What Is the Cost of Kitchen Cabinets? Factors to Consider

Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: depositphotos.com

  • Typical Range: $1,855 to $9,137
  • National Average: $5,394

Kitchen cabinets might be the unsung heroes of the kitchen. Day after day, they hold dishes, pots, pans, utensils, food, and treats, and they even withstand the occasional slamming of cabinet doors. Most importantly, kitchen cabinets catch the eye—for better or worse—when someone walks into the kitchen. When they’ve fallen into disrepair or when you’re ready to update them to a more modern or timeless appearance, it’s time to do some research into the cost of kitchen cabinets.

Updating kitchen cabinets is a significant part of kitchen remodels, but it’s not necessarily the most costly. On average, the cost of kitchen cabinets is $5,394, with a typical range of $1,855 to $9,137. Much of this price range depends on how large the kitchen is, the type of cabinets and materials you prefer, and installation and labor costs. Another way to estimate the cost of kitchen cabinets is to plan for $100 to $300 (including installation) per linear foot of stock cabinets. Read on to understand how kitchen cabinet costs are determined so you can plan for this exciting project that will transform one of your most-used living spaces.

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Factors in Calculating Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

As simple as it seems to want to install new kitchen cabinets, there are several essential factors for choosing suitable ones. Homeowners should evaluate their existing cabinets and determine if there are any areas where more space or a different configuration is needed. This will help determine whether stock or custom cabinets are required. In addition, decisions should be made regarding the material, design, size, color, and finish—all of which come with their associated costs. Finally, consider the labor and installation rates based on the kinds of cabinets selected for installation. These factors will help guide the decision-making process as you budget for the cost of kitchen cabinets.

Stock vs. Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Stock cabinets are a standard option for homeowners looking for cheap cabinets that will still improve the overall appearance of their kitchen. The average installation cost is $100 to $300 per linear foot. But homeowners can also opt for custom kitchen cabinets. These are fully customized cabinets in terms of size, material, and design, which is helpful for unique or odd-shaped kitchens. As expected, custom cabinets are significantly more expensive than most stock cabinet options, so expect to pay between $500 to $1,200 per linear foot, including installation.

Material

The cost of kitchen cabinets is significantly affected by the type of material you choose. There are five kinds of materials available: wood veneer ($2,000 to $15,000), laminate ($4,000 to $15,000), wood ($5,000 to $25,000), acrylic ($5,000 to $20,000), and stainless steel ($25,000 to $38,000). Most of the wood cabinets on the market are not solid wood; they are often composed of plywood and solid wood since plywood tends to hold up better without warping in moist environments.

Design

The design of a kitchen cabinet system contributes to the overall cost. Kitchen cabinets are either framed or frameless. Framed cabinets are a traditional choice that leaves the rails and stiles visible with a flat front frame to install the door on. Frameless cabinets are a European or contemporary style without visible rails. They are usually more customized and have a heavier box to hang the door without the front frame. Frameless cabinets typically cost around 15 percent more than framed.

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Size

The size of the kitchen affects how many cabinets will need to be replaced. If a kitchen is approximately 10 feet by 10 feet, new kitchen cabinets could cost between $2,800 and $6,500, or as much as $24,000 if they are higher quality and customized. A 12-foot by 12-foot kitchen with up to 25 linear feet of cabinets to replace could cost $3,800 to $8,500, or as much as $29,000. These are average kitchen sizes, but larger kitchens will cost more.

Color and Finish

Custom colors and finishes typically cost more since they are made to order. Painting new cabinets will also cost more due to the materials and labor involved. However, many stock and semi-custom cabinets are available in trending colors and finishes that homeowners are looking for. You can opt for a wood or a veneer finish that mimics the type and color of wood you prefer. Otherwise, popular wood choices include cherry, ash, walnut, maple, oak, beech, hickory, pine, mahogany, bamboo, and birch—all of which can be stained or painted.

Labor and Installation

Labor and installation rates make up nearly half of the cost of kitchen cabinets. It’s a time-intensive process that requires skill and attention to detail to ensure the cabinets are perfectly measured and installed to prevent leveling issues. The average cost of labor and installation is between $80 and $190 per cabinet.

Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

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Additional Costs and Considerations

It’s easy to plan for the big job of installing new kitchen cabinets, but don’t forget about the other hidden costs. You’ll need to consider things like removing old cabinetry, moving appliances, and even the time and cost of measuring accurately. Alternatively, if your cabinets aren’t in terrible condition, you could compare the cost of refacing versus replacing cabinets.

Removing Old Cabinetry

Getting rid of old cabinets is an essential part of new cabinet installation. Most homeowners opt to have the cabinet installer remove and haul off the old cabinets since they typically have the trailer necessary to take them to the dump. It’s an easy convenience that could be worth the average removal cost of $361 to $838.

Moving Appliances and Furniture 

Kitchen remodel costs can quickly add up. If you’re looking to update the layout of the kitchen, then you’ll need to factor in any costs associated with moving appliances. This could include moving gas, electrical, and ventilation systems. Consult with a general contractor to get an estimate for moving these kinds of systems in your kitchen.

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Measuring

Having a professional cabinet installer come to your kitchen to do a thorough measuring job is critical. It’s common to try to handle this step yourself, but mismeasuring by even a small amount can mean significant delays and costly reinstallations. Save yourself an expensive headache later on by setting aside what little time and money is needed up front to handle this critical task.

Refacing vs. Replacing

Under certain circumstances, homeowners could choose to reface their kitchen cabinets rather than doing a total replacement. Refacing is a simple way to update the appearance of cabinets with fresh veneer or laminate and hardware. On average, refacing kitchen cabinets costs $4,214 to $8,110. A professional installer can inspect your cabinets to see if it’s possible to do a refacing project instead. In general, cabinets cannot or should not be refaced if:

  • The material cannot be refaced,
  • The cabinets are very cheap kitchen cabinets,
  • The cabinets are structurally damaged,
  • They have a moldy or musty smell, or
  • The entire kitchen layout is changing.

Kitchen Cabinet Types

The type of kitchen cabinets you select is related to the overall cabinet style and is a major factor in terms of cost. There are three types to choose from: stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets.

Stock

Since stock cabinets often come preassembled, there are limitations to sizes, colors, and materials, but many homeowners find options that suit their design preferences. These are usually the kind of kitchen cabinets found in home improvement stores with an average cost of $100 to $300 per linear foot to install. It is essential to have a cabinet professional measure the kitchen before ordering stock cabinets to make sure they fit in the existing space. The most common problem with stock cabinets is that they don’t fit in the given space. However, the lower price point is appealing to many homeowners, so stock cabinets can be an excellent value for updating a kitchen as long as the kitchen is measured accurately.

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Semi-Custom

Semi-custom kitchen cabinets are the perfect blend between stock and custom cabinets. They allow homeowners a few more flexible options for sizes and colors while keeping the cost lower than buying completely custom cabinets. These cost an average of $150 to $650 per linear foot for cabinets and installation. Homeowners can expect more durable cabinets than some stock cabinets, and they’ll appreciate the wider variety of colors, materials, and sizes available. Many semi-custom cabinets offer extras like lazy Susans, pull-out shelves, or rotating shelves.

Custom

As with any custom job, custom cabinets have the highest cost of kitchen cabinets. Expect to pay between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot to install custom cabinets. The advantage of custom kitchen cabinets is that they can be made to suit any odd-shaped kitchen, or they can truly bring a personalized touch to large or unique kitchens. If there are no budget constraints, there are very few design constraints with this type of cabinet.

Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

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Do I Need New Kitchen Cabinets?

When faced with the daunting task of budgeting for and selecting new kitchen cabinets, it’s easy for homeowners to question whether they need them at all. Aside from the obvious circumstance of damaged cabinets, there are several other reasons for which replacing kitchen cabinets is a good idea.

Increased Storage Needs

It’s common for a family to outgrow their existing space—and those rolling pantries are only helpful up to a point before they start to get in the way. Have a cabinet installer evaluate how to update the existing space to be more efficient in terms of storage if you can’t expand the actual kitchen size. A cabinet installer might know of a better cabinet option or a new configuration that can increase the total storage capacity. More cabinet space also means more usable counter space.

Kitchen Layout Remodel

Adding more space to a kitchen is a primary reason for a kitchen remodel. Sometimes that only means the floor plan is reconfigured, but sometimes it’s also expanded. In either case, you’ll need new kitchen cabinets that will fit in their new spaces. A kitchen layout remodel is a great way to get more storage, functional space, updated cabinets, and a fresh look all at once.

Refacing Isn’t an Option

Some cabinet materials can’t be refaced, or they’re so damaged that they simply need to be replaced. As helpful as it is to have the option of refacing, sometimes it simply isn’t feasible. If you’re unsure whether your cabinet material can be refaced, have a cabinet installer look at them.

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Water Damage, Smells, and Other Issues

Obvious signs of damage to cabinets are easy to spot. However, other signs are more subtle but still important when considering replacing your kitchen cabinets. Sometimes the cabinet box is so worn out that it won’t support new screw holes for updated hardware. In addition, the cabinets might also be physically soft—so much so that they move when pushed. This can also cause the countertop to tilt to one side so that pencils are forever at risk of rolling off. Cabinet doors and drawers that stick or won’t open or close easily are also another sign that they need replacing. And seriously funky smells that don’t dissipate with cleaning mean that cabinets simply need to be torn out and replaced.

Mold and Pest Damage

Another serious problem is visible mold damage. It’s relatively easy to clean up if caught early, but if not, mold fast becomes an unrelenting and dangerous problem. Mold indicates that water is getting into the area unchecked, so it’s crucial to find and repair the leak. If the damage to the cabinets is moderate to severe and cannot be cleaned quickly, you’ll need to replace the cabinets. Mold can be a serious health hazard, especially for those with asthma or respiratory troubles.

Signs of pest damage are another reason to replace kitchen cabinets. Any damage from insects begins to weaken the structural integrity of the cabinets. Moisture from the air can then seep in and cause the wood to soften or rot.

Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

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Benefits of Getting New Kitchen Cabinets

Replacing kitchen cabinets isn’t all bad news. There are several benefits to installing brand-new kitchen cabinets. Families spend a lot of time gathered in the kitchen, and it’s important to feel like it’s a space worth gathering in, which is why the aesthetics of a new kitchen are a vital benefit for updating kitchen cabinets. Homeowners will also appreciate the increased home value and improved functionality.

New Aesthetic and Better Durability

The design that once served your family well and seemed like it would look great for a long time may no longer be doing its job. Since the kitchen is a key area where family and friends gather often, why not make it a pleasant atmosphere with updated cabinets and hardware? New cabinets bring a fresh appearance and feeling to a space to make it go from feeling tight and confined to open and spacious. And those new cabinets will be more durable for years to come as well.

Increased Home Value 

Homeowners always hope to add to their overall home value with any construction project. Fortunately, kitchen cabinets do provide that benefit. In terms of just replacing kitchen cabinets (not a complete kitchen remodel), homeowners can expect a 5 percent increase in their home’s value and a 70 percent return on their investment. Prospective buyers are naturally attracted to a kitchen that’s already updated with fresh cabinets so they won’t have to budget for an after-purchase update.

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Improved Functionality 

Have you recently noticed that your cabinets might not be as usable as they should be? Some of your cabinets might be hard to reach, or you constantly have to move items around to get to items in the back. Or worse, perhaps two doors slam into each other when opened, or the drawers constantly stick or get off track. Eliminate all these problems with a brand-new set of kitchen cabinets designed to make your kitchen more functional.

Kitchen Cabinet Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

Visions of DIY kitchen remodeling shows subtly encourage many homeowners to consider doing their own cabinet installation. It’s likely driven by the desire to keep the total cost lower since labor and installation make up about half of the total price. There are plenty of DIY tasks that homeowners can do in terms of replacing kitchen cabinets, but the actual installation is best left to a pro.

It’s surprisingly easy for this job to go sideways quickly and leave you with lasting problems that range from aggravating to dangerous. Aside from spending time choosing the perfect set of cabinets, materials, and colors, homeowners might enjoy the process of tearing out the cabinets, especially if they’re in good condition and can be donated or offered on Craigslist. Additionally, they could also install the new hardware handles themselves if they’re itching to help. But beyond that, professional installers are the safest (and possibly cheapest) option for installing new cabinets.

One of the most common problems with a kitchen cabinet project is incorrectly measuring the areas for the new cabinets. This can become a costly mistake if new cabinets have to be ordered and reinstalled. Odd-shaped kitchens are also more challenging to measure without experience. In terms of installation, pros usually have another pair of hands helping to steady wall-mounted cabinets to make sure they are strongly anchored to hold themselves plus the items they store. These pros also know how to handle the cabinets carefully to avoid damaging them during installation, and they’re liable if something does happen—instead of you. When you look at the whole picture, it’s a better investment of money to hire cabinet installers to do the tough work you need to rely on for years to come.

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How to Save Money on the Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

Most money-saving ideas come during the selection process as you choose the materials, type, and design of cabinets that fit your budget and needs. But there are some other ways to economize and get the most out of your budget, too.

  • Choose stock cabinets when working with a tight budget. There are lots of popular options that fit most kitchens.
  • Framed cabinets are cheaper than contemporary frameless cabinets, so consider the more traditional look to save up to 15 percent.
  • Decide if you can simply reface or even repaint your old kitchen cabinets. If they’re in good condition, both of these options can update a kitchen’s appearance at a lower price.
  • Check to see if an IKEA cabinet configuration can work for your space. These are often cheaper than some cabinets, though you might prefer to have a contractor install them since they can be difficult to put together.
  • See if your local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store has a set of cabinets that will fit your kitchen.
  • Remove and haul away your old cabinets yourself. Although you’ll save on labor, you’ll still owe local dump fees.
  • Skip the spice rack drawer since it’s a semi-custom option that takes up valuable space from a larger cabinet or drawers.
  • Decide how many drawers you really need. Adding multiple banks of drawers is more expensive when regular cabinets might work for your needs.
  • Obtain multiple quotes from cabinet installers to make sure you’re choosing the best long-term value overall—not necessarily the cheapest.
  • Decide if you really need several trash bin cabinets (or even one) or if the space can be better used for actual storage.
  • Opt for only one lazy Susan or none since these are costly additions.
  • Look for hardware on thrift sites or online marketplaces. This surprising cost can be reduced if you’re interested in finding vintage hardware and installing it yourself.
  • Stick with the standard 12-inch depth for cabinets rather than going deeper or shallower.

Cost of Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: depositphotos.com

Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Cabinet Installer

When you’re ready to start the process of updating your cabinets, search for “cabinet makers near me” to find a list of local cabinet installers to call or visit. You’ll need to make sure they’re a reputable company. Use these questions to help guide your decision-making process and understand what to expect.

  • How long have you installed kitchen cabinets?
  • Do you have references and a portfolio I can review?
  • Do you offer a free on-site consultation?
  • Will you provide an itemized quote to review?
  • Is a deposit required?
  • Will we need to obtain a permit?
  • What kind of cabinets do you recommend for my kitchen?
  • Can you help me with a new configuration in the same footprint?
  • What color options and finishes are available for my budget?
  • How much can I expect to spend on hardware?
  • How long will it take to order cabinets, receive them, and install them?
  • What kind of problems could arise during installation?
  • Will these cabinets appeal to home buyers?
  • Do you offer a warranty on materials or any other guarantees?
  • What would it cost to add new bathroom vanity cabinets to this job?

FAQs

Don’t get confused about the cost of kitchen cabinets. Compared to some home construction projects, replacing kitchen cabinets is a relatively simple process. Here are some of our more frequently asked questions about the process to help you feel confident in your decision.

Q. What is the average cost to replace kitchen cabinets? 

The national average is $5,394, but a typical range is $1,855 to $9,137. This largely depends on the size of the kitchen, the type of cabinets, the materials and design, and any other considerations for your specific kitchen.

Q. How much does a 10-foot x 10-foot kitchen remodel cost? 

A medium-size 10-foot by 10-foot kitchen costs between $15,000 and $30,000 to remodel.

Q. What finish is the best for kitchen cabinets?

There really isn’t a “best” in terms of kitchen cabinet finishes. There are several options available at various prices to suit most budgets. If you live in an area with more humidity, speak with a pro about the most durable materials that will last the longest. Laminates and veneers can be finished to look like solid wood, but metal is another popular option for those who prefer a more industrial look. Otherwise, your budget and style are what determine the best finish for your needs.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Porch

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