What Affects the Cost of Kitchen Cabinets?

It’s fairly well known that cabinets are nearly always one of the most expensive elements of a kitchen renovation. The same is not quite so true for bathrooms as many can be small and some may have none at all, but kitchens need cabinets, normally the more the better, pure and simple. In fact, they make up one of the most important style elements in a renovation and bad cabinet choices in terms of style, material and colour can make or break a kitchen design.

Cabinets in terms of styles and types vary in price and as such an important element of your new kitchen you’d want to know what the differences are so that you can make the best choice. Let’s take a look at what factors can affect the cost of kitchen cabinets.

Custom Cabinets vs Stock Cabinets

Most people will choose off-the-shelf or stock cabinets, custom (or even semi-custom) cabinets are often seen as a very expensive luxury (and mostly they are) but it depends on your budget and the size of your kitchen as to whether you can justify it. You can always mix and have some custom cabinet work for unique and awkward areas to blend in with the more straightforward sections. The minimum cost for custom cabinets will always be much higher than the cheapest factory cabinets. Custom cabinet-making is a skill and you will be paying for a skilled tradesman’s time as well as the materials, whereas many stock cabinets are focused on cost reduction.
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Finishing Options

  • Laminate / Melamine: Suitable for flat profile cabinets, laminate is usually the most affordable option. Manufactured by compressing plasticised sheets of paper together and laminating them to an MDF/particle board. Very durable and available in a wide choice of colours and finishes.
  • Vinyl Wrap / Thermo-laminate: Vinyl wraps are applied to the substrate material using a thermal vacuum-sealing process to produce a seamless join-free finish. While they can be suitable for various cabinet profiles, they can be vulnerable to heat, making them unsuitable for some kitchen applications.
  • Acrylic Laminates: More expensive than laminates, acrylic laminates are manufactured by mounting and laminating an acrylic foil to the substrate material which is great for achieving a high-gloss, mirror-like finish.
  • Polyurethane (Poly) 2-pac: A hardened paint finish that’s on the more expensive end of the scale (around 40% more than standard laminate), you’ll have complete freedom to select your chosen colour, hue and finish. 2-pac is also ideal for routed cabinet profiles, such as Hamptons-style cabinets.
  • Timber Veneer: On the higher end of the price scale, timber veneer involves applying thin layers of real timber to a substrate material to produce the same look of timber for a lesser cost.
  • Solid timber: The best performer in terms of durability, solid timber is also the most expensive cabinetry option.

Design Elements

Flat profile cabinets are usually the most cost-effective, with box or panel designs the next option. The reason is more parts or a more complicated manufacturing process. Door styles that require routing or other embellishments will also increase the cost. Functionality-wise, the more drawers you have in your kitchen, the higher the cost. Doors are cheaper as they only require hinges to mount them. Opting for soft touch (highly recommended) or built-in organisers will also up the cost.

Discussing all these elements as part of your design and budget can be done with your kitchen renovator who will be able to help you make the best choice for your needs and budget.