A major factor affecting costs in a kitchen is product quality. Since up to 60% of an average kitchen project may be in cabinetry costs, most of our product discussion will focus on relative cabinet qualities; semi-custom, popular, & furniture grade. Today there are two types of cabinet construction systems. Traditional American cabinetry is called
“framed” construction; it is a box with a solid 11/2” wide wood frame attached to the front of it. Doors can be “full overlay,” “flush inset” (like fine furniture), or “marginally cover” the front frame. The second production method is called “full access” or “European” where 5/8” or 3/4” MDF or plywood boards are assembled to construct the cabinet chassis. This thicker material eliminates the need for “framing.” As a result, you can gain greater accessibility to wall units and greater width in drawers and roll-out shelves for storage. Frameless cabinets are more difficult and expensive to install because they must be perfectly “plumb” and “level” for the doors and drawers to operate properly. Only skilled craftsmen who regularly install frameless cabinetry will be capable of such a fit. For ease of your understanding and comparison, our company has identified a number of custom cabinet quality grades based upon the construction system, material specifications, hinge and hardware, styling innovation, finish system, interior accessories, degree of customization available, application for use in other rooms, brand name recognition, and relative cost. Here’s a quick rundown of these five quality grades:
• Production grade: mostly framed; minimum number of stylings; good finish; limited accessories and no customization; limited finish selection and hardware; generally available in three weeks and run from $400 to $800 per cabinet.*
• Semi Custom grade: similar to Production grade in quality but offers wider selection of finishes; some customization, and standard accessories. Delivery from four to six weeks and run from $500 to $950 per cabinet.*
• Popular grade: most of the increased cost is put into the cabinet exterior’s fit & finish; wider range of stylings; framed and frameless available; good accessorization; can be customized; good finish; good choice of wood species, stains, hardware; suitable for other room applications; popularly priced at $850 to $1,500 per cabinet*, making it an exceptional value.*
• Furniture grade: equivalent manufacturing dollar is invested in the interior construction and exterior fit & finish of the cabinet; both framed and frameless construction; has unique stylings; excellent quality interior accessories, hardware and finish; best painted finish on wood; deep lines for furniture applications in other rooms; national manufacturers well-advertised in consumer magazines;
furniture-priced at $1,150 to $1,950 per cabinet.*
• Luxury grade: state-of-the-art frameless construction; leading edge of new styles and materials; widest array of functional interior accessories; has bathroom furniture; state-of-the-art hardware systems; very little customization due to production/engineering methodology; internationally known products widely advertised in consumer magazines; high overseas freight costs, excellent literature; has broadest price range from $1,450 to $2,800 per cabinet.*
*For budgeting purposes only. Includes fillers, panels, moldings, Glass doors, accessories, and freight. Does not include installation.
After many years of experience, many kitchen & bath experts know that a sound investment in either the semi-custom, popular, or furniture grade makes good sense. While more inexpensive cabinetry is available from local cabinet shops and Home Centers, they are generally not cost-effective for a long-term investment. At least not in a room that gets as much daily wear and tear as the kitchen. Typically, the exterior finish and storage performance break down after the first few years. Such cabinet products are more suited to investment properties that will be sold in the same time period. At Lang’s Kitchen & Bath in Newtown PA, they carefully researched, selected, and represented veneer, foil, laminate and wood cabinet manufacturers in each of these quality grades. They believe that better cabinetry selections represent the very finest value available in this market area.
“People that are considering renovating their kitchen must understand the importance of selecting the correct grade of cabinetry to invest in their home. The quality and value you will receive from selecting the proper cabinetry grade will be returned to you in the long run.”