Kitchen Design Basics – Three Cabinet Construction Options

There are many ways to construct a set of kitchen cabinets. There are currently three fundamental methods of marrying the cabinet door to the cabinet. In this article these three options are discussed:

Overlay Door, Face Frame

The overlay door with face frame style cabinet construction is the most common type of cabinet construction. Basically, the front of the run of cabinets is covered with a hardwood frame, usually about 1 1/2 inches wide. Thus each door or pair of doors is backed by this frame and the door itself sits proud of the frame when closed. This type of construction requires the least amount of precision because there is a margin around each drawer or door and small differences are not noticeable.

Frameless Cabinet Construction

Sometimes called euro construction, in this instance the fro of the cabinet has is left uncovered, except for thin veneer, which covers the edge of the cabinet box (usually plywood or melamine). The cabinet door is built just slightly smaller that the outside edge of the cabinet, leaving a consistent reveal of about 1/8 inch between each cabinet door and between doors and drawers above. This type of construction requires a high degree of precision and exacting installation. The look of this type of cabinet is sleek and modern. Another advantage often cited is that the cabinet are full access, meaning they are not encumbered by a frame surrounding the openings.

Inset Door Construction

This style of cabinet construction is similar to the overlay door type in that there is a hardwood frame attached to the front of the cabinet. However instead of the door sitting proud of the frame, the inset doors are flush with the front of the frame when closed. Like the frameless cabinet, these also require more precision than the face frame to ensure that the gap between the doors and frames are consistent. Inset doors are often associated with more traditional cabinets designs.