Custom Vs. Stock Cabinets

Choosing between custom or stock cabinets for a kitchen remodel can be difficult. If you can determine your budget constraints and future plans before choosing cabinets, you will know whether or not you should take advantage of the unique features of stock or custom cabinets.

Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are common in most kitchens in America. Like most things that are mass produced, kitchen stock cabinets vary widely in terms of both quality and cost. However, if you can use all standard sizes in your kitchen, stock cabinetry can offer a good quality product for a reasonable cost.

Many home owners choose stock cabinets to save money during a kitchen remodel. In general, stock cabinets cost 5 to 20 percent less than most custom cabinets. The ability to mass produce allows the manufacturer to save labor costs and buy materials in bulk- and offer lower prices to consumers. However, many manufacturers use low quality materials in lower priced stock cabinets that might only last ten years, especially in a high-use area such as a kitchen.

In addition to cost, stock cabinetry has one other large advantage. Since stock cabinets are mass produced, they are also available to be installed in a kitchen much quicker than custom options. If time is essential, stock cabinets are definitely the best choice. Many large home improvement stores have basic models that are in stock and can be installed in a kitchen in a matter of days.

In general, stock cabinets are less sturdy than custom options. Laminates are often used in making the body of the kitchen cabinetry, making it nearly impossible to refinish the stock cabinets if you choose to change color schemes or styles in your kitchen. It is also difficult repairing small gouges and scratches on low-quality stock cabinetry.

If you have an irregularly shaped kitchen or an older kitchen, it may be impossible to use all stock cabinetry in your remodel. However, you may be able to save money by using both custom and stock cabinets and using standard door fronts to unify the look throughout the kitchen. Many people use custom cabinets for the end cabinetry of a kitchen to make it appear as if all the cabinetry is made of solid wood.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets have become increasingly more popular due to their flexibility and quality. Most realtors know that investing money in a kitchen or bathroom will ensure the highest resale value, and custom cabinetry is one of these good investments. Custom options also ensure that you have the exact layout and appearance you are looking for.

In general, custom cabinets use better materials and display superior craftsmanship when compared to stock cabinets. Custom cabinetry almost always uses solid wood that is thicker than stock cabinets, which can be essential in an area such as a kitchen. Edges are usually joined together not only with a fastener, such as glue or nails, but also with traditional woodworking joinery, such as dovetailing.

Custom cabinetry is also usually made by local professionals, allowing the homeowner to inject more money into the local economy. You should also be able to get references from the professional, allowing you to find out from other homeowners how their custom cabinetry is standing up to day to day use. A professional will also be able to expose you to many custom options for your kitchen.

Custom cabinets can also be made with almost any material. Glass, steal, or bamboo composite are all increasingly popular materials in for a kitchen redesign that are not readily available as stock options. If you want a contemporary look for your kitchen, custom cabinets are often the best way to ensure you get what you want.

Custom cabinetry also allows for greater design flexibility. This is particularly good for kitchens that have specific design challenges, or for homeowners that want to include recent kitchen trends in a remodel. People that spend a lot of time in a kitchen are also appreciative of the ability of sizing custom cabinets to fit appliances, kitchenware, and lifestyles.

Although custom cabinetry is often considered for a kitchen, custom options often are an excellent solution for a bathroom or other areas that need extra storage. While a kitchen is often built with cabinetry in mind – making stock cabinetry easier to install – sometimes custom cabinets are the only reasonable solution for a particularly small or oddly-shaped bathroom.

If you are still unsure what type of cabinetry you need for your specific home, contact a contractor or designer to look at your kitchen or bathroom. A professional can review which type of cabinetry will best fit your needs or come up with and integrated solution that will allow you to take advantage of the strong points of both solutions.

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