DIY vs. Professional Cabinet Refacing: What’s Best for Your Kitchen?

female crafter does diy cabinet refacing in her own kitchen

Are you trying to decide between DIY vs. professional cabinet refacing? Refacing your cabinets can refresh your kitchen and improve its functionality, and for many homeowners, the decision hinges on cost versus time. After all, hiring a professional costs more money, but doing it yourself takes more time. 

The truth is that DIY cabinet refacing pros and cons have more to consider than time and money, like quality, durability, and longevity. Let’s examine the differences between DIY vs. professional cabinet refacing and why American Wood Reface is the best team for the job!

Exploring Professional Cabinet Refacing

Before attempting cabinet refacing as a DIY project, consider the process. 

Professional and student in a workshop for cabinet refacing

First, you must choose suitable materials for your project and ensure you have the appropriate tools. The most basic cabinet refacing projects require a hammer, screwdriver, drill and bits, finishing nails, wood glue, a heavy-duty file, a laminate cutter, an edge trimmer, and a miter saw. Professionals already have all of these tools and more.

When you choose a professional for your cabinet refacing, you consult with a sales team to determine your needs and budget. These individuals help you assess your kitchen, storage needs, pain points, and style preferences. Then, they’ll explain their products and the process.

Installation usually involves removing the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware, and then installing new materials. Quality and offerings can vary from company to company. Some use lesser-quality veneers or non-wood products. The best use high-quality solid wood. Projects can be completed in as little as one week or less. 

At American Wood Reface, we use only the highest quality 1/4″ solid wood to reface the visible parts of the cabinet boxes, and hand-selected solid wood doors and drawer fronts. Our process usually takes three to five days, or up to a week if add-ons like a tile backsplash or undercabinet lighting are chosen. We have many finishes, door styles, and types of solid wood to choose from. We even offer custom designs and finishes to get exactly the look you want. Our expert consultants will help you choose your options and offer insights into solutions for your kitchen. Once we reface your cabinets, you can expect to enjoy your newly refaced kitchen for years to come.

By contrast, your DIY project may turn out differently than you desired. Imagine accidentally ordering the doors and drawer fronts in the wrong size, installing the cabinet box facings crookedly, or cutting the pieces too short. Aside from that, you have to determine overlay, bore type, and the proper hardware. You could go through much more material than you expected. Ordering the wrong materials could escalate to an expensive project because most improperly ordered materials are non-returnable. 

Professional cabinet refacers have training and experience in refacing. If you opt for solid wood refacing, you can expect your professionally installed cabinet facings, doors, and drawers to last as long as a complete set of new cabinets. Remember that the job’s longevity depends on the quality of materials, not just installation.

Comparing Costs

When deciding between DIY vs. professional cabinet refacing, some homeowners choose DIY because it costs less without knowing the hidden drawbacks.

DIY Cabinet Refacing Costs

DIY projects may seem less expensive than hiring a professional because there’s no labor charge. Nonetheless, homeowners must acquire the necessary tools and materials and dedicate their free time to completing the project.

couple shopping for materials for diy cabinet refacing
  • Materials – What is the likelihood that you’ll mis-order and end up wasting thousands of dollars on unreturnable doors? Low-quality materials, like laminate, can cost as little as $1,000. High-quality wood doors, new drawer boxes, and wood facings can cost as much as $10,000. Refacing with a professional will give you peace of mind, knowing your project is in expert hands. 
  • Tools – If you don’t have any tools, purchase them at your local hardware or home improvement store. At a bare minimum, you’ll need to buy glue, finishing nails, a circular saw, trimmers, and cutters for the material you plan to use. This can add hundreds of dollars to your costs.
  • Time – While you won’t be paying anyone for their labor, it’s essential to understand what your time is worth. Do you have a long weekend, a week, two, or longer to reface your kitchen cabinets? 

Professional Cabinet Refacing Costs

While professional refacing may initially appear more costly than a DIY project due to expenses related to labor and the expertise of installers, carpenters, and kitchen design specialists, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Professional in Cabinet Refacing working on a project with high quality wood
  • Materials – High-quality wood, new drawer fronts, doors, and hardware typically cost between $5,000 and $15,000. Solid wood typically costs between $200 and $500 per linear foot.
  • Labor – when you hire a professional, you can expect about 60 percent of the total cost to be the labor costs. These costs include consultations, measuring your cabinets, doors and drawer fronts, refinishing your cabinet boxes, installing everything, and cleaning up the mess to have a pristine kitchen ready for your next culinary creations.
  • Expertise – Included in the cost of the labor and materials, especially if you order custom doors and drawer fronts, is the crew’s expertise. This is the knowledge that everyone on the team has acquired over the years through many consultations, installations, and training courses. Hiring a company to reface your kitchen cabinets can also give you additional assurances if they offer a warranty on labor and materials. American Wood Reface offers its customers a lifetime guarantee for as long as they own their home. If anything comes apart down the road, we will come back and fix it. 

Assessing Aesthetic and Functional Changes

When you think of cabinet refacing, you probably think of just changing the appearance of your current cabinets. Cabinet refacing can include a lot more. For example, did you know that American Wood Reface can change bottom cabinets to drawer banks or add a lazy susan for increased storage and accessibility? We can install pull-out waste and recycle bins, or a wine rack. We can swap out kitchen countertops, extend cabinets to the ceiling, and add under-cabinet lighting, as well. 

Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Let’s say that you want to change the size or location of an appliance. Ordinarily, you might need a complete kitchen remodel with all new cabinetry to make those changes. However, the refacing teams at American Wood Reface are also expert carpenters who can modify and reconfigure spaces, add a wall oven, make room for a microwave over the stove, create space for a larger refrigerator – even enclose it like a built-in. 

A kitchen rehabilitation project that includes new countertops, extending existing cabinets, and cutting new spaces for appliances while reconstructing the old spaces may be too much for a DIYer unless you have significant carpentry skills and experience in kitchen remodels. Not to mention, it would dramatically increase the time it takes to complete the project. The good news is that our team at American Wood Reface can meet all of these extras promptly.

Durability and Longevity

craftswoman assessing durability of wood for cabinet refacing

Whether you reface your cabinets or have them refaced by a professional company, you want the results to last, and you don’t want to start seeing flaws or mistakes after only a few months. When you DIY kitchen cabinet refacing, you risk reducing longevity and durability by using lesser-quality materials or making installation mistakes. If you manage to pull off the task initially, you can be proud of your completed job, but may find yourself making repairs or having to reface your cabinets again in only a few years?

By contrast, when you hire a professional cabinet refacing company that uses high-quality materials like we do at American Wood Reface, you can expect to enjoy lasting good results. When cabinet refacing is completed correctly, with superior materials, the finished kitchen can last decades. When the installer uses premium solid wood, you should expect those results to last nearly as long as installing good-quality new kitchen cabinets. Plus, with a comprehensive warranty, your results may be enjoyed almost indefinitely.

Skill and Expertise

How would you rate your carpentry skills? Refacing cabinets involves precisely measuring your doors, drawers, and the visible parts of your cabinet boxes. This is so that you can purchase the correct doors, drawer fronts, and enough facing material to cover the visible parts of your existing kitchen cabinets. Proper ordering of replacement doors, drawer fronts, and specifications is crucial, as most orders are non-returnable. Once you have that material, you’ll have to cut the laminate or wood to the correct sizes and install it using high-quality glue and finishing nails. While this may sound simple, it can be tricky for someone who isn’t experienced.

Hiring experienced cabinet refacing professionals means that you’ll get precision cuts and a professional installation. You won’t have to worry about gaps or miscuts, and you won’t have to worry about a poor-quality installation leading to gaps, cracks, peeling, or poor function. This is because American Wood Reface cabinet refacing experts have the experience, knowledge, and tools to complete your refacing project correctly and promptly.

Project Timelines

professional carpenter working alone with wooden cabinets

How much time do you have to dedicate to your cabinet refacing project? While you may think you can complete the project during a long weekend or perhaps during your two-week vacation, it often takes DIYers several weeks or months to complete a kitchen cabinet refacing project.

By contrast, professional cabinet refacing companies and their experienced employees can complete a job in as little as three to five days. Most projects only need one week from the start of the installation to the completion of the project. This is because the professionals have the experience and equipment to get the job done promptly, and it also means that you get to enjoy your newly refurbished kitchen cabinets sooner.

Quality of Materials

There are several types of materials available for cabinet refacing, including:

cabinet refacing with high quality materials. Professional installing cabinet handles
  • PVC Vinyl – Inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install. However, it is prone to scratches, and it isn’t fire-resistant.
  • Medium Density Fiberboard – This is an engineered wood product. It is also an affordable product and readily available to DIYers. Unfortunately, it is prone to chipping and moisture infiltration.
  • 3D Laminate – This product is easy to install and affordable. It’s comprised of an MDF base and a vinyl overlay. It is easy to clean and install but can start peeling over time.
  • Wood Veneer – This product is typically used instead of solid wood due to its lower cost. This consists of thin pieces of wood that are adhered to particle board. This product can be challenging to install for DIYers due to the need to cut it.
  • Solid Wood – American Wood Reface specializes in ¼ inch solid wood refacing – including the highest-grade facing wood as well as new doors and drawer fronts constructed from premium, hand-selected solid wood using fine joinery methods – representing the highest quality cabinet refacing available today. Solid wood offers unmatched durability, timeless beauty, natural charm, customizable designs, and superior quality for stunning and long-lasting cabinet refacing. This material can be expensive and hard to install as a DIY project, so most homeowners hire professionals when they want to reface their cabinets with solid wood.

Considering Personalization and Design Choices

As a DIYer, you may need more than how you can personalize your cabinets. You’ll be limited to the materials and designs available in your local hardware store or online. You may also be limited in your ability to customize certain products.

Consult with professionals to make your kitchen cabinet refacing dreams a reality. At American Wood Reface, we can create solid-color cabinets as well as wood-grain cabinets with our refacing products. We offer many colors, from white to blue, gray, and black. You can choose from birch, cherry, hickory, maple, white oak, red oak, and walnut in various finishes for our wood grains. 

In addition to dozens of standard style options, we also offer custom cabinet doors and drawers if you want something special and unique. Our wide variety of choices ensures you’ll receive a high-quality kitchen cabinet reface that’s aesthetically pleasing and personalized to your tastes.

You may be tempted to go with the DIY project when choosing between DIY vs. professional cabinet refacing because of its lower cost. However, cost shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision. If you’re looking for a plethora of design choices, a look that’s uniquely you, and a high-quality install that will last for decades, professional cabinet refacing with American Wood Reface is the right choice.

To learn more about how we can help you transform your kitchen cabinets with ¼ solid wood and to schedule a free in-home or virtual consultation, don’t hesitate to contact us today!