Kitchen Cabinet Installation Costs

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Naturally, the most common question we hear at, “How much will my kitchen cabinets cost?” The second most common question, usually asked pretty much right after the first is, “How much will it cost to install my kitchen cabinets?”  Well, much like the first question, the answer to the second is, “It depends.”  There are several variables that will affect what it costs to install your kitchen cabinets, and it is important to understand them all and how they will affect your budget.

The first variable is simply the size and shape of your kitchen, and how many cabinets you’re installing.  If there are any odd angle or corners that will require a contractor or carpenter to accommodate, you can expect to pay more.  Larger kitchens with more cabinets will always cost most.  Smaller kitchens will cost less overall, however, the “per box” price may be the same across some smaller spaces due to economies of scale.

Another major aspect that will affect kitchen cabinet installation costs is your location.  Depending on where you live in the USA, our research shows a wide range of cabinet install pricing.  Here are some of the numbers:

  • Averaging slightly under $100 per box in small towns and cities in the south and midwest.
  • Averaging nearly $300 per cabinet on the coasts, in major cities, and from premium installers.
  • The most often quoted “rule of thumb” price for installing cabinetry was roughly 10% of total cabinet cost.
  • The most often quoted total price range was between $2000 and $4000.
  • Installing floating shelves instead of full wall cabinets, or base cabinets only, may alter these figures.

Another variable to address is the cabinets themselves. If the cabinets are fully custom, it may be impossible to separate the installation costs alone.  Although the majority of the boxes would be built off-site in the cabinet shop, depending on the kitchen’s shape and level of customization, some of the cabinets may end up being built on-site.  In many instances, a custom cabinet shop will insist on installing their products, and the installation cost will be part of the overall design and build quote.

Ready-to-assemble cabinets are another matter altogether.  Putting the parts and pieces of RTA or “flat pack” cabinets together falls on the shoulders of the homeowner or the contractor/installer.  Assembling one of these styles of cabinets can range anywhere from 20 minutes to upward of one hour or more, for larger, more intricate pieces.  If your cabinet installation professional will need to assemble your RTA cabinets in addition to actually installing them, it means more time spent on the job, meaning a higher price tag.  It’s also worth noting that sometimes, depending on how they’re assembled and the style of hardware used to hold the pieces together, RTA products aren’t as sturdy as already built cabinets.  Due to this instability, wall cabinets can be particularly tricky to hang, and installers may require additional staff be on site to help, which may increase the cost even further.

Semi-custom, pre-built cabinets can be the easiest to hang, and simple for installers to quote.  These types of cabinets are engineered to be built in a factory setting, using construction methods that mimic those used in their much more expensive custom cabinet cousins.  They’re also designed to remain stable during shipping, meaning they’ll stay strong and true during installation as well.  Although the cabinets may arrive fully built and ready to go, be mindful of any additional molding, trim, or finish work which may add to the cost of installation.

Regardless of what types of cabinets you will be installing or where you live, there are several important things to keep in mind when seeking bids to install your kitchen cabinets.  The answers to these questions will likely have the greatest influence on the prices you see for cabinet installation:

  • Does this contractor specialize in cabinet installation or kitchen remodeling?  Do they have all the right tools, such as nail guns, miter saws, etc?
  • Will the contractor handle any necessary demolition?  Do they remove your old cabinets?  Is disposal of your old cabinets included?
  • What kind of site prep is included?  Will drop cloths be used to protect your floors?  Do the walls need any special preparation to hang the wall cabinets?
  • Does the quote include installation of door knobs and drawer pulls?  If necessary, what about door hinges and drawer glides?
  • Does the quote include all the finishing work, such as crown molding, light rails, toekicks, etc?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Although you may hear contractors giving rough estimates as a “per box” cost, an installer’s actual quote is likely to be one final figure for all the services they provide.  Any figures mentioned in this article are to be used as a guide only.  Please do your own research, in your own area, for your unique project, and make sure to know what each quote includes.

Since our high-quality cabinets arrive pre-built, many of our customers choose to install their CliqStudios kitchens themselves.  Do-it-yourselfers often take this route to skip on cabinet installation costs, and invest those savings into additional storage and organization options.  We love working with DIYers, and we’ve got an extensive library of instructions and how-to videos to help you along the way.

What kind of cabinet installation costs have you seen where you live?  Please tell us in the comments below!

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