Differences Between Full Custom and Semi Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinetry is the most expensive part of any kitchen remodel, taking up as much as 40 percent of the overall budget. One trick that kitchen designers use to save money is to mix semi-custom cabinets with regular custom cabinets. Some cabinetry lines offer mix-and-match options allowing you to blend semi-custom into a design and make them seem like custom cabinets. But true custom cabinets do have some advantages.

Materials and Assembly

Many semi-custom cabinets use some percentage of particle board or MDF in their construction. While it’s not as much as with stock cabinets, custom cabinets are always made from plywood. This also means that the corner braces and joists will be much sturdier with custom cabinets.  Custom cabinets are assembled using old-fashioned dovetail, dowel or mortise-and-tenon techniques, which typically make them much sturdier. Semi-custom cabinets are often put together similarly, but the materials used aren’t usually the same high quality of plywood in custom cabinets.


One of the most common problems with using stock cabinets is tailoring them to specific heights or uses. Semi-custom cabinetry lines offer more customization options than ever before, a huge advantage over stock cabinets. However, despite all of these options, it’s extremely rare than even the most high end semi custom lines will fill your every exact need. However, custom cabinets are always built to exact specifications. They can be built in any size and in any configuration you choose, allowing for design flexibility limited only by the available space.

When you design a kitchen with custom completely in mind, you never have to worry about any potential holes in your design. Semi-custom lines can offer many different types of accessories to fill otherwise wasted space in a cabinet layout. But custom cabinets never waste an inch of the space that you have.

Locally Sourced

Whereas many stock cabinets are made overseas in countries such as China, semi-custom cabinets are typically made in the United States. With custom cabinets, however, you can have them sourced as locally as your own hometown. backyard. Buying locally can save money if issues arise, since shipping costs will be very minimal and the cost in time will be far less, as well.

Sourcing locally also provides more choices in materials and you can be more certain about the source of those materials. You also avoid availability issues or potential issues in lead time – that is, how long you will have to wait for your cabinets to arrive. Saving time on a project saves money, meaning any extra cost you incur from using full custom cabinets is likely off-set by the certainty of knowing exactly what your order will contain. If any issues do arise, since the custom cabinet maker is more often than not local, the lead time for any fixes is greatly reduced.

While semi-custom cabinets have greater durability and more design options than stock cabinets, nothing beats the solid construction of hand-built custom cabinetry. Not only do you have unparalleled design flexibility, but you can fit your cabinets into any space with exactly the fashion and function you desire. While semi-custom cabinets can be useful as a complementary to potentially save money if the options exist, if you have a space that demands exacting standards, then custom cabinets are definitely the choice for your kitchen.