AMZ Cabinets Prefab, Semi Custom & Custom Cabinets Explained

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New Member
Jan 21, 2009
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Prefabricated Cabinets, Semi Custom, Custom Cabinets Explained

In this article I will explain the various types of commonly available cabinets and clear up a lot of misnomers regarding these various types of cabinets.

Prefabricated cabinets:

Prefabricated cabinets are simply just that, they are built to a standard size typically in 2-3 inch increments. In order to fit the space that you are trying to fit them into you will need to purchase filler strips of the right width, or rip them down to the right size to make them fit your application exactly. One of the disadvantages right away is the loss of potential storage space taken up by the filler. Another minus for prefabricated cabinets is quality. Since it is a mass produced item quality can suffer, and quality comparison can be a bit difficult in the low to mid priced units. One of the advantages to prefabricated cabinets is cost typically but not always they can be cheaper than custom built cabinetry. Another good point is speed as soon as you know what you need you can place an order and depending on where they are warehoused you may only have to wait the shipping time. With some of the larger manufacturers that may not always be the case, we have heard of some customers waiting months to receive an order.

Semi Custom:

Although I havent seen to much of this, semi custom simply means the use of prefabricated cabinets along with several custom built (or custom ordered from the manufacturer) units to fit the spaces where the prefabricated cabinets would have left fillers. This is a great use of space as fillers can typically be eliminated and this makes for a more custom look. Also semi custom cabinets allow for the consumer to get more of what they want such as wine racks, pull outs, slide out pantries, cabinets that are not offered in the prefabricated product line. A few advantages are once again cost, you will save a bit by going with semi custom and achieving a more custom look.

Custom Cabinets:

True custom cabinets are built by a cabinet maker or cabinet shop. True custom cabinets is what we offer at AMZ Cabinets. These cabinets are typically built completely from raw materials. i.e. sheet plywood, melamine, or particle board, or in some cases solid wood panels. Custom cabinets in most cases are built to a much higher standard than that of mass produced prefabricated cabinets. The materials are thicker and of a higher quality grade that most prefabricated units. Also anything you can imagine can be built. Another advantage of custom cabinets is these cabinets will be built to fit your space exactly, along with doing so you can maximize your storage space inside the cabinets. Accessories are pretty much "skies the limit" with custom cabinets. Drawer banks, pull outs, lazy suzans, pull out trash bins, hampers, adjustable closet poles, its virtually endless. Hardware, drawer guides and hinges that are available to the cabinet maker is phenomenal, once again much higher quality hardware can be used with numerous features such as soft closing cabinet door hinges and soft closing drawer guides are just a few of the neat hardware products out there. Here at AMZ Cabinets we offer a lot of cabinet accesories, our customer want as many storage solutions as posible during a custom cabinet project. Custom cabinets are typically more expensive than prefabricated cabinets, as there is a lot involved into completing a kitchen cabinet project, but well worth it if you get what you want and knowing its done right. Since your custom cabinets will be handled by a skilled cabinet maker you can rely on them to make sure everything fits and is made the way you had in mind. For more information on custom cabinets feel free to visit us below. AMZ Cabinets


Well-Known Member
Aug 14, 2009
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I've seen that some supposedly higher end prefab cabs have particle wood sides/backs/kicks, etc. Sometimes there's an option to get plywood instead. That is what I'm considering ordering (plywood Thomasville cabs). Do you think it's worth the extra cost? These are for a florida kitchen - heat and humidy are big issues...

I unfortunately do not have $$$ to spend on customs. Or I suppose I could DIY them in my shop. <grin> Now that would a be a huge learning experience!

Opinion on plywood versus particle board? Is the upcharge worth it?