Manufactured vs. Shop Built2018-09-27T01:39:41+00:00


When deciding to remodel your kitchen and bathrooms, your choice of cabinetry is a major priority. After all, cabinetry accounts for a very large part of your total budget.  Among the types of cabinet manufacturing and manufacturers you have a huge choice among stock cabinetry, semi-custom cabinetry, and custom shop built cabinetry. So let’s try to help your decision making.

We’ll start with the elimination of stock cabinets.

Stock Cabinets are factory made units that come in the most common cabinet width and depth sizes. Typically they are manufactured as sets of cabinet boxes, which restricts how they can be assembled in any given space. They can be very well made. However, they are built inmass quantities and have no customizations. They are affordable and ready to ship and with a reasonable delivery time. But your options with respect to size, color, finish, style and configuration are very limited.

In fact, in a properly planned, scheduled and funded remodel project, there is no need to settle for the stock cabinet. So this leaves you with the choice between semi-custom and custom cabinetry. This also brings us to the reason we have carefully selected our preferred suppliers for Cabinets of the Desert. Our four Cabinet suppliers provide semi-custom cabinets.

Semi-Custom Cabinets are a hybrid of stock and custom cabinetry. Compared to stock cabinets and depending upon the manufacturer, they come with many more detail, dimension, wood, finish, drawer and hardware options. With semi-custom cabinets and a good design you can create a custom look at a very reasonable price. In our opinion, our cabinet suppliers are the first in the field among semi-custom cabinet manufacturers, especially with respect to its construction tolerances, green manufacture, and design and finish options.

Custom Shop-Built Cabinets provide limitless options with respect to material, design, construction, finish, hardware and accommodation to a specific space. However, a custom shop-built cabinet will almost always be considerably more expensive than the semi-custom cabinet. It will likely also be slower to produce.

Other Differences

There are other differences for you to consider and check out between our suppliers of semi-custom  cabinets and local shop-built cabinets. Here are some of them:

Design: A local shop typically has limited cabinet design training, experience and capability. While we have a professional designer available to us plus the design options and resources of a large and established cabinet manufacturer.

Cabinets of the Desert Palm Desert Red and White Cabinets

Finish: In a semi-custom manufacturing environment, such as our suppliers, you have positive air pressure in a dedicated finish area to keep airborne particulates out of the manufacturing space. You also have humidity control and a calculated combination of uniform automated and specific hand finish systems. While in the local shop, on the other hand, you do not have an environmentally controlled work space. Also you typically have relatively uneven hand finished materials and hand paint sprayers in an atmosphere that is far from dust free.

Materials: In the semi-custom arena, the manufacturer’s purchasing department uses economy of scale to secure the best materials at lower cost and in bulk. On the other hand, the local shop typically does not take advantage of particle board and MDF, which are both economical and durable. It also tends to use materials that are of a lower quality because it cannot afford to buy the good stuff in bulk.

Availability & Reliability of Delivery: The semi-custom manufacturer can make and deliver cabinetry in almost any quantity and in a reliable time span. On the other hand, the local shop is limited by the availability of its employees and susceptibility to the effects of events such as auto accidents or illness. It is also limited by its capacity to handle multiple jobs.

Warranty Issues: Our cabinet suppliers offer a lifetime warranty backed by a well established and capitalized business. Also, should a replacement part be required, it will be an exact match and quickly produced because of computer controlled manufacturing processes.  On the other hand, with a custom local shop, you have to wonder if it will still be in business when needed and if it will be physically able to match the defective product.

Green Certification: Our Cabinet supplier, Sollera, has established and documented procedures for ensuring a certifiable “green” product. They also use appropriate “green” renewable materials and processes. On the other hand, most local shops do not have the resources or expertise to compete in the “green” arena.

The Bottom Line

In the final analysis there is no doubt that the highest quality custom cabinet will outperform and out-look a semi-custom cabinet, although to the casual eye the difference will be marginal. On the other hand, the risks attached to the custom cabinet are not insignificant and the cost differential is likely very high.

So for most remodel purposes, it only makes sense to go for the semi-custom cabinets by one of the four lines of semi-custom cabinets that we carry here at Cabinets of the Desert.