Why are Kitchen Cabinets so Expensive Featured image

Many homeowners dream of installing new kitchen cabinets but are shocked to see the prices of new prices when they start looking around. What most people forget is that most kitchen cabinets aren’t equal in terms of materials and price differences. Here are some of the top reasons why kitchen cabinets are so expensive at first glance.

The main reason why kitchen cabinets are so expensive

The golden rule to any new kitchen cabinet is that new products are always more expensive because they are new. But more importantly, many people never consider the cost of installation that goes with new kitchen cabinets. There is also the obvious fact that cabinet materials will range in price due to the cost differences involved. Harder and longer-lasting wood materials typically cost more than cheaper wood compositions and laminates.

Yet, that is not the only concern because of the complexity of cabinet construction, custom modifications, and select finishes or hardware ornamentation. If you’ve ever ordered a pizza, you’ll know that the cost of toppings is limited to 3 or has a set amount of toppings before extra toppings are charged on top of your order. Kitchen cabinets are no different in that respect, so anything that is extra outside of a basic cabinet setup will have added charges.

This is not to say those kitchen cabinets aren’t already a small fortune in a nutshell. On average, the total cost of new cabinets starts on the low end of $4,500 up to $13,000 depending on alternative and budget-friendly building materials. The real jump in cost is when custom cabinets are ordered, which will see an immediate cost increase of $15,000 to start, increasing up to $36,000.

As mentioned before, there are many considerations aside from basic costs that you need to understand why kitchen cabinets end up being as expensive as they are.

Type of cabinet design

Woman Showing Type of cabinet design

Choosing a basic cabinet with flat cabinet doors is straightforward when it comes to a set price, but this will all change, the moment that you start to look at decorative cabinet doors faces. When door frames are assembled using a standard Shaker-like frame with a center insert, this requires more labor and time to produce these pieces. The price also goes up if these surfaces have a decorative trim that’s been machined with a router.

Adding any type of crowns or moldings onto decorative cabinets is surely going to increase the cost if you want to have traditional or elegant-looking kitchens. It’s possible to do this on a budget using premade molding and crowning trim, but without knowing basic carpentry, it can become a nightmare for securing all of these add-ons to new cabinets.

Special finishes

Exotic wood Kitchen cabinet

Single colors are essentially the most common finish that you’ll find with any kitchen cabinet. This will always include a base color and a sealant to protect the color and resist scratches or wear and tear. When special finishes are added to cabinets to bring out accents or define the cabinet inlay, this cost will depend on the finish that’s desired. Weathering and special rustic effects to age-down surfaces are also just as expensive since this is also custom.

Some wooden surfaces use cheaper wood materials which are specially stained and painted to appear richer in grain quality. Some finishing effects go so far as to add veneer to give the illusion that the kitchen cabinets are made from very expensive or exotic wood varieties.

Glass cabinet doors

Glass cabinet doors in kitchen

Wooden cabinets are fancy to look at unless you take this to the next level with framed glass cabinets. Numerous styles start with basic designs and progress to appear like ornate cathedral-like frames. Any design that includes a complex frame around the glass is surely going to be more expensive per cabinet door. This is why some kitchens will reserve one or two highlighted and decorative doors to keep their overall costs lower.

Choice of wood

Types of wood for cabinets

Luckily there isn’t a shortage of trees just yet, so the quantity of choosing durable wood gives everyone plenty of choices. Sadly, not all wood is the same price and there are select woods that cost much more due to decorative and hardness factors. Expensive solid wood will be considered top-quality and demands top prices because of this. It might be easier to order thinner veneer over the top of composite frames.

On the other hand, some cheaper priced wood can be decorated with stains that simulate wood finishes and appear similar to other expensive woods varieties.

Hardware additions

Hardwares for kitchen Cabinets

Handles, pulls, knobs, and hinges are all made from various types of metal. You might not know that some of the newer varieties are coated with metal finishes to simulate sold brass or copper handles or hinges. The truth to all of these hardware additions is finding out how expensive the real hardware can be if you insist on solid brass, copper, or semi-precious metals.

Not only that, insert slides for pull drawers are also up for consideration when using advanced load-bearing designs. Super-quiet ball-bearings and spring-loaded hinges help to keep cabinet doors closed tightly at all times. The higher in quality that the hardware is offering, the higher the prices will often follow. Luckily, there are cheaper versions that are available that will last almost as long as the pricier ones will.

Instead of purchasing new cabinets, check out our article on refurbishing your existing cabinetry.

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