Your Guide to Refacing Ikea Kitchen Cabinets

24 July 2019
kitchen cabinet doors refacing

Ikea kitchen cabinets can create a sleek, new look for your home, but they are not the most cost effective option. So, when you’ve gone to the trouble of planning a new Ikea kitchen, it can be very disheartening when it starts to look dated and in need of an update. Fortunately, you don’t need to head back to Ikea, as you can reface your kitchen to create a fresh new look for your Ikea cabinet doors.

The Goal

The primary goal of remodelling a kitchen is to change the look of the cabinetry. However, if your cabinets are in good shape, it is a real waste to have them demolished and replaced, just because the Ikea doors are no longer appealing. This is like getting rid of your car because the colour has fallen out of favour. When you reface your kitchen, you can dramatically change your kitchen aesthetics at a fraction of the cost of a full replacement. 

How the Process Works

Refacing is essentially replacing the “skins” of the cabinets. The doors and drawer fronts are replaced, and a new veneer can be applied to the existing surface of the cabinets or carcasses. Typically, the hardware including the handles, drawer pulls and hinges are also replaced. The process involves several steps that are usually performed in this order:

Removal of the Doors: The doors, drawers, and drawer fronts are removed from the kitchen. The drawer boxes are kept intact and placed in a safe area, while the refacing process continues.

Covering Cabinet Boxes: The front areas of the cabinet boxes are coated using a natural wood veneer or melamine based product. Once the fronts are dried, the cabinet sides are then coated in the same product.

Hinges are Refitted: If needed new door hinges are added, but if the hinges are in a good condition, they can be reused. 

Installation of New Doors: The new doors and drawer fronts can now be installed before the handles and drawer pulls are fitted. Again, new hardware can be used, or the existing hardware can be reused. 

The entire process can take between two to four days, depending on the size and design of your kitchen. 

Are Your Ikea Kitchen Cabinets Suitable for Refacing

Not every kitchen cabinet is suitable for refacing. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the age of the cabinets, but rather the condition. In fact, older cabinets may even have a sturdier construction compared to the newer boxes and be more suited to successfully accepting new doors. There are a number of factors that can determine whether your Ikea kitchen cabinets are suitable for refacing. This includes:

Sturdy Construction: Ideally, the cabinet boxes should be sturdy and made of MDF or plywood panels that are in good condition and smooth. New veneers need a smooth and solid surface to adhere properly. 

Solid Hardwood Face Frames: A good hardwood face frame will more readily accept a veneer and can provide a solid anchor for the new doors.

Good Condition Internal Hardware: You also need to check that the internal storage, drawer tracks, and other internal hardware elements are in good condition. If your cabinets lack storage or shelving, or your drawers do not open or close smoothly, it may not be worth the expense of refacing, and you may need to invest in more than Ikea cabinet doors.

The Costs

While cabinet refacing will cost far less than a new Ikea kitchen, it doesn’t mean that it is a dirt cheap alternative. Generally, refacing is performed by professional specialists, and you can expect to pay approximately 40 percent of the cost of a full kitchen. 

The Pros and Cons

As with any renovation in your home, you need to carefully consider both the advantages and limitations of cabinet refacing for your kitchen remodel.

The Pros:

You can retain your kitchen layout. This is ideal if your current layout meets your kitchen needs.

Many options: There are many options for cabinet refacing, including natural woods and laminates, so you can create a contemporary or traditional kitchen aesthetic. 

Cost saving: Refacing can provide the look of new cabinetry for approximately half the cost of buying new cabinets, but you need to carefully consider your options. If you will need new hardware, hinges and other accessories, it will increase the cost.

Greener: Refacing is a far more eco friendly option. It can be a massive waste of resources to trash cabinets that are structurally sound. These cabinet boxes are likely to just end up in a landfill. Unfortunately, cabinet boxes are typically made from MDF, and this contains some potentially harmful chemicals. Additionally, if you don’t need new cabinet boxes, you will save more trees from being unnecessarily cut down. 

The Cons:

Need for Finishing: Wood veneers do require finishing. If you opt for natural wood veneers, there are additional steps of staining and varnishing.

Static Layout: If your kitchen layout is not optimal for your space, then cabinet refinishing may not be the best option. Refacing will not allow for any layout changes, so you won’t increase the number of cabinets or amount of countertop space. 

No Change to Box Interiors: If your current cabinets do lack storage features including shelves, updating them may require some significant additional expenses. Tired interiors will also need to be painted. 

Costs Can Add Up: When you factor in new Ikea doors, drawer fronts, hardware, hinges, and interior storage accessories, the costs of refacing can start to add up. In fact, refacing may not offer significant savings over the cost of installing a new kitchen. 

Cabinet refacing can be an excellent and cost saving option to remodel your kitchen. However, your existing cabinets need to be in good condition and well constructed. It can offer a radically different look where your existing layout works well. Unfortunately, if your existing cabinets have structural issues, you have poor internal storage or the hardware is in poor condition, you may be better off with new cabinets.

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