If you’re remodeling your kitchen, you’ll have to decide whether you want to replace your cabinet doors. New cabinet doors are one of the most popular choices for kitchen remodelers. And when you replace cabinet doors the right way, they add a ton of value to your home.

But if you aren’t careful when you replace cabinet doors, you could damage your home’s value instead of improving it. You might swap out unstylish but well-made doors for trendier models made from low-quality materials. You might damage your cabinet boxes by refacing with cheap veneers. Or you might choose a new look for your cabinets that doesn’t appeal to the average home buyer.

So before you replace cabinet doors in your kitchen, here’s how to make sure that you’re adding to — and not subtracting from — your home’s value.

Replace Cabinet Doors with Quality Materials

When you replace cabinet doors, you can damage your home’s value by downgrading to low-quality materials. Too often, homeowners replace high-quality cabinet doors with cheaply made doors. They look fashionable at first, but after a year or two the new doors start showing signs of irreversible wear and tear.

Maybe the most obvious example of this is removing hardwood cabinet doors and replacing them with doors made from particleboard or low-density fiberboard (LDF). Particleboard is much cheaper than hardwood, so it can achieve a comparable look at a fraction of the price. Unfortunately, it also lasts for a fraction of the time, delivering a much smaller return on your investment.

Other door materials, like medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and plywood, are stronger and more resilient than particleboard. But they’re still a step down in terms of value when compared to hardwood cabinetry.

That doesn’t mean that you should always replace cabinet doors with hardwood models. Sometimes, you need a more budget-friendly choice. But before you choose your replacement doors, be mindful of how this will impact your home’s value especially if you plan on moving soon.

Avoid Refacing Cabinet Boxes with Veneers

When replacing cabinet doors, many homeowners opt for cabinet refacing services. These services replace cabinet doors and drawer fronts, but they leave existing cabinet frames and boxes in place. Cabinet boxes are then refaced to match the new cabinet doors.

Refacing typically involves resurfacing cabinet boxes with thermofoil or wood veneers. This ensures a close visual match between your cabinet doors and cabinet boxes. But it can also shorten the lifespan of your cabinets and reduce their overall value.

The loss of quality and value is most dramatic with thermofoil veneers. Thermofoil is a water-resistant vinyl laminate that’s popular for its low cost and water-resistance. Unfortunately, thermofoil is prone to peeling at corners, is easily chipped, and sensitive to heat. It’s also resistant to painting and resurfacing. Worse yet, you may not be able to remove thermofoil veneers without damaging the underlying wood.

Wood veneers offer a more attractive and damage resistant surface than thermofoil. But their resilience depends on the quality and thickness of the wood. Thinner veneers can be brittle and prone to cracking, or susceptible to water damage. And as with thermofoil, the adhesive used to attach wood veneers can make it difficult or impossible to remove veneers without damaging the cabinets underneath.

Thankfully, you can avoid these problems with alternatives to cabinet refacing, like our N-Hance® cabinet door replacement service. As with traditional cabinet refacing, this service allows you to replace cabinet doors. But instead of using veneers to reface cabinet boxes, we apply a proprietary custom color finish. This finish is formulated specially for cabinets, making it highly resistant to wear and damage.

Choose a Subtle and Adaptable Aesthetic

When you replace cabinet doors in a home that you’ll own for another 10 or 20+ years, you don’t need to worry so much about style and color scheme. But if you’re planning to sell your home within the few years — or even if it’s just a possibility — you’ll need to consider how these choices impact the market value of your home.

As fun as ornate cabinets and funky palettes can be, they don’t sell particularly well on the open market. If home buyers think they’ll need to remodel your cabinets to suit their preferences, they’ll adjust their offers according. But if you choose a look that buyers can adapt to their own style, your home will generate stronger offers.

At N-Hance, we suggest choosing replacement cabinet doors with a subtle, timeless profile. Right now, Shaker-style cabinet doors are a popular way of achieving this look. But raised-panel doors can achieve a similar feel with modest contours and molding.

For your color scheme, neutral tones are your safest bet, particularly grays, tans, and off-whites. Avoid bold and dramatic color schemes unless you’re planning on recoloring your cabinets before your home is sold. Also, keep in mind that white shows off dust, dirt, and stains more than any other color. So while it’s a popular choice with designers, it can turn off some home buyers.

Want to replace cabinet doors in your home? Contact your local N-Hance today at (855) 642-6320 to request a FREE estimate and learn more about our unique approach to cabinet door replacement.