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Kate disliked the cabinets in her kitchen from the moment she moved into her Dallas home. “They were oak faced and worn,” Kate says, “but my husband’s motto was ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.'” After many years of say how she hated the cabinets, Kate decided it was time to act. “I couldn’t stand it anymore,” she says. But rather than spend the $25,000 or $30,000 redoing the kitchen with new cabinets which would have cost her, she settled on a simpler, cheaper and far less intrusive solution. She decided to have her cabinets refinished.
Motivated by a social media ad for Paint Ovations kitchen-cabinet-refinishing service, she scheduled an appointment and signed up. After two visits to take make sure of color selections and show her the new finish and hardware options she could choose from. Ron and his team of professional painters moved in. Three days and 29 cabinets later, Kate’s kitchen was transformed. “I’m 100 percent satisfied,” she says.
Total cost: $4,100.
Kate is fairly typical of thousands of U.S. homeowners who make the decision each year to refinish rather than replace their cabinets. “The truth is,” says Gerry Baldner, founder and president of Kitchen Solvers, a kitchen franchising firm in La Crosse, Wisconsin, “some of the cabinets built 20 and 30 years ago are more solidly constructed than most modular, prebuilt cabinets today. So, when it’s time to redo the kitchen, it often doesn’t make sense to start from scratch.”
The basic refinishing project consists of removing cabinet door and drawer fronts. Then sanding, priming and painting the frames and sometimes the inside of the cabinet boxes. Most jobs take two to four days, depending on kitchen size and extras like hardware. The work itself is a standardized progression of tasks, generally handled by one or two painters.
The cost to refinish cabinets depends on the materials and amount of cabinets or surface area. It is very important to prepare and use the right materials for the job. Putting latex paint over a wood finished cabinet is a big NO-NO.
With whites, greys and even olive colored cabinets being the new trending colors, it really doesn’t make much sense to replace your cabinets. A simple starter set of cabinets for a 10 x 10 kitchen at Home Depot starts around $3,000. That doesn’t include removing the old cabinets and installing the new ones, which would cost an addition $5,000 or more in labor.
If you are wanting to change the look of your kitchen, and the cabinets are in good shape, refinishing them in the color you want is the way to go. Not only in cost savings, but also in time and headaches.
New knobs, hinges and drawer slides are an additional cost, but now is the time to do it. With the drawers pulled for finishing, the drawer slides are easily replaced. And since the hinges and knobs have to be removed, now is the time to replace them as well.
You may want a two-post handle where a single post knob was. If that is the case, the hole will be filled, sanded flush and finished along with the remaining cabinet parts. It is important to think of the handles and knobs before the finishing process. As any changes after they are finished would be an extra charge, as the entire finish process would have to be redone, for one hole or two to be filled.
The cost to refinish cabinets depends on the size of your kitchen, the materials you choose, and how many options you elect to include. “Our typical refinishing job runs $2,000 to $4,000,” says Ron with Paint Ovations.
The bottom line is that it comes down to personal taste. You can take the same kitchen and do the plain-Jane refinishing for $2,500 or, for $6,000 or $8,000, doing countertops, a new sink and some bells and whistles. You can expect to invest about $2,000-4,000 in the refinishing part of the remodel.
Caution to customers who have been told at home centers and other retailers that they can have new cabinets installed for about the same price to a little more, calculate carefully. There are a lot of costs added on that most people don’t think about when considering kitchen remodeling.
If you get a quote on new cabinets, or a cabinet refacing make sure it includes handles, molding, installation, sales tax, delivery charges, refinishing your walls if the new cabinets don’t line up with the old, any required plumbing or electrical work.
Plus, there’s the prolonged disruption and mess that come with a full-scale remodeling job. Refinishing your cabinets is a convenience as much as it is a cost savings.
Refacing companies are listed in the yellow pages or online, most often under “Kitchen Cabinets Refinishing/Refacing”. But be aware; the quality of work varies widely, and bad refacing work looks bad.
If your kitchen cabinets were painted before 1978, the paint most likely has lead in it, and refinishing contractors are required to take special precautions when working. They’re also required by federal law to provide homeowners with the “Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home” brochure.
The key is to keep surfaces moist to keep the dust down, seal the kitchen with plastic and have workers wear respirators. Also cleaning up with HEPA vacuums, which don’t exhaust lead dust. The doors and drawers are normally taken offsite to be finished, so there is no chance of lead dust.
Ron will come out, take a look at your cabinets to see if they can be refinished. He will listen to your wants and needs out of the project, plus your schedule. From there the next choice is colors and hardware choices.
Once these are picked out, a day to start is agreed upon and the work begins. Many times, you can still use the kitchen during the refinishing process, unlike a full remodel. The entire process from estimate to finish could be as fast as 7 days or a few weeks based on both parties, schedules.
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