Buying kitchen cabinet replacement doors is an effective way to get the look of an upgraded kitchen without the sticker shock of a whole new cabinet system. It basically involves buying new doors to replace the old ones on your existing cabinets.
It sounds simple and it certainly beats the disruption and cost of tearing out old cabinets and buying new ones. But there's a few things you'll want to know about before you quickly go and unhinge your existing cabinet doors. So read on to find out if replacing the cabinet doors is a good strategy for your situation.
Note: In case you come across some terms on this page like "thermofoil" and you're not sure what they mean, take a look at our kitchen cabinet glossary. There you'll find an alphabetical list of terms commonly used in the 'cabinet-speak' language.
If replacing your kitchen cabinet doors sounds like kitchen cabinet refacing, you're right. It is
The only caveat is that you'll have to match the color of the new doors (stained or painted) to the rest of the cabinetry, or be happy with as close a match as you can achieve.So when does it make sense to take this route over buying new cabinets altogether or opting for a more in-depth cabinet refinishing? Consider these reasons:
Perhaps you've lived with raised panel doors but now prefer the look of Shaker styling. Changing the doors can achieve that for you. (New drawer fronts may be needed if you choose a door style that's a complete departure from your current drawers or not compatible from a style perspective).
Maybe you've decided to paint your cabinets white. Rather than dealing with stripping and painting the existing doors, you can choose to buy white rigid thermofoil (RTF) doors that will also provide an easily-maintained surface.
There are also thermofoil doors that mimic the look of wood grain and actually come pretty close to the look of finished wood. There again, if you're not refacing your cabinet boxes, you'll be faced with matching your new doors to the rest of the cabinets and drawers.
Keep in mind that this assumes you're happy with your existing cabinet layout and that they're in good structural condition. If you think you need more extensive refurbishment like new drawers, drawer fronts, a change of wood (different color, grain prominence), etc., you may want to investigate the kitchen refacing route.
The benefits of replacing just the cabinet doors are several:
Once you've decided that replacing the kitchen cabinet doors is a good option for you, you'll need to determine . . .
The nature of replacement kitchen cabinet doors is that it's fairly do-it-yourself-friendly (DIY). Depending on how handy you are, and/or how motivated you are to save some money, replacing the cabinet doors yourself is an option worth considering.
One way to buy replacement cabinet doors is by working with a local cabinet shop. The benefit here is that they're local and you have the ability to communicate and do business face to face. It may also be easier to match your existing cabinet color if you can show them an existing door or have them come out to your home.
The downside of working with a local shop is that most shops are in the business of making whole cabinets and may not even make their own doors, contracting out to manufacturers that specialize exclusively in the production of cabinet doors.
As a result, the local cabinet shop's cost may not be as competitive as the online sellers of replacement cabinet doors due to the realities of volume sales and specialization that the door manufacturers have. However it's worth checking into.
If you're not inclined to replace your cabinet doors yourself, there are still a couple of options open to you:
If you're thinking about replacing your kitchen cabinet doors there are some things you'll want to consider first, particularly if you're going to buy online.
Unfinished doors allow you to stain or paint them yourself but you'll have the same task of trying to match the cabinet color. Also, if you opt for unfinished doors, find out if the doors have already been pre-sanded or if you'll have to do the sanding that's required to prep the wood for the paint or stain.
You may also have to drill the holes for the door handles since their location is often times discretionary, based on the customer's desired location.
How you take the measurements will also vary based on whether you have framed or frameless doors. Be sure to take note of the type of cabinets you have (framed or frameless) and the specific measurement instructions provided by the door company. If you need some help understanding what framed and frameless cabinets look like, see the cabinet construction page for an explanation.
Companies that do business primarily through the internet usually make efforts to ease these types of concerns with potential customers by providing information on their security policies as well as offering several ways for communication such as a phone number, email and fax.
Check to see if they participate with the BBBOnLine®, the online extension of the Better Business Bureau. Companies that participate typically display the BBBOnLine® symbol on their website. You can also check to see a company's record and/or see whether they're even affiliated with the BBBOnLine® on their website at BBBOnline.
One final note about online purchases is that major credit cards have buyer-protection policies designed to protect you in the event of fraud.
Custom-made replacement doors are usually not returnable for reasons other than manufacturing or shipping damage. If you're ordering custom doors (doors that are not regularly on the retailer's shelf stock) make sure you've given them the right measurements and double-checked your order.
You'll also be responsible for inspecting the doors upon receipt as well as unloading them from the truck (in the US, based on US Interstate Commerce Commission regulations).
Cabinet Refacing - Here's another way to refresh your existing cabinets. Discover what's involved with cabinet refacing and whether it's an option for you.
Cabinet Knobs & Pulls - If you get new cabinet doors you might want new knobs. However there's more to cabinet hardware than just how they look. Learn more in this article on choosing new knobs and pulls.
Kitchen Cabinet Hinges - Cabinet hinges come in various styles with different levels of functionality. Find out what's involved in choosing new cabinet hinges.