Our neighbors had their kitchen cabinets refaced but were told that some would eventually need replacing anyway since the shells had lost integrity. We're looking at refacing with new veneer and plan to bring people in for quotes. What should we look for if a contractor tells us we need new cabinets entirely?
Kimberly D. ~ Des Moines, Iowa
It would be very surprising if your existing cabinet shells had lost their structural integrity. Even inexpensive cabinets constructed with composition board shells generally last many years. Cabinet shells do not receive much use after they are installed. Opening and closing cabinet doors is the main burden on cabinets.
If you do not see any large new cracks or splits on the inside of the cabinet, it is probably in decent shape. Keep in mind that when installers are screwing the cabinets to the wall, or to each other, they sometimes cause small splits in the cabinet frames, so these are not unusual.
The reason most people replace their cabinets is because they want new cabinets, different sizes, or a different layout. Very seldom are cabinets replaced due to their losing structural integrity, unless there has been flooding of some sort.