One of the major components to a kitchen renovation, of course, is cabinets and they can represent a big portion of the budget that goes into creating an exciting new kitchen. With all of the places to buy kitchen cabinets here in Edmonton, and all of the options available, what is the difference between something you buy off of a store shelf and something you order from a custom cabinet manufacturer and why custom cabinetry is better? The answer, simply put, is that product you buy off the shelf can’t compare to cabinets produced in a shop. Here are a 3 comparisons between custom cabinets and off the shelf cabinets:
Custom cabinets are generally made with higher quality materials than stuff you can buy places like Home Depot, Lowes, or Ikea. Even if you can find comparable quality products, the benefit of getting cabinets from a custom shop is the products are made in the same run or lot, meaning there will be little variation in color and/or texture. Cabinets bought off the shelf might have been made 2 weeks ago or 2 months ago. Each cabinet could come from a different run and therefore be slightly different.
People like shopping at Ikea for cabinets because they look nice and seem to be priced lower than if you were to order from a custom shop. However, most people forget that the price of those Ikea cabinets doesn’t include labour. Someone has to put them together and install them. If that person happens to be you, then sure, the only extra cost involved is your own time. If you’re hiring someone to install them for you, you could be paying the same or more. Don’t forget that shipping the product is included with a cabinet shop. Order them from Home Depot or Lowes and you either have to pay for shipping or pick them up yourself…no problem if you’re close by and have a truck. More of a problem is you have to drive across town with an SUV.
When it comes to customer service, custom cabinet shops are more than likely to have much better customer service. Say you have a damaged cabinet that is under warranty. With a custom cabinet shop, you call them, they will come to your home and either repair or replace it. With a place like Ikea, you call them, speak to someone who may or may not know which department to transfer you to, and then you have to go through a lengthy process for a warranty issue that may mean uninstalling the cabinet and returning it to the store yourself. Your contractor might take it upon himself to do this for you, but often dealing with the warranty red tape is not as seemless as dealing with a custom cabinet shop.
So there you have it. In our opinion, getting your kitchen cabinets from a custom cabinet shop is a much better experience (and better product too) than going down to the local big box store to pick them out. Take it from the guy who has a few kitchen renovations under his belt.