Selecting a Cabinetry Supplier – Manufactured vs Site Built

Manufactured vs Site Built Cabinets...  It's one of the first questions asked by our customers: How do manufactured cabinets compare to site built cabinets ? “

You must consider the operation you are purchasing from – the quality, stability, reputation and consistency of production. Consider whether they are supplying stock (off-the-shelf) product or are truly customizing to your specific space and design needs.

Calgary Custom Cabinets” used to imply “built and finished on the job site”. Now, many factory manufacturers design from detailed site measurements, then build to a customer’s specific custom requirements. Current processes allow production to within 1/32” specifications for cabinets and door styles.

We will cover a number of differences BUT one of the greatest advantages of a QUALITY custom factory made product is the “Limited Lifetime Warranty” that comes with:

  • Tested quality production methods
  • Consistent quality materials and hardware
  • Superior finishing materials and techniques that can be employed.




Professional Designer vs Big Box Salesperson vs Cabinet Maker:

Custom shops and designers often take MUCH more time with the customer in the planning process, to ensure your new cabinets do more than fill a basic space with storage.

At Ekko Custom Cabinetry and Design, we want to know how you intend to use your space and the image you want to portray. We then design a plan that reflects your style and enhances your home’s value. Our designers work exclusively with our products and design your space using the “ 20/20 program ”. This allows 3-D drawings and the ability to rotate the room so that the client can accurately visualize the designed space from any angle and provide their feedback.

Our incredibly creative design team has an average 20 years experience in our industry. We have worked on a wide range of projects including:

  • Kitchens of every imaginable detail
  • Bathroom vanities from basic to full furniture style
  • Bars , Entertainment centers and Butlers Pantries
  • Home Office and Dining Room hutches
  • Mudrooms, Sewing Rooms, Craft Rooms and Laundry Rooms
  • Islands to suite every shape and function


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When hiring any professional to work in your home – do your homework.

  • Do you feel their passion about their craft?
  • Do they ask questions about how you plan to use your kitchen, your needs and expectations?
  • Do they respond to your concerns with solutions and explain your options clearly?
  • Do they have a “Testimonials” category on their website? Most clients, satisfied or not, don’t take the time to provide a written testimonial – this is an excellent indicator of the satisfaction you can expect.

You are buying more than superior materials and hardware – you should expect better service. Compelling, efficient, timeless designs and products are our business – exceeding our customers dreams and expectations is our purpose!



Factory Finish vs Site Finished

An UPPER END factory finish is far superior to a job site finish or a budget priced factory finish. A typical site applied finish or budget focused factory finish does not enable a quality factory finish. A site finish is applied under active job site conditions. There is no way to ensure a full dust free environment. Therefore, the top coat needs to be an “NC” (Nitro-Cellulose) type of lacquer which enables a quick dry cure before most dust can settle on the top finish coat. This finish is also therefore not able to be oven-cured for hardness. This is the main reason why site built and budget priced factory products are only able to provide a 6 month to 1 year warranty. After this time the finish will typically begin to soften and deteriorate – eventually becoming gummy or flaking off.

An upper end superior quality factory finish is vital to ensuring the durability of your cabinetry. At Ekko Custom Cabinetry and Design, we pride ourselves in representing some of the industry’s top quality finishes. All our finishes are specially engineered and rigorously tested prior to being released to ensure they live up to our “Lifetime Warranty”. Our product is produced in a controlled environment which can’t be duplicated on a job site or in a low budget factory environment. All of our toners and finishing stains are hand sprayed to ensure an even colour tone and finish depth. Our top quality sealer is applied after the stain and before the final top coats to provide finish hardness and stability. Our finished top coat is a “post-catalyzed conversion varnish” which is applied in our positive pressure fully filtered spray booth. The product remains in this dust free environment until dry to the touch and then is oven-baked for 45 minutes until fully cured. This finishing process and quality is what enables us to offer a “Lifetime Warranty” on our finished product. Your product is now impervious to most household chemicals.

Another advantage to a factory built and finished product is that your job site isn’t tied up for weeks while the cabinets are built and finished. Consider the savings on your financing charges and the time saved in construction.



Custom Made vs “Off-the-Shelf” Standard Modules:

Custom cabinets offer the ability to have complete utility and flexibility in project design. This feature can now be accommodated by higher end custom factory manufacturers.

When you order stock “off-the-shelf” cabinetry, you are limited to standard cabinet sizing and “fillers” are used to cover any “dead” space – this can result in a lot of unused space.

Custom suppliers often use superior materials, hardware and construction methods. You will pay a bit more but the product will stand up to the tasks. Typically, the cheaper “off-the-shelf” cabinets will deteriorate much faster. For instance an offshore, price focused “knock off” soft close drawer glide may work fine for the first year or so, but…

Upper end factory-made cabinets typically have superior quality control. Most reputable manufacturers offer long-term or limited-lifetime warranties. Their products are endorsed by the C.K.C.A. (Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association) – a professional trade organization that rigorously tests cabinets for the kind of “wear and tear” typically experienced in high traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms.


At Ekko Custom Cabinetry and Design, we also ensure that cabinet materials are tested and specified to meet CARB II ( California Air Resources Board ) compliance – the strictest air quality standards in North America.

Coincidental Benefits / Indicators

  • Visit the Website – the detail and professionalism represented in a website is likely a reasonable predictor of the quality and performance you can expect. Time, creativity and effort have been invested to provide critical information about the product and service this team provides.
  • Visit the Showroom – again, time and effort has been invested to allow you to touch and assess the designs, finishes and workmanship you can expect from your supplier. You should also get a sense of the team that this supplier encourages and nurtures – ultimately you will be working with several members of the team – not just the designer.
  • Remember, this is construction. There are almost always small hiccups along the way. How the team responds to those bumps is very important in saving you time and money. It goes a long way in making you feel comfortable about your investment in their product. We want to be honest and up front at every step of the journey - keeping you informed while providing quick and satisfactory solutions.

At Ekko Cabinetry, our Custom Kitchen and Bath Design staff can help you or lead you through a design process that will give you the space you’ve dreamed of and in a quality that you should expect.


T.E. (Tim) Pressey

Ekko Custom Cabinetry and Design – Calgary, Alberta

Please visit the Ekko Cabinetry Ltd. showroom in Calgary and speak with one of our amazing and experienced design team. Also, visit us on our website