Over the last several years we have had many customers who put new granite countertops on their old cabinets only to find that the new tops make the old cabinets look really bad. It's kind of like getting a new paint job on a convertible but keeping the old worn out cloth top - the shiny new paint makes the convertible top look even worse in comparison. We helped them out by either refacing the cabinets (new doors on old cabinets) or detailing the existing cabinet fronts (cleaning, repairing, touching up and overcoating the existing doors with a new coat of varnish). Many of these clients said that in retrospect they wished they had replaced the cabinets.
While refacing cabinets is generally less than replacement (but not always) it is more expensive than most people realize. The companies that sell refacing only will often tell you that you are saving over 50% compared to the cost of new cabinets. However, this is seldom true because 80% of the cost of the cabinet is in the front frame and door.
We recently did 2 refacings. One big kitchen (42 doors, 28 drawer fronts, new drawer glides and some modifications) cost $10,500 to reface the old white-washed maple fronts (really yellow and ugly) with glazed cherrywood doors with applied molding (very fancy). To replace the cabinets would have been about $14,000. The other job ran $5,000 (much simpler) but would have only run $6,000 for new cabinets!
Right now we are in the middle of detailing existing oak cabinets for $2900. This involves cleaning and repairing the old oak doors and drawer fronts (about 35 pieces) and applying a new coat of varnish over the old finish to make everything look new. We are also replacing the drawer glides on the existing drawers with full extension side mount glides. These folks were happy with the oak cabinets but wanted them to look new.
If you are thinking of just replacing the countertops consider all of this. We would be glad to help you make the right decision for you by quoting pricing on replacement, refacing and detailing so you have all the information you need.
If you have already replaced your counters we awill be glad to work with you on detailing or refacing. Just call or email us.