Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Material Choices

Let’s talk kitchen cabinet refacing material choices.

Changing up the look of a home kitchen may at first seem like a daunting or expensive task. But updating cabinets by refacing them, rather than replacing them, dramatically reduces costs and provides a beautiful, contemporary result in a short amount of time.

Kitchen cabinet refacing is one of the most popular home renovation projects for owners, due to its minimal mess and highly visual result.

When starting a remodeling project, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is selecting the material.

There are four main options, and each has its own list of pros and cons. Here is an overview of the common materials used for cabinet refacing and what each has to offer.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Material Choices


The simplest, swiftest and cheapest way to update kitchen cabinets is to use lacquer. But it’s not quite as simple as painting over the current doors and calling it a good job.

Home owners should only consider lacquer if their current cabinets are in great shape, and they love the style of the door fronts but want to update the color alone. Door fronts and drawers are removed during this process, sanded down and applied with a fresh lacquer, paint or stain. The cabinet boxes must also be stained and refreshed. Replacing the pulls and hardware with modern designs will finish off the look.

We completed an article on how to paint your kitchen cabinets here.

Rigid Thermofoils

The next step up from lacquer, RTF changes the style and color of cabinets. It’s malleable and moldable, so it can take on a variety of stylish shapes found on panels, including arched, cathedral and raised. While it looks like wood from a distance, up close RTF is clearly an inorganic material. However, it’s a fantastic option for homes with rowdy children, as it’s both durable and easy to clean. But, a professional must install RTF fronts. As is the case with lacquer refacings, RTF updates also call for the replacement of hardware and pulls for a truly impressive and contemporary result.

PVC or Laminate

Laminate has a much more wood-realistic finish than RTF, making it one of the most popular options for kitchen cabinet refacing. Though it’s a bit pricier than RTF, it’s still considerably cheaper than using real wood, without sacrificing much in the way of appearance. Laminates also come in many more solid colors than RTF, allowing the home owner greater versatility in design. Installing PVC veneers is doable for novices, but professionals ensure a quicker turnaround time, and many businesses offer start-to-finish services.


WoodNothing compares with the gorgeous natural character of real wood, not even the best laminates. Though undoubtedly more expensive than the other three options, using wood for kitchen cabinet refacing is still 50-60% cheaper than replacing the cabinets entirely. Almost any type of wood, including maple, oak, pine and cherry, is available, and it adds a richness that is timeless.

Get a Consultation for Your Cabinets

The first step in inexpensively refreshing the look of the kitchen is updating the cabinets with modern colors and materials.

Contact us today to get a consultation for kitchen remodeling that fits in your budget.