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What is the Difference Between the Refinishing Cabinets and Refacing Cabinets?

by Elias Deukmajian | Kitchen Remodel

Thinking about a new look for your kitchen this season? Tired of looking at the same old, outdated cabinets and drawers? If so, then you have a lot of potential options to elevate the look of your kitchen from flab to fantastic. You may be considering a low-cost alternative to replacing your cabinets altogether. You can shop for refinishing, refacing, or resurfacing services in your area, but it can be tricky to know the difference. In this article, we will discuss the low-cost options for your kitchen cabinet remodel and the difference between them.


Refinishing your cabinets and drawers involves the least work to be done on the hardware, and it’s the most cost efficient. Rather than replacing the cabinets altogether or replacing the doors, knobs and handles, and hinges, instead you can refinish the look of the cabinets while leaving the hardware as it is.

Being the most simple way to refresh the look of your kitchen, this is a great option if you want to get a lot or results with a little budget. The professionals who you choose to refinish your cabinets will first remove the doors in order to work on them. Then, to remove the existing paint or wood finish, they will sand or chemically strip the cabinet doors in order to have a clean surface on which to apply the new look.


Refacing your kitchen cabinets involves a little more work on the part of your remodelers, but it can be well worth the extra time and money. By the way, the term “resurfacing” is also used to refer to the same process. Essentially, the difference between refacing or resurfacing and refinishing is that this process is about replacing all of the external components that you and your guests can see. So while changing the finish or paint color of your cabinets and drawers, you can also achieve a totally new look by choosing this option over refinishing, adding new handles or a new door style.

Doors, hinges, handles, and drawer faces will all come off and be replaced by the new ones that you choose to bring new life to your kitchen. You can think of the difference as being similar to putting on makeup versus getting a face lift!

If you have hardwood cabinets, refinishing is hands-down the best option. It’s difficult to change the stain on wood cabinets without getting an irregular finish from cabinet to cabinet, and that makes refinishing a risky process. You could wind up spending the money to refinish, only to find that you are unsatisfied with the results. Then you’ll have to spend even more to have them refaced anyway.

Making a Decision

There are a few factors to keep in mind when you are considering refinishing versus refacing your kitchen cabinets: the material of your cabinets, the layout of your kitchen, the look you want when all the work is done, and your budget.

Refinishing is a great option for those who have wood cabinets and want a new look on a budget, but it doesn’t work well with laminate and other synthetic surfaces. You may not like the style of your cabinets anymore, in which case refacing is the way to go. If you are remodeling because you want to sell your house in the near future, think about the fact that buyers prefer the most updated and modern look in a new home. Plus, spending the money on refacing with modern style will increase the value of your home, putting more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

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Kitchen Emporium Can Help with it All

Kitchen Emporium is one of Southern California’s largest independent home remodeling experts. We have been leading the way in quality renovations for years, and we attract customers from all over Southern California areas, including the San Fernando Valley, San Diego, and San Marcos. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff have years of experience in kitchen remodeling and will help you with every step, from selecting and ordering materials to measuring and installing. If you have any questions about refinishing or refacing, our service team is happy to answer any of your questions over the phone or in store. For a free estimate on your kitchen dream, give us a call today at (858) 566-6444 for our San Diego location, or (818) 349-7500 for the San Fernando Valley. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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