Cabinet Refacing vs. Cabinet Refinishing

Homeowners often ask us about the difference between cabinet refacing and refinishing or painting. Some homeowners consider cabinet refinishing, or applying a coat of paint. However, refinishing or painting your kitchen cabinets is not the best choice for many reasons.

The Kitchen Dilemma…

The classic look of the 1970s and 80s has become a relic in most kitchens nowadays. You know the look – Golden Oak or dark walnut veneer kitchen cabinets – that create an outdated stain on your interior home design. What is the the best long term solution to the 1970s problem?

Why Cabinet Refacing is an Excellent Choice

Homeowners want to know what to do with outdated kitchen cabinet colors, or cabinetry that has seen better days. Cabinet refacing is an excellent way to improve the appearance and functionality of a kitchen without gutting it entirely.  Cabinet refacing allows flexibility for updating the color, style and functionality of your kitchen, at a fraction of the cost of brand new kitchen cabinets. 

Therefore, if the existing kitchen cabinet boxes are in good shape, but the cabinet doors are showing wear, Cabinet refacing is an excellent choice. Alternatively, if the homeowner is simply unhappy with the color or style of the doors, Midwest Kitchens recommends cabinet refacing as well.

In this blog post, we will explain the difference between cabinet refacing and cabinet refinishing. This will help homeowners understand why Midwest Kitchens recommends cabinet refacing instead of painting or refinishing kitchen cabinets. We will also describe how cabinet refacing will improve the overall appearance of your kitchen.

This kitchen provides an example of cabinet refacing. This gorgeous kitchen in Shawnee, Kansas was completely remodeled wtih cabinet refacing, new countertops and backsplash tile.

What does the Cabinet Refacing Process Entail?

Cabinet refacing is a process that retains the existing “cabinet box,” but removes all of the exterior materials. In other words, we remove the kitchen cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hinges, and moldings, while retaining the structure of the interior cabinet box.  Next, we prepare and cover the surfaces of the cabinet box (sides, bottom and face-frame) with real hardwoods. The wood covering will match brand new kitchen cabinet doors, drawer fronts, drawer boxes and moldings.

Finally, we install brand new kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts, custom-made to fit the existing cabinet openings. We also install brand-new hardware, hidden hinges and moldings. The homeowner selects the style and color of the cabinetry from a wide variety of the latest kitchen styles.

What are the Advantages of Kitchen Cabinet Refacing?

With cabinet refacing, the doors, drawer fronts & molding are brand new, however the interior cabinet box remains the same.

Cabinet refacing is like getting a brand new kitchen, at a fraction of the cost. Whereas refinishing or painting basically freshens up your kitchen cabinets, cabinet refacing gives you completely new components. For example, Midwest Kitchens replaces cabinet doors and door fronts. This gives the homeowner the ability to choose any variety, design, finish, and color they want. The choices even include distressed styles or glazing.

Further, most older kitchens have cheaply made drawer boxes with worn-out glides. Midwest Kitchens can improve the functionality of your kitchen by installing new hidden hinges. In addition, we can add soft-close cabinet doors, new solid wood drawer boxes with smooth glides, and new hardware. 

How to Improve Kitchen Functionality with Cabinet Refacing

Unfortunately, many kitchens were not originally designed to function in the most optimal way. Midwest Kitchens can improve functionality and work-flow bottlenecks with cabinet refacing and cabinet modifications.

Midwest Kitchens can correct existing issues with your kitchen cabinets, such as misaligned doors, poor drawer boxes or faulty hardware. This process, in particular, solves a rather common issue with cabinets: shrinking doors. The doors of your cabinet will “naturally” shrink in time as a result of moisture and changes in temperature.

In addition, many homeowners choose to add functional accessories such as pull-out shelves and Lazy Susans at the same time. We often raise the over-the-stove microwave oven higher from the cooking surface or replace an unused desk with new custom cabinetry. By making these modifications, we maximize your working area, creating a more efficient use of kitchen space.

This Shawnee house has an open floor plan, with the newly remodeled kitchen as the focal point.

Why is a Factory-Painted or Stained Finish so Important?

With cabinet refacing, the cabinet finishes are factory-applied. This process dramatically reduces installation time and eliminates the need to deal with harmful paint fumes. What a huge benefit for environmentally conscious consumers! And homeowners desiring painted doors will choose brand new paint-grade cabinet doors that were intended to be painted.

In addition, with existing oak cabinetry, which was commonly used in Kansas City homes, the grain will likely show through, even with several coats of paint.

The new factory-finish on these refaced cabinets cannot be beat! The finish is simply rich, smooth & flawless.

Moreover, with cabinet refacing, all of the hardwoods are stained, sealed, varnished and oven-cured in a controlled manufacturing setting at the Showplace Cabinetry factory in South Dakota. They use the latest technology and environmental controls. Midwest Kitchens is a proud dealer for Showplace Cabinetry.

For painted finishes, Showplace Cabinetry applies an additional top-coat, varnish, and oven-curing process for a long-lasting finish. This detailed process results in a durable, even and smooth finish on the cabinet doors that simply can’t be replicated by a local painting or refinishing company.


Kitchen cabinet refacing and refinishing are NOT the same process. We described the cabinet refacing process and when it is indicated in a kitchen remodel.

Midwest Kitchens is been based in Lenexa, Kansas and has been offering cabinet refacing and kitchen remodeling for 25 years. In addition, we offer kitchen and lifestyle inspiration on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Posted Under: Cabinet Refacing, Cabinetry, Kitchen Remodeling


  1. I would like to know why it’s better to get your cabinets refaced. I like how you mention cabinet refacing is when the exterior material is removed from the cabinet box. Thank you for the information. I would recommend hiring a professional to do this task.

    1. Jay: Thank you for your comment on our blog!

      The article describes the many ways in which cabinet refacing is a better choice than painting kitchen cabinets. One reason is that kitchen cabinets are exposed to constant heat sources, steam and water –painted cabinets just don’t hold up under these conditions. We often have customers tell us they paid for a professional to paint their kitchen cabinets, only to have the paint start chipping within a couple of years. Also, most cabinet doors were not intended to be painted. The grain shows through & it doesn’t compare to the quality of a refaced (brand new) cabinet door which was painted in a controlled, manufacturing setting with the best curing techniques available.

      Thanks again for your interest!

  2. I am so glad that you talked about Midwest kitchens are best for refacing and modifying the cabinetry system. My parents were thinking of getting their kitchen renovated this coming month because the family will be spending these holidays at their home. I will be sure to help them find a cabinet refinishing company so they can start planning their kitchen renovation.

    1. Wonderful, thank you Ron! We are so glad to hear that this article was helpful to you! Please keep Midwest Kitchens in mind for your parents’ kitchen renovation.

  3. I found it interesting how you mentioned that you can improve the appearance and function of your kitchen by cabinet refacing. My wife and I are considering looking for reglazing services to help us renovate our cooking area because we noticed the other day that the cabinetry and countertops looked outdated and old. It seems reasonable for us to contemplate hiring reputable professionals to help us make our kitchen look as nice and modern as possible.

  4. Hi, I have in my kitchen the wood from cabinets to pantry doors & trim! I would like to get my cabinets/drawers/ lazy Susan done but would that look a bit crazy if the trim doesn’t get replaced as well?

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