What Is Refacing Cabinet Doors? Difination And Process Of Refacing Doors




By looking around my kitchen and bathroom, I thought, “These cabinets look so old.” I mentioned it to my dad, who loves fixing things up. So, I asked, “Dad, these cabinets need a change. What can we do without making a huge mess?”

“Well,” my dad said with a smile, we could just reface the cabinet doors. It’s like giving them a new look without tearing everything apart. I was curious: what is refacing cabinet doors, and what do we need for that?

What Is Refacing Cabinet Doors

Refacing Cabinet Doors

Well Refacing cabinet doors is a process of updating the exterior appearance of cabinets without completely replacing them. It involves removing the existing doors and drawer fronts and covering them with a new material, such as wood veneer, laminate, or thermofoil.

Well, now, if you are eager to learn what exactly needs to be done for refacing cabinet doors, start reading this guide till the end!

Summery of the article is-

  • Refacing cabinet doors means updating the look of your kitchen or bathroom by changing the doors and covering the sides without dismantling everything.
  • It’s a cost-effective, less messy alternative to a complete renovation and can significantly alter the appearance of your room.
  • Essential tools for cabinet refacing include a screwdriver, nail gun, caulk gun, cordless drill, file, laminate slitter, miter saw, paper cutter, veneer tool, and more.

What Is Refacing Cabinet Doors?

So, What is Refacing Cabinet Doors? Cabinet door refacing involves removing your old cabinet doors and drawer fronts. You then replace or refurbish them and refresh the cabinet bodies. This task is something many homeowners can do by themselves.

What Is Refacing Cabinet Doors.

One of the most significant advantages of choosing to reface rather than replace is the reduced mess. You won’t need to pull out your old cabinets, keeping your kitchen away from becoming a construction zone. Consequently, you won’t have to resort to alternative cooking methods or go without your kitchen for an extended period.

Types Of Refacing Cabinet Doors

If you decide to reface your kitchen cabinets, there are different types of refacing cabinet door options available. Your first step is to select a new style for your cabinet doors. 

However, we’ve outlined six of the most popular cabinet-refacing styles to help guide your cabinet refacing project.


Traditional cabinet doors feature a raised-panel construction that creates intricate profiles and contours. These doors typically have a frame and a raised center panel, both embellished with decorative molding. This style suits those looking to maintain a classic aesthetic in their kitchen.

Traditional cabinet doors

However, for an affordable cabinet refacing option, you might choose to update your current cabinets with new cabinet hardware or add wood veneers to enhance their traditional look.


The Shaker style has become increasingly popular for its ability to straddle the line between traditional charm and minimalist design. These doors have a straightforward, rectangular frame, making them a versatile choice for many kitchens.

Shaker cabinet door

Shaker doors can be considered the cheapest way to reface kitchen cabinets. It offers simplicity and ease of matching with drawer fronts and cabinet boxes.


Adding a beadboard center panel to Shaker-style cabinets introduces a quaint, slightly rustic vibe to your kitchen. This detail maintains the clean lines of the Shaker design and adds texture and interest.

Beadboard cabinet door

However, this cabinet refacing type is a great way to personalize your kitchen wood cabinets. In this type, you don’t need to stray too far from the minimalistic approach.


Flat-front features a smooth, even surface that exudes a contemporary feel. Utilizing flat-front doors is a straightforward way to give your kitchen cabinets a fresh, updated look. Pairing these with the proper cabinet hardware can further enhance the modern aesthetic.

Flat-Front cabinet door


Glass-front cabinet doors are perfect for showcasing delicate dishware in your upper cabinets. In this cabinet-refacing approach, incorporating glass panels within a mullion frame door adds elegance.

glass-Front cabinet door

Moreover, it opens up the space visually. This cabinet style will increase your kitchen’s overall look. And it will make it feel more open and airy. It’s an excellent choice for mixing with solid cabinet doors to create variety and interest.


Rustic cabinet doors have their place in kitchens with a cottage or industrial theme. They add character and warmth to your kitchen cabinet. Moreover, this type of refacing brings a cozy, lived-in feel to the space.

Rustic cabinet door

However, rustic doors might clash with more modern styles. But they can be the perfect choice for adding a touch of homeliness to your kitchen.

When Are Refacing Cabinet Doors Needed?

You need to reface your kitchen cabinet at the following times:

  • Your kitchen needs an update, but you want to avoid a complete remodel. A cabinet refacing project is a smart solution.
  • The cabinet boxes are in good shape, with no water damage or structural problems.
  • You’re aiming for a new style or look, like adding solid wood doors or crown molding.
  • Changes in your kitchen layout or storage space are desired, but the basic structure is fine.
  • You’re asking for a wide variety of design options without replacing everything.
  • A cabinet makeover is needed to refresh the space without the extensive downtime of a full renovation.
  • Kitchen cabinet refacing offers a quick update, improving both appearance and functionality.

What Is Included In Cabinet Refacing?

Now, you know what cabinet refacing is. But what must be included in the process? What more you can add to the refacing process? Let’s find out-

What Is Included In Cabinet Refacing
  • Refacing kitchen cabinets means updating the outside parts like doors and drawer fronts.
  • You take off the old doors and fronts and put on a new covering.
  • This process might include getting new hinges, handles, and pulls to make everything look new.
  • The good part is you keep the original cabinet boxes. No need for custom work or long waits.
  • Any damage to the cabinet boxes is fixed to match the new look.
  • After refacing, your cabinets will look completely unique and change the feel of your kitchen.
  • It’s a chance to tweak your kitchen layout or add more storage space without major construction.
  • This cabinet makeover doesn’t just change the appearance but can also add value to your kitchen.
  • Kitchen cabinet refacing is about giving your kitchen a new face without ditching the original cabinets.
  • Besides changing cabinet fronts, you might also consider refinishing cabinets for a uniform style.

What Is The Difference Between Cabinet Refacing And Redooring?

The following concise table provides a clear comparison between cabinet refacing and cabinet redooring. It focuses on their core aspects, benefits, and suitability for different renovation needs. 

FeatureCabinet RefacingCabinet Redooring
What It IsUpdating doors, drawer fronts, and hardware while keeping cabinet boxes.Only replacing the cabinet doors and hinges.
Process Steps1. Choose style/material2. Remove old fronts3. Apply new veneer/paint4. Install hinges5. Update or keep drawer boxes.Replace doors and hinges for a new look.
BenefitsSaves moneyQuick, about 3-5 daysEco-friendlyModernizes kitchen.Fastest update in1 weekSaves more moneyIncreases home value.
Best ForFull front upgrade without new cabinets.Quick, budget-friendly door update.
CustomizationMany styles and finishes.Limited to doors and hinges.
SavingsLess than full replacement.Up to 75% off full replacement.
SpeedQuicker than replacement.Fastest kitchen update.

Tools Needed To Refacing Cabinet Doors

To reface your cabinet doors, you require the following tools. With these tools, you can tackle a kitchen cabinet refacing project confidently. Whether you’re updating your cabinet doors, adding new crown molding, or optimizing storage space, each tool plays a critical role.

From cutting solid wood doors to applying delicate veneer, the right equipment ensures a successful makeover. A well-planned cabinet makeover can dramatically enhance your kitchen layout and functionality.

However, the required tools are:

  • 4-in-1 Screwdriver: A versatile tool for various tasks in your cabinet refacing project.
  • Brad Nail Gun: It is perfect for securing solid wood doors or crown molding without splitting the wood.
  • Caulk Gun: It seals gaps and ensures a smooth finish around cabinet doors and frames.
  • Circular Saw: Saw cuts sheets of veneer or trim pieces to size, which is vital for customizing and restoring kitchen cabinet layout.
  • Cordless Drill: Drills holes for new hardware, making cabinet makeover tasks easier.
  • File: It smooths the edges of the cut veneer, ensuring a professional finish.
  • Forstner Drill Bits: It creates clean holes for hinges or hardware in kitchen cabinet refacing.
  • Laminate Slitter: It cuts strips of laminate for edging, enhancing storage space efficiency.
  • Miter Saw: A Miter saw precisely cuts crown molding or trim. It is essential for a polished look.
  • Paper Cutter: It is useful for trimming veneer or laminate sheets. Moreover, it add flexibility to your cabinet makeover.
  • Veneer Tool: This tool applies and smooths veneer sheets. It is crucial for a seamless cabinet refacing project.

How Do You Reface Cabinet Doors?

Refacing your cabinets can transform your kitchen. But for cabinet refacing, you need to follow curtailed steps. However, to reface your cabinet doors, follow the steps below:

How Do You Reface Cabinet Doors

Remove Doors and Hardware

First, and take off all cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. You should keep your cabinet drawer boxes as they are. But if the drawer boxes are damaged, then remove them. If drawer slides and tracks are worn out, you should replace them. This step prepares your cabinet boxes for a fresh look.

Reface the Body (Cabinet Boxes)

Next, update your cabinet boxes. First off, you should cover the fronts with wood veneers or rigid thermofoil (RTF) for a new surface. In your cabinet refacing project, this step is important as it sets the foundation for your kitchen cabinet refacing. Choose materials that match your desired cabinet door style and kitchen layout.

Reface the Cabinet Sides

Don’t forget to reface the sides of your cabinet boxes. Use the same wood veneers or laminate for a consistent appearance. This ensures your cabinet makeover looks complete and professional. Matching the sides with the fronts brings the whole look together.

Put On the Hinges

Replace or reuse the hinges. If your cabinet’s hinges are still in good shape, you should keep them. However, if not, you can use new hinges. A new one can make a big difference in how your cabinet doors function.

New hinges ensure your cabinet doors and drawer fronts open and close smoothly. They enhance your kitchen layout and storage space.

Install New Doors and Drawer Fronts

Now, measure and install the new cabinet doors and drawer fronts. This step dramatically changes the look of your kitchen cabinets. Choose solid wood doors or any style that fits your vision for your kitchen’s layout and design.

Install New Hardware

Install new cabinet knobs and pulls. These small pieces of cabinet hardware are an easy and affordable way to update the look of your cabinets. They contribute significantly to the cabinet makeover. Moreover, you can choose from wide variety of styles.

Add Additional Accessories

Finally, consider extra touches like crown molding, glass panels, or storage solutions like wine racks. These accessories complete your cabinet refacing project. Also, they add functionality and style to your kitchen cabinets. 

Cost To Reface Cabinet Doors

Ok, I get all the refacing process. But cabinet refacing costs? Well, unfortunately, there isn’t any exact number cause it goes up and down as per your preference. How? Well, how you want to reface your cabinet doors matters a lot on costing. Here is a basic overview of refacing costing:

AspectDetailsCost RangeAdditional Information
Renovation SizeMajor Makeover: High-quality, custom solid wood doors, luxurious hardware, cabinet customizations.$7,000 – $15,000+Enhances cabinet makeover with complete kitchen cabinet refacing.
Minor Makeover: Uses laminate or wood veneer, might involve DIY.$1,000 – $5,000Focuses on refreshing cabinet fronts; may reuse existing hardware.
Cost by Linear FootMaterial and labor differences; DIY could reduce material costs.$90 – $500DIY material costs could be $36 – $200 per linear foot.
Budget Level< $1,000: DIY with laminate, reusing hardware for small kitchens.Less Than $1,000Suitable for minimal cabinet makeovers.
$1,000 – $5,000: Professional laminate or wood veneer refacing, new hardware possible.$1,000 – $5,000Limits on new cabinet accessories.
$5,000 – $10,000: High-quality veneer or solid wood in larger/small kitchens, includes hardware and accessories.$5,000 – $10,000
$10,000 – $15,000: Solid wood doors and fronts, fancy hardware, and unique accessories, possible custom cabinets.$10,000 – $15,000
Material Cost per Linear FootLaminate: Least expensive, easiest for DIY, wide variety but less durable.$90 – $110
Wood Veneer: More authentic look, requires professional installation for best results.$150 – $200Available in various woods like birch, cherry, maple.
Solid Wood: Most luxurious and durable, can be refinished.$200 – $500Offers timeless cabinet door style enhancement.
Labor CostsLabor-intensive process including removal, refinishing, and new installations.Up to 60% of Total CostDIY can save on these costs but may not match professional finish quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Choose Cabinet Refacing?

You might pick cabinet refacing because it saves money and time. Instead of tearing out your whole kitchen, you just update the parts that show, like the doors and handles. This way, you can get a new kitchen look without a big mess.

Why Is Cabinet Refacing So Expensive?

If you want real wood doors or special finishes, they don’t come cheap. Also, getting everything to fit perfectly and look great takes skill, which means paying for expert help.

What Are Problems With Refacing Kitchen Cabinets?

Sometimes, refacing doesn’t work out because the old racked cabinets are too damaged. If the frames are weak or there’s mold, new doors won’t fix that. You might also not find the exact look or material you want.

Bottom Line

Refacing your cabinet doors is a smart move if you want a fresh look without a big project. It’s less expensive and simpler than getting all-new cabinets. You’ll just need a few basic tools to get started.

However, throughout this guide, we’ve covered what is refacing cabinet doors, why it’s a good idea and how to do it. All these will help you make your space look awesome without breaking the bank. This guide is all about showing you there’s more than one way to fix up your home.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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