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Refacing vs. Repainting vs. Replacing Cabinets: Which Should I Choose?

Maybe you've just purchased a house, are getting ready to sell, or realized one day that you no longer like your current kitchen cabinets. There are many ways to handle giving your kitchen a facelift, but your decision will most likely boil down to three options:

  • Add a new coat of paint.

  • Reface the cabinets.

  • Tear out the old cabinetry completely and put in new cabinets.

To help you decide, we have listed the pros and cons of each option.

NOTE: Pius does not offer refacing or repainting of old cabinets. We would offer these services if the cost of new cabinetry was not so affordable and accessible.



NOTE: Pius does not provide cabinet painting.

Definition: Repainting is the process of coating old cabinets in a new paint color. The entire cabinet is sanded down, primed, painted, and then sealed. With the right contractor, this will result in a professional-grade finish that makes your old cabinets look like new.

It is also possible to stain kitchen cabinets to a different wood tone if your current cabinets are real wood.

A light wood kitchen on the left reads 'Before' and a white and black painted kitchen on the right reads 'After.


  • Repainting is a great way to add color to your kitchen.

  • Repainting allows color customization at a cost lower than buying cabinet faces or replacing cabinets completely.

  • You can keep the existing countertops and tile as work will only be applied to the cabinetry.


  • Requires quality solid wood cabinet doors to start with if you are re-staining doors; if you are painting laminate doors, if the surface is chipped or bubbled, then no amount of paint would fix the issue.

  • Repainting requires a lot of sanding to remove old finishes and specialty cabinet paint to ensure the finish sticks.

  • Repainting can easily look unprofessional, thin, streaky, or unsmooth.

  • Repainting can be messy and requires a significant amount of tape and masking to prevent the rest of your kitchen and home from getting sprayed.

  • Repainting does not allow for changes to function or door style.

A yellow wood kitchen on the top half reads 'before' and a white and grey painted kitchen on the bottom half reads 'after'.

When is repainting a good fit for me?

  • You love the shape and function of your kitchen but feel the color is outdated.

  • You’re on a time crunch and cannot wait the 2-3 weeks it takes to get a new kitchen from Pius.

  • You’re on an extreme budget (repainting can cost half of new cabinets from Pius).

When is repainting a bad fit for me?

  • You are unhappy with your kitchen's current layout or door style.

  • You are making structural changes (such as moving a stove or wall).

  • You notice damage to your cabinets.

  • You want new soft-close hardware or any changes to the cabinet structure.

  • You have sensitive lungs (Sanding down cabinet doors might expose you to airborne silica from particle board).



NOTE: Pius does not provide cabinet refacing.

Definition: Refacing is the practice of exchanging only the doors and drawers of a cabinet. The box (or body) of the cabinet is left installed, and the 'face' is replaced. Most refacing companies can also change out new hardware at an additional cost. This type of refresh gives the illusion of new cabinets without the involvement of a full-scale remodel.

On the left is a low-light grey kitchen. On the right is a bright white and grey painted kitchen.


  • Refacing is typically fastest in terms of installation. Exchanging the face section of a cabinet is just a matter of unscrewing and re-screwing different parts onto the cabinet.

  • Refacing allows you to completely change the door design for more customization than repainting.

  • Refacing allows you to change the style of the cabinet door while keeping the same functionality.

  • Refacing has minimal downtime, as flooring and plumbing are not impacted by the process.


  • Refacing cost can vary greatly due to it often being custom cabinetry work.

  • Refacing does NOT correct issues with cabinet boxes, such as cracking or bowing. In fact, the repeated stress on the hinges may encourage this behavior.

  • Refacing can be more difficult to find a supplier for or may require a custom builder. Custom cabinet faces can take double or triple the amount of lead time.

  • Refacing does not always allow you to change the type of cabinet in a specific location and you may be stuck with a layout you do not particularly like.

On the top is an older brown flat panel kitchen. On the bottom is a new white shaker kitchen.

When is refacing a good fit for me?

  • You like your current cabinet layout.

  • Your current cabinetry structure is quality.

  • You wish to keep your current countertop and tile for 5+ years.

  • You want to have minimum down-time (the refacing process will take weeks and installation will take days but you will be able to use your kitchen throughout the process).

  • You have solid wood cabinetry and do not want to waste the materials.

When is refacing a bad fit for me?

  • You wish to change your kitchen's current layout (moving appliances, walls, etc).

  • Poor existing cabinet structure.

  • If you want to get new cabinets and countertops from Pius for less than refacing.



Definition: Replacing your cabinets is the most involved method but also gives you the most customization options. While it can be a large project, replacing cabinets is the most likely to give you the closest match to the kitchen you are hoping to achieve.

On the left is an orange wood flat panel kitchen labeled 'before'. On the right is a white shaker kitchen with black drawers labeled 'after'.


  • Replacing cabinets allows you to customize your kitchen to your life: change sizes, add drawers, accessories such as spice racks and in-cabinet trash receptacles

  • Make your kitchen a true gathering and entertaining space by adding islands and/or peninsulas

  • Replacing cabinets allows you to swap out old, damaged, or subpar cabinets with higher quality materials (dovetail drawers, soft-close hardware, etc.)

  • Replacing cabinets is a sure-fire way to add equity into your home.

  • Pius pricing makes new cabinetry materials affordable and accessible, costing less than refacing or as much as painting some times


  • Replacing cabinets takes the most downtime and new layouts require new electrical, plumbing and flooring

  • Replacing cabinets can result in other work being required, such as replacing drywall in previously hidden areas.

  • Replacing cabinets means you must also replace your countertop and backsplash tile, as it is nearly always damaged upon removal.

  • This is the least eco-friendly option - you can offset this by selling your old cabinetry online or donating them to a charity, like Habitat for Humanity.

The top is labeled 'before' and shows a white u shaped kitchen. The bottom is labeled 'after' and shows a larger white kitchen with a grey island.

When is replacing a good fit for me?

  • You would like a new layout.

  • You dislike the material or build of your current cabinets.

  • You have damaged cabinets.

  • You are making structural changes in your kitchen.

When is replacing a bad fit for me?

  • You are on a very tight budget.

  • You need use of your kitchen during the replacement process.

  • You are looking for a stress-free remodel with as few decisions as possible.


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