When remodeling a kitchen, new cabinets often make up a substantial portion of the budget—in some cases up to half of the total cost. Even if a homeowner is not doing a complete kitchen remodel, they may want to replace, refinish or paint their cabinets for an updated look or to provide better functionality and more storage. Professional contractors can properly and securely mount new cabinets to the wall (attached to studs). Professionals can also ensure correct assembly, and most can handle installation of other key components in the kitchen, such as countertops, appliances, sink, power outlets in an island, task lighting and more. Professional carpenters, such as Arnoldo Fuentes, owner of Fuentes Woodworks in Lake Elsinore, California, can build cabinets to homeowners’ exact specifications if a kitchen remodel design plan requires custom cabinetry. However, many people have some budget constraints and may simply select cabinets from a big box store or kitchen showroom. Professional carpenters or general contractors can install these prepurchased cabinets as part of a remodeling project.
Kitchen size and number of cabinets
One way contractors estimate the cost to install cabinets is by the linear foot. Virgil Miranda, a general contractor based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, typically charges $70 per linear foot to remove existing cabinets and assemble and install new cabinets. If homeowners remove the old cabinets themselves or if there are none, the cost is $55 per linear foot. It’s common for cabinet vendors and kitchen showrooms to use a kitchen measuring 10x10 feet when advertising prices. Sometimes this measurement refers to the actual square footage of the cabinets, or the space inside the cabinets; other times, it may more accurately reflect the linear feet of stock cabinets, or the width of the cabinets.
The biggest expense in cabinet installation is the cabinets themselves, which can range widely based on the vendor, cabinet materials, extent of customization and add-on features. Stock cabinets are the most affordable option but will require homeowners to combine cabinets in predetermined sizes and configurations (height, depth, number of drawers and cupboards per box, etc.) and make them work in their space. Cabinet installation contractors can then assemble and install the stock cabinets (or just install them if a homeowner opts to assemble them). Various add-on features, such as glass fronts or upgraded finishes, increase the price of stock cabinets. Semi-custom cabinets are the next step up, allowing for greater flexibility in terms of measurement and configuration even though they are factory-made in standard sizes. Fuentes Woodworks specializes in custom cabinets, designed, built and installed specifically for customers’ space and design plan.
Here are the costs per linear foot for each type of cabinet, not including installation:
- Custom: $500–$1,400
Fuentes Woodworks charges customers $500–$700 per linear foot for custom cabinets, including installation.
Wood type and finish
Genuine wood cabinets typically cost more than those made from plywood or (medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and finished with a laminate. Even genuine wood cabinets tend to be a mix of plywood boxes finished with real wood doors and drawer fronts. Wood cabinets range in cost from $80 to $160 per linear foot. Laminate finishes and thermofoil, which is a vinyl film applied to a substrate with heat and pressure, cost $35–$75 per linear foot, depending on quality and manufacturer.
Many contractors, including Virgil Miranda, will assemble and install cabinets that have been prepurchased by the homeowner. It’s also possible to hire an assembly service, such as Jeff’s Assembly in Linden, New Jersey, and a separation installation professional. Some handyman services can do both tasks as well.