

New Kitchen Cabinet Costs and Considerations

cost to install kitchen cabinets per linear foot
Cost to install kitchen cabinets per linear foot


The cost of your cabinet relies heavily on the materials and hardware you choose. Stock cabinets, readily available and often budget-friendly, range from $50 to $280 per linear foot for materials and hardware. While they may have limited customization options, they can be a practical solution for functional kitchen spaces. If you’re looking for a balance between affordability and personalization, semi-custom cabinets are priced between $75 and $550 per linear foot. This wider range reflects the extended design choices and features available. On the higher end, custom cabinets, with their unparalleled craftsmanship and tailored design, have a cost range of $300 to $900 per linear foot for materials and hardware.


While materials lay the foundation, proper installation is equally important to ensure the longevity and functionality of your new cabinets. Installation costs vary based on the type of cabinet. For stock cabinets, installation expenses range from $50 to $120 per linear foot. Semi-custom cabinets, offering a greater degree of personalization, have installation costs between $75 and $150 per linear foot. Custom cabinets, requiring meticulous installation, come with labor costs ranging from $200 to $300 per linear foot.


Considering the material, hardware, and labor costs for installation will give you a comprehensive view of the total investment needed for your new kitchen cabinets. For stock cabinets, the total cost per linear foot could range from $100 to $400. Semi-custom cabinets have a total cost range of $150 to $700 per linear foot, reflecting the added level of design and personalization. When choosing custom cabinets, expect a total cost range of $500 to $1,200 per linear foot, considering the highest degree of customization and craftsmanship.

How to Save Money on New Kitchen Cabinets

When embarking on a kitchen renovation, managing costs is often a top concern. If you want to balance quality, style, and budget, consider Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) cabinets.


Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection Straight Wall with Plate Rack
Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection Straight Wall with Plate Rack


RTA cabinets offer a cost-effective solution. The assembly process is designed for DIY enthusiasts, saving you labor costs. With clear instructions and user-friendly components, you can confidently handle the assembly yourself. Efficiency in shipping and storage is another advantage of RTA cabinets. Compact packaging reduces shipping fees and storage space requirements, resulting in significant cost savings.


Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection with Diagonal Sink and Island
Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection with Diagonal Sink and Island


Direct purchasing from manufacturers eliminates intermediaries, potentially leading to more competitive pricing. But RTA cabinets are not just budget-friendly. They offer a wide range of styles, finishes, and designs, allowing you to achieve your desired kitchen look. Despite being affordable, RTA cabinets are crafted from high-quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity.


Cabinet Refacing Cost: Bottom Line

With prices ranging from $7,000 to $12,000, Nelson Cabinetry offers budget-friendly options that allow you to transform your kitchen affordably. By refacing your cabinets, you can save up to 50% compared to purchasing new ones. The cost varies depending on factors like kitchen size and chosen materials, such as laminate, veneers, and hardwood.


Rest assured, your design vision will not be compromised thanks to the customization options available. When considering your choices, it’s important to find the right balance between your budget and long-term goals. If your cabinets are structurally sound and layout changes are not a priority, cabinet refacing is a smart and cost-effective decision.

Looking for new cabinets? Gray Collection or White Collection

Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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Evan Nelson

Evan Nelson is a skilled content writer with over 5 years of experience specializing in kitchen and bath design. His expertise in the field and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible way have made his articles a valuable resource for homeowners and design enthusiasts alike. Evan's insights have been featured in top publications like Homes & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Real Homes. He focuses on providing practical advice, innovative ideas, and detailed guides to help readers make informed decisions about their kitchen spaces. With a passion for creating content that educates and inspires, Evan's writing helps transform kitchen dreams into reality.

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