The True Value of Custom Cabinetry

by iriecabinetry

When most people think of custom cabinetry they often think of kitchens. Custom cabinetry, however, has a multitude of applications throughout a home.

Once the focus of only kitchens and bathrooms, custom cabinetry has moved into a number of other areas of the home including basements, garages and home offices. It is no secret that custom cabinets are more expensive than those sold in bulk at your local hardware store, but why? What characteristics of custom cabinets make them so much more valuable? Why do quality custom cabinets increase the value of your home more than bulk cabinets? Are custom cabinets worth the extra cost? In order to fully appreciate the value of custom cabinets, it is important to understand the features that make them so superior to bulk cabinetry.

Quality of Materials

Due to the ever increasing cost of wood, most of today’s bulk cabinetry is produced using less expensive materials, which are then covered with a thin layer of solid wood called a veneer. The most common materials used in the construction of bulk cabinets are plywood and particle board. These materials consist of sheets or particles of wood that are glued together to provide strength.

There are a number of issues associated with bulk cabinets made of veneered plywood. Because these type of cabinets are made of materials that are glued together rather than one solid piece of wood, they are more susceptible to damage caused by the expansion and contraction of these materials. Moisture, for example, can cause the particles in particle board to expand which in turn breaks the glue holding the particles together. As a result, particle board exposed to extreme moisture can begin to crumble.

Veneers, which are often made of woods different than those in particle board and plywood, often expand and contract at a different rate than the materials to which they are adhered.This can cause them to separate and peel away over time. In addition, because veneers are often very thin, most bulk cabinets can’t be sanded down and refinished like solid wood cabinets can.

In contrast, solid wood custom cabinets are built using one type of wood, which allows the cabinets to expand and contract uniformly when exposed to moisture or temperature fluxuations. Solid wood custom cabinets can also be sanded down and refinished as needed, unlike most bulk cabinets. This allows homeowners to renovate their cabinets without the need of replacing them, which in turn saves them thousands.

Custom Cabinet
Custom Cabinet

Construction & Durability

Most bulk cabinets sold today are built using the least expensive construction techniques available in order for the cabinet manufacturer to make the most money possible. Traditional, time tested carpentry techniques such as dove tailed joints, miter joints and others are often abandoned in favor of inferior but cheaper methods of construction. Materials such as staples, glue and cheap metal hardware are now used almost exclusively in most bulk cabinets.

Custom cabinet builders aren’t cabinet manufacturers, but rather trained and highly skilled artisans who have an extensive knowledge of wood, carpentry and craftsmanship. Using techniques perfected over thousands of years, these artists are able to produce beautifully crafted cabinets that are able to withstand the tests of time. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders, the average life expectancy of most bulk cabinets is only 15-20 years. In comparison solid wood custom cabinets can easily last50 years or more.

Although solid wood custom cabinets are more expensive, when taking into consideration their longevity, durability and quality in comparison to bulk cabinets, they are by far the best value.

Custom Cabinetry
Custom Cabinetry


Since 1999 Irie Cabinetry, a small two-man shop specializing in custom residential and commercial cabinetry, has been crafting innovative, high-quality handcrafted cabinetry customized to their customer’s exact needs and desires. Blending old world craftsmanship with new state-of-the-art hardware, features and innovations Irie Cabinetry has become a leader in the custom cabinetry industry in the Denver area. Irie Cabinetry offers a wide variety of custom finishes and an assortment of woods from the domestic to the exotic. For more information on Irie Cabinetry please visit

Updated: 09/19/2021, iriecabinetry
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Rose on 04/18/2014

I must admit I've love a set of custom wardrobes in my bedroom

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