The Difference Between Cabinet Resurfacing and Refinishing

Trying to differentiate between various home renovation terms when you’re getting ready to redo parts of your house can get confusing. For example, what is the difference between resurfacing and refinishing? If you’re having trouble keeping the two separate, it’s because most people will use these interchangeably even when they mean different processes. Once you’ve got a good understanding of what resurfacing and refinishing are, you’ll be able to tackle your home improvement projects much more easily!


Resurfacing is much more extensive than refinishing. It involves going in and redoing anything that looks outdated, deformed, or broken. This could mean anything from replacing floorboards that have water damage or putting in modern cabinet doors while keeping the existing framework.  

When it comes to cabinets specifically, resurfacing would look like applying laminate or wood veneer replacement over the cabinets you already have or picking out completely new frames, moldings, or panels that match your style. You’re able to update your cabinets to your heart’s content without having to completely redo everything.  


Refinishing is a shorter process than resurfacing. This would be done in cases where you are just wanting to update the color of your cabinets. If you like the design of your cabinets like the hardware or molding and are just wanting a refresh or update in color, go for a simple refinish. This is done by sanding down your current cabinets either by hand or using chemicals to strip the finish. A new coat of paint or a wood stain can then be applied to achieve the desired color.

Keep in mind that only certain cabinet types can be refinished. Remember that you need to be able to sand down or chemically strip the current finishing. This isn’t something that can happen with laminate or thermofoil cabinets.

How to Decide Between Refinishing and Resurfacing

When it comes time to decide, it really is up to you. Are you looking for more of an upgrade to the style of your cabinets? Go with resurfacing to get a whole new look. On the other hand, if your cabinets are in pretty good shape and are free of chips, dents, cuts and other blemishes, you can go with a refinish for a refreshed look.

Budget is also a factor to consider when deciding between the two. Refinishing is more affordable option than resurfacing. If you’re already working on pricey home renovations and projects already, it might be easier on your savings to postpone a complete resurface for another time.

Looking for Some Professional Advice?

Our staff are experts when it comes to remodeling projects like this. Knowing what works for your home can be tricky, but we’re here to walk you through each step.

Visit our website here or give us a call at 678-398-4613 to schedule an appointment.

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