Most folks have heard the term, cabinet refacing, but how many people actually know what is involved? My guess would be, not very many. What about restoration or refinishing? These terms all sound so similar and can easily be confused with one another. This article will set the record straight and inform you of the differences, which in turn will help you decide the best option for your cabinet project.
There are 4 main services involved with doing a cabinet remodel. They are the “Four Rs”: cabinet refacing, cabinet restoring, cabinet refinishing and cabinet replacing.
Refacing: Cabinet refacing involves replacing the kitchen doors, drawer boxes and drawer fronts with brand new custom materials. The layout of the kitchen remains the same or if there are changes or modifications they are completed before the refacing process starts. A typical modification would be adding or removing cabinets, installing a pantry cabinet and/or removing an upper penisula cabinet to really open up your kitchen space. New material (wood veneer) is then bonded to your existing cabinets that completely changes the look of them, for example if your current cabinets are oak you can reface your cabinets with cherry material making your cabinets look like they are entirely made of cherry. Only you will know that your cabinets have been refaced instead of replaced!
Restoring: Cabinet restoration is a great remedy for cabinets whose finish has worn off due to steam, sunlight or water damage. The kitchen cabinets are first cleaned thoroughly to remove any grime or grease build-up that occurs with any cooking. Lacquer finish could also be flaking in certain areas due to water exposure. The typically happens around the sink base cabinet. The existing stain color is matched and applied to the damaged areas. This will even out the color and the final step is applying the final finish. This will seal and protect your cabinets for many years. Cabinets can also be darkened a shade or two with this process. They cannot, however, be lighten by the cabinet restoration process.
Refinishing: Refinishing cabinets is a fairly involved and tricky process. Existing doors, drawer fronts and cabinet boxes are stripped down to the bare wood using special chemicals. If your cabinets are painted you are taking a risk because your doors or cabinet box material could have been patched prior to painting and the only way you become aware of this is when you remove the paint. Your only option in this case would be to repaint your doors or cabinets or replace your doors and cabinets. In either case you should be prepared to replace your cabinets if this happens to you.
Replace: Replacing cabinets is self-explanatory, but what you do need to be aware of is that it effects a lot more that just the cabinets! You will have to replace your countertops, sink, faucet and sometimes your flooring. Your new cabinets don’t always have the same exact lay out of your old cabinets. You may have gaps and things may not line up exactly. Just being aware of the possible problems can help you make the right choice for your cabinet project.