Why is cabinet installation so expensive?

If you’ve ever renovated a kitchen or bathroom, you know that installing new cabinets can be one of the priciest parts of the project. But why is it so expensive? It turns out there are several factors at play, from the quality of the materials used to the labor and expertise required for the job. Customization, finishing touches, and market demand also play a role in driving up costs. In this blog post, Austin Floor & Design helps to explore why cabinet installation can be such a big investment, so you can better understand what you’re paying for.

Materials and Quality

One of the primary reasons for the high cost of cabinet installation is the quality of materials used in the construction of the cabinets. Cabinets come in a wide variety of materials, from low-cost particleboard to premium hardwoods such as cherry, maple, and oak. The type of wood or material chosen significantly affects the price. Higher-quality materials such as solid wood provide durability, beauty, and longevity, but they also come with a higher price tag. In addition to wood, other materials such as metal, glass, or stone inlays can be incorporated into cabinet designs, further impacting the cost.

Choosing the right materials and ensuring quality in your bathroom remodel can have a lasting impact on the space’s durability and aesthetics. Prioritize moisture-resistant and easy-to-maintain materials such as ceramic tiles, solid surface countertops, and water-resistant paint. High-quality fixtures and finishes can add a touch of luxury and enhance the room’s overall look. Investing in quality materials from reputable brands can also lead to better performance and longevity, ultimately providing a bathroom that not only looks great but stands the test of time.

Customization and Design Complexity

The level of customization and design complexity also contributes to the expense of cabinet installation. Custom cabinets are made to fit the specific measurements and design preferences of a space, often requiring more time and expertise to create. These bespoke options can include intricate details such as carvings, inlays, or unique finishes that enhance the aesthetics but increase the cost. Additionally, complex design elements such as curves, angles, or non-standard shapes require specialized craftsmanship and equipment, further adding to the overall expense.

Customization and design complexity in your bathroom remodel can elevate the space’s style and functionality. Personalized touches, such as custom cabinetry or unique tile patterns, can create a one-of-a-kind bathroom that suits your tastes and needs. Working with experienced cabinet services allows you to design storage solutions tailored to your lifestyle, whether you prefer sleek, modern designs or classic, traditional styles. Keep in mind that intricate designs and custom features may add complexity and cost to your project, so careful planning is essential to achieve your desired results within your budget.

Labor Costs and Expertise

The labor costs associated with cabinet installation can be substantial, especially when skilled craftsmen are required to handle the job. Experienced cabinetmakers and installers possess a high level of expertise, ensuring that the cabinets are constructed and installed with precision. Their knowledge and attention to detail can impact the final outcome, and their specialized skills command higher wages. Additionally, the complexity of the installation, such as fitting cabinets around existing plumbing or electrical work, may require additional labor and time, thus increasing costs.

Labor costs and expertise are key factors in the plumbing services industry. Skilled plumbers require specialized training and certifications, contributing to the high cost of labor. Expertise ensures the quality of work, reducing the risk of mistakes and potential damage to plumbing systems. Experienced plumbers can diagnose problems quickly and efficiently, saving time and resources. However, their advanced skill set often commands higher hourly rates, impacting overall labor costs. Investing in experienced plumbing services can lead to long-term savings for customers due to the quality and durability of the work performed, making it a worthwhile expense for reliable, professional plumbing solutions.

Preparation and Installation Time

The time required for preparation and installation is another factor that influences the cost of cabinet installation. Before the installation process can begin, the existing space may need to be prepared, including removing old cabinets and making necessary repairs or adjustments to walls, floors, and plumbing. This preparatory work can be time-consuming and may involve the expertise of additional tradespeople, such as plumbers or electricians. The installation itself can take several days or even weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the project, further contributing to labor costs.

Preparation and installation time is a critical aspect of plumbing services. Proper preparation involves assessing the work site, gathering necessary tools and materials, and planning the approach. This ensures a smooth installation process and minimizes potential delays. Skilled plumbers can efficiently install plumbing systems, fixtures, and repairs, often completing tasks within a shorter timeframe due to their expertise. Efficient preparation and installation save time and costs, leading to satisfied customers and successful projects.

Finishing and Customization Options

Beyond the initial construction and installation, cabinets often require finishing touches that add to the overall expense. These may include painting, staining, or applying specialized finishes to achieve the desired look. Custom hardware, such as unique knobs and pulls, can also increase costs. Furthermore, features such as soft-close hinges, pull-out shelves, or built-in organizers provide added convenience but come with additional expenses due to the cost of the hardware and the labor required for installation.

Finishing and customization options play a significant role in general construction services, including plumbing. Finishing touches, such as fixtures, paint, and trim, enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of a space. Customization options allow for personalized designs and tailored solutions that meet specific client preferences. For plumbing, this might include choosing unique fixtures, finishes, or layouts to match the overall design scheme of a building. Offering a wide range of finishing and customization choices adds value to construction projects, ensuring client satisfaction and creating spaces that are both functional and visually appealing.

Transportation and Handling

The transportation and handling of cabinets also play a role in the overall cost. Cabinets are bulky and heavy, making them challenging to transport. Special care must be taken to avoid damage during transit, which can increase shipping costs. In some cases, custom cabinets may need to be shipped from out-of-state or even internationally, further adding to transportation expenses. Proper handling is essential during installation to ensure that the cabinets are placed accurately and securely, and this meticulous process can contribute to higher labor costs.

Transportation and handling are crucial aspects of delivering plumbing services efficiently. Proper transportation ensures that materials, tools, and equipment arrive at the worksite on time and in good condition. Careful handling is important to prevent damage to delicate items such as pipes, fittings, and fixtures. Well-planned transportation and handling can streamline project timelines and minimize disruptions, leading to smoother installations and repairs. Effective logistics enhance the overall efficiency and quality of plumbing services provided to customers.

Market Demand and Supply Chain Factors

Market demand and supply chain factors also impact the cost of cabinet installation. Fluctuations in the availability and cost of raw materials, such as wood or metal, can affect the overall price of cabinets. Supply chain disruptions, such as delays in the production or transportation of materials, can lead to higher costs as well. Additionally, high demand for skilled labor in certain areas can drive up wages, contributing to the overall expense of installation.

Market demand and supply chain factors significantly impact the plumbing services industry. High demand for plumbing services can lead to increased labor costs and potential shortages of skilled workers. Efficient supply chains ensure the timely delivery of materials and equipment, allowing projects to proceed smoothly. Market trends, such as preferences for eco-friendly products, influence the availability and selection of materials. Effective management of these factors supports the success and growth of plumbing services.

Permits and Building Codes

In some cases, obtaining permits and adhering to local building codes can add to the cost of cabinet installation. These permits ensure that the work is carried out safely and in compliance with regulations, but they may come with fees and additional requirements that increase the overall cost. For example, modifications to plumbing or electrical systems may require inspections and approvals, which can extend the timeline and add to the expense.

Permits and building codes play a pivotal role in ensuring that construction projects, including plumbing, comply with safety and quality standards. In Austin’s sustainable home design movement, adherence to local regulations is essential for projects to be legally sound and environmentally friendly. Proper permits ensure that installations meet specific criteria, such as water efficiency and energy conservation.

When incorporating cabinets into sustainable home designs, using materials and construction methods that align with building codes can contribute to the overall sustainability of the project. Cabinets made from eco-friendly materials and designed for optimal space utilization enhance both function and sustainability within the home.

Warranty and Service

Cabinet installation often comes with warranties and ongoing service, providing homeowners with peace of mind in case of any issues. These warranties may cover defects in materials or workmanship, and they often include repair or replacement services. While warranties can be beneficial, they also add to the cost of installation, as they represent an additional investment in the quality and reliability of the cabinets. Warranty and service are key aspects of plumbing services, offering clients peace of mind and assurance of quality work. A warranty covers potential defects or issues, providing free repairs within a specified period. Prompt, reliable service ensures customer satisfaction and builds trust, fostering long-term relationships with clients.


How much do you charge to install a cabinet?

For an idea of what you’re getting into, an average kitchen cabinet installation costs between $150 and $500 per linear foot for stock or semi-custom styles. This translates to a total of between $3,200 and $8,500

Is it cheaper to install kitchen cabinets yourself?

With all of this in mind, while installing your kitchen cabinets yourself may save you money, it could cost you in other ways. As such, if you are short on time or unsure of your abilities, professional installation can be a good investment.

How hard is it to install cabinets?

While it may seem complicated, installing cabinets doesn’t have to be difficult. Before you install your cabinets, measure the dimensions of the space. You will also need wall anchors if unscrewing into your wall. It is important to ensure any hardware or brackets are properly aligned before tightening them down.

Are expensive cabinets worth it?

Buying pre-made cabinets is generally cheaper upfront. However, custom-built cabinets, while more expensive, can offer better value in the long run due to their superior quality and perfect fit. So, there you have it. I hope this gives you some clarity on whether expensive cabinets are worth it.

Which cabinets to install first?

It’s best to install upper cabinets before the base cabinets go in.


Cabinet installation is a significant investment due to various factors such as the quality of materials, customization options, and labor expertise. Other contributors include preparation time, finishing touches, and supply chain fluctuations. Though the costs may seem high, the final outcome is often well worth it, providing you with durable, attractive, and functional cabinets that enhance your space. By working with skilled professionals and carefully considering your options, you can achieve the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams and add lasting value to your home. Remember, quality craftsmanship and materials pay off in the long run!

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