A high-end reface is better than a low-end replacement

Last modified

March 11, 2021

Very little of what we consume in this country these days it’s actually produced here. Many stock cabinets are not made in this country anymore and a lot of the quality on the lower-end market has rapidly gone down hill. And since there is very little branding it’s difficult to know who the cabinet manufacturer actually is. With cheap replacement cabinets it’s almost impossible to determine the quality of the materials used, the finishes, the quality of the hinges or drawer-guides.

All cabinet doors and drawer-fronts and veneers that are used for cabinet refacing are produced in highly efficient and automated facilities in the United States. Some reface companies make their own doors and drawer-fronts, and other reface companies order their drawer and drawer-fronts from American companies that only make custom sized door and drawer-fronts for other cabinet and reface companies.

Cabinet refinishing

Almost all kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be refinished almost no matter how bad they look. Refinishing means restoring the  look of the cabinets to very near their original, “new” condition. The cabinet doors and drawer fronts must be a stained or unstained natural wood that has a clear-coat such as varnish or lacquer.

Refinishing painted cabinets

Unfortunately it is less expensive to replace painted doors and drawer-fronts than it is to strip the paint off of cabinets, cabinet doors, and drawer-fronts.

Who should refinish your cabinetry?

A quality refinishing project can be done by an expert journeyman painter, but it’s actually best to have a Journeyman master cabinet maker who is experienced in the specifics of cabinet finishing and refinishing. Also a cabinet maker has added value to the customer because they can replace old style hinges that look unsightly and no longer function that well with concealed self-closing hinges with soft-close mechanisms which increase the aesthetic as well as the functionality of your cabinets. An experienced cabinet maker can also easily perform minor repairs, identify and reinforce any cabinets that may be starting to come apart. Also any broken drawer-boxes and or drawer-guides can easily be dealt with by a cabinet maker. Another reason why it’s best to higher a cabinet maker is that most of the refinishing will happen in a dust proof enclosure at the cabinet maker’s shop, reducing dust and chemical orders and fumes in your home. You can still use your kitchen during the entirety of having your cabinets refinished and you don’t have to remove anything from you kitchen cabinets.

Cabinet refinishing is one of the most cost effective ways to get  old dingy looking cabinets to look fresh, bright  and new again. Usually the new finish is far superior  to the old finish due to higher quality finishing products that a professional custom cabinet maker uses. The vast majority of cabinets out there are mass-produced and the one thing most of those companies tend to skimp on is the finish.

Cabinet painting or cabinet enameling

All existing residential kitchen and bathroom cabinetry can be painted or enameled. Paint is water based and high quality paints can wear almost as well as enamels. Enamels on the other hand, are like 2 part epoxy finishes and are more durable than paint. There are plenty of great painting companies that paint cabinets, but many of them won’t know about epoxy like enamels. And where as a painting company will spray the cabinets in the home or paint the doors and drawer-fronts in the homeowner’s garage or carport or back yard, a good cabinet company will take the doors and drawer-fronts to a temperature controlled dust free environment. This also cuts down on paint fumes in the home, and there’s less likely to be an accident such as spilled enamel or overspray.

A lot of times people want to paint their cabinets but not see the wood grain through the paint. Most woods, especially oak, the grain of the wood will transfer through whatever paint or enamel is used. Maple, birch and select cherry are among some of the wood species that have a tight enough wood grain that there will be  little or no grain transfer through the paint or  enamel.

Also, it can look very attractive in some cases to have the upper cabinets be one color, and the base cabinets another. Or have all the cabinets the same except for the island.

Hiring a licensed bonded and insured cabinet maker who also has excellent design skills can be very helpful in choosing colors and color coordinations for your cabinet project as well as achieving a very professional outcome.