For homeowners looking to breathe new life into their kitchen cabinets, it can be tempting to consider doing it yourself. Hiring a professional cabinet refacer isn’t exactly cheap. While it might take you longer to finish the project, in the end you’ll save a lot of money, right?

What you may not know is that proper DIY cabinet refacing is a pretty involved process, especially if you want the end result to look great. Mistakes can be expensive to fix, quickly eating up whatever money you saved by not hiring a professional. But if you’re still seriously considering refacing your own cabinets, here’s what you need to know.

What kind of DIY cabinet refacing are you planning to do?

Before you get started with your cabinet refacing project, you should probably map out what it is you want to get done. Are you going to repaint your cabinets, or are you considering a wood veneer to give them a new look without needing to remove or replace anything? Or are you going to install new doors and drawer faces?

Once you’ve decided on your project scope, you should also make a list of the tools and supplies you need. If you don’t have a particularly well-stocked toolkit, you could be spending hundreds of dollars to fix that, and that’s before you start getting into the costs of the materials. Some of the tools you can expect to need for a refacing project include:

  • Caulk guns
  • Circular saws
  • Paint rollers and brushes
  • Cordless drills
  • Nail guns
  • Miter saws
  • Sandpaper
  • Adhesives
Can DIY cabinet refacing save you money versus hiring a pro?
If you don’t have the tools or materials already on hand, DIY cabinet refacing end up being slower and more expensive than just hiring the pros.

To control these costs, some DIY enthusiasts like to spend money on the cheapest tools and materials they can get away with. This can make DIY refacing a cheaper project to take on, but cheap tools and materials rarely produce the best results.

Mistakes often wipe out the money you hoped to save with DIY refacing.

Refacing requires a lot of patience and attention to detail, which is why cabinet refacing is widely considered to be one of the harder DIY home improvement projects to complete. If you’re skilled, or are very careful with what you’re doing, you might be able to get it done right on your first try. But even pros can make mistakes!

Now, a company like Express Reface can catch and fix the mistakes they make on their own dime. But with DIY projects, you’re the one doing the work, and you’re the one who is going to correct any mistakes you make.

If you damage a door that you’re trying to sand down for repainting, you’ll need to either fabricate or buy a replacement. If you’ve misapplied a sheet of self-sticking veneer, trying to remove it can damage the faces of your cabinets or doors. If you don’t like the look of the paint you chose after it dries, you’re the one doing the repainting. These little things can add up, in terms of time and money.

Even if you’re skilled and have the time, you’ll probably still need a week to reface your own cabinets.

Express Reface installers have years of experience under their belt when it comes to cabinet refacing, and they are supported by a team of pros who handle everything outside of the product installation itself. We can manufacture new doors and drawer faces in our own facilities.  Because we supply our own materials and have such a strong team to rely on, we can finish most refacing projects in two days.

But it’s a different story if you’re doing it yourself. Unless you’ve already got a lot of experience refacing cabinets, and have all the tools you need, you’ll probably need at least a week to fully reface your kitchen cabinets.

There are some time savers available. You can buy refacing kits online or from big box stores, which provide the materials you need in a single convenient package. However, it will still be on you to make sure the doors and drawer faces in the kit are the correct fit for your cabinet boxes, which means you’ll need to take very accurate measurements of your cabinets first. If you buy the wrong kit, or a faulty kit, you can set your project back by days before you even start.

Your cabinets may have problems that can’t be solved by refacing.

Unfortunately, not all cabinets can be refaced. They might have visible damage to the boxes or doors that could make it impossible to properly repaint or apply a veneer laminate. The wood or composite materials used for the cabinets might be old enough that just removing the old hardware could cause serious, irreparable damage, even if you are as careful as possible.

Sometimes, problems aren’t immediately visible. Water dripping through the countertop could cause wood rot that went unseen until after you started removing the doors and drawers. If your cabinet boxes are in very bad shape, you might need to consider expanding the project to go beyond refacing, and at that point, your costs are going to skyrocket.

Even if you don’t end up hiring a pro to do the refacing for you, it’s recommended that you hire someone to inspect your cabinets for problems, or at least take the time to do your own careful inspection of your cabinets before you start spending money.

DIY refacing can potentially save some money if it goes well, but the pros at Express Reface can do it faster and guarantee their work.

There is no denying that there is a lot of satisfaction to be had in a DIY home improvement project. And if you’re willing to take your time, and you’re careful with your budget when shopping for tools and materials, you might be able to save a little money.

However, refacing is already considerably more affordable than replacing cabinets, whether you go pro or DIY. The amount of money you can save is pretty slim. And if complications arise, a DIY refacing project can take far longer and cost more money than calling the pros would have.

At Express Reface, we’ve turned cabinet refacing into a science. If you want to give your kitchen or bathroom a beautiful new look at an affordable cost, without all the potential hassles that a DIY project can bring, call us today, or use our online pricing tool to see what we can do for you!