Custom Kitchens or Prefab?
Kitchens are the most expensive room in the house to renovate. Every trade gets involved in a kitchen renovation and the most important thing is to be prepared for the time and cost for each of the trades. You will be needing an electrician, a plumber, a tiler, a stone fabricator and often, a cabinet maker. The cabinets are likely the most expensive part of the kitchen.
Is it worth it to go with custom cabinetry or is it better to go with prefabricated cabinets (pre made) that can be purchased at a store – how do you decide which is the better option for your home?
Understand the pros and cons of custom cabinets vs. prefabricated cabinetry.
If the cabinets are being made by a millworker, you have the option of customizing everything for the cabinet; including the finishes that you want for the cabinets. Which means that you can choose any paint color or wood stain option that your heart desires. Millworkers are also able to custom match a stain for you or source out the precise type of wood of preference.
For the Millworker to get the finish precisely correct, they need to spray paint the cabinets, sand them and then paint them again to get that perfected finish that we are all familiar with and in love with. The advantage of going with a prefabricated product includes the fact that the cabinets are produced on a mass scale, the price to paint them is not as expensive so you do pay less for these cabinets. Cons is that there are only a couple of color options to choose from.
Here at Brento Tile, we prefer to design kitchens with custom millwork. We love that we can fill a room perfectly and have the cabinets fit to their respective spaces without those unsightly fillers. When dealing with prefabricated cabinetry, it is always a challenge to fit everything in flawlessly into a space.
We always need to bring in some sort of custom element into a kitchen design that uses prefab cabinets so that the kitchen design has a bit more depth to it. For example you can purchase large gables (made of the same finish as your cabinets) and build anything with the matching material. The biggest challenge with store-bought cabinets is that they force you to think within a box. Bringing custom elements to the store-bought millwork, you’re able to be creative with the design and not have to stick to the standard layout.
This is where you will see the largest discrepancy between the custom millwork and prefabricated cabinets. Depending on where you purchase your cabinets from, you can see a cost difference of anywhere from 150 % to 500% more for custom. Bear in mind that this is the cost of cabinets only; once the cost of installation of prefabricated cabinets is factored in, the price difference does shrink considerably.
It will not necessarily cost you any less to have prefab cabinets installed. If there are any problems with the product during installation (which does happen more often than not) you will then have to deal with the store to repurchase or exchange the pieces that do not fit, which can take up time and create delays.
This is the second biggest discrepancy between the costs between custom and prefab cabinets. With custom cabinets, your millworker is responsible for measuring and making sure that the cabinet fits and functions perfectly. That means, even if they had messed up with the fabrication of the cabinets, they need to fix it either by remaking the product or cutting it on site so that it fits perfectly.
When ordering custom millwork, the result of the work goes without saying. Millworkers take pride in their work and will do everything they should to make it perfect and fix up all the imperfections. If you have gone with prefabricated products then you will have to pay additional for an installer, on top of the cost of the cabinets. The installer generally will not make overly complicated cuts to the product during install, so if something does not fit properly, then you are left to deal with it.
5. Cabinet Depth
This issue is separate from the custom fit issue because even if you are able to fit all the prefab cabinets fit perfectly into the kitchen, there may be potential depth issues as well. Standard off the shelf base and tall cabinets will typically be 24” deep. However, what happens if you want to have a refrigerator that is 31” deep? Means that the refrigerator will be sticking out by 7” or what happens if you would like to upgrade your appliances to built-ins? The prefab cabinets will not be able to cater to these specifications.
6. Cabinet Components
The range of amazing interior components could make any organize fanatic, like us here at Brento Tile, drool in excitement. At one time, interior cabinet components could only be purchased and installed by millworkers who produced custom cabinets. Today, store bought kitchens now offer a decent selection of important interior components. They may not have the same variety, but the offerings are good. You can now get corner organizers for your corner cabinets, your garbage centers and so many other things for your drawers.
In the end, there are some great prefab kitchens to choose from. But bear in mind, you will have a limited selection of finishes and interior components. You must do the measuring yourself and come up with a creative way to make your kitchen fit. Renovations are stressful but here at Brento Tile we can work with you to help you not only design but to make sure that we can customize a kitchen for you without paying the same price tag out on the market.