rehab ? paint,reface or replace 1970s cabinets - Posted by JD

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on March 18, 2000 at 13:08:37:

See, John, that’s what I’ve been estimating as well. But Steve says he can do it for 1/3 the price. I think he’s saying it’s a combination of cheap labor, contractor’s discount, and a local distributor or factory.



rehab ? paint,reface or replace 1970s cabinets - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on March 16, 2000 at 13:10:49:

I would appreciate any rehabbers viewpoint on what to do for dark (sometimes plastic wood like )1970s type kitchen cabinets.
We currently just replace the countertops and sinks.what would make the most sense considering cost and resale value?
Our homes are in the working middle class range.
Thanks much,Jeff

I’ve replaced and repainted NEVER reface… - Posted by David

Posted by David on March 17, 2000 at 15:38:56:

  1. Refacing is much too expensive. I would never recommend.
  2. I’ll repaint in older, lower priced, and rentals.
  3. In newer, higher priced both resale and rental, I’ll replace. I always buy prefinished and preassembled. Besides Home Depot and Lowe’s, there are 2 factories nearby where I get cabinets.

Tip #1 go for the largest cabinet. a 48" sink base is only a little more than a 36" sink base. always go for the fewest number of cabinets in the largest sizes to keep the price down. Never buy the smallest cabinets, something 6 or 9 inches wide is not worth the money.

Tip# 2 Often never countertops are sufficient. If you are replacing the cabinets consider leaving some blank spaces under the countertop and not filling with base cabinets. This space could be for future dishwasher, space for a waste can, or even bar stools.
The longer countertops give the allusion of more cabinets. Also found a custom countertop place that sells seconds, flaws defects, or just custoimer didn’t pick up. sometimes the bad part is the part I would cut off anyway to fit my job. very reasonable prices.
I’ve bought countertop as low as $2 a foot brand new!
I haul and install.

Tip#3 had a profession spray paint a countertop. They body putty in any cracks, defects etc. with a bondo type material, then spray paint the whole thing with an epoxy paint. I also had them do ceramic tile walls that were unfashionably yellow, not from age that was the original color. The contractor told me that they do lots of work for the big apartment management companies.


I paint them with … - Posted by John J

Posted by John J on March 17, 2000 at 10:37:31:

I have many of those 70’s type cabinets in my rental units. In my more expensive townhomes I use Devoe’s Alkyd paint (from ICI Coatings. It is extemely durable, and easy to touch up. I use a light almond (almost beige) color for the cabinets and an off-white for the doors. In these I also replace the knobs. Look in the store at new cabinets to see what color scheme you like. In my low-income housing projects I use Dutch Boy’s Bath and Kitchen latex paint. It is easier to work with and dries faster than Alkyd.

I lay the doors flat on the floor to avoid sags and runs. Sometimes I thin the paint a bit to get a smoother finish. I also sand lightly before and between primer and finish coat.

The doors (closets, bedrooms, etc.) in these places are of the same vintage and dark color. I paint them with the same almond/beige paint as the cabinets. Looks very attractive and my (prospective) tenants have made favorable comments about it.

I have also learned to install ceramic floor tiles in the kitchens and bathrooms and use 8" beige flume tiles that match the cabinets and doors.

Replace them!!! - Posted by SCook85

Posted by SCook85 on March 16, 2000 at 21:01:50:

Cabinets are cheap. They also help sell a home. Your kitchen is the focal point of every woman who walks through it. New cabinets, new vinyl floor, new counter top and fixtures typically cost no more then $2000 for any kitchen, most can be done for less then that.

If I were going to rent the home out I might not do this.


Re: rehab ? paint,reface or replace 1970s cabinets - Posted by Laure

Posted by Laure on March 16, 2000 at 20:45:38:

Refacing is extremely expensive, in my opinion. I do both painting and replacing. You don’t have to spend 5 or 6k on cabinets. Most of my kitchens run 800 to 1500 on cabinets, depending on the house and the look I want. For rental, I usually paint them white, with new brass knobs and hinges.

Laure :slight_smile:

My Fix on MH kitchen cabinets - Posted by IdahoRob

Posted by IdahoRob on March 16, 2000 at 15:42:09:

I wanted to do something in a Mobile home I was getting ready to do a Lonnie deal on. Mobile homes of the mid 70’s have got to be the most ugly of cabinets. The sellers had done a nice up date in the living room. But the capinets needed something to make them look good and updated. The old look had plastic dark brown molding around each door-----some was missing.

So our answer was to wash and sand the cabinets, paint them white and cut oak molding I bought at home depot to fit around the outer edges of each door. Finishing off with a very light minwax finish on the oak and bought wood door nobs—(they are the cheapest) and finished them with the same finish as the oak. Matched the oak trim very well for not being oak.

WOW!!! What a differance now. Have seen new cabinets that look very close to mine in Home Depot.

The costs was about $200 and sure beats ripping out all the old and finding something else you have to fix. Before you install new.
Hope this helps
Rob Harris

Re: rehab ? paint,reface or replace 1970s cabinets - Posted by Karl (Oh)

Posted by Karl (Oh) on March 16, 2000 at 14:29:08:

When I remodeled my kitchen, I couldn’t bring myself to spend $5k-$6k or more on new cabinets. A friend of mine who just remodeled his kitchen gave me all his old cabinets. Solid wood and in good shape, they just looked old and ugly. I painted them with a 3 inch roller two tone blue and gray acrylic to match our kitchen slate tile, painted the doors a light color, and boxes darker. I put some cool brushed steel knobs that match our appliances, and will eventually put some new crown molding around the top and bottom of the boxes. I think they look great, and the total cost was just a couple hundred bucks (mostly for the custom knobs).

Go get some kitchen magazines at Home Depot, there are always pictures of kitchens with painted cabinets, to help pick out colors. Of course, you could always play it safe and go with white.

Right now I have two mobile homes that need some work. If nobody buys them from me before I get around to it, I?m going to paint those kitchen cabinets white.

I just flipped through my latest ?Handyman? magazine, there?s an article about jazzing up flat door cabinets. Take a router with a ¼? wide straight bit and cut a shallow groove on the front surface two inches from each edge on all four sides. Then paint the inside of the groove black and the rest of the cabinets some other color. It?s a detail that looks very cool.

If you have rentals, and your tenants abuse the cabinets, you can always just come back in a touch up the paint.

Karl Kleiner

Re: rehab ? paint,reface or replace 1970s cabinets - Posted by Jonathan Rexford

Posted by Jonathan Rexford on March 16, 2000 at 14:19:08:

Replace, Base Cab. and upper cab. Are cheap

Jonathan Rexford
Mortgage Broker/Builder

Here is what I just paid for a new kitchen this week… - Posted by Tom Nagle

Posted by Tom Nagle on March 18, 2000 at 09:02:13:

I just put in a kitchen this week in a home, and it cost me $1300.00

I bought the kitchen cabinets from a builder’s surplus store…it included a 24" and a 30" upper cabinets, a 42" base cabinet and 2 24" lower cabinets…all were assembled. There were also 2 3" fillers. The total cost - $508.00. The same cabinets at Home Depot were $897. There weren’t the bottom line either.

8’ section of countertop: $59

Double bowl 7" sink - $49

Black and decker faucet: $39. ( I usually get a nicer one at Home Depot for $135. Sells the house!

I usually vinyl the floor, but this time I used the adhesive tiles, and they worked great. The kitchen is 12 X 13 and it took 9 sheets of luan at $9.25 and 10 boxes of tiles for $200. Miscellaneous stuff for floor: another $30

I have put in a range hood before, but could not do it economically on this house.

So total cost of materials: $966. There are probably other little costs, so figure in (on the high end) another $100.

I am not including paiting or other ceiling work. We kept the drop ceiling in on this one, painted the tracks, and replaced the tiles. Another $90.

The guy that I have put in the kitchen gets paid $10 an hour and like Steve said, it takes no more than a day to put in the kitchen. The floor will take at least another day (not done yet), so at the most it will take 3 days to put the in the kitchen.

Labor: $240

Total cost of the kitchen: $1200-$1300.

This kitchen is going in an $80,000 house. It isn’t the best kitchen, but it looks great and it will help sell the house. $2000 is a very realistic number to put a nice kitchen in for.

Best of Luck!

Tom Nagle

Re: Replace them!!! - Posted by Stacy (AZ)

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on March 17, 2000 at 10:32:58:

Steve, I don’t doubt your figure, but could you tell me how you get a kitchen remodel done for 2K? The cabinets and installation alone would cost me more than this…but I don’t know your methods. Is it that you have a very inexpensive general contractor that works with you?

This is important to me, since about every other property I buy, it seems I have to face this problem.

Thanks, bud.


My $10 an hour guy… - Posted by Tom Nagle PA

Posted by Tom Nagle PA on March 19, 2000 at 20:17:02:

Yeah, I know that $10 an hour seems cheap. I actually have several guys that work for that. There are a couple of general handymen and a painter who work for that. Also, the guys that work for my contractor (who gets paid more than $10) work for $10 and less. They usually will do work on the side if I ask them.

If I have a more skilled job, then I need to get the person with the skills to do the job. The guys that work for less (and are good) are hard to come by, so if they do a good job, I will do my best to give them as much work as possible.


Re: Here is what I just paid for a new kitchen this week… - Posted by Nate Tyler

Posted by Nate Tyler on March 19, 2000 at 18:52:01:

…That’s what I was going to ask!!

Re: Replace them!!! - Posted by SCook85

Posted by SCook85 on March 17, 2000 at 14:11:50:

I guess it all depends upon the size of the kitchen, but the materials themselves are cheap. I use a product similar to Home Depots oak cabinet (3rd cheapest one they carry) or there lowest level beveled white cabinet. I don’t use the two lowest ones at all. Our contractor buys them from a company where they come assembled and are about 10% less then the equivalent from Home Depot.
Then my labor is cheap. It only takes a day to redo a whole kitchen (provided painting is already done). So the materials plus labor for a couple of guys can be very reasonable.

The key is to find cheap help. I only get charged about $400-$600 in labor, materials (my guy doesn’t mark them up) is usually from $600-$1200. Kitchens really do not cost me that much. Hope this helps.


Cabinets cheaper than Home Depot? - Posted by Ron

Posted by Ron on March 17, 2000 at 19:37:57:


Do you mean you buy assembled cabinets for less than Home Depot’s kits (Mills Pride)? I’ve looked, but never been able to beat Home Depot’s price.


Re: Replace them!!! - Posted by Stacy (AZ)

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on March 17, 2000 at 14:28:13:

Yes this helps, Steve. To be able to make such a large difference in the attractiveness of an older house, for such a small outlay is fantastic.


Re: Cabinets cheaper than Home Depot? - Posted by ScottE

Posted by ScottE on March 18, 2000 at 13:07:35:

Home Depot gets many of their materials (especially custom-cut) from local companies, then they mark the materials up.

An example for garage doors:
I know a guy that sells 8x7 steel garage doors installed for $235.00 (tax included)
Home Depot uses THE SAME GUY when they sell the same garage door and charges $365.00 installed. Get the picture?

You can talk to every contractor you run across and get information on vendors that may have what you want. This also keeps subs and contractors honest and from ‘adding’ a little to the price.

Hope this helps


NOT FOR $2000 - Posted by JOHN KATITUS

Posted by JOHN KATITUS on March 18, 2000 at 02:23:17:

Maybe the cheap cabinets from Home Depot would cost $2000, but I seriously doubt you could even buy their cheapest assemble-yourself base and wall cabinets for more than the barest kitchen for that amount. Then pay for assembly. Add countertops, sink, faucet, plumbing, electrical, paint, floor, and that same kitchen costs $6000 minimum. And you bought the cheapest cabinets.

Kitchens and bathrooms are great selling factors, but that is because they’re not cheap to produce.