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Should I Update or Replace My Kitchen Cabinets?

First Step: Assessing Your Update Needs

Updating your kitchen can be easy, and Rockler wants to help make it a fun and pleasurable experience for you. The vast majority of today's homeowners can update their kitchens with a few simple procedures such as adding some hinges and hardware, new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, or by refacing existing cabinetry and casework. So, before you begin, it's a good idea to decide on the scope and magnitude of the update you want. There's no sense in doing a complete makeover when a few dollars and a couple of hours can accomplish what you want. We'll help you through all the steps, from adding new knobs and pulls, to adding new doors and drawers, to refacing your existing cabinetry.

Replace Your Cabinets or Update Them?

Functionality should dictate the form of your kitchen. If you want to make changes or improvements in the functionality of your kitchen space, or change the location of your cabinetry, then replacing it may be preferable. If you're happy with the existing layout and workability of your kitchen, updating your current cabinetry and adding some functional accessories is better. (Don't worry or fret, updating your current cabinetry can transform your kitchen into a showcase. You can reface your cabinets, for example, and everyone will believe that you've installed completely new ones!)

Making your own cabinetry is an alternative but it is a major undertaking. Although the project can be a rewarding experience for the intermediate or advanced woodworker or handy man or woman (we don't recommend this project for the beginner), it can be disruptive to family lifestyle. Even the best-planned construction project can obstruct the normal use of your kitchen for 6 months or more. Testy and unfavorable conditions even for the tolerant and patient kitchen boss. Buying ready-made or prefabricated cabinetry can be just as challenging.

Here are some of the benefits to updating your cabinetry versus replacing it:

  • Old cabinets are often of better quality construction than those made by today's standards. (That's unless you make them yourself, of course.)
  • You can save a substantial amount by Updating Your Cabinetry.
  • Your existing cabinetry is already installed, leveled, plumbed, and operational. These can be difficult conditions to duplicate in the labor-intensive chore of installing new cabinets.
  • Installing new cabinetry will entail the dismantling of your existing kitchen. That will require that you set up a temporary kitchen facility in another part of your home. Utilities may need to be shut off completely.
  • Dismantling existing cabinetry can cause serious damage to existing fixtures, walls, electrical systems, and plumbing.
  • You can save the hidden costs of installation, delivery, taxes, et cetera by Updating Your Cabinetry versus installing new.

Read on for more useful information on these topics:

Updating Your Cabinetry

(With information on Painting, Refacing, or Refinishing Your Cabinetry.)

New Cabinetry

(With information on Buying Ready-Made or Making Your Own Cabinetry.)

Your Safety

Safety First!Rockler Woodworking and Hardware cares about you. Please plan and arrange for your safety. Adequate eye and ear protection, stable work areas, good lighting, and proper lifting equipment will keep you health and happy. Don't overload electrical outlets, and call a professional when you need one. It's better to be healthy, happy, and humble, than it is to spend your weekend in an emergency room. See a list of Safety Products available from Rockler.


Copyright 2009