Many homeowners begin the cabinet selection process with the assumption that a “cabinet is a cabinet”. They are often disappointed when they see their first new layout, typically priced much higher than their “mental budget”, and featuring cabinet boxes made from particle board. It’s at this point where many consumers actually begin to educate themselves about kitchen and bath cabinetry and will uncover that there are really three primary “grades” of cabinetry.
Stock / Standard Grade Cabinetry
A kitchen designed with stock or standard grade cabinets will generally include basic, functional wall and base cabinets without the option to add many of today’s in-demand features, like soft-close doors and drawers. Wood door style choices may be limited to two or three species, including oak and maple, and laminated options will generally only exist in white. There will be limited accessory and detail options as well as a limited number of only the most common colors and finishes. Kitchens designed with stock/standard grade cabinets will be functional, should have a very good finish, and often provide a great value for budget-conscious consumers.
The first significant difference homeowners will discover when they move into semi-custom cabinetry lines will be the enhanced variety of door style choices, usually representing popular regional styles as well as timeless classics. Another “Oh wow” difference will often be found in the number of cabinetry options, like Lazy Susan base cabinets, pull-out trays, and wine racks along with more detailed molding and accessory choices. Semi-custom lines typically offer additional wood species options including cherry, hickory, and high-quality laminates like thermofoil, and may also offer construction upgrades like plywood boxes and dovetail drawers. Another key difference in semi-custom cabinet lines comes from the greatly increased finish options, which often include paints and glazes. You can generally expect to pay between 50% and 100% more for your kitchen in semi-custom line, depending on the options selected.
Custom cabinet lines represent the very best that can be installed in your home and offer unparalleled flexibility. At this level, many of the options found in semi-custom lines, like plywood construction and soft-close doors and drawers for example, become standard features. There will be an almost overwhelming number of door style and finish options to accommodate every taste. You will also find a wide assortment of trim and molding options so your new kitchen can rival the classic “Mansion on the Hill.” The unique option to alter the dimension and function of the cabinets is often found in the custom category. It is common to see prices two to five times higher in a custom line compared to a design prepared in a semi-custom brand.
As you begin planning your new kitchen, it is wise to remember not all cabinets are built the same. Be sure to research your options and choose a line that fits your budget, your tastes, and adds beauty and value to your home.