Cost To Build Vs Buy Cabinets


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If you are planning a kitchen renovation one of the biggest decisions will be the cost to build vs buy cabinets.

There are numerous factors to consider that can greatly impact the overall expenses.

Is it more affordable to custom-build cabinets or is it cheaper to purchase pre-made ones?

Moreover how do the quality and longevity of the two options compare?

This conundrum can become quite a predicament for many homeowners.

Cost To Build Vs Buy Cabinets

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Cost To Build Vs Buy Cabinets

In the world of kitchen remodeling the decision to DIY or buy cabinets is pivotal. One of the most expensive aspects of a remodel kitchen cabinets can account for a large chunk of your budget.

Building your own cabinets can save approximately 66% of the cost. On average building a cabinet box costs around $22.38 while purchasing from a store like Ikea could equate to over $220 for 6 small drawers.

Effects on Budget:

  • The cost to build small- or medium-sized drawers can range from $7.75 to $12.88.
  • Large drawers have a higher cost to construct approximately $32.13.
  • Building your own cabinets can lead to savings of over $1100 compared to buying premade.

Skill and Tool Requirements

Building your own cabinets requires intermediate woodworking skills. Having a well-stocked workshop with essential power tools like a table saw circular saw and miter saw can aid in the building process.

Additionally accurate measurements necessitate tools such as a digital angle gauge digital protractor and steel ruler.

Tools often used in cabinet construction:

  • Dremel tool
  • Incra box joint jig
  • Kreg R3 pocket hole jig kit
  • Kreg Rip Cut
  • Orbital sander

For those with access to more advanced equipment like CNC machines the material cost may drop down to around $2000 – a stark contrast to a $20000 retail cost for a similar product. However this process can be labor-intensive and time-consuming often requiring an extra 30-ish hours of work on top of the regular work schedule.

Diy Cabinet Cost

If you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel there’s no doubt that the cost of cabinets is taking up a bulk of your budget. Store-bought cabinets may demand quite a hefty sum contributing to the significant tag price of the average remodel.

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But what if there was a way to bring down these costs? Building your own cabinets may be the answer you’re looking for.

According to a popular DIY expert Jacob Philips building your own cabinets could save you around 66% of the cost compared to buying.

Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or a hobbyist with access to some essential tools DIY cabinets could save you a lot of cash. For instance the cost to build a cabinet box could be around $22.38 according to some actual prices cited on Quora.

Even the more significant components like drawers cost remarkably less when you decide to build them yourself. For example small drawers could cost just about $7.75 each.

In comparison a medium drawer could hit your wallet at around $12.88 and a large drawer could come up to $32.13 each. Each shelf?

Even cheaper at an estimated $6.25.

Component Cost
Cabinet box $22.38
Small drawer $7.75
Medium drawer $12.88
Large drawer $32.13
Shelf $6.25

Shop vs DIY: Cost Comparison

To really understand the savings you need to compare these DIY costs to buying new ones from a store. A unit at the popular furniture store Ikea comprising six small drawers for instance could cost you about $220.

So if you compare the totals you could save upwards of $1100 by choosing to build your cabinets yourself.

But it’s not just about the money. DIY cabinet construction is not for everyone.

It can require a significant time commitment; as much as 30-ish hours of work according to Philips. Furthermore you need to have intermediate woodworking skills and a shop filled with tools.

The Writer’s Block forum also raises the valid point of considering the cost of paint or finishes as painting cabinets can offer a more economical option for changing their look.

Additionally you should consider the advanced manufacturing processes and the fact that factories make use of specialized machines for high-volume production making it cheaper to buy them.

However if you are skilled and have the time to spare building cabinets could be a cheaper and even rewarding project.

Skill And Tool Requirements

Building cabinets requires intermediate woodworking skills and a well-equipped workspace. If you’re a DIY enthusiast with an Advanced Life Experience in woodworking this could be inline with your hobby.

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You would need a number of power tools like circular saw or maiter saw a drill driver combo a jigsaw an orbital sander and possibly a Dremel tool.

  • Kreg R3 pocket hole jig kit for making pocket holes
  • Kreg Rip Cut for guiding your circular saw
  • Incra box joint jig for making dovetail joints
  • Countersink drill bits for making holes

Access to CNC equipment or a Fusion 360 for creating 3D models of your proposed cabinet arrangement can be very useful but not mandatory.

Is Building Cabinets a Cost-Effective Option?

When it comes to cost comparison between “Shop Built” and purchased cabinets a skilled and experienced woodworker can save significantly.

On a general note building your own cabinets can save you about 66% of the cost compared to buying.

The cost to build a cabinet box is as low as $22.38. Smaller drawers can be built for $7.75 each while medium-sized ones cost around $12.88.

For larger drawers you’re looking at an approximate cost of $32.13.

Comparably buying cabinets from a store such as IKEA could set you back about $220 for 6 small drawers translating into potential savings of over $1100 if you choose to build.

However these actual prices can fluctuate due to the quality of materials used and location.

Building cabinets requires a substantial time commitment with an additional 30-ish hours of work compared to buying from the big-box stores.

While building cabinets yourself can save a significant amount of money the decision ultimately depends on your personal skill level preferences and available time.

Time Commitment Comparison

It’s important to understand the time commitment when making a decision about building versus buying kitchen cabinets. Building your own cabinets will certainly require a significant amount of time.

This is not just a typical DIY project but an exercise that demands advanced woodworking skills and a thorough knowledge of materials hardware and casework assembly. If you’re an IT professional with a love for woodworking don’t underestimate the time required.

According to research if you opt to build your own cabinets you should expect an extra 30-ish hours of work. Do you have spare time to pour into this project?

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It’s not just the construction but also the design process taking accurate measurements deciding on the suitable materials and eventually installing the cabinets in your kitchen. All these tasks are labor-intensive and require a lot of careful attention.

  • Using a digital protractor and digital angle gauge for accurate measurements.
  • Cutting materials using a miter saw or circular saw guide.
  • Assembling boxes with pocket holes using Kreg Rip Cut and Kreg R3 pocket hole jig kit.
  • Installing drawers with soft-close drawer slides using a Dremel tool and drill driver combo.
  • Applying finishes like paint or polyurethane.

On the other hand buying cabinets from Ikea or another big-box store generally takes less time. You choose from available styles and dimensions make the purchase and arrange for the delivery.

You could have them installed by professionals or undertake the installation yourself which still takes less time than building your own.

Money-Saving Alternatives

When undertaking kitchen remodels consider money-saving alternatives. One popular option is to build your own cabinets potentially saving up to 66% of costs compared to buying.

Those with access to woodworking tools and intermediate woodworking skills a DIY build can be immensely cost-effective. An individual with these capabilities might spend only $2000 on materials for ‘shop built’ cabinets compared to the tens of thousands one might spend buying something of equal quality.

However if you’re less confident in your woodworking abilities consider buying cabinet boxes from IKEA and building the drawers yourself. This could also result in substantial savings over time.

Alternatively shopping at thrift stores or locations like Habitat for Humanity Restore can reveal used cabinets at lower prices.

As well as building furnishings yourself considering changing the look of your cabinets by painting them yourself. This option can be both cheaper and easier and still yield excellent results.

But always remember to backtrack these money-saving alternatives with extensive research accurate measurements and thoughtful planning. Utilizing specific appliances and 3D models can help obtain those measurements and thoroughly planning your kitchen design and layout is the critical first step whether you’re buying or building your own cabinets.

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