When is it best to refinish your outdoor cabinets?

in General Outdoor Advice

If your outdoor kitchen is looking tired, worn, or just old …

When you look at it you think that it’s time for a change of scenery. Maybe you’ve been thinking about refinishing (putting on just the cabinet fronts) or re-hauling (hiring a professional to redo the whole thing) them. But your outdoor kitchen cabinets just seem difficult to tackle. Limited budgets, time, and knowledge all add up to you questioning whether you can get the job done yourself or if you should outsource it to a local cabinet specialist.

To better help you make this choice, consider these three questions:

Is your kitchen relatively new?

Refinishing your outdoor cabinets makes sense if the rest of your kitchen is new. If your home was built ten years ago and has nice appliances, solid wood fixtures, and nice counters, a new set of cabinet fronts can substantially improve the value and look of your kitchen. Appraisers say that a new kitchen can pay an ROI of as much as 125% if your home is sold within the next five years.

If your kitchen is a bit older, spending the money to put new cabinet fronts in while leaving the rest may be like putting lipstick on a horse. Be sure that if you refinish cabinets yourself that you look into comprehensive alternatives. If all you put up is a new coat of paint, all it will look like is a new coat of paint.

Is your kitchen your dream design?

Are your kitchen cabinets, dishwashers, storage, pantry, or sink arranged in your dream configuration? Do you have to go back inside to get to the nearest fridge? Or are there some cabinets or items you’ve been wanting to change?

If you answered yes to the first question it probably makes more sense to just refinish your cabinet doors rather than completely remodel. As a general rule: kitchen cabinets can be replaced or updated when the structural framework of the outdoor area is staying the same.

Likewise, when changing the layout of your kitchen it is the perfect time to overhaul your cabinets. If you don’t love the layout of your kitchen, it’s probably a safe bet to just overhaul the whole thing — otherwise you may end up frustrated with the same old architecture, but just new facade.

Are you handy and determined?

Overhauling your outdoor cabinets isn’t exactly as easy as, say, changing your oil. Between sanding, veneers, specialty hinges, and glass sheets, there are many ways to make a mistake — and beauty in architecture stems from absolute precision.

That being said, if you are handy with a saw, have a knack for measuring again, and again, and again before you cut, and are feeling especially detail-oriented, refinishing your own cabinets can save you a lot of money. But more than money, you will gain a valuable skill that gives you the confidence to fix those pesky cabinets when they start squeaking or coming unhinged in a few years.

Bonus: by doing it yourself you can create some great memories grilling as you work with your family.

Go get ’em

What makes you hopeful or fearful of refinishing your own outdoor kitchen’s cabinets? Did I miss anything that you think is a higher priority than what was mentioned?

Let me know in the comments!

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