Published in the Severna Park Voice Home and Garden Guide- Spring 2015

Kitchen Cabinetry 101: Cabinet Types

Written by Tracy McGuinness – Kitchen Encounters | March 11, 2015

Q: What is the difference between stock, semicustom and custom cabinetry?

A: Cabinets are generally classified as stock, semicustom or custom. These terms refer to the method of production and differ according to pricing, availability and selection.

Stock cabinets are mass produced according to industry standard sizes. They are ready-made and stocked in a warehouse awaiting a customer order. The customer must select cabinets “as is” from the catalog or in-stock at a warehouse store. The advantages of stock cabinets are a lower price point and quick delivery time. However, the selection of door styles and finishes is limited, and changes and customizations are not allowed.

Semicustom cabinets offer more flexibility. The industry standard sizes still apply; however, the customer has the option to modify dimensions to fit the requirements of a specific design. The selection of door styles and finishes is greatly expanded, but the customer must still choose from the door styles and finishes offered in the catalog. A variety of accessories and interior fittings are available, allowing the customer to tailor the cabinets to meet their functional requirements. Semi-custom cabinets are built to order and therefore have a longer lead time (four to eight weeks) than stock cabinets. Semi-custom cabinets enable greater individualized design freedom than stock cabinets without the cost and longer lead times of full-custom cabinets.

Custom cabinets are built one order at a time according to the unique requirements of a specific design. With custom cabinets, the sky’s the limit. Custom manufacturers offer the widest selection of door styles and finishes. Custom color matching is possible, as are hand-applied, furniture-quality finishes, exotic species and special effects. Custom cabinets offer the latest in functional hardware, technology, construction methods and case materials and the most complete selection of accessories. One-of-a-kind items, such as custom range hoods, hand-carved details, curved/angled elements and furniture pieces can be produced. Custom cabinets have the longest lead time (eight to 12 weeks or more) and are generally the most expensive option.

Regardless of the type of cabinets you choose, the best way to make the most of your investment is to work with a professional. Certified kitchen designers (CKD) have been tested by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) to ensure their clients get the benefit of their expertise in functional designs that adhere to established guidelines for safety and convenience. A skilled kitchen designer can help make your dreams a reality and provide the best outcome for your home.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Kitchen Encounters at 410-263-4900 or visit

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