Refinishing Cabinets or New Cabinets: How Do I Choose?

Refinishing Cabinets or New Cabinets: How Do I Choose?

When you walked into your kitchen this morning, did you think about refinishing your cabinets? Probably not. Maybe a better question is, did you walk into your kitchen and love the way it looks? If you answered no or even hesitated, keep reading!

It’s possible you noticed the wear and tear on your cabinets of daily use? Did you once again look at the obvious stain from the time when your kid performed a science experiment on the kitchen counter, and colorful creations went everywhere? What about the missing knob on the door to your shelf of cereal bowls?  Has your kitchen been the same since the original Top Gun was in theaters?

Then maybe it’s time for a change. They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and with all the time that is spent preparing and enjoying meals there, shouldn’t you enjoy the space to its fullest? Refinishing cabinets is a cost-effective way to revitalize your kitchen without the hassle of completely replacing them with new ones.

Since cabinets make up a pretty large portion of your kitchen aesthetic, updating your cabinets is a great opportunity to personalize and keep your kitchen looking great. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you jump into tearing up your kitchen.

Do I Need New Cabinets?

There are some situations where it is better to just start fresh and replace your cabinets with new ones. If your cabinets have irreparable damage or structural issues, refinishing them won’t fix the issue. Some people choose to alter the layout of their cabinets when updating their kitchen. In this case, new cabinets would also be a good bet. 

But there are plenty of circumstances in which refinishing cabinets can be just as good or even better than installing new ones. Even decades-old cabinets can be refinished to look like new and save you money. Who doesn’t like that?

There are many options when it comes to refinishing your cabinets, from resurfacing to color and texture choice to hardware to the type of material used in the process. In some cases, you can even have more choices when refinishing than with new cabinets. 

If your cabinets are still in decent shape and you want to keep the layout of your kitchen, refinishing is the best and most economical option to liven up your kitchen cabinets. 

How Long Do I Want to Spend on This Project?

Refinishing and installing new cabinets will both take time. However, the amount of time and interruption to your life can be very different between the two options. 

Take into consideration how often your kitchen is being used and the length of time you can handle your kitchen in makeover mode. Unlike Cinderella, there is no fairy godmother to swoop in and zhuzh it all up in a few minutes, so be prepared for the disruption to last longer than “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.”

Getting all new cabinets requires emptying almost your entire kitchen of pots, pans, tableware, and appliances that are stored in those spaces. It could create a construction area that is not functional as a kitchen for the entire duration of the project, which could take weeks. 

The process of refinishing cabinets is shorter (usually just a few days), and there are steps in the process that can be done away from your home to minimize the disruption. 

Choosing to refinish your cabinets can save you time, energy, and money in the long run. 

How Long Will Refinished Cabinets Last?

The durability and lifespan of your cabinets after being refinished depend on multiple factors. The process of refinishing cabinets requires multiple coats, and there are different materials that can be used for each coat. The most common materials used in the finishing stage of the process are lacquer and alkyd.

Lacquer is a type of hard coating or finish used on wood and metal surfaces. It is most commonly used for a shiny finish but can also be modified to create a matte finish when applied. Traditionally, lacquer has been considered the best material to use when finishing wood. It dries quickly and becomes very hard. Lacquer can improve durability and increase the lifespan of your cabinets.

There are some issues with lacquer, though. Unlike latex or oil-based paints, lacquer becomes brittle over time and can be prone to cracking. It is very difficult to touch up a lacquer-finished cabinet by hand and usually means the entire door or cabinet will need to be redone, even for a small area of cracking or damage. 

Alkyd is a newer material that can also be used to finish wood cabinets. Like lacquer, alkyd comes in a variety of finishes and leaves cabinets with a durable protective coating. The great thing about alkyd is that it is thicker and far less brittle than lacquer, making it less likely to need touch-ups. But if you do need to touch up an area of your cabinet that has been refinished with alkyd, it can be done quickly by hand. 

Just as lacquer has some issues, so does alkyd. It is more expensive and can be difficult to work with. Because they are so similar, many refinishers still prefer lacquer, but the difference can be seen over time. 

Can I Do It Myself?

In the immortal words of Bob Ross, “You can do anything you want to do—this is your world.” As inspiring as this can be, the reality is that many projects require a specific set of skills that are developed and honed over time. You might have done great painting a mug or even the accent wall in your office. And you might be able to paint your cabinets, but there is a lot more to refinishing than you might think. 

Whether you go with refinishing or getting new cabinets, it’s best to have professionals there to make sure it is done right.  

Refinishing cabinets is easy with Allen Brothers Cabinet Painting!

Allen Brothers Cabinet Painting is Utah’s premiere cabinet painting company and can have your cabinets looking brand new in only 3-4 days. We can handle any project in Draper, Utah, and the surrounding areas, including Sandy, South Jordan, West Jordan, and Salt Lake City. Our gallery is full of stunning before and after examples that showcase how great your kitchen can look with our help. 

Let’s get you started on refinishing cabinets in your home with a quote today!