Cabinets may be where a third of remodeling budgets usually go, but they are not a place to cut costs. They are hard-working and crucial to the functions of your kitchen. Cheap cabinets should be avoided and while quality and workmanship are worth paying for, the cost of a complete cabinet replacement can be incredibly expensive.
We interact with our cabinets visually as well as physically, so they need to be nice to look at as well as effective and most importantly, without sacrificing quality. We can separate those needs into interior cabinet remodeling and exterior cabinet refacing.
Interior– Cabinet interiors have fewer options because they have to be functional, not just pretty. You need your shelves to be straight, not sagging, your hinges to be strong and firmly attached. While external hardware like knobs and pulls can be exchanged as trends change, it’s best to invest in sturdy, quality hardware for hinges and drawer slides. Those determine the function of your kitchen and are much more difficult to replace down the road.
The most important part of your cabinets is the ‘cabinet box’. The box is the skeleton of the cabinet; it is unseen, but it holds everything else up. It needs to be in good repair. A fresh surface not only beautifies the structure, but it also protects it as well.
Drawers are more convenient than shelves, whether the shelves are open or have doors. Drawers are the handiest way to access and hide your stored materials. When looking at wooden drawers, look for dovetail joints. A good dovetail joint should be smooth, without any gaps.
There are more than drawers and shelves in today’s kitchen cabinets. ‘Optimizer’ covers a range of storage devices that make the most out of your space. Consider your needs. Your shelves might be sturdy but your drawers might rattle and stick. You might have an awkward layout that you can’t afford to change, but careful alignment and optimizers could give you all the ease and function you want without moving any walls.
Exterior– There are a host of options for transforming the look of cabinets. You can change the finish, replace the surface, replace the doors, or replace the whole thing. Craftsmanship is an investment in lasting beauty and utility, so no matter what method you go with, consult an expert.
Refinishing is best done by a pro, and the costs can be comparable to getting new doors. If you’re attached to your doors, DIY is possible, but not long-lasting and is a lot of work for a limited payoff.
Refacing kitchen cabinets is a very affordable option and can look quite upscale. It covers the exterior of your cabinet boxes while switching the doors out for new ones.
Renewing your cabinets is a step up; a sort of “refacing plus”. It can include repair and refacing for the interior of cabinets, as well as touches of custom cabinetry and storage customization. This combination can bring a hardworking, fresh look with a few small changes.
Replacing cabinets is costly, but sometimes necessary. You should replace any cabinets that are too damaged to repair and reface. Changing the footprint, like in a major kitchen remodel, can create areas that don’t have old cabinetry to renew or reface. New cabinetry can be stock, or custom (built to fit your space and needs).