As a homeowner, your renovation budget is tight. As a landlord, it is much the same story. You need a durable, cost effective solution to attract and retain the best tenants without breaking the bank. At Nieu, we know how to maximize your home renovation dollar with cabinet refacing. We also know how to maximize your investment property upgrade.
To give a real-life example we asked one of our clients who has over a decade of landlord experience to walk us through their kitchen transformation and cabinet refacing experience. The owners had clear priorities including: durability, boost to potential resale value, elevating the property from the ten-year-old builder’s basic finishes. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, doing so in a low-impact way so as not to disrupt rent paying tenants.
Why landlords choose cabinet refacing
This project centres around a townhouse in a 10-year old development, that has been a rental since it was built. The current owners acquired the property two years ago, and painted the house from top to bottom, as well as made some other much needed improvements and repairs. With a fresh coat of paint and a general increase in upkeep, the existing kitchen soon became noticeable for its yellow looking cabinets and dysfunctional handle placement. The breakfast bar blocked the view of backyard park and the laminate countertops had begun to peel at the seams. With plans to sell the property within the next two years, the owners wondered what improvements could be made, on a tight budget, to transform this kitchen that is the heart of this open concept home. Their ultimate barometer was how to maximize their renovation ROI (return on investment) in the shortest amount of time.
They chose cabinet refacing for their investment property because:
- They needed to complete the project in a weekend while tenants were away.
- The cabinet boxes were in solid condition. No need to replace everything, just needed some new doors.
- A white, shaker cabinet door would improve the eventual resale value.
- The kitchen layout is great, and it couldn’t change given the floorplan.
- With new countertops, the cabinets could stay where they were, and saving money on a full kitchen remodel by refacing allowed them to purchase quartz counters.
The Before: Brown Builders Grade Kitchen Cabinet
Kitchen Remodel Design Elements
To modernize this builder’s grade, slab cabinet door kitchen, the owners wanted a Shaker cabinet door to project a welcoming, bright, and modern-farmhouse style. The black appliances weren’t likely to change, but they wanted the design to still work with stainless if they or a future owner chose to swap them. This was presented in their design renderings which helped them to choose the following elements:
- Cabinet doors and drawer fronts: Stepped Shaker painted cabinet door in Winter White (Sherwin Williams Extra White)
- Cabinet pulls: Black, squared handles were used, all the same size for doors and drawers
- Countertop: White quartz counter with light, neutral speckles
- Backsplash: Kept the current dark glass subway tile
Cabinet Refacing Cost
Our featured homeowners had a budget of $12,000 for the entire kitchen upgrade, and a short installation timeline to minimize disruption to paying tenants. They were quoted over $22,000 to rip everything out and replace the kitchen, with a minimum of one-week of installation, mess, and most importantly, tenants unable to make meals for the duration of a full kitchen replacement. Where did the savings come from by cabinet refacing instead of replacing?
- Cost of new cabinet boxes. The old boxes were in excellent condition, and didn’t need to be removed and disposed of. Savings: approximately $4500.
- Plumber/electrician. Maintaining the current layout of the kitchen meant no need for a plumber or electrician to re-route any of the lines or help with installation. Savings: approximately $2000
- Installation. This DIY friendly project meant substantial savings on cabinet installation, and a faster time to complete the project. Savings: approximately $4500 and 5-7 days.
- Backsplash. Careful removal of the old counter and installation of the new meant the existing backsplash was unscathed. This avoided the purchase and labour costs of replacing the backsplash. Savings: approximately $1200.
Saving more than 50% of the cost of replacing everything in this kitchen meant the homeowners could spend on “nice to haves” they hadn’t originally needed, like a new counter, sink and faucet, and upgraded cabinet pulls. Their project was budget friendly, tenant friendly, and completely transformed the space.
Installing Cabinet Doors, Drawer Fronts, Panels and Trim for Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet refacing projects begin with removing the existing doors, drawer boxes, and existing panels. Generally, this can be accomplished in 2 hours-time. Next came installing large panels to reface the peninsula, fridge cabinet and the sides or gables of the upper and base cabinets. Cabinet edges can be painted and then toe kick, filler and light valence installed. Once the panels and trim were replaced it was time to get to the heart of a cabinet refacing project – installing new cabinet doors. The first step of hanging new cabinet doors is to mount the new soft close concealed hinges selected for this project. The doors came pre-drilled for hinges so it was quite easy to screw the new hinges onto the back of the doors with the supplied screws. Doors were then installed in the cabinets by fastening the hinge plates to the inside of the cabinets. It’s important to note that the doors weren’t readied for handles before they were mounted. This project proved why – once the cabinet doors were hung, the owners realized they wanted the handles in a different location than they originally planned. The drilling and installation of handles was the last step in bringing this kitchen together!
This cabinet refacing project in a nutshell:
- Eliminated the breakfast bar. Removed panel on the back of the breakfast bar and removed the breakfast bar ledge.
- Changed countertop. New countertop was selected – the owners chose quartz for its durability and to boost resale value. Counters were then measured, fabricated, and installed
Updated sink and faucet. The new countertop allowed for a transition to an undermount sink and updated, modern faucet.
- Measure cabinets for refacing. Doors, panels, trim, filler, and toe kick were measured for refacing.
- Order new cabinet doors and panels. The order with Nieu Cabinet Doors was placed.
- Receive and reface. The order arrived and was installed in just a few days.
- Love your new kitchen. The landlords (and tenants) adored the new kitchen!
Increasing resale value of an investment property
With the intention of selling this investment property within the next two years, realtors advised these homeowners that cabinet refacing was an effective way to maximize your resale value. In a townhouse complex where there hasn’t been a kitchen renovation to date, this helps to distinguish the property as a premium listing, when the time comes to sell.
The Bottom Line
A $20,000+ kitchen gut and renovation wasn’t financially feasible for these homeowners, or possible with tenants, and it wasn’t necessary. The existing cabinet boxes were in good shape and the layout of the kitchen was ideal. With advice from a realtor, refacing the kitchen cabinets was the most economical and impactful change the homeowners could make to increase the value of their investment property. Nieu Cabinet Doors was able to provide painted Shaker doors and drawer fronts that were affordable, stylish, and delivered on time allowing for a hassle-free renovation. Seeing the savings and the potential for the new look of the kitchen prompted the owners to spend the remaining kitchen budget on upgrading the countertop – something they wouldn’t have been able to do if they had to replace the cabinet boxes.
Nieu took this kitchen from builder’s grade to beautiful, at a price that can’t be beat!