Custom cabinets or prefab?

What's best? Prefab or custom cabinets?

There's no doubt you can probably get a pretty inexpensive new kitchen if you were to go with prefab cabinets, but are they worth it? Is the quality or prefab cabinets as good as custom cabinets? Will they last? Are they as functional? Do they look as good? Will they even fit? Let's address these issues one by one.

Quality

Consider how prefab cabinets are made - in an assembly line. Quality is never as good in an assembly line of workers who only know their one small task. Better quality can be found in the hands of an experienced craftsman who takes pride in his work and sees that every detail meets the specifications, and that includes not just manufacturing but also materials.

Fit

Prefabricated cabinets come in standard sizes, usually in 2-3 inch increments. What if your kitchen is not a standard size? Most aren't, so when cabinets don't fit, you will be required to buy filler strips to fill spaces. Custom cabinets always fit – exactly, with no wasted space. A custom built kitchen makes good use of every available space.

Durability

We've seen first-hand that the durability of prefab cabinets is just not as good. Materials are cheaper and the labor is not as skilled, so they tend to break down. Sometimes they even come broken after the long trip from overseas. Things we've seen are split seams and doors and drawers out of plumb so they no longer close. When we build custom cabinets, we make sure to use the finest quality wood, hardware, glues and finishes because we want our cabinets to last.

Cost

Yes, you can get an inexpensive prefab kitchen, but are prefab cabinets really that much cheaper? The answer may surprise you. If you're considering buying prefab cabinets, send your specifications to a custom cabinet maker to bid. You might be pleasantly surprised that for the same amount of money or maybe even just a little bit more, you might be able to get EXACTLY what you want! And don't forget that when you compare bids to compare apples to apples.

Appearance

There are some beautiful prefab cabinets available but you're limited in choices. When you choose custom cabinets, your imagination is the limit. You can have anything you want. Bring us a picture, and we'll copy it. Bring us your imagination and we'll bring it to life.

So what's the answer? Which are best? Prefab cabinets or custom built?

The answer is obvious. On all counts, custom cabinets are always better. And we're not the only ones who think so. Check out these other reviews.

Should I purchase custom cabinets or prefabricated cabinetry? from Fixmycabinet.com
Prefabricated cabinets vs. custom by Rob Gamble, Home remodeling contractor in the South Bay
Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, custom or prefab? from the DIY Chatroom

Call 831.335.5533 to set up a no-obligation meeting today. We're happy to come to your place to discuss your custom cabinet needs.

Contact Us

Visit us at 6114 Hwy. 9 • Felton, CA 95018
Or call 831.335.5533 or 800.481.3390
and we'll come to you!

If you're looking for custom kitchen cabinets, custom bath vanities, custom entertainment centers, and custom home or office furniture in Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, San Jose, Saratoga, Menlo Park, Atherton, Los Altos Hills, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, San Francisco, or any place in between, you've come to the right place.  We deliver within a 65 mile radius of Santa Cruz, California.

See our work in this  Santa Cruz Style featured article…

Customer Applause

We truly appreciate Ron and Nathan's sense of integrity and responsibility. They do first-class work and stand behind it…We're very picky, but they're pickier! We highly recommend Long's Cabinet Shop Inc. for any job large or small." – Larry & Terri Duimstra

From the outset you guys were great to work with and  I rapidly came to see what excellent craftsmen you are.  Your knowledge, experience and resourcefulness enabled me to develop my ideas and learn some new ones and resulted in a  beautiful final product.   Deadlines were always met and with the headaches of a major remodel I especially appreciated that dependability. – Jim

The design is both artistic and practical, the joinery is immaculate, and the finish perfectly matches the other cherry furniture that I have in the room. And, they finished the project on time and within the estimate. – Margaret