Woman's reach-in closet organized with shelving

How to Get Real Value When Buying Custom Closets

Getting Started

You’ve decided to invest in custom closets for your home, so it make sense that you want a finished product that is long-lasting and functional—with features that fit your storage needs and even a few bells and whistles.

But the process of buying custom closets can feel a little daunting at first. How can you tell you’re getting the best value when it comes to the materials and cost?

Custom built wardrobe closet cabinet

What to look for in a Custom Closet Proposal

If this is your first time working with a custom closet company, you might not know which materials are top-of-the line, or which ones will begin to show wear and tear after just a few years of use. You want top quality components at a reasonable price. Sure, you can rely on what a designer or salesperson tells you, but they come to the table with some bias.

Interior designer talking to clients about custom closets

Here are some basics to consider when you’re reviewing a custom closet proposal:

  1. Which materials are being used? Look for custom closets built using thermofused melamine particleboard that’s 3/4-inch thick, as opposed to 5/8-inch thick. Thermofused melamine will never delaminate – i.e., peel away – and the 3/4-inch board is significantly stronger so wider shelves won’t bow when heavyweight items are stored on them.
  2. Look for two-millimeter-thick edgebanding, which will ensure that the edges of the shelves and vertical panels won’t chip or peel. This edgebanding, which is more durable than the .018-inch edgebanding that most companies use, protects your investment from unsightly damage that is difficult to repair. In some cases, two-millimeter edgebanding is not available; if that’s the case, one-millimeter edgebanding is the minimum standard edgebanding you should accept.
  3. Look for a system that’s floor mounted, rather than wall mounted, to better hold the weight of your custom closet and everything you’ll store in it. This will provide a much sturdier custom closet for your home. Wall mounted systems have their place in certain applications, but as a rule of thumb, a floor-supported system is a safer way to go.
  4. Look for full extension ball bearing drawer slides. This ensures your drawers will open and shut easily and quietly, and last longer than other types of drawers. Full extension also means you can pull the full drawer open, instead of digging around in the back of a drawer that’s partially in the cabinet. If you prefer a soft close feature, that is also available in full extension slides.
  5. Look for units that use different depth components as opposed to all one depth. For example, if you buy a system that is constructed of 14-inch deep material, some of your bulky sweaters or folded, laundered shirts may extend past the edge of the shelf resulting in a sloppy look in your brand new closet. Drawers that are 16-inches deep from front to back are quite a bit more useful than 14-inch deep drawers—the extra two inches make a big difference when you account for the space taken up by actual drawer box. Also, drawer boxes that are made from pre-finished plywood with dovetailed construction are more durable than melamine boxes that are doweled or stapled.
  6. Not all floors are created equal—and they’re certainly not all level. Choose a custom closet with leg leveler capability to ensure your drawers, shelves, cubbies and other closet components are straight and level.
  7. Make sure the walls will be patched between the time your old closet is removed and the new one is installed. A full-service custom closet company will ensure that all areas of the walls that were disturbed during the demolition of your original closet system—whether that system was wire or wood—are spackled, sanded and left smooth. If you provide touch up paint, that company will also touch up the disturbed areas.It’s not typical for a closet company to treat and repaint the entire closet interior, so if that is something you would like to have done, it’s a good idea to engage a painter to come in first and remove the old system, prepare the walls and paint the complete closet. This is especially important if your walls are plaster because older plaster will often crumble and disintegrate when disturbed.
  8. Look for a closet company with a lifetime warranty to ensure the company will remedy issues that might arise several years after you have your custom closets installed.

By learning a little bit about the types of materials and practices used in the installation of custom closet systems you can better ensure that the final product will be truly functional, sturdy and long lasting.

Closets | Custom Closet Design