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Should I Replace or Refinish My Kitchen Cabinets?

Your cabinets make up the bulk of your kitchen. That’s why they are a critical element of the kitchen design process. Whether you’re updating an older home or refreshing a fairly new build, you may wonder, “Should I replace or refinish my kitchen cabinets?” To answer that question, it’s important to evaluate all elements of the project. Read on to determine if you should keep or swap your cabinets.

Do Your Existing Cabinets Meet Your Functional Needs?

The function of your kitchen needs to be the top priority in any kitchen design. This is a space you spend a great deal of time in. You need it to fulfill all your basic needs. Do your current cabinets align with those needs, or do they need to be reconfigured to serve a better functional purpose? For example, you may want more drawers on your lower cabinets because you prefer drawer storage over cabinet storage. You may need cabinets with adjustable shelves because the existing shelves are not at the right heights.

If you’re aiming to improve the function of your kitchen, chances are you need to replace the cabinets. If the current cabinets do everything you need them to do, then refinishing might be an option.

Are Your Cabinets in Good Enough Condition to Refinish?

Some cabinets just aren’t worth refinishing. Low-quality cabinets that are made from compressed wood typically have too much water damage to salvage. If you have solid wood cabinets that have been well cared for, you can absolutely explore the option of refinishing. If the bones of the cabinets are in bad shape though, you’re not going to be happy with the finished results – and you’ll have wasted time and money along the way.

Are You Happy with the Style of Your Kitchen Cabinets?

When you replace your kitchen cabinets, you can choose any style you want for your home. If you are refinishing cabinets, you’re limited to whatever they look like currently. Sure, you can change the color or swap out the doors, but the cabinets are still going to have a certain look to them. If that look doesn’t align with the style of your home, it’s probably time for an upgrade.

What Are the Price Differences between New Cabinets and Refinished Cabinets?

Cabinet refinishing seems like a cheaper option at first glance, but that’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes it costs just as much money to refinish the cabinets as it does to get all new cabinets. If you could spend the same amount of money to get a kitchen tailored to your needs, why wouldn’t you? That would be a much better investment than trying to make your existing cabinets look and feel new. Before you make your selection, compare the cost of both options.

Note: Cabinet refinishing is not a DIY project. It’s not the same as painting the wall or refreshing the trim around your home. You must take special preparation steps to ensure the paint or stain adheres well to the cabinet and stays on after continued wear and tear. The cabinets must be sealed to protect against moisture and grease, and each coat needs to be applied with a smooth finish. Protect your investment by entrusting the pros.

Are You Upgrading Other Features That Will Impact the Cabinets?

Other elements of your kitchen remodel might impact your cabinets. That’s another factor to keep in mind before you choose to refinish or replace kitchen cabinets. Are you replacing the flooring, countertops, sink or backsplash? Are you changing the position of the appliances? If other aspects of the kitchen remodel are going to affect your cabinets, you might be better off replacing them.

Should You Get New Cabinets or a Whole New Kitchen?

At O’Hanlon Kitchens, we offer two kitchen remodeling programs for our clients. First, we have a direct replacement program where we install new cabinets and countertops within 10 days. Second, we offer complete kitchen renovations that transform every surface of the kitchen. This process takes a little longer, but you can design your dream kitchen that’s completely customized for your needs.

The choice to replace your cabinets or renovate your entire kitchen comes down to your budget, goals, and current challenges. Our kitchen designers would be happy to discuss your options and find the ideal solution for your home. To schedule an in-person consultation for kitchen remodeling in Maryland or Pennsylvania, contact O’Hanlon Kitchens at 443-285-0558.


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