Replacing Doors vs. Kitchen Remodel

How much does it really cost to replace the doors and drawer fronts compared to a complete kitchen remodel?

The most common question we get is "How much does it cost?".  The simple answer is - it varies.  Not very clear, is it?  The truth of the matter is that almost all kitchens are different in their own way and have different needs.  Some kitchens may have more drawers than doors, some may have a lot of wall cabinets, thus requiring a lot of doors.  We're going to dig in and give you a real life scenario.  We'll take an online distributor of RTA (Chinese) cabinets and compare it to replacing the doors and drawer fronts you can get from us to see just how much it really costs.

One thing to remember is that the door is the most expensive part of a cabinet.  If you think of what a cabinet is, you'll begin to understand why.  A cabinet is two walls, a back, a bottom piece, and if it's a wall cabinet, a top.  A typical 24" wide, 30" tall wall cabinet requires (2) 12" deep x 30" tall side panels, a 24" wide x 12" deep floor, a 24" wide x 12" deep top and two shelves 12" deep and 23" wide.  The back piece is 24" x 30".  The image below shows just how much is used on a standard 4'x8' piece of plywood (light blue area), commonly used in RTA cabinets.  As you can see, we have the back, two side pieces, a top and a floor piece as well as two shelves.  A sheet of 1/2" birch plywood costs about $40.

Next ,we have to build the Face Frame, or the wood frame that goes around the face of most cabinets.  This requires 4 pieces of solid wood, such as Maple.  (2) 30" long x 1 3/4" wide x 3/4" thick for the side pieces and (2) 26 1/2" x 1 3/4" wide x 3/4" this for the top and bottom pieces.  (2) 8' pieces of 1"x2"x8' solid Maple hardwood costs about $35.  Screws, hinges, shelf clips, wood glue, edge banding and a nail gun or staple gun to hold it all together.  All told, we have maybe $100 in the entire 24"x30" plywood, maple framed cabinet, without a door.

A very popular RTA cabinet distributor, WholesaleCabinets.US, offers a 24" x 30" Shaker cabinet painted white for $269.64.  At the time I took this screen shot, they must have been having a sale and reduced this cabinet price to $210.32.  What's nice about this image is that they tell us exactly how big the doors are so we can plug it right into our Shaker Paint Grade door page and get our price, without a sales gimmick...

Below, we entered the exact size of the doors specified and added the option to Bore for Hinges, which means that the back of the doors will have a hole bored at the top and bottom of the doors so that the hinges can be installed.  Some hinge types do not require this added feature.  If you're not sure what type of hinge you have or if you need to have your doors bored or not, read our DIY-Library section on Hinges.

As you can see, the Paint Grade Shaker doors, bored for hinges, are $34.04 each.  For $68.08, plus shipping, which usually costs less than $20 for two doors.  $88.08 + $100 for the plywood and all parts necessary to build a cabinet costs about $188.08.  The company mentioned, which is one of hundreds that you can find online, seems to be right in line with what it would cost you to build this cabinet.  We did not factor in painting the cabinet white, as theirs is, but we still have some money left over to purchase a quart of paint and a brush...

Now, let's put this into perspective.

Let's say that your kitchen is old and outdated but the cabinets are still in good shape.  You hate to just throw out the good cabinets when they just need to be freshened up, so what would it cost to replace your cabinets and what would it cost to just replace your doors and drawers?  

Continue to our next blog post, Replacing Doors vs. Kitchen Remodel 2.0 to find out the truth!