Custom Cabinets and Your Kitchen: 10 Things You Need to Know
Whether you’re upgrading your existing home or choosing kitchen cabinets for a new home, having the right kitchen cabinets has a bigger impact on the kitchen than most people realize.
Yes, your kitchen’s cabinets’ primary function is storage. However, the size, design, and functionality will be the difference between a kitchen that looks great and flows well versus a kitchen that causes headaches and regrets.
When all is said and done, kitchen cabinets are something you want to get right. If the ones you have now aren’t working, a custom cabinet maker can help.
There are a lot of benefits that come with choosing custom cabinets. We’ll cover these perks in this article. Some of the big ones include attention to detail in the design phase and seamless millwork. The flexibility to fit your kitchen space layout though is perhaps the biggest benefit. When you choose stock cabinets, you’re often limited to standard sizes that don’t fit and awkward-looking fillers to cover empty, wasted space.
Your custom cabinet maker will use superior materials, hardware, and construction methods that result in cabinets built to last generations when properly cared for. Your initial costs are more, but when you consider the wear and tear cabinets take, the durability of custom-built makes them an easy choice when compared to stock cabinets.
In this article, we’re going to zero in on custom kitchen cabinets and the ten most important factors to keep in mind in terms of features and benefits.
Custom Kitchen Cabinet Design Detail
The devil is in the details. Most people have heard this expression, but do you know what it means? It means that mistakes are usually made in the small details of a project. This couldn’t be more true for cabinet design. The design phase is complex and requires the ability to see the big picture and then make a plan based on precision measurements that must be brought to life.
An expert custom cabinet maker takes accurate onsite measurements and uses state-of-the-art software and laser-guided machinery to make precision cuts. Skilled craftspeople assemble the perfectly cut pieces by hand to ensure seamless construction under the highest quality control standards possible. The intimate process ensures that no details are ignored and the end product lives up to its promise.
Custom Cabinet Millwork
When you’re doing research about custom cabinets you’ll often run into the word “millwork.” It’s useful to know what this term means and why you keep seeing it. Millwork specifically refers to custom-made wooden products produced in a mill. Some cabinet makers refer to their mill as a woodshop or facility, and the best cabinet makers have their own in-house mill. Millwork is custom-made according to the customer’s specifications and takes the space of the room into account.
For example, your kitchen cabinets should be built according to the size of your kitchen space to get the best use out of them. You have the freedom to choose exactly how they will fit into your space and custom cabinet millwork makes that vision a reality.
Flexibility in Custom Cabinet Sizing
Custom cabinetry gives you the ability to have complete flexibility in your project designs. Special sizing constraints, rare wood types or finishes, and complicated design elements are not an issue when you work with a custom cabinet maker that has its own facility.
There’s no need to limit your design to the standard stock, factory-produced cabinets. A lot of kitchens end up having awkward-looking gaps where appliances don’t fit with the cabinets. Sometimes space is just covered up for aesthetics and wasted. Custom cabinets ensure everything in your kitchen fits together perfectly and allows you to use every last bit of space for your storage needs.
Custom Kitchen Cabinets Feature Superior Materials
Custom cabinets give you the widest selection of quality material choices. High-density fiberboard (HDF) is the strongest cabinet material you can use. HDF is an engineered wood made from hardwood and softwoods. Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is similar to HDF but is engineered with less resin, resulting in a slightly weaker material when compared to HDF. Plywood consists of thin layers of wood that are veneer glued together. The wood grain of each layer runs at a 90-degree angle to the grain of the layers surrounding it. Plywood is a reliable and strong building material.
Custom Cabinet Construction
There are two types of cabinet frames: face framed and frameless designs. The face framed design is what has been popular in the past and offers a traditional look. The frameless or box design is a newer, simpler option that has become very popular.
Stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinet designs are available in both framed and frameless construction. Both types of frames can share similarities in materials but differ in construction.
With a face-framed design, a 1.5-2 inch border, or frame, hides the edge of the cabinet box. This type of design offers the cabinet strength and sturdiness due to the cabinet being attached at the frame’s side. Doors can be mounted to the inside of the frame giving a flush look or to the front of the frame leaving an overlay. Very few cabinet frames are made from solid wood.
The frameless box, also known as the euro, has no face frame. The doors attach directly to the sides of the cabinet box and cover the entire frontal space and box, providing a full overlay. This design gives the benefit of full access to the cabinet interior and therefore offers the maximum use of space. The cabinet drawers are slightly larger with this design than the face-framed construction method.
Technology and Software Used by Custom Cabinet Makers
When you think of a cabinet maker you might not think of technology. The truth is the best custom cabinet makers rely on state of the art machines and software to ensure precision cuts and designs. The final touches and construction are done by hand, but prior to that technology plays a big role.
Software programs allow cabinet makers to view the room in a 3D layout and rotate the room to gain a better perspective to ensure effective construction. These programs even let you see the fine details of the millwork such as detailed crown molding and other custom hardware.
The Process of Getting Custom Kitchen Cabinets
The process of getting your custom kitchen cabinets starts with finding the right cabinet maker. They’ll work with you every step of the way, starting with choosing the right design for your space and function desires. After determining a space designed the next step is choosing the type of materials, finish, and hardware. The great thing about custom cabinets is all the customized accessories you can add.
Your cabinet maker will take onsite measurements to ensure all the custom millwork is to spec and the installation goes smoothly. Once built, your cabinet maker will install your custom cabinets, ensuring a seamless fit and integration.
Why Custom Cabinets Cost More
You can probably guess why custom costs more. Higher quality materials in any product will cost more, but they also last longer. With custom cabinets, you’re paying for high materials, labor, and expertise. Perfection takes time. The cost of the technology and skilled craftspeople that make custom cabinets is higher than off-the-shelf stock cabinets. Everyone has different goals and different sized budgets. If you can afford to invest in custom cabinets, they pay off in the long term with their longevity, aesthetic value, and joy they provide when using your kitchen.
Custom Kitchen Cabinet Installation
Installation methods vary from installer to installer, but there are some things that should be consistent. Walls should be straight and primed, floors flat and everything should be square. Before installation cabinet doors and drawers are removed and appliances to be installed should be on-site, in case any adjustments are necessary.
How to Choose the Right Custom Kitchen Cabinet Maker
You might have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a custom cabinet maker depending on where you live. The important thing is understanding what you’re getting before you sign a contract. Choosing the perfect design for your dream kitchen is a lot of fun. Seeing your design come to life after the project is complete feels amazing.
Segale Brothers is a Bay Area custom cabinet shop that’s been helping homeowners and builders with their cabinet design, build, and installation since 1976.
See the Segale Bros. Custom Cabinet Gallery