When it comes time to update your old, tired cabinets, you may be wondering which option is more affordable – refinishing or replacing. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll explain the differences between these two methods, and provide an overview of the costs and factors involved.

Refinish vs. Replace: Understanding the Differences


Refinishing your cabinets involves keeping the existing lower and upper framework, doors, and drawers. The process includes sanding down the old finish so that new paint or stain can adhere properly. In rooms with high moisture levels, like bathrooms or kitchens, a final clear finish may be applied over the paint or stain to provide extra protection.


Replacing cabinets entails removing all the bases and upper frameworks, including the doors and drawers. This major renovation project involves extensive demolition but offers the opportunity to choose an entirely new cabinet design and configuration.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Between Refinishing and Replacing

To choose between refinishing or replacing, consider the following questions:

  • Do you want a completely new look that refinishing can’t achieve?
  • How much time do you have for the project?
  • Are you concerned about the mess involved?
  • Can you refinish your cabinets yourself, or do you need a professional?

The Cost of Refinishing vs. Replacing Cabinets

Refinishing cabinets is generally cheaper than replacing them. Painting costs are typically ⅓ to ½ less than replacing cabinets. Factors affecting the cost of each method include:

Refinishing Costs

  • Time savings: Hiring a professional to refinish your cabinets can save time compared to doing it yourself.
  • Less hassle: Refinishing is less disruptive than replacing cabinets, as it doesn’t involve demolition.
  • Durability: Modern paints and stains offer excellent durability, and advanced repair methods can fix imperfections in your existing cabinets.
  • Aesthetic variety: Painting provides various looks, from solid colors and accent colors to faux finishes and rustic styles.
  • Simplified planning: Refinishing doesn’t require complex planning or modifications to plumbing and wiring.

Replacing Costs

  • Updating outdated designs: Replacing cabinets allows you to choose a more contemporary design if your current cabinets are outdated.
  • Increasing storage capacity: Modern cabinet designs focus on maximizing storage, which may not be possible with your existing cabinets.
  • Changing room configuration: Replacing cabinets lets you reconfigure your kitchen or bathroom layout to better suit your needs.
  • Overall cost: The average cost of a kitchen remodel involving cabinet replacement ranges from $30,000 to over $75,000.

Making the Right Choice for Your Cabinets

While refinishing is more cost-effective and less disruptive than replacing cabinets, replacement may be the better option if you’re looking to increase your home’s equity, need more storage, or want to update an outdated design. Before deciding, carefully assess your budget and goals for the project.

Trust Great Guys Painting for Your Cabinet Refinishing Needs

Great Guys Painting connects you with reliable, licensed, and insured professional painters for expert kitchen or bathroom cabinet refinishing. Save time and ensure the job is done right by hiring a professional through Great Guys Painting.


Get free quotes from top professional painters near you with Great Guys Painting. Request a free quote now and transform your cabinets with confidence!