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Custom Kitchen Cabinets vs Stock Kitchen Cabinets: Pros and Cons

A kitchen makeover can be an expensive proposition and kitchen cabinetry holds a critical portion of the overall budget. The Houzz Kitchen Study, 2018 reports found that kitchen cabinets accounted for around 31% of the overall kitchen remodeling budget.

The same study also found that an increasing number of homeowners opted for custom cabinets (40%) and semi-custom cabinets (34%) while only 11% of the surveyed homeowners said they preferred stock cabinets over other options.

While you can follow the kitchen remodeling trends, and choose custom cabinets over the stock cabinets, it’s important to know their respective pros and cons.

Custom cabinets typically cost higher than stock cabinets and that’s something you should consider if you’re working with a limited budget for your kitchen renovation.

In this guides, we’ll walk you through the different pros and cons of both custom as well as stock cabinets.

Advantages of Custom Kitchen Cabinets

  • Custom Cabinets are High-Quality
  • Designed to Your Needs
  • Optimal Space Management
  • Style Statement
  • Higher Resale Value

Custom Cabinets are High-Quality: Of course, the first thing that differentiates custom kitchen cabinets from stock cabinets is the quality. Custom cabinets are made from quality materials and designed to suit the specific needs of the homeowners. As a result, they are not only built-to-last for years to complement your kitchen very well. Needlessly, they are highly functional since they are crafted to meet your specific needs.

Designed to Your Needs: Beyond the quality, custom kitchen cabinets are designed keeping the specific needs of the homeowner — the measurements, hardware, finish, color, you name it. Custom cabinets for kitchen remodeling are designed according to the layout of the kitchen. Therefore, every minute detail including the choice between corner pantry vs walk-in pantry is incorporated. This helps the homeowner imagine the kitchen she’s going to see in the post-renovation phase.

Optimal Space Management: A great kitchen remodeling project is one that makes the optimal use of the available space in a kitchen. Since custom cabinets are designed to keep the space and layout of your kitchen, they’re more likely to make the best of your available space. Whether it’s the base cabinets, wall cabinets, corner cabinets, blind corners or kitchen island, all units are crafted to perfection and complement one another.

Style Statement: Custom kitchen cabinets are designed according to your taste. Therefore, your kitchen carries your personality and signature, making it your very own.

Higher Resale Value: The high-quality materials used in custom kitchen cabinets makes your kitchen looks unique in terms of style and functionality. The custom kitchen cabinets not only make your kitchen highly functional but also amplify the aesthetics, adding great value to your home on the market when you plan to resell it.

Disadvantages of Custom Kitchen Cabinets

  • Hefty Prices
  • Long ETA
  • Buyer’s Caveat

Hefty Prices: The obvious downside of custom kitchen cabinets is that they are expensive. The high costs of wood species, costs of craftsmanship and fees of the contractor tend to increase the costs of the final products. Plus, there are other costs such as finish and accessories. According to Home Advisor, the average homeowner can expect to pay $500 to $1,200 per linear foot for custom cabinets. In other words, if an average kitchen with 25 linear feet will cost anything between $12,500 to $30,000.

Therefore, if you have a limited budget, custom kitchen cabinets may be beyond your reach.

Long ETA: Custom kitchen cabinets take a longer time to manufacture as they’re crafted as per the exact specifications of your kitchen layout. Again, if the custom cabinets don’t match your expectations, it might take even longer for your manufacturer to make new cabinets as per the correct measurements of your kitchen. The bottom line is this will affect the duration of your kitchen remodeling project. Some manufacturers say that it usually takes three to four months for them to build and ship custom cabinets. Therefore, if you have a tight deadline, ordering custom kitchen cabinets may not be suitable for you.

Buyer’s Caveat: Sure, custom cabinets help you personalize your kitchen and give it a personality of your own. However, if you’re not planning to stay in the home for a longer period of time, the investment is not worth it. Moreover, there are chances that your potential buyers may not like the highly personalized kitchen design. So, your home value may take a hit.

Advantages of Stock Kitchen Cabinets

  • They’re Affordable
  • They’re RTA
  • They’re Great for Rented House

They’re Affordable: Stock kitchen cabinets are affordable since they are mass-produced and the costs of manufacturing are also lower. There are private consultation fee or a hefty craftsmanship remuneration. All this make stock kitchen cabinets a lot cheaper. Stock cabinets, in most cases, are made of plywood with multiple coats of veneer on them. Hence, they’re budget-friendly.

They’re RTA: RTA (Ready to Assemble) cabinets are the most common form of stock kitchen cabinets. They are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and finishes, making them easily and quickly available for your kitchen remodeling project. Plus, they are easy to assemble without you spending additionally on hiring a professional.

They’re Great for Rented House: Stock kitchen cabinets are great for rented houses where you don’t want to invest a lot on kitchen remodeling. Even if there is any damage to the cabinets, you can easily replace them with new units as they are available in standard sizes.

Disadvantages of Stock Kitchen Cabinets

  • Low-Quality Cabinets
  • Imperfect Measurement

Low-Quality Cabinets: In some cases, stock cabinets may turn out to be a disadvantage to some homeowners. Unlike custom kitchen cabinets, stock kitchen cabinets are mass-produced and, in some cases, they use cheaper materials, hardware, and finishes. As a result, they may not last for a long period of time. However, please, keep in mind that not all stock cabinets are of low quality. You still can decent stock kitchen cabinets on a budget. You just need to look for the right manufacturer.

Imperfect Measurement: Unlike custom kitchen cabinets, stock cabinets aren’t crafted to exact measurements of your kitchen layout. You need to use a few accessories such as filler strips and trim panels to go with your stock cabinets. Depending on your expectations from stock cabinets, you might get a different result than you expected.

Custom Cabinets vs Stock Cabinets: Infographics

Final Thoughts

Choosing from custom kitchen cabinets and stock kitchen cabinets isn’t easy. You need to take into account several factors including the budget, timeline, and personalization. It’s advisable that you consult a professional before going for a remodeling project.

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