Custom Cabinetry for Your Kitchen?

Cabinets have the single greatest impact on a kitchen or bathroom. Custom cabinets are popular for that reason.

People are realizing that whether their room is large or small, elaborate or simple, high quality cabinetry will make it the best that it can be. Custom cabinetry is a one-of-a-kind reflection of your good taste. But is it your only option?

Needless to say, installing custom cabinetry in your kitchen or bathroom is not the inexpensive route. If you are on a rather tight budget, modular cabinets that you can assemble and install yourself are a respectable alternative.

To give you some idea of what you the consumer are up against, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) approximately half the cost of a complete kitchen remodeling job will go toward cabinets.

Final costs, however, can vary significantly based on the type of cabinets (custom cabinetry or stock) and the materials. For instance, hardwoods and exotic veneers are the most expensive. Of course, accessories, higher end hardware, modifications and unique finishes always increase costs.

Based on how they're built and the degree of customization, cabinets can be divided into three basic groups: stock, semi-custom and custom cabinetry. Keep in mind, though, that these categories do not necessarily designate quality. Fine cabinetry is available across all three groups. To help you to identify durable construction in any manufacturer's cabinet, look for the distinctive blue and white "certified cabinet" seal from the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association.

Three basic cabinet groups:

Stock cabinets:

Stock cabinets are available in widths of nine inches and increase in three-inch increments up to 48 inches (the largest standard size stock cabinet you can buy). They are available in a large variety of styles and can be ordered through retailers and manufacturers' catalogs. Keep in mind that stock cabinets are constructed before being purchased, so special sizes are not available. Since this is the case, filler strips are used to close gaps between a cabinet and an appliance or wall. Stock cabinets are typically stored in a manufacturer's warehouses and are usually available within a week of being ordered.

Semi-custom cabinets:

Semi-custom cabinets are the best of both worlds. Construction of the cabinet only begins when the order is final. This allows for modifications to standard sizes. However, the delivery time make take a month or longer. An experienced kitchen designer can offer you numerous options - such as interior finishes that match exteriors and varying cabinet depths - that will give your kitchen an almost custom look.

Custom cabinets:

Custom cabinets can be made to suit any room space or desire. You can also incorporate virtually any door style and color into your kitchen. You can even have cabinets made to match existing cabinetry, woodwork or architectural details. You can even select an "unfitted" look with freestanding cabinets that look and act like furniture. How long can you expect to wait for you custom cabinets? Plan on at leas 10 weeks, however longer waits are common.

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