A big percentage of a kitchen remodeling budget, as much as 60 percent, is spent on kitchen cabinets. This can be even higher if the cabinets are custom designed. The cabinets form the basis of the structure and style of your kitchen. Because of this, decisions about whether you want to refinish or replace you cabinets should not be taken lightly.
Perhaps the most perplexing question you will face when you design a kitchen is what to do about the cabinetry. The appeal of new cabinets cannot be denied. But they are not the only way to give your kitchen a new look. And if poorly designed, new cabinets can be a foe rather than a friend. If your current cabinets are relatively new and well - built, then you might consider refinishing them or re - facing them instead.
New kitchen cabinets fall into one of three categories. Stock cabinets are mass - produced, sold at retail, and come in a fixed range of sizes and finishes. All you need to do is pick the style, take accurate measurements, and the cabinets are delivered to your door. Semi - custom cabinets are either stock cabinets with custom doors, or built to order cabinetry chosen from a style catalog. Custom cabinets are one of a kind, built especially for your kitchen.
The three categories do not necessarily indicate quality of price. There as many poorly made custom cabinets are there are superbly designed stock cabinets. One thing to consider with prefabricated cabinets is the amount of time and effort it can take to get them to fit into your kitchen space. This work to make the less expensive stock cabinets fit will often offset the savings over custom designed cabinetry. And, custom cabinets do not always cost more than high quality stock cabinets.
If you are looking at installing cabinets for a short term situation or they will not get particularly worn, the stock cabinets might be the way to go. They are definitely less expensive, and can be made to look customized by simply adding custom made doors. For long term applications, then custom cabinets are a better bet as they will be more durable.
Another danger with custom cabinets is that kitchen styles evolve quickly and frequently. If you are looking to sell your house in a couple of years, and are in an area where you can recover the investment in your kitchen remodel through the selling price, then custom cabinets might work well. If you cannot recover the cost, then they make little sense. Also, if you plan on living in your house for a very long time, then you run the risk of your custom cabinets go out of style. They might last longer and bring you much joy, but they might be a hindrance later when it comes time to sell the home.
Whichever way you choose to go with your kitchen cabinets, be sure to closely examine the materials and ask questions about the construction. If the cabinets are glued or stapled together, or made of particleboard, they will not be very durable. They will also struggle under the weight of a stone countertop, likely causing the doors to fall off in the span of a year. Look at the thickness of the shelves as well. Shelves that are less than 5/8 inch in thickness will warp and bow given time. Drawer bottoms made from particleboard will wear thin as well. They way your cabinets are made is more important than whether they are stock, semi - custom, or custom designed. Nobody will care much where they came from if they fall apart.