The Benefits of Kitchen Cabinet Painting and Surface Refinishing vs. Replacing with New Cabinets


Planning a Kitchen Renovation but Undecided about the Cabinetry? Consider the Following Cost Analyses, Benefits & Value of Refinishing / Resurfacing Existing Cabinets for a Brand New Look: a Small Fraction of the Price of New Cabinetry

Are you looking to remodel or renovate your kitchen? A lot of people get stuck when it comes to deciding what to do about the kitchen cabinets. Generally you have to decide between one of two options: a) refinish, (re-) paint, restain, reface or otherwise renew the surface of your existing kitchen cabinets, or b) replace them with new ones for a whole lot more money. Let’s compare these two options, starting with an examination of average kitchen remodeling costs and the associated cost of the cabinetry element.

Kitchen with Expansive Cabinetry in High End Morris County, NJ Home

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Price of Kitchen Remodels & Associated Cabinetry Costs

Cabinet Painting Example by CraftPro in Morristown, NJIt’s important to note that remodeling costs are subject to dozens of variables: the size of your kitchen, what exactly you intend to renovate (the scope of work), the expense of the materials you’re going to be using (things like countertops, tile, flooring, etc. – not to mention the kitchen cabinets themselves). Perhaps the most important variable is the region you live in. Two similar remodels in two very different regions can vary greatly in cost.

Research average kitchen remodeling costs in your area. Then figure in the fact that, according to most sources, new cabinets can represent roughly a third of the total cost. According to an article by HGTV, cabinets can account for as much as 35% of the kitchen remodel cost[1] BEFORE labor. Needless to say, that’s a significant portion of your budget. And it is likely not necessary…

On the other hand, if your cabinets are in good shape structurally then you can take a cost-effective approach to completely updating and renewing their finish, thereby dramatically changing the appearance of your kitchen. Refinishing the surface and replacing the hardware of your existing cabinets is a small fraction of the cost of new cabinetry. Read on for statistics, prices, and reports on the cabinetry element of a kitchen remodel.

On average, homeowners report that a kitchen remodel costs $20,556. A smaller project between $10,000 and $15,000 may include painting walls, refacing cabinets, upgrading the sink, and installing a tile backsplash. – HomeAdvisor[2]

…but hang on: another report based on empirical evidence rather than repoorts from homeowners has found that the national averages for kitchen remodels are significantly higher. Read on…


Comparing the Costs of New Cabinetry vs. Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinet Painting Example by CraftPro in Morristown, NJThe above numbers help us arrive at a better understanding of kitchen cabinet costs. First let’s take a very general look at a kitchen remodel. Let’s say you have a $20,000 budget. Most sources will suggest that roughly $7,000 of that will go to new cabinets. Assume another thousand or so for labor and you are already almost halfway into your budget. Alternatively, if your existing cabinets are in good shape, you can have them refinishing/painted for about a third of that price, if not less.

Let’s compare the costs now that we have a general idea of how to estimate kitchen remodeling prices…

· Refinishing Existing Cabinets:

The majority of our kitchen cabinet painting projects – here in North-Central New Jersey where home values are generally higher than most other regions – cost between $3,000 and $5,000. According to one source, having your cabinets painted can cost as little as $2,600 and, on the higher end, about twice that for larger kitchens[3].

Cabinet Refinishing General Cost:
$2,500 to $7,000

· Purchasing Brand New Cabinets:

Again, the cost of kitchen cabinets van vary greatly. One source breaks it down per linear foot, but it is always somewhat misleading to assume a fixed per-foot price… on any home improvement project. But here is what they report about new kitchen cabinet costs:

Pricing wise, they’re listed in order: stock cabinets are cheapest, at around $60 to $200 per linear foot, semi-custom cabinets will run you around $100 to $650 per linear foot, and custom cabinets usually cost between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot. – HGTV[4]

According to one very popular report[5] the 2016 national average for kithen remodels ranged from $60,000 for midrange projects all the way to $120,000 for upscale kitchen projects. Assuming the reports are correct and cabinet costs account for 1/3 of the total price then we arrive at the following:

Brand New Cabinets & Installation Cost:
$20k to $40,0000


Decisions, Decisions: New Cabinetry vs. Cabinet Refinishing

Unless your cabinets are in awful shape, structurally damaged and falling apart – is it even a question? With tens of thousands of dollars on the line the best idea seems to be refinishing, (re-) staining, painting or otherwise renewing the appearance of your existing cabinets by a qualified contractor.

Some of you may feel the urge to save even more money by doing your cabinets DIY style. Do NOT do that. If you mess up, you may hae to buy brand new cabinets after all! Cabinet painting and refinishing is inarguably the most highly scrutinized painting project. It requires a skillset that can only be learned through extensive experience and product knowledge, and it is so labor-intensive and detail-oriented that the majority of painters do not even offer it as a service. It’s a specialty trade. Learn more about cabinet painting here.

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