In the cabinet industry, there are a couple of terms that are used frequently in describing cabinet manufacturing. Those are that cabinets are either modular in their construction, or custom in their construction. Many people infer that somehow the word custom must mean that theyre better than the modular version. Thats not necessarily true. Heres why.
The main different between modular and custom cabinets is one thing. Size.
The term modular cabinet simply means that its manufactured in a factory, where they manufacture cabinets in pre-determined sizes over and over again. Those sizes are typically in 3 inch increments. So you will notice that cabinets most times begin around 9, then 12, 15, 18, 21 and so on. Thats how cabinet sizes work in the cabinet industry.
Hold the Phone!!! Does that mean you cant get a modular cabinet thats 17 wide. NO, IT DOESNT! Its just that a 17 wide cabinet is non-standard, so it would have to be modified. Modifications typically just increase the cost of the cabinet, but you can do many things like that to make them different.
So when your designer is designing your kitchen, they look at the cabinets that will go into your design and they choose the right sizes to complete it. So if you have a wall that is 144 long where the sink is in the middle, you might have a 36 sink cabinet in the center, a 24 dishwasher on the right side of it, then theres enough room for another 30 cabinet on the right of the dishwasher. On the left of the sink you would have enough room for another 24 cabinet and a 30 cabinet. All those cabinets would take up exactly 144 using modular-sized cabinetry.
But what if your wall was 145 instead? Well in modular cabinets, you make up the remaining part by using a filler of some sort usually. You normally need something like that anyway because the 144 wall will not be exactly 144 in every spot, so you have to account for being out of square.
With custom cabinetry, they would manufacture the cabinets to fit exactly the space you want filled. So again, the main difference between modular and custom is the size of the cabinet, and doesnt necessarily define anything about the quality. Price, on the other hand, is affected, as custom cabinets are typically more expensive than modular cabinets.
More and more manufacturers that make modular cabinets are offering custom sizes with no upcharges, or a small upcharge. This includes things like depth changes as well which are common in kitchen design.
So when you hear someone say custom cabinets vs. modular cabinets, you know that it really means only one thing. The size of the cabinet that is manufactured. Everything else is determined by the material used, and the manner of construction, which can be the same in either scenario.
One additional note on manufactured cabinets. Since factories are built to manufacture large quantities of cabinets, they frequently build in better processes for things like cabinet staining and painting. Since they make so many cabinets, their process is more consistent and better than smaller local custom shops. They also offer robust manufacturer warranties to back up their products for years.
At Central Cabinetry we offer modular cabinets with hundreds of customizations that can be done to accomplish what you want. We have many options and modifications that are no charge to customize.
Contact us here to setup a consultation and begin planning your new kitchen.
Don’t forget to download our FREE Cabinetry 101 Guide to teach you all about your kitchen: