How To Choose The Right Cabinet Grade For Your Kitchen, According To Real Estate Expert

When it comes to choosing kitchen cabinets, there is so much more to consider than just the color of the cabinets. While color is, of course, very important for the final product, before you even get into design, you first need to decide the cabinet grade, which is determined by its quality. Cabinet grades are usually sorted into four different groups, with the lowest being ready-to-assemble cabinets and the highest being custom-made cabinets. In between those two are stock and semi-custom options, all of which can range in the style of cabinet and the material used.

Choosing the right cabinet grade often comes down to budget, but there is more to consider when figuring out what is right for your kitchen. Jason Pietruszka, real estate developer, general contractor, and founder of JJP Construction, spoke exclusively with House Digest to give us more insight on how, exactly, to determine the right cabinet grade for your kitchen.

Understanding the different grades of cabinets

While there are four main grades of cabinets, the differences between them are vast. "There is a lot that goes into building cabinets. Most people think, ok, boxes and doors... how complicated can it be... well, quality is what judges the grade of the cabinet," said Jason Pietruszka, who spoke exclusively with House Digest. "Low grade means the box was built with cheap and low-grade plywood, maybe particle board or thin plywood. High end would mean that the whole box is built from the same wood species and made from at least ¾-inch material. And just to clarify, there is a range of grades in between these two options."

Cabinets that are the lowest grade aren't necessarily a bad choice. They are very budget-friendly and a good option for people who want to DIY their cabinets. But, they may also not be very durable in the long-term and could make it harder for you to sell your house in the future. The highest grade may not always be the right choice, either, due to the higher cost.

How to get quality regardless of budget

Since a big part of your kitchen renovation budget will come from your cabinet choice, it's important to understand your options before making a decision. For cabinet grades, Jason Pietruszka, who spoke exclusively with House Digest, said that "it all depends on budget and preferences. If [you] are trying to complete a project on the lower end of the budget scale, sticking to production-built products is going to be the way to go. If [you] are ok with the look of off the shelf products, then [you] can stay on the low end of products as well. But the second we have to start customizing something, [it's best to] start looking at increasing that budget."

If you are hoping to balance budget-friendly options with quality materials, Pietruszka said to look at the provider and installer more than the actual product. "I always tell my clients, if you are trying to save money but want quality, don't trust so much in the product, trust in the provider/installer," he said. "All of these products are built to be good enough, what really ends up being the issue is how they are installed. Doors don't fall off hinges for no reason. Either they were improperly installed or you, as the client, slammed the door too hard." Whether you choose to keep things on budget or splurge a bit with your cabinets, just be sure you understand exactly what grade you are getting and that they are being installed properly.