How to Update Old Kitchen Cabinets

The question, "How to Update Old Kitchen Cabinets?" comes up frequently at Painterati, so here is our answer. There are various options on how to update old kitchen cabinets, Refinishing & Replacing are the two we suggest. To help homeowners choose the best option for them we have outlined the differences, processes, and examples of Refinishing and Replacing Kitchen Cabinets.


Cabinets Before Refinish

Cabinets after Refinish


Cabinet Before Replacement

After Replacement

Refinishing Pros

  • Less Expensive
  • Shorter Time Period
  • More Functional Kitchen during Process

Refinishing Cons

  • Less Design Options
  • Cannot change cabinet layout
  • Cannot Change Cabinet Elements

Replacing Pros

  • More Design Options
  • Less In-Home Demo
  • More down time where kitchen is operable
  • Allows for cabinet layout adjustment
  • Can design Cabinet styles
    • Cabinet depth, built in dividers, pullout drawers etc.

Replacing Cons

  • More Expensive
  • Longer Time Period
  • Less Functional Kitchen During Process
    • May have to unplug and move appliances.

Process of Refinishing

Step 1) Prep Work and Drawer and Door Removal

Step 2) Spray Frames and Boxes

  • Spraying can last on avearge between 2-4 days.

Step 3) Removal of Prep Work and Begin Painting

Step 4) Installation of Refinished Drawers and Doors

*Average projects last anywhere from 3-4 weeks. This includeds the 3 weeks for the cabinets to be properly refinished and one week of down time.*

Process of Replacing

Step 1) Finalize Measurements and Kitchen Layout

Step 2) Order Custom Cabinets from Builder or Supplier

  • Wait 6-8 weeks for cabinet to come in

Step 3) Demo Existing Kitchen

  • Remove old cabinet structures, change kitchen layout, install appliances

Step 4) Replace and Install New Cabinet Structures

Step 5) Begin Prep work for Spraying

Step 6) Spray Cabinet structures

  • This may take 2-4 days

Step 7) Deprep and being Painting

Step 8) Install New Cabinet Doors and Drawers

* This process takes an average of 12-14 wees with one week down time and 6-8 weeks of waiting for cabinet arrival*

For more information and details about replacing or refinishing your cabinets with Painterati Click Here

Information provided in this post was sourced directly from Painterati and Home Repair Geek.

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