Cabinet refinishing

efeuerMarch 22, 2013

I'm in the planning stage of a remodel of our 25 year old kitchen. One option I am considering is refinishing our existing cabinets, which are cherry, raised panel, solid plywood, and in good condition on the inside. The outsides are mostly sound but shabby, and the refinisher thinks he can make them look good again. He quoted us $2600 versus $10,000 I priced out for new. I'm happy with the layout and the kitchen functions well.

The problem is, I want to eliminate the cabinets overhanging the peninsula, which would then necessitate swapping our 24" corner upper for a flat 12x24". I also want to rebuild a closet into a pantry cupboard. I'm concerned that he won't be able to get the woodwork to match. Since it's cherry, it darkens considerably with age. If he stains the new wood to match the old, it won't match well in a year or two.

Is this problem one that a good furniture guy could deal with? Or should I just bite the bullet and go with new?

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Not sure what you need to do, but could he use any parts of the cabs you are taking down to rebuild the one you are saying would need changing?

I like your cabinets and they are what I would want if I didn't have my granite stuck in place on my old ones....but this thread isn't about my gripes...I think you should keep them. They are likely better quality than what you could get for a reasonable price.

If you add cabinets elsewhere in the kitchen I have seen the trend of mixing colors. Maybe that would work for you?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:04AM
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I just redid my kitchen and I had old oak cabs that were 28 years old. I didn't like the doors or inside of the cabs so decided to go brand new, RTA. I also got quotes for refinishing and resurfacing. Refinishing was roughly $2500 and resurfacing $12K. The RTA's were $6500.

I actually would have done refinishing, had I liked my door style and if the inside wasnt MDF. I like your doors and it sounds like they are in good condition. I think they would look beautiful refinished/restained or even painted white. Definitely agree that you should remove the uppers above peninsula; it will really open that space up.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:35AM
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Well, if you are dedicated to going this route, there's always replacing the uppers with a painted finish. Two-toned kitchen cabinets are pretty popular right now.

Just an idea to throw into the mix.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:55AM
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I vote for resizing your new flat cupboard to fit the corner cupboard door. Or, you could use a glass front door, so that only the edge trim shows, and if it did happen to reage differently wouldn't be so noticeable.

How does he plan to refinish them? If sanding them down, they'll be starting at the same place anyways, right?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 4:33AM
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Looks like it was either a nnatural or a very light stain. Natural is easy, light stain doable. If natural just put the new ones in direct sun for a few weeks, will draken considerably. Eventually they will catch up. Had to do this with a DW panel on a 14 year old display. Color got close and was a match within a year.
Light stain requires a little more guess work but don't do an exact match to start.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:35AM
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$2600 will NOT cover a true refinish job where everything is properly sanded down to bare wood and you start over with the finish process. It probably covered wiping them with mineral spirits and then applying some type of poly over the failing finish. NOT what I'd ever want in my kitchen. $2600 would barely cover having them professionally painted, and then only if you did remove all of the cabinets above the peninsula.

I think you'd better re-examine the meat and bones of what you are actually getting vs what you are expecting to get.

Any decent cabinet maker can take that diagonal corner and make it into a regular non angled one. But, again, it will involve more money than what you are being quoted to do things right here. By the time you add everything up from a proper refinish and remake, you will have exceeded the cost of new cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:41AM
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I think you will be fine with the refinishing route. In my experience they can get pretty close. It's one of those things that you might notice a lot at first, and quite possibly only YOU notice. As time goes by you notice less and less and other people think you are crazy if you say something is different.
I have a post and beam house. Some of the beams were inside a wall that we took down. The newly exposed beams were a very different color and it upset me a lot. I felt like the space didn't flow because the mismatched beam color still delineated the old walls. It's barely noticeable now and it is just a few months.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:44AM
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Cindy Noll

Could you use the cabinet over the peninsula to replace the corner cabinet? How close in size is it to the 12 by 24 cabinet you need? We took down cabinets over our peninsula & turned one to the wall to finish a flat run. Our contractor needed to take the face frame off the one side to make it 12 inches, as ours had doors on each side. He also had to add an end panel which we stained to match. The one we used was the same length, we had two cabinets meeting perpendicular to each other instead of the corner cabinet, so we had one longer cabinet & the shorter ones. Yours appear to be shorter, but perhaps you could add a shelf or something underneath to make up for the difference.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:52AM
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