There’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing cabinets, including style, design, and finish. A good place to start is by choosing the method of cabinet construction first: stock, semi-custom, or custom. The difference between stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets isn’t necessarily one of quality, and the right one for your home will depend on a number of factors. Here are the basic features of each.
Stock cabinets: Stock cabinets are pre-made units that come in the most common cabinet width sizes with a standard depth of 12” for wall cabinets and 24” for base cabinets. Units are manufactured as sets of cabinet boxes, which limits the way they can be put together in your space. Some stock cabinets are very well made, but they’re built in mass quantities and don’t come with any customizations.
Benefits: Stock cabinets are affordable and ready to ship, so they have a reasonable delivery time. The simple style of some stock cabinets helps them blend into the background, allowing a different material to take center stage in your space.
Drawbacks: Your options in all areas are limited when you go with stock cabinets, including size color, finish, design, style, and configuration in the room. If the pre-made units don’t fit exactly into the space, wood fillers will be necessary to close the gaps.
Semi-custom cabinets: This hybrid between stock and custom combines pre-made cabinets with more detail options, such as a wider range of dimensions, more wood and finish choices, and additional size options for doors and drawers. Semi-custom stock is customized by slightly altering the original dimensions to perfectly fit a space, but it can sometimes come at a high price.
Benefits: Semi-custom gives you far more choices without investing in custom cabinets, but enough add-ons can bring the price close to or above custom. However, more design and style choices make it easier to create a custom look at a reasonable price.
Drawbacks: The customizations made to semi-custom cabinets are size and dimension related, while the style and finish are still pre-manufactured in mass quantities, so they lack the true design options, detail work, and uniqueness of custom cabinets.
Custom cabinets: Although custom cabinetry can be more expensive, it gives homeowners the most options. Choices for wood, design, and finish are completely open, and the cabinets are built to order to the exact specifications of your space. Custom cabinets are often built locally or on site, but may be manufactured to order as well.
Benefits: In addition to limitless design options, custom cabinets have superior construction, more efficient storage, and better use of space. Special design requests can usually be accommodated and the design you end up with will be completely unique to your home. Custom carpentry also supports local businesses and may come with options for using locally harvested or reclaimed wood. Also, the right local company can easily build and deliver much faster than a stock or semi-custom manufacturer for a large project such as a kitchen. This enables the project to start and finish sooner. Finally, the ability to resolve any issues either during or after the remodel is complete is much faster with a local company, responsive company.
Drawbacks: If not provided by a local company, the time it takes to build custom cabinets may slow down the timeline of some remodeling projects. Cost can be a tradeoff for many homeowners, but when alterations to semi-custom cabinets begin to reach or exceed the lower end of custom prices, it’s time to think about investing in custom cabinets for your San Jose kitchen.