My house was custom build by the owner in 1965. He was a local builder well
known for his custom work, and it shows in the house. The kitchen cabinets,
at least the doors and drawer faces, have just about had it, though. They
are pretty well beat up, even though I did refinish them about six years
ago. It's all simple wear and tear, but there's superficial damage to the
wood all around. An open wall in the kitchen, and the laundry room behind
it are all knotty pine tongue and groove, and those surfaces match the
knotty pine cabinetry.
As far as I can tell, the cabinets themselves are all sound. Has anyone
used one of the refinishing companies to just replace doors, drawer fronts
and hardware? Results? Remember, these were custom built to begin with, so
if I were to go with all new I'd face getting custom ones built again, and
the likelihood that I'd have to re-do ALL the pine work (which I may have to
I had a guy come out to estimate the resurfacing last year. He took all the
measurements, said he could get a new finish to match the old that would be
close enough nobody could tell. He never got back to me, and I learned
later that he had a stroke, so I've let this go another year. Now I really
have to do something, but this is new territory for me, and I'm surrounded
by newer homes so nobody knows nada.
Any advice will be appreciated.
Oh, low cost is not the primary objective here. I want to do the right
thing while getting value for the money I do spend.
Low cost and actual value may be miles apart.
In our old house, we had a gent come in and veneer our existing cabinets and
install new doors and drawers. He also built a new cabinet for the other
side of the kitchen. Truthfully, I wasn't real thrilled with a couple of
the veneered places, but the overall job was fantastic. The work he did
wasn't cheap, but it was quality. We also had new Corian countertops
installed and I installed undercounter lights and a tile backsplash.
A neighbor had the same thing done by another company and hated it from the
minute the sales weasel walked in the door to the time we moved out. The
only thing she did like was the price...
I would 'interview' whomever you choose, should you go that route instead of
doing it yourself. Get references and check them. Ask the references if
that company or person did work for others not on the list.
I would recommend refinishing if you had not done so recently. We
almost bought all new cabinets, then decided on refacing and new doors
and drawers. Hubby's choice was Sears, which would not have been my
choice. Some folks thought the price high, but we had the situation you
have - exceedingly good quality construction all around, same age, and
built in place cabinets. Nothing wrong with our thick plywood cabinets
other than tired looking style and finish. We kept the old hardware,
from DARK formica cabinets to use on new light maple; looks great.
The craftsman that Sears sent was super, all way around. In mid-job, we
decided on new sink. Plumber had trouble seating sink, was not going to
use fasteners because it was friday and he did not want to shop for the
right size fastener. It "popped" about 1/2" on one end and he was going
to glue it down :o) Not in my house :o) Call to Sears got that fixed
right away. We had a call back for a drawer that was just a tad too
narrow and did not stay on the track. They fixed it right away.
Another, later, did the same - I fixed it myself by placing a couple of
washers between the track and the frame to hold it at the right width
for the drawer. Small trim strips are not real wood - pressed cardboard
with paper covering to match cabinet.
We used the same handles because the style is right and they are quality
brushed nickle or whatever. Just cleaned 'em. Saved a bit of $, too.
The door and drawer hardware they use seems substantial and of good quality.
We don't have real wood finish - forget what they call it. It may be
too delicate for some families, especially with kids. We feel that we
got the best of both worlds - custom cabinets, brand new hardware and
outside. I painted the insides, and they look fine. Prime, two coats
of alkyd semi-gloss - cure well before replacing contents.
Consumer Reports probably has rated cabinet finishers and finishes;
check it out.
I have seen refacing jobs that are embarrassing for the homeowner.
However, I have refaced cabinets myself that were beautiful and you
basically could not tell theat they had been refaced. My opinion is
that a contractor that does ONLY refacing would probably do a better
job than a general contractor. You have no idea of the experience
level of a GC's work crew.
Knotty pine is pretty soft. You should consider changing to a maple,
oak or cherry during your resurfacing.
For resurfacing, all the doors are custom made (depending on company,
Sears uses Melamine, not real wood, but you can get real wood doors
from several companies). If you want to match the finish, and replace
with knotty pine doors and drawer fronts again, you'll have to go
really really custom. Go to a kitchen cabinet store, give them one of
the doors for finish matching, and they can order for you. I did that
on one project, and the result was perfect.
The other thing to consider is to do the refacing yourself. The
work's not hard, and can be fun because the results are so
spectacular. And you will save a small fortune: a HD quote for
19,000 refacing job was done for 3600 cost. Simple high-school shop
techniques are used, there are books and probably postings on how to
do it well.
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