According to the American Hardwood Information Center, which makes it its business to know all about kitchen cabinets, kitchen cabinetry can account for up to 50 percent of the cost of a new or upgraded kitchen. When you’re talking this kind of bucks, you’d better get it right.
One of the first things you’re going to have to know about when you head out on the great kitchen cabinet hunt is the difference between custom-made, semi-custom, and stock cabinets.
Stock cabinets are usually offered by home improvement centers, some large cabinet suppliers and even some home-builders. These pre-made cabinets are a cost-effective choice as they are purchased and produced in large quantities and are sold only in a standard collection of sizes.
Using available box sizes and filler strips to hide any gaps when the sizes aren’t quite right, your builder and kitchen designer will create a kitchen for you. For example, if the space calls for a 26-inch cabinet but the only sizes available are 24 or 27-inch, the builder will use the 24-inch box and cover the extra space with a filler strip.
If you want fancier glazed or antique finishes and more wood choices, you will have to upgrade to at least a semi-custom style, since the available wood species and finishes are limited in the stock program.
You will need custom cabinets if you want meatier moldings and such things as custom bead board. Woods, such as cherry and mahogany, typically cost 20 per cent to 40 per cent more than oak.
Semi-custom cabinets can also be customized for height, width and depth. Thus, you can design some very creative spaces. You can also add built-in spice racks and extra-deep drawers for pots and pans.
If you have round walls or you want cabinets that match an exotic or antique piece of furniture, you will need to turn your attention (and wallet) to custom cabinetry. Here, your wish is the cabinetmakers’ command. Exotic woods, unique finishes and glazes — anything can be made.
The process can be costly as custom kitchens can run anywhere from $25,000 to $150,000, depending upon the materials, finishing techniques and detailing in the design. That compares to a stock cabinet kitchen, which can cost as little as $5,000 to $10,000.
Be creative and research all of your available options.