Old Doors: Strip and Re-Finish, or Replace?

      Opinions vary about whether it's cheaper to replace a cabinet door or re-finish it. October 1, 2010

I have a customer who wants to have her kitchen doors and drawer fronts refinished. I gave her a quote for refacing them but she would rather have them refinished because of the cost. The house has a foundation problem and she is afraid she will not get the money back from the kitchen when she sells the house. I just want to direct her to the most cost efficient and ethical way. The house was built in the late 70's and the cabinets are original. They are not in bad shape, just worn. Any advice?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor G:
Define refinish. A light scuff and a new clear coat, or a full strip and new stain and clear?

From the original questioner:
Because the doors and drawer fronts are worn I assume I would have to completely strip them and then stain and clear coat.

From contributor K:
I can build you a door in ten minutes, or strip one in an hour. Which one do you think would be less expensive? The thought that stripping an old door is saving money is nuts.

From contributor B:
Re-staining the old worn out cabinets can bring a fresh look for a minimal investment of materials, time and effort.

From contributor G:
Even dip stripping is pretty labor intensive, and stripping doesn't always remove the stain, just the coating.

From contributor W:
Just so you know:
20 plus cabinet doors can stripped in an hour, removing the finish and the old stain at the same time. As in any endeavor, the key is in having the right equipment and the knowledge to use it.

Just as cabinetmaking requires an investment in the tools of that trade to be efficient, productive, and etc., so too does an investment need to be made if one wants to add a finishing/refinishing segment to one's business. Adding color and top-coat may be a perfectly fine solution to the problem. Why not take the doors to a local, well-equipped refinishing shop for stripping, then you do the refinishing?

From contributor D:
It has been my experience (25 plus years) that you cannot build a door less expensive than it can be stripped, period! The raw materials and time required make it impossible. You can buy doors from a large manufacturer of doors, such as Conestoga Cabinetry, at a price that makes sense to replace the doors and drawer heads instead of stripping. As already stated, proper tools and knowledge to use said tools is a key component in any service business.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: Refinishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article