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Many people get their kitchen cabinets “refaced” and then … thanks to all the money they saved — buy brand new counter tops. Re-facing just means that the existing cabinets are re-used and only the doors, vertical surfaces, and hinges are replaced.

Much of the newer cabinet product found at “home improvement” retail super stores is pasteboard, thin, cheaply laminated — and real junk.

It really can be a good idea to save the older real wood cabinets that you already have and just put on new exterior surfaces and new doors / hinges. Almost 90% of what you see in your kitchen are the doors. Replacing the doors is not a bad deal at all.

There are other benefits to using the existing cabinets. They are already there so you will have no new holes in the walls and no new floor covering is needed. Further, “Mrs. Housewife” won’t be getting “hubby” to pay for moving plumbing and electrical outlets if she just gets new a new “face” for her kitchen and not everything moved around in some kind of frenzied nesting behaviour.

A full blown money-theft $25,000 list price reface job can still be $60,000 less than many kitchen remodels where the cabinets, counters, plumbing, and floor are replaced.

Some people go nuts and start thinking about a new stove, rangetop, dishwasher, and refrigerator. A replacement stove can be $2,000 to $5,000. A rangetop can be $1,000 or more (and another $1,000 for the fan). A dishwasher can be $1,000. A refrigerator can be $1,500 to $7,000. And as mentioned elsewhere, price is no real measure of lasting quality. There are $5,000 “commercial style ranges” out there that stay broken for months because no replacement parts are available. The big problem with a complete makeover is that if you want to replace the range and cook top then you better have the dimensions of those new appliances ready before the salesman arrives.

One more warning. If you plan to install a gas range or stovetop then you really better find out if you have the gas supply already in the kitchen to handle it. Most people pass gas out their own bottoms at a higher pressure than that coming out of a standard gas line. If you install some gas range and turn on all the burners you can demand so much gas that the pilot light on your home’s water heater may go out. Flick a light switch on, make a spark, and you might remodel your home in one huge blast. You may have to run a separate gas line directly from the gas meter to the stove … and that might cost more than the new stove.

If the salesman is here to sell you kitchen cabinets and counter tops then he must measure your cabinets and counter tops.

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