Stock cabinets are preassembled or ready-to-assemble cabinets that are available at most home centers and cabinet discount stores. Manufacturers and dealers keep a selection of stock cabinets in inventory, so they are ready for delivery on ordering. If the cabinets you choose require delivery from the manufacturer or warehouse, it may take a few weeks to receive your order. Typically constructed of engineered wood and steel-sided drawers in standard sizes, the options are limited. While stock cabinets can be finished, cabinet boxes are usually made of less expensive material than the fronts of the cabinets. Some manufacturers offer a higher-end version of stock that includes standard options of rollout trays and dovetail joints. Stock cabinets are the least expensive option.
Custom cabinets are the best choice if you are not on a tight budget and if you do not have a fast-approaching time deadline. Unlike stock and semi-custom cabinets, custom cabinets are not constructed until you place your order. Material possibilities may seem endless, because you can also choose exotic woods and reclaimed wood. Cabinetmakers can paint or stain to your choice of material, to your specifications. Door profiles and design and storage options are also only limited by your budget and the cabinetmaker you choose. Some cabinetmakers can complete a modest cabinet order in as little as a few months, but be aware that it could take much longer.
It is important to note that while semi-custom cabinets are mass produced like stock cabinetry, if unique design features and upgraded materials are added to complete your look, production will take longer—which will delay installation into your home. Additionally, the more bells and whistles you add to your cabinet fronts and interiors, the higher the cost of your finished cabinets. In order to keep semi-custom cabinet costs down, you can choose standard-sized cabinets built in a moderately priced material and pick a unique color and upgraded hardware to add your personal style to your cabinets without adding too much cost.
Semi-custom cabinets really are the best option for homeowners looking for a little creative freedom and flexibility without spending the time and money on full customization. Modifications in door styles, interiors, hardware and accessories allow individualized looks with less lead-time than custom cabinets.