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As the beginning of every renovation season starts to get underway, we, over at Nord Alta, start getting calls about kitchen remodels. Without fail, we always have someone who calls in looking for a kitchen remodel where they want to reface their cabinets. Flying in the face of popular home renovation sites, I’m going to tell you what I tell the people who call in asking about refacing cabinets. It’s (generally) a bad idea. Here’s why.

This kitchen might need a little more than a reface.

 It’s not the biggest way to save money

What is the number one marketing pitch for a refacing company? You guessed it. You’ll save money. It’s cheaper than replacing your cabinets. True. But if the number one reason you’re planning to reface rather than replace is cost, then why not consider refinishing your cabinets? See, refacing cabinets involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts, and veneering the front portion of the cabinet boxes with wood veneer or rigid thermofoil. Refinishing your cabinets, on the other hand, involves sanding, filling, staining (or painting) the surface of your cabinets, and possibly changing out the hardware. Refinishing is less costly than refacing and, if you wanted to explore the DIY route, there is a brush with your name written on it at the local hardware store that will save you even more money. So, if your goal it to save money, I’d think about refinishing instead. If you can afford it, however, replacing your cabinets is the best way to go.

It’s not going to improve how you use your kitchen

It’s one of those things that you don’t realize you’re missing until you have it: a good kitchen layout. Most kitchens aren’t designed for today’s families. In fact, a lot of them are designed for one person to do the cooking and cleaning up after meals. Very little thought was put into other uses for the kitchen, such as cooking together as a family, entertaining guests, or even something simple as a place for enjoying an informal meal. Refacing your cabinets, might make them look better, but it won’t help them function better.

Your cabinets might not be worth the effort

You may have noticed that in the first paragraph that I added the word ‘generally’ to the sentence, ‘it’s a bad idea.’ I’ll admit, that sometimes, refacing cabinets might be a good solution. If you have some above average cabinetry and you’re happy with the kitchen layout, AND you’d like a new look for your kitchen, then maybe refacing could be the way to go (I still thinking refinishing is a better option). Realistically, most cabinets, by the time they would warrant refacing, are pretty beat up anyways. Remember that refacing only repairs the exterior of the cabinets. It doesn’t fix the interior. All of the water stains, scratches, food stains, spills and marks will still be there after the refacing. Refacing might cost two thirds the price of replacing, but you’re only getting half the cabinet fixed.

You can save money on other parts of the project instead

I would tend to think that most people who renovate their kitchen do more than just replace the cabinets. Maybe I’m wrong, but if you’re looking at replacing the other elements, such as flooring, countertops, backsplash, and appliances, there maybe areas where you could cut costs and use the savings on new cabinets. Those top-of -the-line appliances could be easily replaced with less expensive versions. A nice laminate counter top could stand in for a quartz or granite one. Although we don’t recommend cutting corners on quality, there could very well be some wiggle room on products that would make new cabinets a reality.

If you want to view other blog posts from Robert & Michael at Nord Alta Construction, visit our blog on our site by clicking here.

If you’re in Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, or the surrounding area and are looking for a contractor for you renovation project, visit our website at to find information on how to contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you about what we can do to get the ball rolling on your next home or office project. You can also leave comments with us at

Michael Breault is a project coordinator for Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at You can also find Michael and Nord Atla Construction on facebook at, on twitter at, and on LinkedIn.

Robert Breault is the president and owner of Nord Alta Construction. You can find the company website at You can also find Robert and Nord Alta Construction on facebook at and on LinkedIn.