cabinet refacing

What happens to the old cabinet materials during refacing?

Cabinet refacing is a popular and cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh look without the expense and hassle of a complete remodel. This process involves updating the exterior of your cabinets by replacing doors, drawer fronts, and applying a new veneer to the existing cabinet boxes. But what happens to the old cabinet materials during refacing? Understanding how these materials are managed, from removal and recycling to repurposing, is crucial for homeowners looking to make environmentally responsible choices. In this article, Top Refinish help you to explores the various steps and practices involved in handling old cabinet materials during the refacing process, ensuring a sustainable and efficient kitchen transformation.

Removal of Old Doors and Drawer Fronts

The first step in cabinet refacing involves removing the old doors and drawer fronts. These components are typically the most visible parts of the cabinets and tend to show signs of wear and aging over time. They are carefully detached from the cabinet boxes to make way for their replacements.

Old doors and drawer fronts are usually discarded since they are being replaced with new ones that match the updated style and finish of the refaced cabinets. This step is crucial in refreshing the appearance of the cabinets, giving them a modern and cohesive look.

Veneering of Cabinet Boxes

Once the old doors and drawer fronts are removed, the next step is to reface the cabinet boxes themselves. This is done by applying a thin layer of veneer over the existing cabinet frames. Veneer is a thin layer of wood or laminate that is adhered to the surface of the cabinet boxes, covering the old finish and providing a new surface for the updated look.

The veneering process allows the original cabinet boxes to be reused, minimizing waste and reducing the environmental impact of the renovation. It is a sustainable practice that retains the structural integrity of the cabinets while giving them a fresh appearance.

Recycling and Disposal

During cabinet refacing, recycling and responsible disposal of old materials are key considerations. Many refacing companies have recycling programs in place to ensure that materials such as metal hardware, old doors, and drawer fronts are recycled where possible.

Wood materials can often be repurposed or recycled into other products, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. Responsible disposal practices are crucial in minimizing the environmental impact of home renovations and ensuring that materials are handled in accordance with local regulations.

Repurposing of Old Materials

In some cases, old cabinet materials can be repurposed for other projects or donated to organizations that accept building materials. Salvage yards may accept old doors and drawer fronts, particularly if they are in good condition and can be resold or reused by others.

Repurposing old materials is a sustainable practice that reduces waste and extends the lifecycle of building materials. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to disposal and can benefit community organizations or individuals in need of affordable building supplies.

Environmental Considerations

Cabinet refacing is recognized as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional kitchen remodeling. By reusing existing cabinet boxes and minimizing waste, refacing reduces the demand for new materials and reduces the environmental impact of home renovations.

Choosing materials that are certified as sustainable and responsibly sourced can further enhance the environmental benefits of cabinet refacing. Many refacing companies offer eco-friendly options, such as low-VOC finishes and materials made from recycled content, to reduce the carbon footprint of the renovation.

Local Regulations and Best Practices

It’s important to consider local regulations and best practices when handling old cabinet materials during refacing. Recycling and disposal practices may vary depending on your location, so it’s advisable to work with a refacing company that follows environmental guidelines and regulations.

By choosing a reputable refacing company with a commitment to sustainability, you can ensure that old cabinet materials are handled responsibly and in compliance with local laws. This helps to protect the environment and minimize the impact of home renovations on the community.

Assessment and Preparation

Before beginning the refacing process, a professional assesses the condition of the existing cabinets. This includes checking the structural integrity of the cabinet boxes and determining which components can be reused or recycled.

Preparation involves removing the old hardware, such as hinges and handles, and cleaning the surfaces to ensure the new veneers adhere properly. This step ensures that the refacing process goes smoothly and that the new materials are applied to a clean, stable surface.

Customization and Design

One of the benefits of cabinet refacing is the ability to customize the design to match the homeowner’s preferences. New doors, drawer fronts, and veneers are selected based on style, color, and material, ensuring a cohesive and modern look for the kitchen.

Customization options may include choosing different types of wood for the veneers, selecting hardware in various finishes, or adding decorative elements such as glass inserts in cabinet doors. This step allows homeowners to achieve a personalized and updated appearance without the expense of custom cabinets.

Installation of New Materials

Once the old cabinet materials have been assessed and prepared, the new components are installed. This includes attaching the new doors and drawer fronts to the existing cabinet boxes and applying the veneer to the cabinet frames.

Installation is typically done with precision and care to ensure that the new materials fit properly and align correctly. Professional installers use techniques that minimize waste and ensure that the finished cabinets look polished and seamless.

Quality Control and Inspection

After the installation is complete, a quality control check is performed to ensure that the cabinet refacing process has been executed to high standards. This includes inspecting the alignment of doors and drawers, checking for any imperfections in the finish, and ensuring that all hardware functions correctly.

Quality control ensures that the homeowner is satisfied with the final result and that any issues are addressed before the project is considered complete. It is an essential step in delivering a high-quality renovation that meets the expectations of the homeowner.

Maintenance and Care

After cabinet refacing is complete, homeowners are advised on how to maintain and care for their newly refaced cabinets. This includes using appropriate cleaning products, avoiding harsh chemicals that can damage the finish, and ensuring that hardware is tightened and lubricated as needed.

Proper maintenance extends the life of refaced cabinets and ensures that they continue to look their best for years to come. This step is important in protecting the homeowner’s investment and keeping the kitchen looking fresh and updated.

Cost and Value

Compared to a full kitchen remodel, cabinet refacing is a cost-effective option that can provide significant value for homeowners. The cost of refacing is generally lower than replacing cabinets entirely, making it an attractive choice for those looking to update their kitchen on a budget.

Refacing also adds value to the home by modernizing the kitchen and improving its overall appearance. This can be particularly beneficial for homeowners looking to sell their property, as a refreshed kitchen is a major selling point for potential buyers.


In conclusion, cabinet refacing is not only a cost-effective way to modernize your kitchen but also a sustainable choice that minimizes waste. Through careful removal, recycling, and repurposing of old materials, homeowners can achieve a fresh, updated look while being environmentally responsible. The process involves assessing and preparing the existing cabinets, customizing new components, and ensuring quality installation and maintenance. By choosing cabinet refacing, you can enjoy a beautiful, updated kitchen with reduced environmental impact and enhanced value to your home. Whether for aesthetic improvements or to increase property value, cabinet refacing offers a practical and eco-friendly solution for kitchen renovation.

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