How Much Does It Cost to Reface Kitchen Cabinets?

by Team HomeServe
white kitchen cabinets

Are you considering giving your kitchen a new look? Among the various remodeling projects you can take on, refacing your kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to renovate your kitchen and give it a refreshed look — all without digging too deeply into your pockets.

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You may be wondering what exactly refacing entails, the costs involved and whether it's worth it. Read on to learn all about cabinet refacing, including how much you should expect to spend.

What Is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is the process of replacing cabinet skin panels to give your kitchen a dramatic new look. Your cabinets may be scratched or cracked, or you may simply desire a change — much like replacing a perfectly good smartphone with the latest model.

Refacing involves removing the drawer fronts and cabinet doors and applying a new veneer on the cabinets' carcass (body surfaces). The cabinet hardware comprising the cabinet hinges, handles and drawer pulls also get replaced.

Refacing requires a day or two and involves:

  • Removing the existing cabinet doors, drawers and fronts, leaving the drawer boxes
  • Covering the cabinet boxes' front portions with natural wood veneer or rigid thermofoil
  • Skinning the cabinet sides with wood veneer or laminate
  • Adding new door hinges or reusing existing hinges in good condition
  • Installing new doors and drawer fronts
  • Installing new handles, drawer pulls and other fixtures or using the existing ones if they're in good shape
  • Installing accessories such as glass panels, crown molding and lighting, if desired

Cost of Cabinet Refacing

According to HomeGuide, typically, most homeowners spend between about $4,200 and $8,100 (CAD 5,400 and CAD 10,500) on refacing cabinets. Kitchen cabinet refacing costs are determined by a number of factors.


Wood veneers cost $2,500 to $6,500 (CAD 3,200 to CAD 8,400), and you can choose from woods such as oak, birch or walnut. However, veneers tend to be more robust and more durable. They cost 15% to 25% more than laminates.

Plastic laminate costs $1,000 to $4,000 (CAD 1,300 to CAD 5,200), while rigid thermofoil costs between $1,800 and $3,500 (CAD 2,300 and CAD 4,500).

Solid wood costs $5,500 (CAD 7,100) or more, significantly higher because homeowners trust it more — plus, when it wears out, it can easily be refinished or repaired.

Hardware Replacement

Cabinet handles start from around $5 (CAD 6.50) each. Prices vary, though, depending on the design and materials used.

Is It Worth It to Reface Kitchen Cabinets?

Remodeling your kitchen can be expensive, but refacing kitchen cabinets — rather than installing new ones — can save you money. The kitchen cabinets are a significant part of your kitchen's look, and replacing them can take up half of the entire remodeling budget.

Replacing kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts with solid wood doors can make a big difference. You can also cover the exposed cabinet face frames with matching wood or plastic veneer and then paint the cabinets. This will completely transform your kitchen's look at a significantly smaller budget.

Refacing takes only two to four days, and though no walls come down and no windows are added, the bright new surfaces can significantly change your kitchen's appearance.

You can even reconfigure the cabinet boxes to accommodate modern features such as wider and deeper drawers, a garbage drawer, and soft-close hardware on cabinet doors and drawers.

Should you ever choose to sell your house, kitchen cabinet refacing can be a great selling point. It uplifts your kitchen and makes your house look more appealing to buyers — both of which may justify an increase in the selling price. The cost to reface kitchen cabinets could prove to be a valuable investment in your home.

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Pros and Cons of Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinet refacing has advantages and limitations, and it's best to consider these first before beginning your project.


  • Retains a kitchen's layout. If your kitchen layout meets your needs and you'd like to keep it, refacing is an ideal option.
  • Gives you styling options. Refacing provides varied veneer options for both natural woods and laminates.
  • It’s cost-effective. Refacing provides a new look for almost half the cost of new custom cabinets.
  • It’s a green option. Refacing offers a more environmentally friendly option because it eliminates the disposal of cabinet boxes. Most cabinet boxes are made of medium-density fiberboard, which contains formaldehyde, a hazardous chemical. So retaining these cabinet boxes by opting for cabinet refacing is the more eco-conscious way to go. Retaining the same cabinets also has the save-a-tree value of eliminating the need to construct new cabinet boxes.


  • It’s not cheap. Although cabinet refacing is generally less expensive than springing for entirely new cabinetry, the costs associated with cabinet refacing can add up, especially if you're replacing hinges and hardware. This may make it so that the cost of refacing becomes comparable to a complete cabinet renovation.
  • You’ll need professional help. While possible, a do-it-yourself option can be challenging because, although installing replacement cabinet doors and fronts is relatively easy, veneering is an acquired skill that may be best left to a professional.
  • No layout upgrades. If your current cabinets don't have enough storage space, refacing may not be a good option, as cabinet-box interior dimensions, countertop space and layout go unchanged during a refacing project.

Cabinet Refinishing

If done by a professional contractor, refinishing cabinets costs approximately 40% less than refacing, while refacing costs between 30% to 40% less than the cost of installing quality off-the-shelf cabinets.

Cost of Refinishing Cabinets

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is way cheaper than refacing. It can cost $3 to $10 (CAD 4 to CAD 13) per square foot, including labor and materials such as stain, varnish, lacquer and paint. Glaze is required for a vintage look, which costs $10 to $25 (CAD 13 to CAD 32) per square foot, and labor costs range between $40 and $60 per hour (CAD 50 to CAD 80).

Pricing can vary depending on the number of cabinets, material type and design complexity. It's important to note that the best refinishing method is determined by the construction and materials quality.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.