Kitchen cabinets are the reason our cooking space is so nice and inviting. It is because of this that we don’t mind going over budget to get the best ones we can. The truth is you don’t have to spend a fortune on kitchen cabinets to optimize your home. Interested? Keep reading.

Why are kitchen cabinets so expensive? At the end of the day, we are talking wood and hardware, nothing else. And yet, the kitchen renovation always turns out to be more expensive than expected.

Many factors affect the overall cost of making kitchen cabinets. Most homeowners choose affordable materials to avoid a higher price. Still, there are also other tricks you can consider to optimize kitchen cabinet quality.

Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive

kitchen-cabinet Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

Kitchen cabinets cost shocks most homeowners as they begin with the installation. Cabinetry is generally expensive at most cabinet companies, so it may be a real problem to deal with the installation costs. Factors affecting the price are:

  • materials (even common kitchen cabinet material,)
  • labor cost
  • installation

Let us give each of these factors a look:


Kitchen-Cabinet-Material Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

Common kitchen cabinet material has the biggest impact on the price. Hardwood cabinets, for instance, require a small fortune. Custom cabinets made of veneered particleboard are the most cost effective alternatives.

These are the materials to choose from if you want to buy nice and quality kitchen cabinets:

  • Solid wood: Wood is the most durable material, and therefore not the most affordable option.
  • Plywood: Plywood is also a common kitchen cabinet material. Compared to wood, i is cheap and still optimal regarding traffic. What it is best known for is its great water resistance.
  • Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF): Unlike solid wood, wooden fibers. The fibers are combined with wax and can therefore resist high temperature and pressure.
  • Veneer: The total cost of cabinets will also be lower if you choose Veneer. For this purpose, manufacturers glue thin wooden panels together. This way, they create awesome-looking kitchen cabinets with solid quality.
  • Particle board: If you are looking to save money and cut the costs of kitchen cabinets, consider particle boards. They were made using sawdust and wood, and they offer super quality without spending extra money.
  • Melamine: Here is another plywood material to consider. These panels are designed by heat-sealing layers of plywood or MDF. The wood is then pressed between paper and saturated using thermally mixed melamine resin. The labor cost and installation efforts are minimal, but durability is guaranteed.
  • Stainless steel: There is a reason why all great restaurants have stainless steel cabinets in their kitchen. While there are many cheaper options out there, these items are more durable than most cabinets on the market, including wooden ones.

Hardware Cost of kitchen cabinets

cabinet-hardware Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

As mentioned before, the material is not the only expense you need to consider when buying new kitchen cabinets.

Larger companies also offer some pricy hardware, and you may be surprised how expensive handles and hinges for doors are. If you need ten drawer pulls and a knob for each of them, you may get short hundreds of dollars.

As furniture trends change and technology evolves, you will also want to have specialty hardware. Some examples include pop-up latches and soft-close drawers, and you will easily go over budget. You may also like the self-closing ability for the drawers, and push the price up even more.

The good news is there are cheaper hardware alternatives. If you decide on middle-grade items and compromise on their price, you can choose from a premium variety of options.

Labor cost

When it comes to removing old kitchen cabinets and installing new ones, the labor cost must be considered too. The reason why kitchen cabinets are so difficult to install is that we don’t have the skill and knowledge to make full use of their beauty.

Kitchen cabinets look simple, but they are not. It is them that make our room so beautiful. Perhaps the most beautiful room in the entire house!

If you opt for customized cabinets, you may face even more installation efforts and design issues.

A solid kitchen cabinet takes approximately 6 hours to be installed and perfected. It requires the work of qualified carpentry workers who can charge a small fortune for what they do.

Your entire cabinetry must be assembled and attached by hand. this includes also the pieces made of common kitchen cabinet material. If you have no experience in building cabinets, leave some budget aside for the task.

The number of cabinets and the size of the room are the main factors affecting the rates of your installation project. The installer you choose may also charge more. As a rule, most of them install kitchen cabinets for 40%-50% of what these normally cost.

Additional functionalities

Modern kitchen cabinets are also expensive because of their added functionalities and ergonomic features. Soft-close drawers are a great example.

In some of them, you even have the last Susans added, or pantries which you can pull and roll. Designers go as far as to install removable trash brackets, custom-made spice racks, wine racks, and much more. The list doesn’t stop here.

In reality, your custom cabinets can have any functionality you can imagine. The accessory, nevertheless, comes at a price. You won’t only have to buy it but consider installation costs as well.

Custom cabinets vs mass-produced cabinets

Modern-kitchen-cabinets Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

Here comes the main factor that influences the overall price of cabinets. Mass-produced cabinets, for instance, are much cheaper than custom cabinets. The reason is that larger companies use machinery and special automation to produce them. it goes quickly, and there is no additional labor involved. The risk here is you will have the same stock cabinets are most homeowners out there.

How about your unique cabinets? Keep in mind that custom cabinets are hand-made and there is little to no machinery involved. You get to choose where to add doors, wine chillers, or baking areas. You can even adjust the height to make maximum use of your storage space.

One cabinet or multiple cabinets

cost-cut Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

As small as your room may be, odds are great that you will need more than one cabinet. They add up fast, and the more cabinets you want to install, the higher the cost will get.

If nothing else, you will need to install cabinets on the walls and down below. You may even want a fancy kitchen island or a bar area, and these will have the final say on your budget.

Shipping costs

The scope of costs will continue growing as you consider shipping costs. Most kitchen cabinets are heavy and bulky, and the manufacturer would have to organize a costly shipment procedure also paid for by you.

Shipping costs will, of course, depend on where you live or who is in charge of delivery. Most of the time, you won’t be able to choose the delivery service but move on with the manufacturer’s contracting party.

Keep an eye on special offers and producers that offer free shipping on short distances. Don’t take the first offer you get.

Removal of existing cabinets

3 Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

You will also need to prepare the room before installing kitchen cabinets. This means, factoring in the costs of detaching and removing existing cabinets. To cut the costs of new cabinets, most homeowners choose to do this themselves. Remember that you also need some DIY know-how and experience for this task.

Without experience, you can damage both the existing cabinets and the walls. In this case, you may end up with an unexpectedly high cost for the project. With all this in mind, you may even consider cutting costs by keeping current cabinets in place and refinishing them for a better look.

The delivery cost of kitchen cabinets

delivery Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

Factor in the distance between your house and the cabinet builder to estimate the shipping costs. Most manufacturers have large box trucks of their own or hire a company that does. You will need to rent those, pay for the fuel and the upkeep, and reimburse the workers in charge. Sometimes, cabinets are so expensive because they are fragile, and you have to pay extra packaging costs.

A way to cut the total cost here is to pick up the cabinets yourself, which is also a costly and labor-intensive task. You would have to hire a larger vehicle for the transport and gather enough people to assist you with the loading and off-loading.

How to reduce the cost of new kitchen cabinets

Now that we explained why kitchen cabinets cost that much, let’s check what you can do to cut the cost.

Choose affordable materials

The first and best thing to do is to replace hardwood with more affordable materials. We all know how great mahogany looks, but oak options look great too. If oak is also outside your price range, look at pine.

Stock cabinets instead of custom cabinets

stock-Cabinets Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

Custom-made cabinets are the wish of every kitchen order, as they entirely match their specific requirements and taste. Customization, nevertheless, breaks the bank for all projects.

Go for custom-made cabinets only if there is no other option. Better yet, rethink your old cabinets and see what you can do with them.

Replace cabinets with an open shelving system

open-shelving Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

If cash is a concern, but the project can’t wait, consider open shelving. Both the price and the maintenance are low, and you can save much more on installation costs. Better yet, shelves come in all wood types you can imagine.

Glazing is not always necessary

Gla-cabinet Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

You don’t have to glaze the kitchen cabinets, even if they are old and you have just repainted them. They may turn out more beautiful, but this is something you can live without.

The glazing procedure and materials are expensive and can increase the total cost of your project. Check out the difference- you will be surprised!

Remove the additional functionalities

Larger companies keep packing awesome new features to make you throw money on things you don’t need. Specialty hardware and fancy sliding pantries are only some of the items you can forego. It may be even more fun for you to purchase spice racks and utensil organizers later on.

All modern additions can be bought after you got the cabinets, even at the same store. You may even get them cheaper and save on the installation costs.

DIY Tricks

KitchenCabinets Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive? (Answered)

How about learning a thing or two and taking over the project? This means you will enhance your skills and save thousands of dollars at the same time.

Do your research properly and take your time. Make a plan on what you want to install or refinish, and you may even skip buying new cabinets. Many YouTube videos can assist you with your project.

Still, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you get stuck at some point. What you want here is a durable and nice-looking kitchen that you won’t have to renovate every year.

Take the old kitchen cabinets down

You have to get rid of your old kitchen cabinets before you begin. For most people out there, this means hiring a professional to carry out the demolition process.

We would say go for it, as professionals know how to prevent damage and keep walls safe. And yet, their services are expensive enough for you to reconsider this idea and do it yourself.

Final thoughts on why are kitchen cabinets so expensive

Installing new kitchen cabinets is a difficult and expensive project. Homeowners jump on them with ideas and enthusiasm, but often end up discouraged when they see the financial implications.

Cabinets are so expensive due to many reasons, and we need to accept them as they are. We want the perfect layout for our kitchen and elements that are durable. We will spend lots of time there and we want to be amazed each time we go inside. This has to come at a price, doesn’t it?

We may not save a fortune with these tricks, but we can still cut a significant amount by doing things ourselves.

If you enjoyed reading this article about why are kitchen cabinets so expensive, we also wrote about subjects like how to style glass kitchen cabinets, how to build an outdoor kitchen with pavers, how to vent a kitchen sink under a window, and how to calculate linear feet for kitchen cabinets.

That is not all. We have other kitchen related articles on how to remove rust from kitchen utensils, how to fix a gurgling kitchen sink, how to pack kitchen appliances, how to clean gunk out of kitchen sink drain, and how to cover kitchen cabinets without painting.

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