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Why Choose Custom? Why Not Prefabricated Cabinets?

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

cabinet, cabinetmaker, custom, cabinets, wood, wood shop, woodworking, woodworker, maker, custom

Are you thinking of getting new cabinets? If you are, one of the first things to consider is what kind of cabinetry to get. Before deciding on where to source the cabinets from, you need to figure out if you would like to just buy them off of a shelf, or if you want to invest in custom cabinets.


There are pros and cons to both options and it really depends on what you would prefer, and which option is a better fit for you and your home. It's also good to consider how long you plan on living in the house. Let's evaluate Prefabricated cabinets first!

Advantages to Prefabricated Cabinetry

  • Low Budget: For the most part, this is the most cost effective choice as these cabinets are mass produced

  • Ready-Made: These cabinets normally come with a quicker lead time. So long as they are in stock, you can normally pick it up and be ready to start building.

Disadvantages to Prefabricated Cabinetry

  • Project Timeline is the same: Stock, or prefabricated cabinets seem like they would allow you to fly through your renovation faster, but don't forget the other trades, the planning, the installation. All of these things take the same amount of time. Also to consider, you will most likely have to assemble the cabinets yourself, or pay a contractor to do it for you.

  • "Some" Assembly Required: Most mass produced cabinets are shipped and sold as a flat. Which means you are responsible for putting them together, with confusing and lengthy instructions. And don't forget the absurd amount of packaging you will have to deal with after.

  • Low Product Cost - Higher Labour Cost: As mentioned above, if you plan on hiring someone to put the cabinets together for you, plan on some time, some wrong orders and more trips to the store in hopes they have what you need. Even if you DIY it, consider your own blood sweat and tears...those three will happen.

  • Generic Design: Stock cabinets are extremely generic. Set colours, set sizes, and selections are very limited. How else would you get something mass produced? You also won't be able to take advantage of the entire space with set depths and widths, usually in increments of 3".

  • "Quality": The majority of this type of cabinet are produced with a lower quality material and the high speed of production usually means an overlook of attention to details. These products are also often produced in far off countries as outsourcing usually gains the supplier more profit. The life span of this type of cabinet is low and there are always durability issues.



Advantages to Custom Cabinetry

  • Everything is customizable: Size, shape, depth, width, height. Colour, wood, door style...everything is customizable to your wants, needs, lifestyle and budget.

  • Quality: A custom cabinet shop will never recommend any low quality materials. If they do, run. It is our job as a high end cabinet shop to provide you, the client, with the best possible materials.

  • Shop Local: Custom cabinets are built to order, which means they need to be produced locally. The work is very hands-on and includes all trades that are a part of your renovation.

  • Personalized Advice and Consultations: For cabinetmakers, this is our art. We will be there for you on every step to help guide you through the process to make sure everything is exactly how you dreamed. We will bring your ideas to life with our years of experience and we will let you know what will work, and what won't.

  • Higher Return On Investment: If you consider the life span of custom cabinets, you will quickly see the return is much higher with custom as opposed to prefabricated. Most custom cabinets include a strong warranty with the thought that you will not need to replace your cabinets any time soon.

  • No Assembly Required: Custom cabinets are built in shop and delivered to your home ready to install. The installation is also taken care of for you. This means you have your valuable time freed from the struggles of hard to read instructions and pieces that clearly don't want to fit together. Another bonus, all of the mess is taken back with the installers when they are complete!

Disadvantages of Custom Cabinetry

  • Longer Lead Times: Every part is made to order and made to fit to your space. This means the lead time can be anywhere from 6-10 weeks for manufacturing. Be prepared for delays and longer lead times in the peak renovating seasons.

  • Higher Price: Ordering custom anything usually means the product will be more expensive, cabinetry is no different. But always worth every penny!



In most instances, the value will point towards a custom cabinet. Being able to access professional designers, and skilled craftsmen will be an obvious choice. Your time line and budget may push you towards a prefabricated cabinet, but it is always important to keep in mind the return on those stock cabinets will not be great in the long run. At the end of the day, it is ultimately your choice to make, but my opinion will always favour the custom cabinetry option.

Are you interested in meeting with one of our talented designers for your next project? Book an appointment today!

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