Entertainment Magazine: Home Improvements: Remodeling

This is the year to remodel your home

By Robert Zucker
Publisher, Entertainment Magazine

I recently updated my 30-year old kitchen and bath.

It started out with several week of Internet searches about kitchen cabinet refacing, replacements and refinishing. I was dazzled by the options and confused at all the choices.

Refacing the kitchen cabinets would certainly bring a new look without the disruption of tearing out the old cabinets and replacing new cabinets.

But, the lure of a new kitchen with new cabinets for a little bit more also seemed appealing.

Since my web site has featured information about home and kitchen remodeling and referrals to home improvement services like Sears and other well known companies, I decided to start here at EMOL.org. That helped make the decision to either reface or replace the kitchen cabinets much easier.

When the articles on kitchen remodeling were posted to our web site, I began to think about the condition of my own kitchen. Since I moved in a few years ago, the wear of decades old cabinets had been starting to show.

BEFORE the restoration of the kitchen, the cabinets were worn, the cubboards were warped and varnishing was peeling. The laminate countertop was chipped, scratched and well worn after 30 years use. The title was also worn and outdated.

AFTER the remodeling of the kitchen, the cabinets were refaced and repaired with a new coating. The kitchen counter was replaced with a new laminate. The title was replaced in both the kitchen and bathroom remodel job.

Kitchen Cabinets- to Replace or Reface?

There were several options. Each has it's own benefits and drawbacks.

  • Kitchen cabinet refacing: the most popular way to update tired, worn cabinets without disrupting the use of your kitchen for more than a few days. This process involves replacing the doors with new (or veneer or other material) doors usually made from oak, birch, maple or hickory. The choice of wood and stain is overwhelming. Oak is the least expensive. Cherry wood is the most expensive. I wanted cherry, then briefly chose hickory. But oak was most afordable (I have more projects on hand).
  • The main advantage of refacing kitchen cabinets is that the job can be done quicker than tearing out existing cabinets. Besides new doors, new hinges (check for the new flip out hinges that make the doors removable for easy washing!) and moulding is added. The bottom toe kick and railing is usually replaced.
  • Companies that provide kitchen cabinet refacing services can help in selecting a new countertop, new sink and faucets which usually get replaced at the same time. They can also get a plumber to reconnect the water lines.
  • If you were thinking of a new garbage disposal, this is the best time. A plumber is needed to reconnect the faucets once the sink and counter are set. Save a trip fee to have both the sink and disposal connected at the same time (if you are replacing your dishwasher- a plumber is needed to connect that also!).
  • Kitchen cabinet resurfacing: one option that may be more time consuming, but worth it for expensive cabinets that you would rather restore than cover up is cabinet resurfacing.
  • Kitchen cabinet replacements: the more expensive option is to rip out all of the existing cabinets and replace them with new, more updated selections. But that is a major, disruptive project.
  • Besides the usualy 3-4 week wait for the new cabinets, it takes 3-4 days to tear out the old cabinets and replacement them. Sometimes, delays can last longer. Also, there is often a 3-4 weeks delay from the time the cabinet are installed until the counter top is ready (the counters are measured only after the cabinets are installed. Then, they must be cut and delivered. That can take up to 4 weeks, according to some estimates given).
  • The big boxes didn't provde all the services needed at one time without additional costs. While one has cabinets off the shelf, they only install their more expensive, made to order, cabinets.
  • Kitchen counter tops: when refacing or replacing the cabinets, this is also the best time to replace the counter top. If it is scratched, burned, or worn, it can make a difference with a new counter. Today's laminate patterns can mimick marbling that make my old beige counter look so "20th Century" style.

After several trips and hours at the big box hardware stores, and meeting with representatives from kitchen cabinet refacing campanies, like Sears Home Improvement, I got a better idea of what I wanted the kitchen to look like.

Studying kitchen cabinet and counter designs and kitchen remodeling ideas really helped.

Kitchen Remodeling
Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

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