What’s Best for Your Renovation?
This past weekend saw us at the Wisconsin Expo center talking to visitors about how they would like to improve their home. A lot of the conversations centered on cabinets and whether it’s better to refinish existing units or replace the whole kit and caboodle. For a full kitchen renovation, cabinets will likely be the single largest investment. It can be difficult for consumers to stomach the cost upfront without knowing all they gain from a full replacement. Good cabinets will last twenty to fifty years and you will use them daily, so there is something to ensuring quality and longevity. Cabinets set the tone for a kitchen, so it’s no wonder we were asked about everything from simply replacing the hardware to refacing to full removal and replacement. Here are your options.
What is Refinishing?
Refinishing cabinets is a budget and time friendly option, good when you’re looking for a quick update. A professional installer measures your cabinets to determine the amount of material needed. They note the correct sizes and quantities for hardware and fronts and order the necessary materials. When everything is in hand, your installer removes the old cabinet door and drawer fronts. They’ll prepare the surface of the cabinet boxes by washing the exteriors with a degreaser and lightly sanding the finish. Any significant flaws in the surface are repaired or filled. The installer applies veneer to the cabinet faces and any exposed cabinet ends, then mounts the new doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. The process typically takes two to four days. Unless otherwise noted, the insides of the cabinets will remain untouched and it is up to you to make any interior changes.
Refinishing your cabinets will change the look of your units. It won’t fix layout problems and it usually won’t get you more useable space. Refacing works well when the original cabinet base is strong and of good quality. Inspect your existing cabinets for water damage, wear, or faulty construction and know that if you’re starting with a worn base, refacing won’t solve inherent problems and the hassle won’t be worth the finished product. A lower price up front might only get you five years of good cabinets, whereas newly built units will get you decades of use.
What about a Full Replacement?
Replacing your cabinets is a bigger investment, both time and money, for a much bigger return. Cabinet replacement is usually done within the scope of a larger project and they become the backbone of your new design. When you’ve chosen to replace your cabinets, you can then choose between box cabinets or custom-built cabinets. Existing cabinets don’t have to be trashed either. They are often repurposed in a basement or garage workspace, or even in a secondary kitchen depending on condition. We will also gladly arrange for Habitat for Humanity to pick up the remnants of your demolition.
Box cabinets means they are pre-built and ordered from a warehouse. You’ll usually be able to pick from a menu of species, stains, and door options and you’ll have a decent selection for sixes and configurations. Your selections are manufactured and shipped to your worksite where they’ll be installed by our carpenters. The vast improvements in the choices offered by these manufacturers is making this choice a viable option for many, though the price difference between box and cabinets is usually such that the convenience and design options of custom outweighs the cost savings of box.
Custom cabinets are built usually within 30 miles of your job at a local cabinet shop. Design possibilities are endless and you will truly be able to utilize every square inch of your space with clever solutions. Whether you choose to design a completely new color palette or match your existing color, you’ll work with your designer to choose your species, the style of your door, and the paint or finish. Here is one of the most popular but often overlooked benefits of all new cabinets. Your designer will thoroughly discuss the use of your kitchen and all of the tools involved, then create specific solutions to maximize how your kitchen storage functions.
Once you’ve made your choice, the shop will make a representative sample. These come in handy while making other selections as they are an exact sample of the final product. The cabinet shop will create elevations and you and your designer will go over them at length, comparing them to the renderings and your own wishes. When you have given your final approval, construction begins. Your existing cabinets will be removed with
the bulk of the demolition. In your home, electrical and plumbing is being moved, wall might be coming down and going up, and any ductwork is happening. At the cabinet shop, they are cutting, sanding, and prepping your pieces.
Painting is done at the shop and the painting and glazing options available for custom cabinets are endless. Go neutral with the same color throughout or try a bit of contrast with the hood or island. A pop of color or a richly stained wood feature have been popular choices for people looking to get creative. You can go beyond just a cabinet with a custom built hutch, a built in banquette or bar area, or a custom drop zone.
Why are they worth it? Getting new cabinets are kind of like getting new eyeglasses. If you’ve ever gone a few years before replacing your pair, you’ll know what I mean. You don’t really know what you’re missing until you look through glass created exactly for your needs, with no scratches or marks. Visit a home with new cabinets and open a few drawers. You’ll see what I mean.