Kitchen Cabinets: Prefabricated vs. Custom vs. Semi-Custom
Whether you realize it or not, cabinets play an extremely important role in your space. If you’re in the process of completing a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room remodels, the chances are high that you’ll need to pick out the perfect type of cabinets to tie your space together.
Different types of cabinets are made differently, are constructed with different materials, and hold up differently over time. If you’re confused and overwhelmed by all of your kitchen cabinet options, know that you’re not alone! Our professional experts at Pro Stone Countertops can help you better understand your options to ensure your new space turns out exactly as you envision it.
We’ve outlined the major differences between prefabricated cabinets, custom cabinets, and semi-custom cabinets to help you feel confident about your decision.
Prefab vs. Custom Cabinets
If you’re hoping to stick to a tight budget on this project, consider opting for prefabricated cabinets. This type of cabinet doesn’t offer a ton of customization, and they are purchased mainly as-is.
Generally speaking, we recommend prefab cabinets in bathrooms, mudrooms, or laundry rooms instead of kitchens. These smaller spaces are more straightforward, and they don’t require as many design elements to work with one another.
Because each kitchen is so unique, prefab cabinets can sometimes limit you too much in terms of size and finish. We know it can be tempting to opt for prefab cabinets if you want to save money and finish your project as fast as possible. However, don’t skimp on your dream kitchen by choosing prefab cabinets if they are not in line with your end goal.
The main positive in choosing prefabricated cabinets is how cost-efficient and practical they are. If this is the route that you choose, the turnaround time for your project will likely be significantly shorter as well, as you won’t be waiting on custom cabinets to be completed.
If you choose prefab cabinets for your bathroom, they typically come with a sink and a countertop. This is a pro if you want to knock out as many design aspects as you can with one decision. If you prefer to pick your sink and countertop, this may be a con to factor into your decision.
Despite prefab cabinets being extremely cost-efficient, they aren’t the most durable cabinet on the market. You can expect the lifespan of a prefab cabinet to be significantly shorter than those that are custom-made.
Prefab cabinets are also more difficult to paint over. You’re rarely able to paint over a prefab cabinet successfully, so if you think you’ll ever want to change the paint color, you may not want to opt for this route.
Finally, the design and finish options are limited with prefab cabinets, limiting some homeowners if they have specifications they need to meet.
When Do I Choose Prefab Cabinets?
If you have a small, simple space that requires new cabinets, prefab cabinets can be a great option to tie your space together. In the case that you are against a tight timeline or you want to stick to a lower budget, prefab cabinets are ideal.
The turnaround time for prefab cabinets is usually anywhere from one week to one month, depending on what the supplier has in stock at the time.
Semi-custom cabinets are another popular cabinetry option for those who want a bit more say in the design and finish but don’t want to pay for custom cabinets. This is a happy medium, combining some of the durability of custom cabinets with slightly more customization than prefab cabinets.
Semi-custom cabinets offer a wider selection than prefab cabinets, allowing you to choose from different styles and finishes. You can even choose the molding that best matches your cabinetry best to create the look that you want. Despite this type of cabinet being mass-produced, it is still of higher quality than prefab cabinets.
The main downside to choosing semi-custom cabinets is their paint quality. Although the paint quality on semi-custom cabinets isn’t bad, the paint job on custom cabinets seems to last significantly longer. Any processes that can be mass-produced, such as semi-custom cabinets, put quality at risk.
Filler products are also used in semi-custom cabinets. This means that there are small filler materials of varying sizes to help bridge the gap between the wall and the cabinet. When installed correctly, fillers aren’t extremely noticeable, however, they can detract from the overall look and feel of the space.
When Do I Choose Semi-Custom Cabinets?
We recommend semi-custom cabinets if you have a larger budget and a specific vision in mind, but you aren’t sure about fully committing to custom cabinets. Semi-custom cabinets are also beneficial in spaces that require specific measurements in which prefab cabinets cannot fit.
Let’s now discuss custom cabinets as an option for your remodel. Custom cabinets, just as they sound, are unique, one-of-a-kind cabinets that were designed and constructed specifically for your space. Custom-made cabinets fit perfectly into your space and will have the exact look and finish of which you’ve always dreamed.
Benefits of Custom Cabinets
Custom cabinets are the nicest cabinets that money can buy. For many homeowners, these cabinets are the star of their kitchen or bathroom remodel, offering unmatched functionality and elegance.
They can be designed to fit into any space you need, even if extending them to your ceiling to eliminate any awkward spaces or gaps.
The quality of custom cabinets is unmatched, as each piece is hand-designed and cut to your needs. Each part of a custom cabinet is professionally sprayed and cured to lessen the risk of cracking or damage in the future. The color and finish options are endless, allowing you to choose just what you want for your space.
Cons of Custom Cabinets
As you can imagine, the price is often the biggest downside of custom cabinetry. Because each cabinet is tailored to your specific needs, you can expect to pay more for this type of cabinetry. Standard kitchen remodels that use custom cabinetry can cost anywhere from $30-$60k, a price tag that can deter many.
Your timeline will also help you determine if custom cabinets are a possibility. Each cabinet is designed to your specifications, which can add 2-8 weeks just in labor time alone. If you do opt for custom cabinets, be patient and know that the result will be worth it!
When Do I Choose Custom Cabinets?
Custom cabinets are worth your while if you are willing to invest in a long-lasting addition to your kitchen. They are also ideal if you aren’t on a tight timeline or if you are going to be living in this space for years to come.
Many homeowners associate prefab, semi-custom, and custom cabinets as low, medium, and high-quality cabinets, respectively. This is not the case, as each type of cabinet undergoes a different manufacturing process.
To avoid purchasing cabinets that aren’t high-quality, you must look into the material of each. Some prefab cabinets may be higher-quality than custom-made cabinets. This is why it’s essential to choose a trustworthy company that can guide you in the right direction.
Customizing and modifying the cabinets that you choose is always expected to some degree. Maybe it means adding another storage portion of the cabinet or slightly modifying the finish to better suit your home’s current style.
The more that you customize your cabinets, the more use you’ll get out of them. If you’re not sure whether or not you can benefit from custom cabinets, be sure to discuss this with our team.
If you are planning an upcoming remodel, try to approach the situation with the mindset of “what type of cabinets will add the most value to my home?” For many, kitchens are the focal point in the home, so having updated and functional cabinets is a major selling point.
This doesn’t mean that custom cabinets are your only option, however. Consider the pros of custom cabinets vs. prefab cabinets to help you make your decision. There is no right or wrong answer. Rather, you’ll simply want to choose the best option for your budget and needs.
Regardless of the cabinet type that you choose, your new space will be beautiful and uniquely yours. If you want additional hands-on assistance and guidance for your upcoming project, turn to Pro Stone Countertops.
All of our work is completed in-house, making it easy for us to ensure excellence in every step of the project. We always complete our projects on time and pride ourselves on unmatched customer service every step of the way.
To get started, contact us and tell us more about your project, and our team will be in touch soon!