Saturday, April 9

Renew, Reface, Replace - Bang for your buck

Lets face it, the economy is down, and your kitchen still looks like a time warp into the 70s. You want to have an amazing updated kitchen, but you don't have the extra income to pay for it. You figure just refacing will be a great savings, but the bid you just got from the big box home improvement store suggests otherwise. Well, here is the truth on the three popular redo's for your kitchen cabinets.

Renew: ($)
Renewing, or re-finishing, is essentially painting or staining your existing cabinets. Great if you have dated or aged maple or oak from the 80's or 90's. Its also a great Do-It-Yourself option. Typically, this is the least expansive way to go, especially when you do it yourself, however won't work on all cabinets, so beware. Also, if you are unhappy work the layout or structure  of your existing cabinets, or even the shape or design of the doors themselves, keep reading, this option isn't for you.

Reface: ($$)
Refacing, or Resurfacing, is when you get all new doors and drawer fronts, but keep all the cabinet boxes. You can even replace those old drawer boxes and glides that keep breaking.  A great way to replace those 70's particle wood doors with a nice cherry or maple. Also, skins, or 1/8" thick wood veneers are provided to cover up any other exposed wood, such as face frames and cabinet sides. Refacing does take longer than refinishing to install, typically a week, and costs more, however you do have a lot more options. It is still a DIY project, but there are many companies that will do out for you, for a fee. Do note, refacing can cost as much as all new cabinets, so make sure you like your layout first, and the structural integrity of your cabinets.

Replace: ($$$)
(Kitchen by S. George)  
The most expensive option, but the most freedom. Many times we hate the layout, or the quality of our cabinets is awful, and just pain old. It's time to rip that kitchen out and start fresh. Now, keep in mind, when replacing, that counter top has got to go, so if you bought a granite top thinking that was enough to update (and are now realizing you were wrong) replacing is not for you. This is when you get to change things up. Rip out that peninsula and create that grand island you've been dreaming of. Add those furniture details, remove that soffit, and create a masterpiece. If replacing isn't in the budget, consider a home improvement loan, or start saving, because while the cost is generally more, the benefits are obvious as well. Why spend $10,000 on refacing when you can spend $15,000 replacing. Also, talk to a realtor in your area, get a feel for return, it may be worth your while. Also, consider doing some of the work yourself.

Whether your a Do-It-Yourself kind of person, or a Do-It For Me, get estimates on all the options. Most homeowners are shocked to find the price differences aren't that drastic when considering limitations, or freedoms of one vs. the other.  Be sure to read my previous post about Budget 101, and make an educated decision on which route is best for you, your budget, and your lifestyle.