Reface or rebuild kitchen cabinets?

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Forum topic by Bret posted 08-24-2009 09:30 PM 3542 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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162 posts in 2915 days

08-24-2009 09:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question arts and crafts greene and greene

I’m considering building new kitchen cabinets for an upcoming project, and will be converting my kitchen (and much of the rest of the house) to look as Arts & Crafts as possible. Wainscoting and the like.

But in the kitchen, I was wondering about simply building new face frames and either replacing the existing ones or adding these in front of the existing ones as a shortcut to building brand-new cabinets. I have to wonder if this is even possible structurally, or if the cheap materials used for the carcases won’t support QSWO frames, doors and door fronts.

So I’m looking for some input. Would anyone seriously consider just replacing the face frames, or would you build the whole cabinet from scratch?

I think I know the answer but thought I’d ask all the same. Lots of learning to be had in seeing why

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#1 posted 08-24-2009 09:37 PM

Hey Bret
It all depends on how good the existing cabinets are and if the will survive removing they existeing face frames unless you plan on applying new face frames over the old ones which can be done. You have to think about what the finished product will look like and if that’s the kind of end product you want. Usually I recommend new cabinets to my customers unless there existing cabinets are exceptionally nice.

-- Custom furniture

View Bret's profile


162 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 08-24-2009 09:46 PM

I’d class mine as homebuilder standard. Maybe on par with lower-end Home Depot cabinets. Nothing special. Not terrible, but all the fronts are laminated so as a neighbor discovered when he wanted to sand his down and refinish, you have to be really careful with the sandpaper. ;-)

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2652 days

#3 posted 08-25-2009 01:02 AM

Another approach is stripping the finish from the face frames, then applying a new finish, doors, and drawer fronts, which is what I started doing. BIG mistake..

Now working on carcasses to completely redo my cabinets… Using this as an excuse to get more storage space…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5300 posts in 3133 days

#4 posted 08-25-2009 02:21 AM

Jenn and I have gone around this question also. We’ve decided it would probably be better to start over that way we are not ‘making do’ with the mass produced idea of how Jenn should use/store stuff in our kitchen. We’re not doing it just to save some money but to get better functionality out of the limited space we have.



-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2705 days

#5 posted 08-31-2009 04:02 AM

Hey Bret, Your kitchen is always your best investment you can make in your home, whether you plan on staying there forever, or plan on selling it in a few years. Usually trying to retrofit your cabinets with new faceframes, doors and drawers fronts, creates more problems then expected and still looks like a bandaid when all is said and done. If you go to the expense of QSWO faceframes, doors, drawer fronts and end panels, it won’t cost that much more to build new casework. It’s a great time to look at what you like about your existing kitchen and what you “DON’T” like. Good luck and we look forward to seeing the pictures of whatever you do.

-- John @

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