Anyone Keep Cabinet Boxes/Change Doors?

CassandraFebruary 18, 2013

I went about my kitchen remodel a little bit backward. When I first moved in I painted the cabinets white, installed a soapstone countertop, did a new backsplash, etc. I'm happy with all these changes except the cabinet doors which are somewhat outdated. The cabinet boxes are in great shape. Just starting to think/plan about replacing the doors. Has anyone done it successfully? Can you explain the process, who did it, and do you have any pictures? Thanks!

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We did it in the guest room bath when we gutted it a few years ago. We had previously had a double vanity custom built for the room in oak. The vanity is nearly 7' and it just didn't make sense to replace it when the boxes, frames and drawers were perfect.

But I have never been fond of oak so I took the opportunity to have the vanity refaced. I was a little skeptical of the process since I had never seen it done and so many of the TV ads seem to make the finished product look cheap. But our contractor had done it many times and assured us that we would like it. He also took us to one of the kitchens that he had refaced and it looked great.

The contractor gave me a catalog of doors and drawer fronts and I chose the style and type of wood that I wanted. He removed the doors and drawer fronts and then meticulously refaced the front of the cabinet frames with a thin veneer of wood, screwed the new drawers fronts on and installed the doors.

It's been over 5 years and it still looks like new. I was also a little worried that the veneer might loosen due to the higher humidity in the bath but that hasn't happened it. I am really very happy - it completely changed the look of the bath and reusing the existing vanity saved me big bucks.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Like yours, my boxes are in great shape. I found a DIY store where I was able to match the doors MB (canvas), they knew one of the sample colors matched to another BM paint, I took the time to figure out the color I wanted. The same person who measured installed them (someone who does kitchens), I changed doors to European hinges, they are slow closing, I didn't do anything to the drawer tracks, the fronts were just switched.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:26PM
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Thanks to both of you and ilene, fabulous makeover! I hope to hear from others, but at least I know now it is within the realm of possibility.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:51AM
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We did the same in our primary residence. Evidently it was fashionable to make kitchen cabinet doors from living room paneling in the 70's, haha. The boxes were in good shape and the layout works. We painted the boxes and installed new doors. Also had 2 of the bath cabinets refaced.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:43AM
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Yup, we just did this as well.

We went with full overlay doors with a tiny gap between doors so we did not have to do anything to the existing frame because you can't see it. You can see the frame when you open a door, but the colors are not so different, so it doesn't bother me.


After, with cabinet pulls still to come.

These doors are ultra-simple, Baltic birch. To get the gaps as thin as possible, each door was made exactly for its spot. We did some other nice upgrades like soft close hinges, pullouts and a vastly improved super Susan in the corner cabinet. We also had the new doors go all the way to the ceiling which adds more storage and looks cleaner. When all was said and done the builder said it was easier than he expected. We haven't gotten the bill yet so we'll see if that translates to being cheaper than expected too!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:06AM
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My builder's grade golden oak cabs were in decent shape and I liked the layout (still do). I had a tight budget to work with, so I got new doors and drawer fronts and had everything painted white. I didn't know enough at the time about replacing lower cabinets with drawers (nor did my KD suggest it). With my eyes closed, it's essentially the same kitchen. :)

I went to a local KD who suggested the process and ordered the new parts for me. That wasn't expensive at all. Everything was painted professionally, in the shop and on-site. A GC installed the doors.



    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:47AM
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We are getting new doors for our cabinets and having the existing boxes painted antique white.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:18PM
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Linelle- I meant to say that I really like your kitchen. It looks really nice.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:27PM
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We had the clear coat on our maple cabinets stripped, modified some of the existing cabinets to drawers, and had some new cabinets built from scratch. We got new doors and drawer fronts for everything and had them all stained to match. A local cabinet maker did the modifications, built the 4 new cabinets and ordered the doors/drawer fronts. We ended up installing the doors and hardware, but originally it was in the contract for him to do it.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Just wondering about costs for such a project. I have a 33" cabinet where the box and drawers are fine. I just want new doors to match some other new cabinets in our house. They are frameless cabinets with slab doors so refacing probably isn't crucial as you wouldn't see the maple frame. I am just interested in replacing the doors (and maybe the toekick)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:46AM
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Ladies, what an advertisement for kitchen refacing. I'm impressed. Excellent looks all around!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

We had our contractor bid on replacing all the cabinets in the kitchen. The size of our appliances required some construction to be done. The bid seemed high, so we got bids for refacing + some construction. Those bids were ridiculously higher, and we opted for brand new cabinets.

I think refacing is a great option if your new ovens and cook top fit, but if any construction is needed, be prepared to spend a lot more money than you would for brand new cabinets.

Just my experience, and I think all the refacing photos shown look great!!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:17AM
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laura, my entire kitchen redo (minus the new fridge) was $20K. The only DIY was painting the walls/ceiling and making the valance. The new doors and drawer fronts were surprisingly budget-friendly, Decora paint-grade maple full overlay with MDF insets. Total for that was just over $1K. Having all the cabs professionally painted wasn't inexpensive. You don't mention if you're going with painted or stained.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:18AM
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I too did it backwards and now I'm getting conflicting reports and a wide range of prices to remove and reinstall my granite so I can get new cabinets. As much as I want to change to Stained maple I won't spend the $ to,risk my granite. Cheapest option is to upgrade my existing thermo foil to nice painted white wood. A new backsplash will make a big difference also. I also,considered refacing to,wood, but that charge is too much $.


How did you find someone to paint the cabinets and what was that charge? I am going to have doors built for me by my brother, but I dread painting them. The materials are surprisingly inexpensive. We intend to install,them ourselves and hopefully convert 2 to drawers.

I see you did some construction and got new counters. Where did the bulk of your budget go?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:10PM
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All this information is helpful. Thanks so much! Part of our cabinets are not installed yet. We have a 33" lower and upper in a mudroom area along with a bench. All our kitchen cabinets are rift oak and I was trying to save a little money by doing these last cabinets paint grade maple with a different cabinet maker, but it is proving penny wise pound foolish. The cabinets are made, but they are not painted. I thinking I should be able to simply keep the boxes and then ask the original cabinet maker to make new doors to match the kitchen and probably edge band as well. Fingers crossed that I can at least salvage the boxes!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:34PM
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cindy, the cabinet painter was recommended by my KD. That part cost $4375 and they threw in new shelves and a pull-out cutting board (big whoop). It seemed expensive to me, but they did a fine job.

Here's the breakdown:

$4375 - Cabinets painted
$5742 - drawer fronts, doors, panels, crown + Caesarstone counters*
$6571 - GC
$1298 - faucet, sink, grid, disposal
$1700 - backsplash (tile + installation)
$717 - other (incl. pendants and cab hardware)

*The doors and counters were on the same invoice and I don't have the exact breakdown, but the counters were the lion's share of that amount.

My kitchen is small (10x10) and I live in the SF Bay Area so that may account for higher labor prices, including counter fabrication.

In another thread someone is having cab hardware angst over choices and lots of $$$. I thought that was the easiest, most budget-friendly decision I had to make (Top Knobs FTW).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:08PM
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linelle- beautiful kitchen transformation!

We are planning something similar as well. We currently have tile countertops that we are changing to granite. The cabinets are fine, as is the layout, so we are going to get new doors/drawer fronts. We are in the process of choosing doors now. I never realized how many details would go into this! I'm just thankful I found this forum :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 3:07PM
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I called a local cabinetmaker and they replaced the doors and even matched the stain quite well.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 6:48PM
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rkb21, thank you! My layout was/is just fine, even though I have three(!) blind corners. Still, only one is annoying (small plastic containers with lids, oh my).

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:16PM
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Just finished a kitchen "refresh". Started out with builder's grade 1980's oak and white tile. Kitchen layout was fine, just wanted to spruce up the finishes (on the cheap, of course). I originally thought it would be a little DIY project. Decided to try Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformations. Painted the cabinet boxes the Bay Leaf color. Fell in love with that color, and decided to buy some new maple raised-panel doors online since the grain pattern still showed thru. The whole kitchen (23 doors) was under $1500 including shipping! However, when it came to painting the doors I had much difficulty with the finish coat showing brush marks. Bit the bullet and hired an incredible painter who matched the color exactly with a beautiful satin-finish specifically for cabinets. It wasn't cheap ($85 per door) but so worth it. Of course after the cabinet "transformation" I just couldn't live with those white tiles and the 1/2" grout lines. Ended up with Silestone countertops (also not cheap, but so worth it!) in Tigris Sand. So my DIY project ended up costing a little under $20,000 including new sink, fridge, range hood, backsplash tile, LED lighting and all labor. I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Lynnski48: Your kitchen looks great! Where did you buy your doors from? We are planning something similar...removing our tile counters and replacing our cabinet doors. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:32AM
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Replaced doors and cabinet fronts. The painting was the hard part! I did it myself with doors and fronts from Barker's. Approximately 20 various size doors and 5 drawers. $1500. Picture was around Christmas, really need to get some of finished kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 6:23AM
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krb21: I ordered the doors online from Raw Doors. I was very pleased with the quality. The maple was so beautiful I felt bad painting over it!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Just finished changing the doors and drawer fronts on my 27 year old boxes and frames. Looks great, except the hard part is trying to match the stain on new wood and that on 27 year old sun tanned wood...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 8:56PM
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