Often the first thing I notice when visiting a home for a potential kitchen remodel is the cabinetry and countertops as well as their age and condition. I have heard this is also true with home buyers; cabinetry sets the tone for the space, is usually scrutinized first, and can directly affect a buying decision later. Cabinetry can often be neglected because it is assumed all cabinets are the same and therefore, little value is placed on their quality and design. Nothing could be further from the truth as I have seen firsthand. There are wide differences between off-the-shelf, flat-packed ‘DIY’ style cabinets and custom designed, handmade cabinetry delivered and installed by a professional. Not only is the latter far superior with regard to finish, design options and accessories, but custom cabinetry offers long term value for your property.
The quality of cabinetry today is nothing like that of the 70’s or 80’s where particle board boxes and veneer doors have been replaced with green plywood boxes and solid wood doors. Custom cabinet makers now have the ability to offer many different styles and options to match a home from any period, from traditional to modern, with stained wood or custom painted finishes. Accessories and amenities, however, are where the cupboards of today really set themselves apart. In recent years, we have found it rare to design and build a kitchen without lots of handy roll-out shelves, pop-up mixer stands, and appliance garages ready for any kitchen gadget or appliance. Today homeowners have more ability than ever before to customize their kitchen according to their lifestyle and level of use. All of these options together make the space more comfortable for the present owner while also enhancing resale value later.
So what are the real differences between the aforementioned off-the-shelf cabinets purchased from a big box store, and custom cabinets made here in America? We sometimes get this question from clients, as they figure they can save thousands of dollars going the DIY route over custom made, professionally installed cabinets. The differences might seem slight up front, but are often apparent after only a few years and sometimes only months of use. Most store bought cabinets are built with inexpensive materials that have a tendency to fail, from thin particle board drawer boxes, to flimsy hardware, to soft and easily damaged finishes. Often these cabinets are also made with materials containing formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals making them a not-so -green option. Contrast this with a custom cabinet assembled using FSC certified wood, sturdy dovetailed drawer boxes, and beautiful solid wood drawer fronts and doors. Furthermore, your typical custom cabinet is made here in America with a lifetime limited warranty covering the cabinet and its hardware. When coupled with the warranty from your builder (2 years with our company) for installation and workmanship, you truly have a product with superior value that you can depend on long after the project is completed.