Kitchen Cabinet Basics

Since cabinets represent a significant portion of your kitchen remodeling budget (40-50%), it is helpful to understand the basic kitchen cabinet types and pricing implications.  The cabinet types – ready to assemble, stock, semi-custom and custom – refer to the level of customization available and not necessarily the quality of the cabinet.

Ready to Assemble (RTA) are purchased dismantled and are put together on the job site.  Options for sizes and styles are limited, but you can take them with you.  Watch for lower quality construction.  RTA cabinets are generally the lowest cost option, but some stock cabinet pricing is very close.

Stock Cabinets are manufactured in advance.   Because the cabinets are pre-made, choices are  limited but delivery times are fast (7-14 days).  Stock cabinets are a good choice where no customization is required.  Quality of stock cabinets varies, but some stock cabinets now offer features formerly limited to the semi-custom lines.

Semi-custom cabinets are manufactured to order for each kitchen.  Basic cabinet sizes, styles and finishes are established by each manufacturer.  Many options for customization are available.  The number of options will vary by cabinet lines, with some lines approaching the custom level of cabinet design options.  Semi-custom cabinets are usually available in 4-6 weeks.

Custom cabinet as the name suggests are made entirely to your specifications.  Every detail, style, size and color is available.  Custom cabinets are usually made locally and are the most expensive of your cabinet options.  Lead times for custom cabinets vary by shop, but expect the cabinets to take at least  6 weeks. While custom cabinets offer the ultimate in flexibility, they are a significant investment .

Your cabinet choice will be guided by budget, style and lead times required.  Semi-custom cabinets offer the most flexible options and variation in style and cost. Semi-custom cabinets are the most common choice in most kitchen remodeling projects.