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Home Improvement Guide 2007
Get ready
Before starting any home improvement project, research and planning is the key to successful results.
Kitchen remodel: Replace or reface cabinets?
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As long as the layout of your kitchen doesn't need to be drastically changed and your cabinets are in solid condition, Hare says you can literally replace all the working parts -- the drawers, lazy susans, etc. -- without touching the cabinet boxes themselves.

Some people may choose to repaint the cabinets, but remodelers warn against quick jobs that don't properly prepare the cabinet. It's more than a one-day project. The process also may be more difficult than expected by do-it-yourselfers because of problems such as built-up grease from cooking, some experts say.

"You have to literally take that cabinet and sand it all down to allow that paint or stain to soak up into it," says Garner, a national training and education manager for a Minnesota cabinet company. "There's a lot of time and effort and a lot of work involved to be able to do it."

And despite ads that promise to lessen the hit on your wallet and TV shows that make it appear easy, many kitchen remodelers say that in many cases, refacing typically is not much cheaper than replacing them.

"It's almost the same price," Hydeck says. "Most of the time you can get a middle-of-the-road cabinet for the same price as you can get them refaced."

A standard new 30-inch-by-30-inch cabinet costs $200 to $250, estimates Hydeck, although it can reach into the thousands for custom cabinets, depending on the finish, knobs, glass and other factors.

Many people who have their cabinets refaced actually can afford to purchase new cabinets and, as a result, have their kitchen designed to accommodate more space, Garner says. He estimates that the average cost of cabinets range from $1,800 all the way up to $25,000.

With approximately four million kitchen remodels in 2005, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, homeowners need to determine their reason for changing the kitchen -- whether it's for yourself or to sell your home, says Hydeck.

If doing it for yourself, he recommends replacing cabinets. If you're doing it to sell the home within a year, you probably won't see an immediate return on your investment, so it's best to make cosmetic improvements with new drawer knobs, pulls and hinges.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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