Cabinets are an integral part of designing your kitchen or bathroom. Whether you are doing a kitchen remodel, updating a bathroom, or adding built in storage in your living room or office, cabinets play two vital roles. They provide both form and function. They are the biggest item in your kitchen and can make or break the look of a bathroom. There are a few main variables to go over when deciding on cabinets for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. You have the make of the cabinet, which is either prefab, semi custom, or custom. There are various materials that can be used. You have color and paint options that you must determine. You have to decide on the right cabinet hardware. Finally and most importantly, you have to make these decisions all while remaining within your budget. You won’t get a custom cabinet for a prefab cabinet price.

Kitchen and bathroom remodels are very involved and the price can escalate quickly. You might be wondering if custom cabinets are worth the extra investment or if prefabricated cabinets can get the job done at a cheaper price and be installed quicker. Let’s dive in to help you make an educated decision.

Prefab Cabinets

Prefabricated cabinets, sometimes called “stock” cabinets, are manufactured in advance. Instead of being built to fit your kitchen or bathroom, prefab cabinets come in standard sizes and are pieced together to fit the space. The standard beginning width of a prefab cabinet box starts at 9” width. From there the various widths offered increase in 3” increments all the way up to a max of around 48”. Regarding height, cabinets generally range in size from 30” tall all the way up to 48” tall. Standard cabinet dimensions for the best sets are 24 inches. You could get them as shallow as 12 inches if you have a small kitchen. Of course some prefab cabinets can be purchased outside of these dimensions, but these are usually are higher end or oversized kitchen and bathroom spaces. Solid wood is NOT very commonly used in prefab cabinet construction. Manufacturers tend to use plywood or melamine, but they are still made to a pretty high standard since they are made in such high volume.

PROS:

• Budget conscious buyers or investor owned projects.
• Homeowners who are in a hurry since prefab cabinets are generally already built
and just need to be shipped to the home for installation.
• Prefab kitchen or bathroom cabinets are easy to install once purchased and
delivered to the home.
• Made with a wide range of colors and finishes and arrangements to accommodate
the style and taste of the homeowner.
• Easy to replace a section of cabinet in the future because of the nature of the
manufacturing process of the cabinets.

CONS:

• Shorter lifespan than other options using real hardwood.
• Difficult to refinish due to the material used.
• Limitations on dimensions, fitment, and style.
• Not all suppliers build the boxes, some assembly will be required thus increasing
cost

Semi-Custom

Semi custom cabinets are essentially stock prefab cabinets that come with a variety of extra options and details that you can personalize for both style and storage purposes. With semi custom cabinets you can pick a stock box size then choose which door or finish you want them be. Due to the nature of the customization aspect semi custom cabinets are usually a bit pricier and take a bit longer than prefab stock cabinet options.

Typically semi custom cabinets are anywhere from 20% – 30% more expensive than prefab kitchen cabinets and about 25% less than fully custom cabinets. This is of course a rule of thumb and depends on a lot of various factors like the wood and the labor rate that the carpenter is charging you.

PROS:

• Cheaper than custom cabinets but still allow for a custom look and feel.
• Can be configured to fit a little bit better than prefab cabinets because of they
increase in options.
• A lot of design choices in color, door style, and wood choice.
• Can be ordered and installed quicker than custom cabinets that have to be made to
order prior to installation.

CONS:

• Remain confined to standard cabinet dimensions.
• More expensive than prefab cabinets.
• Often times not as high quality as fully custom cabinets

Custom Cabinets

As home remodelers we really get excited about custom cabinetry because of a perfect blend of form and function. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as planning out a kitchen or bathroom layout and having our carpenters make that creation come alive in a client’s home. It pulls everything together and really makes the space pop. Let’s back up just a bit and ask, “What is custom cabinetry?” There is an easy answer for that and it is one of a kind cabinetry that was built for your specific space. Think about it like a suit or a dress. Sure, you can pick a suit or a dress off the rack that fits you well enough, but for a really good quality look and fit you get the clothing tailored to fit the specific curvatures of your body. Similarly with custom tailored clothing as with custom made cabinets you will typically pay more and the timeline to receive the merchandise is increased. You can’t just wear the suit out, they have to tailor it. In our experience as contractors it is usually worth the wait and the extra investment just like when you wear a suit that isn’t tailored it’s pretty easy for other people to tell.

Customer cabinets can often times, depending on the carpenter, be made with whatever material you as the homeowner decides to go with. Some wood options include Cherry, Maple, Pine, Oak, Spruce, or even aged Cyprus. You can include in your kitchen cabinets one of a kind features like coffee stations or floating shelving. You can also custom build the boxes to have custom one of a kind dimensions so that they fit seamlessly and go all the way up to your kitchen or bathroom ceiling. The end result is the space looks cleaner. The craftsmanship involved in executing a custom kitchen or bathroom cabinet job does come with its setbacks such as a longer lead time and increased costs. We often find it is worth it the homeowner because not only does it make the space pop and increases the value of your home, but the functionality is increased and no compromises have to be made like using filler panels.

PROS:

• Endless design options
• Increased craftsmanship
• Longer lasting construction due to material used
• Increased functionality
• Increased appeal of a kitchen or bathroom
• Increased value of home overall

CONS:

• Price
• Time

Time and money play a huge part in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet decision. It’s important to manage your expectations based on these factors. For more detailed price information give Miel Construction a ring at (832) 964-6435 and we’ll go and measure your space and get you a price range for