Cabinetry costs: custom versus prefab

With cabinetry costs making up nearly 50 percent of a homeowner's kitchen construction or...

With cabinetry costs making up nearly 50 percent of a homeowner's kitchen construction or remodeling budget, it is essential that this investment be well-informed. When considering the overall aesthetic you'd like to create for your kitchen, understanding the different types of cabinets available is necessary to accurately estimate project costs.

Basic costs

Stock cabinets, also known as prefab cabinets, are the least expensive option at around $60 to $200 per linear foot. That's significantly cheaper than custom cabinets, which can run between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot. However, a compromise is available in the form of semi-custom cabinets, which typically cost between $100 and $650 per linear foot.

Project timeline

So which should you choose? Determining the type of cabinets that are right for your kitchen is more than just a matter of cost: Your project timeline also comes into play. If you need your kitchen up and running in a hurry, you might be inclined to purchase prefab cabinets because they are ready to install from the moment you buy them.

Homeowner control

On the other hand, prefab cabinets do not always fit a given space precisely, nor will they necessarily match the rest of your kitchen's design theme.

If you can afford to wait for a cabinetmaker to design and build custom cabinets, this might be a better choice. This option gives you control over the cabinet features as well as their appearance and the type of materials used in their construction. Potential features include smooth-gliding drawers, lazy Susans and pull-down storage compartments, among others. Decide whether or not you expect to cook or entertain much before settling on a cabinet type.

Other cost factors

The cost of installation is another factor in your cabinetry costs calculations. If you decide on custom cabinets, be sure to get installation quotes from several Atlanta-area remodelers before deciding on prefab or custom cabinets.

Professional installation

Likewise, never assume prefab cabinets will be easier to install than custom cabinets. Rather than risk botching the job, hire an expert to install your cabinets, regardless of whether they are stock or custom.

Do your homework before calling a custom cabinetmaker or making an impulse purchase at your local home improvement store that you might regret later. Your kitchen is likely the hub of your home. Well-informed, carefully considered decisions about your kitchen's cabinetry needs will serve you, your loved ones and guests well into the future.

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