why kitchen cabinets are expensive

Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive?

It’s time for your old kitchen cabinets to go. You’re excited and waiting with bated breath to add a touch of class to your favorite place in the house. But one look at how much it will cost to get your desired design, and you already think your current cabinets are not so bad. You’re not alone.

Most people are shocked at how expensive kitchen cabinets are. You see, a lot of work goes into creating new kitchen cabinets. Not to mention, you have to consider things like the materials used, customization, and the cost of installation, among other things.

If you’re thinking of updating your kitchen cabinets, it helps to know what to expect in terms of the overall pricing of the cabinets and possible unforeseen costs. Let’s find out why kitchen cabinets are so expensive and some of the ways you can cut back on costs.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

If you’ve never updated your kitchen cabinets, you’d be forgiven to think it won’t be an expensive venture. After all, they’re just taking out old wood and replacing with something more modern, right? Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, updating kitchen cabinets takes a lot of work.

It’s not just a matter of taking apart the old shelves and installing new ones. There are other steps like designing and customizing that also come to play when considering the overall cost of the project. Below are some of the factors that may increase the cost of your kitchen cabinets.

Quality of Materials Used

The larger part of your expenditure will boil down to the type of materials you choose for your cabinets. For instance, if you’re going for high-end designs containing marble and granite finishes, you may have to dig deeper into your pockets.

Different types of wood also come at different prices. Maple is way more expensive than birchwood, for example. Therefore, before you begin your renovation, think about the materials you’d like to use and consider their prices.

I advise going for cheaper materials like plywood for the back and sides of the cabinets. This material is cheaper and won’t wear out as fast as other types of wood. Also, going for cheaper materials doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality. It just means choosing a different, more affordable style.

The Need to Remove Existing Cabinets

If you’re planning to remove your current kitchen cabinets entirely, you should also factor in these costs. You’ll need to remove all the units from the wall before installing a new set. Many try to cut costs by removing the cabinets themselves. However, this isn’t a great idea if you don’t know how to go about it. You have to really know yourself and your DIY capabilities for this one.

If you have no experience, you risk damaging the walls, which would only add more costs to your overall expenditure. However, if you’re just planning to reface or refinish your current cabinets, this isn’t among the costs you should be worried about.

Installation Costs

The price of kitchen cabinets is also exorbitant due to the costs of installation. Since this isn’t something you can purchase and set up in your house by yourself that easily, you need a professional to ensure everything is set up correctly. That said, if you take the time to learn how to install kitchen cabinets and are confident you can do it, you can save a bundle.

The cost of installation varies from one professional to another. However, in most cases, it costs 40% to 50% of the overall cost of your kitchen cabinets. However, in most cases, the company combines removal and installation costs.

Customized Cabinets Tend to Be Way More Expensive

If you’d like to add personal touches to your kitchen cabinets, you’ll have to break the bank a bit more to afford it. Since custom-made designs vary from one customer to another, the cabinet company doesn’t have the luxury of producing them in bulk.

They only make such cabinets on order, and the difficulty of making such designs leads to a higher price tag. Therefore, factor this into consideration when you’re budgeting for your new cabinets.

How to Cut Costs on Kitchen Cabinets

kitchen cabinet costs

So, is it possible to get new kitchen cabinets on a budget, or should you wait until you have more money to spare? The good news is, there are ways to cut back on kitchen cabinet costs and still get a great bang for your buck without compromising on quality. Here’s how.

Consider Open Shelving

If you’re strapped for cash, and you’re serious about updating your kitchen cabinets, open shelving is a good way to go. While you’ll be sacrificing on space and taking up more maintenance, the price difference between open shelves and wall cabinets is quite significant.

The Type of Wood Makes All the Difference

The type of wood you choose will also determine whether or not you’ll need to break the bank to afford your new cabinets. Oak is a popular, affordable option for most people, and it looks incredible and timeless. 

If you have a few more bucks to spare, hickory may be a better option. However, avoid species like maple because they can take the price up nearly $1,000. Before you make up your mind, find out the different types of wood and their respective prices and which one will help you achieve your desired look at an affordable price.

Thermofoil or Laminate Won’t Disappoint

While plywood is the obvious choice for most people when they’re looking to cut costs, you should also consider thermofoil and laminate. These materials are way cheaper and give your cabinets a unique finish. 

However, if you decide to go this route, you should know that these materials are not as durable as wood. Furthermore, laminate is susceptible to moisture, which may be a deal-breaker for some people. 

Pass on the Pullout Shelves

Pullout shelves also add a significant amount to your overall expenditure. They require more detail and – depending on how many you need – more materials and usually more customization. If you’re considering pullouts for trash bins and other items, consider other possible spaces you can store them or be willing to pay a bit more.

For instance, you could pass on the trash bin pull out shelf and opt to have the bin in a hidden corner or at the end of your island. As long as you keep it neat and out of the way, you shouldn’t need a pullout shelf for it.

Resist the Urge to Glaze Your Cabinets

There’s no doubt that glazing instantly elevates the aesthetics of your kitchen cabinets. However, it’s one of the biggest budget busters. If you’re on a tight budget, this may be something to take off the table. Be honest, it’s an addition you can do without.

Go Easy on the Customized Details

Customization is a surefire way to go over budget. While it doesn’t hurt to choose a few decorative pieces to make your cabinets unique, you should go easy on how many details you choose. The more details you want, the higher the price will be. 

Glam Your Kitchen on a Budget

Updating kitchen cabinets can be quite expensive. However, if you know what to prioritize and what to leave out, you can do it with a smaller budget than you realize. Remember to choose affordable materials, reduce customization details, do away with the glaze, and compromise on some design elements.

It also helps to shop around and compare cabinet companies. Compare their products, prices, and overall customer satisfaction. This way, you’re guaranteed that you’ll be happy with the result.

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