Painting Ideas & Tips
  • August 17, 2023
  • Home Renovations

How Much Does It Cost To Refinish Kitchen Cabinets?

Refinishing cabinets is often less expensive than replacing them. An older kitchen can be updated and completely transformed with cabinet refinishing without spending money on a complete kitchen design. Refinishing includes removing the old stain or paint, making any necessary repairs, sanding the surface, and then applying new stain, paint, or varnish. Geographical location, cabinet type, and refinishing product can all affect labour expenses. This article will help you to get an idea about how much does it cost to refinish kitchen cabinets.

Cabinet Refinishing vs Refacing

While the two words sound similar, Cabinet refacing and cabinet refinishing have different costs and steps to be followed.

Cabinet Refinishing

Refinishing is an excellent choice if your cabinets are sturdy wood and in good condition. Refinishing your worn-out cabinets is an affordable and fast approach to giving them new life. The procedure includes sanding, washing, and stripping before painting or staining. Hiring a cabinet refinishing expert will cost between $4 and $10 per square foot.

Cabinet Refacing

Compared to cabinet refinishing, cabinet refacing involves more labour and is more expensive. With cabinet refacing, you preserve your current cabinet boxes but remove all cabinet doors and drawers and replace them with new ones. Due to the need to modify the existing cabinet boxes to match the new door colours, this process takes longer. Costs for cabinet refacing typically range from $4,300 to $10,000.

Factors Which Affect the Cost of Refinishing Cabinets

When refinishing cabinets, several factors have to be considered. Prices may vary from the average depending on the cabinet finish, the number and size of cabinets, the location and type of cabinets, the complexity of the project, and the cost of labour in that area.

Type of Finish

The type of finish determines how much a cabinet has to be refinished. The labour cost will rise because some finishes require more application time and effort. Cabinets must first be painted or stained off before being refinished. The entire cost of the refinishing project is impacted by the paint or stain quality, and it also consumes more time.

Number and Size of Cabinets

The total cost depends on how many cabinets need to be refinished. Homeowners are likely to pay between $4 and $25 per square foot, depending on the type and finishing of the cabinets. The cost of the job will increase as more cabinets are refinished. Larger cabinets will have a higher labour cost since they take time to strip, sand, and refinish.

Cabinet Location

Although kitchen cabinets are the most frequently refinished type, many homeowners also use cabinets in other parts of the house. The most typical locations for cabinets are specified here, along with an estimate of how much it will cost to refinish them there.

  • Kitchen cabinets: Kitchen materials usually cover 150 square feet, and labour costs to refinish kitchen cabinets can range from $1,500 to $5,000 per job. The kitchen is the room in the house with the most cabinets and is where cabinets are often refinished.
  • Bathroom cabinets: The amount of cabinets is substantially less in bathrooms than in kitchens because bathrooms are often much smaller. Bathroom cabinet refinishing projects can cost somewhere between $200 and $2,000.
  • Office cabinets: Since office area cabinets don’t experience heat and moisture as frequently as kitchen or bathroom cabinets, refinishing projects there are less common. Cabinet refinishing expenses for a medium-sized office can range from $500 to $2,000.

Material of the Cabinets

Some materials are easier when it comes to cabinets. Solid wood cabinets are simpler to refinish and stain than those constructed of other materials. With the correct preparation, painting laminated doors and drawer fronts is easy. If a homeowner is set on staining non-wood materials, getting the desired finish will take much longer and cost much more money.

The Complexity of the Project

Labour costs will be greater because it takes longer to sand, strip, and refinish cabinets with complex trim and detailing. Refinishing will cost more because more complicated cabinet types demand more skill.


For cabinet refinishing, labour rates typically vary from $35 to $75 per hour, with an average project labour cost of $500 to $1,000. The labour cost depends on the project’s complexity, the type of cabinets, the type of refinishing products being used, and the home’s location. Overall, labour and material expenses in densely populated urban areas are higher than in more rural parts of the country.

Additional Costs and Considerations

Homeowners need to be aware of any additional project expenses when planning for the cost of refinishing cabinets.

Preparation and Repair

The cabinets must be prepared before any refinishing. Wood will require the most time-consuming preparation of all cabinet materials, and some will require more. To paint cabinets, the cabinet doors, drawers, and boxes must be stripped of any previous paint or stain, any holes or cracks must be fixed, and the cabinet boxes must be repaired if necessary. If the cabinets require significant repairs, the expense of fixing them should be considered.


Adding distinctive carvings or finishing touches to cabinets will raise the cost of the work. If under-cabinet lighting is added, it can cost around $230 and $300 per bulb, and extensive customizations can cost up to $5,000.

Additional Projects

Since the kitchen won’t be useable while it’s being refinished, now is a good opportunity to finish other tasks. Many homeowners use this opportunity to paint the kitchen or install new backsplashes or appliances.

Types of Cabinet Refinishing

The cost of the project depends on the type of cabinet refinishing. The cabinets must be stripped, sanded, painted, stained, glazed, varnished, or shellacked. Cabinets are often stripped using a chemical stripper, which requires proper ventilation and the wearing of safety equipment such as gloves and a respirator mask. Each finish has its procedure, price, and advantages.


Cabinet staining charges vary from $1,500 to $5,000 or $4 to $10 per square foot. The number of cabinets and their type affect the final price. Sanding cabinets covered with a veneer layer takes longer than sanding solid-wood cabinets. Solid-wood cabinets should generally refinish rather than cabinets made of veneer or laminate.


Although many paint colours are available, painting kitchen cabinets often costs more than staining them; changing the colour of kitchen cabinets is simple. Cabinet painting typically costs $6 to $14 per square foot. Choosing the proper paint for cabinets can help stop peeling and chipping brought on by frequent use.


Varnishing is the best way to safeguard wood cabinets from scratches and stains. Before varnishing wood cabinets, you must strip, clean, and sand your cabinet doors and drawers. After that, you’ll cover the wood with a varnish finish which can be polyurethane or conversion. Your cabinets will last longer if you varnish them, and hiring a professional would cost you between $6 and $16 per square foot.


Glazing is the ideal technique to achieve the antique look of cabinets. Your cabinets will be stripped, cleaned, sanded, and painted throughout the glazing process. Your cabinet doors and drawers will be coated with a semi-transparent glossy solution after the paint has dried. Professional cabinet glazing should cost between $10 and $25 per square foot.


A semi-transparent, high-gloss treatment called shellacking gives the wood a warm appearance. Before shellacking them, you must strip, clean, and sand your cabinet doors and drawers. Applying a natural shellacking finish will be next. You should plan between $6 and $16 per square foot for professional refinishing on this endeavour.

When Do You Need to Refinish the Cabinets?

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is one of the most affordable ways to update them. The greatest kitchen cabinets are significantly more expensive to install from scratch than strip, sand, stain, or paint. If the kitchen cabinets look outdated, have peeling paint, have been exposed to moisture, have an outdated design, and the doors and drawers don’t work properly, it’s time for a cabinet makeover. Executive Touch Painters have over 30 years of experience in home renovations and painting, making your work easier, clean and provide you with the desired output. For more details, don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (416) 410-0164 for a free estimate.