Question

I'm considering cabinet refacing on existing kitchen cabinets. Looking for companies that can do it sustainably.

Asked by Gail Johnson
Phoenix, AZ

Where does the new product come from? I'm also concerned about offgassing of glue or adhesive. This is for an investment property in Phoenix, AZ.

Answer

Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Answered by Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS

Bainbridge Island, WA

A Kitchen That Works LLC

January 13, 2011

Refacing cabinetry can be a great way to update existing cabinets with a tired décor while being environmentally responsible.

However, there are a few things to consider before refacing the cabinets:

  • Most refacing companies use materials such as vinyl edge banding, vinyl or laminate side panels and industrial strength adhesives -- all products that offgas VOCs.
  • Refacing will not improve the functionality of the room or of any one specific cabinet. That is not to say that additional cabinet convenience hardware can’t be added, because it can, but it will most likely not be quite as functional as if you started with new cabinets.
  • Refacing typically costs 50-70% of the cost of new cabinets and again, you may not get the environmental attributes or the functionality you desire.

Durability

Renters can be particularly hard on cabinets. Make sure you instruct your tenants on proper use of the kitchen exhaust hood to minimize the opportunity for steam and hot grease to compromise the adhesives used in refacing cabinets.

Additionally, cabinet surfaces that have been edge banded are not as robust, making them susceptible to bruising and dents from pots, pans and dishware.

Two options to consider

Replace: remove the existing cabinets and reuse them in another part of the house such as the garage, bonus room, etc. and minimize landfill fodder.

Reface: Contract with a local cabinet company that meets your criteria for green kitchen cabinets -- provides refacing services and has the expertise to provide environmentally responsible products.

One company to consider is Classy Closets in Chandler, AZ. They specialize in custom cabinetry but also provide cabinet refacing services. They use solid (not veneer) reclaimed woods (some of which are FSC certified) including cherry, oak and alder that they salvage from their custom cabinet projects. They use water-based cold laminating glues and water-based finishes.

If the VOC levels of their glues or finishes do not meet your product needs, they are amenable to using materials specified by the customer. You can reach them at 888-875-7907 or go to http://classyclosets.com.

Good luck!

 

For more information:

Check Andrea Traber's tips "10 Ways to Make Your Kitchen More Resource Efficient". 

Tagged In: home air quality, reuse, cabinets

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