When it comes to choosing quality cabinets for your home (whether they are for the kitchen, the bathroom or somewhere else entirely), the question in the minds of many people is whether stock or custom is the way to go. Whilst there is some belief that custom cabinets represent the highest possible quality and stock ones are simply tacky, is this always the case? In this article, we aim to take a closer look at both options in order to help you decide what would work best.
What is Stock?
Stock cabinets are manufactured in standard sizes. The manufacturer ships them out to national distributors (who sell them at retail) or directly to the customer (if they have purchased in bulk). This is the cheapest option, as machines are actually responsible for most of the work and the designs are pre-loaded into them before being repeated over and over. You will, however, be able to get the cabinets much quicker (usually within 3 weeks).
To ensure that you are receiving quality, it is of the utmost importance that you thoroughly inspect the cabinets before any money changes hands. With this sort of purchase, it is very much a case of ‘you get what you pay for’.
What is Custom?
Custom cabinets are made to suit the specifications of a particular project. The manufacturer takes measurements of the customer’s home and makes the carcasses to suit, using materials of their choice. This is the most expensive option – as well as paying for the materials, you are also paying for the time and talents of the manufacturer. You will, however, be subjected to a 6 to 12 week waiting period whilst the cabinets are made.
You are guaranteed quality cabinets with this option, as you are given the opportunity to inspect the work as it is completed and will only pay when you are happy with the finished product.
When it comes to the purchase of quality cabinets, however, it is important to note that both options could meet your expectations – you just have to ensure that you are looking for the right things.
- Heavy Discounts – Whilst this is really only an issue if you are buying stock, you should always be wary of heavily discounted products. There must be a reason why the manufacturer or distributor is trying to get rid of these cabinets – are they faulty, have they been damaged?
- Drawers – This should actually be one of the first places you look. Study the detailing of the joinery, the quality of the inner surfaces, the fit of the pieces and how well it glides in its track. Make sure you also determine the quality of the track – is it ball bearings or cheap plastic?
- Doors – This should be another area that is closely inspected. Make sure that the door fits properly and opens or closes easily. Inspect any edge banding around the perimeter to ensure that the workmanship is good, and note whether the hinges are adjustable or not.
Whilst there can be no denying that custom is probably the way to go if you are searching for the highest quality cabinets, we also want to stress that it is possible to find stock pieces that have been made quite well. Just make sure that you have inspected each of the areas we have outlined above (drawers and doors) and that you are wary of heavy discounts. This will help to ensure that you are making the best possible choice and getting the most bang for your buck.