Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Whether you’re starting a bathroom renovation from scratch or replacing your current cabinetry, shopping for new bathroom vanity cabinets is a big task. Cabinets from big-box retail stores and custom cabinet makers all vary in appearance, cost, and quality.
How do you know if stock or custom cabinets are right for your new bathroom vanities?
At Deslaurier, we have over 40 years of experience manufacturing custom cabinets while providing kitchen and bathroom design expertise to our clients. In that time, we’ve worked on thousands of bathroom vanities, personalizing each project to the primary user’s individual needs.
Stock and custom cabinetry can both be great choices for a bathroom renovation depending on the project. They each offer a unique set of pros and cons, which this article will detail so you can have a better understanding of which vanity cabinets suit your bathroom!
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
What Are Stock Cabinets?
Stock cabinets are ready-made, pre-manufactured products with zero customization options. With stock cabinetry, what you see in-store or online is what you’re taking home.
Home Depot, Lowe’s, and IKEA are all good reference points to understand how stock cabinets work. Custom cabinet makers may also offer stock cabinets—they might pre-manufacture their most popular products and have them ready to go for fast delivery. But more often than not, it’s the global franchises with the capacity to mass-produce that have stock catalogues.
Stock cabinets are offered in set sizes, and you have to select the right cabinets to fit your bathroom space. While these set sizes may vary from retailer to retailer, there are some industry-wide norms that you can expect to find.
In terms of width, stock cabinetry tends to begin at 9-inches wide and moves up in 3-inch increments. The largest size available is generally about 48-inches wide (for one cabinet!). As for height, stock cabinets are usually around 30-inches to 36-inches tall.
Generally speaking, stock cabinets are a retailer’s most basic, entry-level product. That means the materials and construction methods used are likely limited to economical selections.
Further, most retailers will provide 2, maybe 3, cabinet door styles, as well as cabinet colours. If you’re looking to add some flair to your bathroom vanity, you’re going to be underwhelmed with stock cabinet selections.
What Are Custom Cabinets?
As the name suggests, custom cabinetry is custom-built to meet your personal specifications, whatever they may be. By collaborating with a professional designer, you can strategically tailor your bathroom vanity design to match your lifestyle.
Custom cabinets are made to fit the room rather than having the room fit them.
When you’re shopping custom, you start with a blank canvas. Everything, including cabinet materials, sizes, construction, door styles, and finish (including paints and stains and custom colour matches) can be adjusted to suit your taste. You can even choose to have “floating” vanities mounted to the wall!
Some custom cabinetry is made with the same materials as stock cabinetry, but the difference is you’re not limited to these materials. Custom cabinetry can be built with whatever material you desire, such as genuine solid wood options like maple, oak, walnut, or alder, as well as sought-after engineered materials like acrylic or textured melamine.
Not to mention the personalized design options available. On top of the various materials available, custom cabinet makers will offer dozens of different door styles and colour options in their catalogue for you to choose from.
The possibilities are wide open. For example, at Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, the potential cabinet combinations easily surpass 20,000!
Bathroom Vanity Cost: Stock vs. Custom
The cost of custom vanities will almost always far outweigh that of stock vanity cabinets. The freedom to personalize your cabinetry comes at a higher cost.
Custom cabinet prices are challenging to estimate because it all boils down to your individual selections. For example, cabinets with melamine interiors will be cheaper than authentic wood—same goes for a flat, slab door compared to a 5-piece shaker style door. These simple selections can add or subtract hundreds from your final bill.
Prices can fluctuate from $600 to $2500 per linear foot, depending on the materials, finishes, styles, and accessories you choose. As you can see, it’s a wide range. In a way, that’s a positive. How much you decide to spend (or not spend) is up to you.
The average cost of stock cabinets is about $160 to $380 per linear foot.
Stock cabinets certainly aren’t always low-quality products, but they can be if you’re not careful. If you’re shopping stock, do your due diligence when researching the cabinet make-up. Saving money upfront isn’t worth it if you’ll have to pay for future repairs and replacement parts down the line.
Bathroom Vanity Installation: Stock vs. Custom
The major advantage to choosing stock cabinets is the fast lead time. Many retailers have stock cabinets flat-packed and in stock so that you can drive them home or order them for delivery the same day. Because custom cabinets are designed and built to order on a case-by-case basis, they typically take a couple of months to be ready.
If not available right away, you can still expect stock lead times to come in much shorter than custom lead times.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while stock cabinets come ready-made, they still require installation. Installation is not included with stock products. This can be particularly inconvenient when it comes to bathroom vanities that require sink bowl cutouts and additional plumbing lines to be cutout into cabinet boxes.
Unless you consider yourself a talented DIY homeowner, you’ll probably want to hire an independent party to install your cabinets. Be sure to allocate part of your cabinet budget to pay for professional cabinet installation.
Conversely, an additional benefit to purchasing custom cabinetry is that manufacturers typically partner with professional installation teams. For instance, at Deslaurier, we provide professional cabinet delivery and installation for all of our clients.
The cost of installation depends on how the cabinet maker in question operates. At Deslaurier, we price installation fees into our quotes. That way, the customer doesn’t have to worry about extra budgeting after they’ve purchased their cabinets.
Stock vs. Custom Bathroom Vanities: What’s Right for You?
Of course, it should be noted that not all bathrooms are made equal. The purpose of a master ensuite compared to a powder room is night and day. Designing bathroom vanities around those two separate rooms will reflect that.
If you’re looking for a powder room vanity and aren’t picky about the colour and style, going with a stock vanity option will more than suffice—and you could have it in your home the same day!
However, if you’re looking to outfit a spacious master ensuite, you might want to go with custom vanity cabinets. They will no doubt be more expensive, but they will be tailored to fit your unique bathroom layout and personal design preferences.
Always browse what’s out there before you decide on the custom or stock route. You may find there’s a perfect stock vanity for your bathroom, or you might want to tinker with custom options to fit perfectly to your needs.
Ultimately, it’s always important to weigh your budget, your design preference, and your lifestyle to choose the best vanity cabinets for your dream bathroom.
Design with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets
Are you looking for a personalized bathroom design that’s tailored to fit your unique needs? You’ve come to the right place!
If you have your eye on custom cabinetry, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets has everything you need. With over 40 years of experience to our name, we provide our clients with a fully customized design process with our talented team of designers.