Overview: The purpose of this article is to help the reader understand the different types of cabinets that you are likely to run into when shopping for new cabinetry. The following are basic terms used when describing cabinetry. Understanding what they mean will help you when you are discussing or researching cabinetry and trying to make a decision.
Face-frame –When you open a door on a cabinet and see a “frame” surrounding the opening on all four sides, this is called a face-frame. It is usually made from solid wood and is approximately 2 inches wide.
Frameless – Some cabinetry does not have a face-frame. When you open a cabinet door and you see only the edge (usually ¾” thick) of the sides, top, and bottom of the cabinet, you are looking at a frameless cabinet.
Inset – The term refers to how the door and drawer fronts are mounted on a cabinet. An inset cabinet always has a face-frame. The door or drawer front is mounted flush with the inside of the face-frame and covers the opening that is created by the face-frame. There will be a gap between the door and the face-frame.
Overlay - The term also refers to how the door and drawer fronts are mounted on a cabinet. In this case the door is mounted on top of the face frame or on top of the edges of a frameless cabinet. In other words, the door “overlays’ the frame or edges of the cabinet. To complicate matters, there are two kinds of overlay cabinets, a full overlay and a partial overlay. A full overlay cabinet has the doors mounted on top of the face-frame but when closed, the door completely covers the face-frame. A partial overlay cabinet has the doors mounted on top of the face-frame but when closed, part of the face-frame still shows.
Five piece door – The term refers to how a cabinet door is built. Generally, a cabinet door is an assembly of five separate components. The two outside vertical pieces are called stiles, the two outside horizontal components are called rails, and the center component is the panel.
Flat/recessed Panel –The panel of a five piece door if flat. All shaker doors, for example, are flat panel.
Raised Panel - The panel of a five piece door has an elevated portion to it. The face of a raised panel door will usually be on the same plane as the surrounding stiles and rails.
Slab Panel – Unlike a five piece door, there are no stiles or rails on the door or drawer front. The door or drawer front is flat.
Choosing a cabinet style – Your first choice is do you prefer an overlay or inset cabinet? Your next choice is do you want a raised panel, or a flat panel door style? Once you have made these decisions you will most likely have many different options from which to choose.
Is there a right and wrong? Is one better than the other? – No, it all comes done to personal taste.
Understanding Cabinet Styles
A little something about cabinets
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