Stock vs Semi-Custom Cabinets

Here at Cabinet IQ, one of the first questions we are asked is about the differences and similarities between the lines we sell. Our team wanted to write an article to explain the key points about each one, to assure you make the best decision for your project. We want you to feel confident and knowledgeable about the kitchen remodel process before you start. We carry a wide variety of kitchen products and can help you figure out which direction is best for you. Read along to find out the similarities and differences between stock cabinets and semi-custom cabinets.

Stock Cabinets


There are many factors that affect the price of kitchen cabinets. Stock cabinets or “RTA cabinets” are ready to assemble therefore they are the most economical option if you are remodeling on a budget. They are produced overseas, and essentially “in-stock.” You can get these almost immediately from a local store since they’re flat packed and located in large local warehouses. After purchasing and processing the order, this type of kitchen cabinetry can be delivered to your home within 2-4 weeks. 

Limited Designs

 In-stock cabinets feature boxes that are built by the manufacturer based on standard styles and measurements. They typically come in width increments of 3′ for the wall and base cabinets. They also have 3 different heights of wall cabinets, 30″, 36″ and 42″. They are always pre-built, so the craftsmanship and finish is already completed upon delivery. “What you see is what you get” with in-stock cabinetry, which means there is little to no customization available. There are generally only a few cabinet door styles and finish colors available. These options are usually shaker or raised panel with colors offered in white, gray, navy blue or black. There are also limited stain options. Since they come prefinished you cannot choose alternative paint colors or stain finishes.

white cabinet sem rush version

Thinner Boxes

With imported cabinets, the boxes are manufactured thinner than most American-made boxes. Some RTA vendors use particle board boxes while others have all-plywood construction. This ultimately can affect the overall strength and stability of the cabinet. 

Limited Warranty

Another consideration of in-stock cabinetry is limited warranty, generally ranging anywhere from 1-5 years. Once you are out of warranty, you can no longer replace that broken hinge, drawer glide, or discolored door without paying for it. 

Quick and Simple

Your cabinet installation company will usually charge a trip charge to make these repairs. It really comes down to your timeline, budget, personal style, and preferences for your project. Even with limited size options, storage options like wall pantries, roll-out trays and lazy susans are available. In-stock can be a great option for a quick and simple kitchen remodel. The average cost of a kitchen remodel with in-stock cabinets can range anywhere from $10,000-$30,000. Cabinet IQ has a kitchen cabinet calculator for you to check the exact price for your measurements.

For a lot of homeowners, they feel up to the task of playing construction manager. This medium level remodel can save you money if you have the time to manage this type of project but we’ll discuss the cost and time considerations next.

Semi-Custom Cabinets:

Semi-custom kitchen cabinets are made for your project in high-tech American factories. They are made of higher quality materials, and have almost unlimited door and drawer finish combinations. Like other home products, American-made cabinetry can be costlier compared to those made overseas. However, the advantages are incomparable. 

design craft


Semi-custom cabinets come in a multitude of door styles, paint, and stain finishes. There are plenty of options to fit your specific needs- functionality and aesthetic-wise.

You will be able to add special features such as:

  • an appliance garage,
  • pop-up mixers,
  • lazy susans or pull-out pantry.

Other customizations can include glass doors, decorative molding, and more unique wood options than you would see otherwise. Typically the sink base comes with a thoughtful protective mat to avoid damage due to water leaks. There are many options for customizing your door style, from simple to traditional and transitional. 

Longer Lead Times

Due to the broader customization elements of semi-custom cabinets and being made-to-order, we generally see longer lead times. This lead time generally ranges from anywhere between 6-12 weeks. This may not be an issue to you if you are taking on a full kitchen remodel. 

Premium Quality

By choosing a semi-custom line, you are receiving premium quality, long lasting, customized just for you, cabinets. Such as: Kraftmaid, Bellmont, Design Craft, and Yorktowne. We have close relationships with our distributors so we can work together to make the best products for our clients. The range for cabinets designed in semi-custom cabinets $30,000-$100,000. That is all depending on the size of your space, and what kind of add-ons you include in your design. Not to mention, the sizing of semi-custom cabinets can range drastically. You can get a range of sizes for both lower and upper cabinets.

We have a blog post that looks more closely at the differences between custom and semi-custom cabinets. Our business focuses on semi-custom cabinetry because we believe it is the best way to get a dream kitchen.

Which should you choose?

Here at Cabinet IQ, we sell both stock and semi-custom cabinet options. We have options for just about everyone and their various needs. We focus on cabinets and countertops, but our designers can assist you in picking hardware and backsplash which can really enhance your overall kitchen renovation project. When making the final decision, the choice depends on a lot of factors, let’s go through the main ones.

Factors to Consider


And also you have to keep in mind your overall kitchen remodeling budget. The numbers we listed at the beginning of this article are just for cabinets. That price doesn’t include countertops, flooring, appliances, backsplash, or any other details needed. 

Resale value

Your decision also depends on how long you are going to be staying in your home. People have differing opinions on whether it’s worth investing in quality cabinets if you plan on selling your home soon. Investing in quality cabinetry is a great idea, even if you’re planning to sell your home in the future since a kitchen remodel can significantly increase the value of your home.

Customization options

We always like to say, you get what you pay for. If you’re renovating on a budget, you may not be able to get all the modern luxuries you want. If you need cabinets in odd sizes or shapes, you’ll probably have to go with semi-custom cabinets. This is because stock cabinets do not have the customization options like semi-customs do in regards to cabinet sizing. If you need a cabinet that’s a unique size for your project, you’ll have to choose a semi-custom line. Regardless of your decision, cabinet shopping should be a fun experience because that is the first step of your new space.

stock semi custom cabinets sem rush