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JPM 03-15-2009 09:00 PM

kitchen cabinet options
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We'd like to update our kitchen and are thinking of putting in new countertops (suggestions welcom). Everyone has said to also do the cabinets at the same time. Ours are old and seem to only need some TLC.

See the attached photos. ONE is the kitchen, TWO is a close-up of a door where the varnish/stain has worn down to the wood. What are the options here is we want to keep everything. Is this something that either I or a contractor could touch-up? THREE is a built in refrig. It needs replacing as we got about 17 years on it now. How well can someone build new fronts and side to match the wood and stain we currently have? FOUR shows the trim that is around the kitchen in some spots. It is also "worn" and need to either get touched up or replaced. Which one makes better sense?

I would prefer to work with what I have rather than go new cabinets or refaced.



Bob Mariani 03-16-2009 06:20 AM

My advise is to refinish. New doors or drawer fronts can be made to match by any cabinet maker in town or several online suppliers. Total cost to refurbish a kitchen is about 1/3 the cost for replacements.

JPM 03-16-2009 11:35 AM


just to be recommend refinish first then reface. Refinish would require ?what? ... I assume some sort of strip and sand and restain? This seems a project better left to a pro or is it something a decent handyman could tackle. Do the cabinet guys get into refinishing or are they only about handling new doors, trim, and facings?

Bob Mariani 03-16-2009 12:42 PM

refacing and refinishing are two different options. Refacing is about 1/2 the cost of new cabinets. And slightly harder for a DIY to do. But not impossible. Depends on your skills and available tools and time. Refacing involves veneering the faceframes and buying new doors and drawer front and usually new hardware which may also mean new hinges if you need them. Many sites online have all the tools and materials for a DIY refacing including the doors. BUT.... you still need to match the finish on the faceframe veneer with the doors, so this means you need to also do the finishing work. This is why it cost much more. Doors are about 60-100 each. Frames cost about another 300 in materials, if that! Refinishing option is fine if no major damage needs to be addressed and the doors and cabinets are still in good shape. Most of the time for this option is in the work to strip the cabinets and doors.

JPM 03-16-2009 01:15 PM

I believe that in my case a refinish is best. That is an area I have not much experience in ... just some pieces of furniture that I have redone out in the garage....always a mess. Do you have any thoughts on how best to move through the refinish work? What would be a preferred method? Using the strippers to get down to the wood ... then do I need to re-sand everything before re-staining?

Is this something that either a cabinet guy or a painter would do with a crew to get it done a bit quicker?

Your help has been great ... thanks.

Bob Mariani 03-16-2009 03:02 PM

A crew would be quicker if you look at elapsed time. The best way to have cabinets finished is with a sprayer and nitrocellulose lacquer. this is not a DIY project. Although a DIY can produce a nice looking job with a quality enamel paint or polyurethanes. Stripping is done with stripping agents and then a wash to eliminate any chemicals. Then sanding. Sanding is also done after sealer and between each coats. All the doors and drawers are removed to allow this work to be done in a controlled environment. Be sure to mark them so that the same ones go back where they were removed from. Stripping will take 3-5 days. finishing is done in one day.

vsheetz 03-17-2009 12:33 AM

Looks to me like the most bang for the buck and a good result would be:
  1. Professional repaint
  2. New countertops (check around for pre-fab granite places)
  3. New sink and fauset set
  4. New Appliances

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