Both refacing and refinishing can be used to restore damaged, worn-out or outdated cabinets. Both methods produce different results.

Cabinet Refinishing

Do-it-yourselfers or carpentry crews disassemble the cabinets. They remove the existing paint and stain, sand it down, and then replace it with a new color. Refinishing leaves you with the same wood door style but a different finish.

Some older doors may need to be fixed or even warped. This cannot be corrected by refinishing the door with a different stain. If you use external hinges, you must fill in the holes if you decide to switch to internal hinges.

Cabinet Refacing 101

Do-it-yourselfers or refacing cabinet specialists remove old doors, false fronts, and drawer fronts. They then apply natural wood or laminate veneers to a wood substrate on the frame and replace doors and drawer fronts in matching colors.

Kitchen Magic does NOT recommend cabinet refinishing.

  • Refinished cabinet surfaces can look beautiful initially but often chip, scratch, or crack after a few months or weeks of heat and moisture exposure.
  • It is usually necessary to refinish all the cabinets to fix medium-sized cracks or to peel. Re-painted or refinished areas may appear flat, shiny, too clean, or glossy compared to the rest of the finish, aged by heat and light.
  • Wood surfaces are often damaged by refinishing. The wood is softened by sanding and stripping. Wood can warp or dimple with repeated refinishing.
  • The use of toxic chemicals is required for refinishing. These chemicals release fumes even after the project has ended.
  • Refinishing takes a lot of time and effort.

Kitchen Magic prefers and recommends refacing.

  • Refacing is more than just a cosmetic improvement. Refacing, wood substrates, and veneers reinforce the cabinet frame, making it more durable.
  • When a damaged section occurs, it is not necessary to reface all of the cabinets. Cabinet refacers can replace damaged cells without leaving any visible signs of repair.
  • Refacing adhesives doesn’t usually cause permanent surface damage. If adhesive removal and sanding are required, the damage to surfaces is much less over time than when cabinet refinishing is done.
  • There are non-toxic and odorless alternatives to refacing adhesive.
  • Refacing usually takes between three and five days. Refacing can take longer if severe damage occurs in one or more areas or if you need to add an extra section.


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