If you happen to live in a home with original kitchen cabinets, you might be asking how long they will last before you’re faced with the need to replace them. Much of that decision depends on the integrity of the cabinets. If the cabinets in your home are made of lesser quality such as pressboard, which is structurally weak and results in sagging or edges coming apart, it’s time to replace the cabinets. However, most cabinets are built reasonably sturdy and stand up over time.

The National Association of Home Builders Study of Life Expectancy of Housing Components gives homeowners a reasonable estimate of life- expectancy based on compiling data from scores of product manufacturers.

The Study:

According to the study, the life expectancies of home components depend on the quality of installation and the level of maintenance and care. Climate conditions and the intensity of use all play a factor as to whether the component remains functional or falls apart from irreparable damage. Additionally, some components can remain functional but become obsolete in their look an appearance. Lastly, even though the components are top quality and initially installed properly, they may have a shorter life span due to neglect or intensive use or poor functionality including the need to change the layout.

Life Expectancy of Cabients:

Although kitchen cabinets can have a life expectancy of up to 50 years, they are more often than not replaced or updated long before they are worn out. This event happens in great part because there have been changes in styling and technology. Today’s homeowners have a preference for newer cabinet looks and products that are more desirable for their family and lifestyle.

Replacing Cabinets can be a Costly Investment:

Replacing kitchen cabinetry can be quite a costly investment and a significant percent of most kitchen remodeling budgets can end up going to the costs of cabinets. Therefore, it’s important to determine your budget and what your money can buy. You also need to consider how long you will remain in the house, its value in the neighborhood and your family’s wear and tear on these components. According to Paula Kennedy, a certified master kitchen designer from Timeless Kitchen Design, there are an estimated 30 cabinets installed in an average-size kitchen; hence, you can be looking at a significant expense if you decide upon replacing all 30 cabinets due to the labour, materials and planning invovled.

Options:

Updating existing cabinets or replacing them altogether can be a confusing and daunting task for many homeowners.  If you go custom, you have more flexibility since it’s easier to create a look from scratch that will better fit both your space and your taste. However, whether you choose standard or custom, you’ll want to decide on the right material, such as wood since its long lasting and durable.  Having new cabinets installed is also time- consuming, messy and often renders the kitchen inoperable until the new cabinets are installed.

If your cabinets are still in good condition, structurally sound and the layout works, but your kitchen could use a refreshing new look, cabinet refacing or resurfacing can be a more affordable option. Leaving your cabinets intact can save you time and money with no hidden plumbing or electrical costs. By cleaning up existing cabinetry and replacing door fronts with something new, your kitchen can have a fashionable update at a fraction of the cost than tearing out the old cabinets and replacing them with new. Refacing is a great savvy strategy for budget-minded homeowners. The whole process is generally handled by one or two craftsmen and happens within a shorter time frame than a total kitchen cabinet replacement.

Final Decision:

Whether you decide to replace or refurbish the kitchen cabinets can mean any number of things to different people. While one person may be updating their home for future sale, another may be trying to improve day-to-day functionality and a third may be going for the latest trend.  Depending on your objective, the investment can vary greatly and it is estimated you will recoup between 87-125% of the money spent.  Consider several factors before you decide, such as the age of the existing cabinets, their condition, (sometimes replacing them makes the most sense economically) the look you’re trying to achieve and your ultimate goal.