Remodel on the Cheap?

Updated on August 03, 2011
A.B. asks from Sarasota, FL
7 answers

The cabinets and countertops in my house are original to the house and pretty beat up. We can't afford real wood cabinets or solid surface counters and aren't interested in spending that kind of money right now anyway. Are there cheap alternatives? If I had the cabinets "refaced", would the sides still show? What about countertops, is there anything that is sort of a step (or a half step lol) above formica but not as expensive as solid surface i.e. corian? Any other ideas for remodeling on the cheap? Thank yoU!!!!!

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answers from Detroit on

See if there is an IKEA near you. They have really stylish cabinets you can install yourself (really!). We are not very handy, and we were able to rip out our old cabinets and install IKEA ones for probably $1500 for the whole kitchen. It is a unique look and we get lots of compliments.

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answers from St. Louis on

Lowe's and Home Depot both sell pre-made cabinets that work well. I purchased these for my kitchen. You can get a medium wood color, white or wood ones that are unfinished. I opted for the unfinished and then painted them white. As for countertops they have 3ft, 6ft, 10ft and I think 12ft sections for sale in our store depending on how long you need. I would start off with just going to look or maybe call a contractor and having them come in with a quote.

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answers from New York on

Tedsmommy hit the nail on the head. Lowe's and Home Depot both have a large and varied selection of cabinets and countertops. I redid two kitchens with new cabinets, sinks, countertops, and faucets for about $3,000.00 in materials and another $2,000 in labor.

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answers from Tallahassee on

Consider repainting cabinets. Refacing is good, but repainting is cheaper and can look fantastic. I moved into our last home, and it had cheapo fake wood cabinets with a white-washed sheen (very ugly), and while we spent money on replacing all the moulding in the house (made of the same wood), I just took the doors down and painted them myself.

Be sure, though, if you do, that you do it right. Remove all the hardware. Wash them, then SAND them fully, then PRIME. Let it dry overnight, SAND, then paint, let dry, sand, and paint again. I painted three coats on mine, but I was also painting them white. I've seen the same thing done well with dark brown and country blue, but the sanding is very important. I used a motorized hand sander (which is pretty inexpensive). It took a long time, I admit, but it cost a can of paint and one of primer. VERY cheap.

Resurfacing could also work, but would be more expensive. If the doors are hideous, though, I would at least consider buying doors, then paint the rest of it to match (or have the underside resurfaced, too--don't worry, the installer will make sure the other stuff is all covered).

As to counter tops, options are endless. With our current house we picked corian, but with our last house, the neighborhood wasn't nice enough for the higher finishes, so we bought a formica that had the look of granite (I think the color was even called "granite"). Some have an etched sort of surface, but the one we picked was smooth, but mottled to look like white/gray/black granite. Much cheaper and easier to maintain than granite, too. If you want VERY cheap, consider resurfacing the formica. Kits to do that (complete with the paint-on resin and mottling sprinkles) are far cheaper even than a formica replacement. Then again, I don't know how they wear, and even the high-end formica countertops are not that expensive.

I hope that helps!

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answers from Miami on

I had the same problem with my house when we moved here 3 years ago - the only thing I hated was the kitchen! We could not (and still cannot) afford to remodel it (yet) but after a year or more I told my husband that we had to do SOMETHING to make it more tolerable for me to be in it! I looked into refacing but ultimately decided that the cabinets weren't worth putting the money for that into them, so I opted to paint them and did that myself (not fun, but so worth the cost saving and much better appearance!)

When it came to the horribly ugly Formica countertop I had a hard time deciding what to do - we were going to tile it because we thought it would be the cheapest way to be free of the Formica, but I really didn't want to deal with grout and cleaning/sealing it .......

......Then I discovered Formica FX! I know, I know, it's still Formica, but for a temporary fix it is GREAT! I was the biggest Formica hater, so believe me when I tell you, this stuff changed my mind! Everyone who comes to my house thinks I have beautiful granite coutertops. It does still have the limitations of Formica, of course, like no cutting on them and no real hot pots without a hot pad, but that's no biggie to me. I wrote an article about Formica FX and it has pictures of my kitchen (before, during 7 after) and more, so you can see for yourself - here's a link:

Hope this helps! Good luck...

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answers from Tampa on

In our old house, we had someone reface our cabinets. Don't go with Sears. They are super expensive. The guy did a professional paint job with industrial quality paint on the cabinets and then replaced the doors. He only did white. Not sure what they do for wood colors. It looked great. We spent less than $3k and had quite a lot of cabinets and drawers. We did the countertops in a laminate. It was about $500. There are many new looks. Someone else mentioned Formica FX. We just used something with a nice stone look.

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answers from St. Louis on

My dad did cabinet refacing and god it looks awful.

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