There are two main types of cabinet construction offered to US consumers today: framed and frameless (Euro style). Each has structural and stylistic advantages and disadvantages. Other construction options include ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets and refacing cabinets with new fronts only.
The type of cabinet construction you choose will be based on your design preferences, the length of time you intend to be in the home, and the expertise of the cabinet installer. Since this is a long term investment in the most expensive and probably most used room in your home, you will want to consider each factor carefully.
When comparing framed vs frameless construction, the most important considerations are box construction, materials used, quality of the finish and drawer box construction and assembly. These are the areas where cabinets first show wear and tear, including damage during installation.
Framed Cabinet Construction
There are three variations of framed cabinetry: partial overlay, full overlay and inset. Inset styles reveal the entire face frame. Full overlay styles cover nearly the entire frame, while partial overlay styles reveal the frame with large gaps between doors and drawer fronts. CliqStudios cabinets are all framed construction in either full-overlay or inset door styles.
Frameless cabinetry can be more difficult to install. Since the door is the front of the cabinet the installer has less flexibility when aligning cabinets with out-of-square walls and floors.
Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) Cabinets
Once RTA cabinetry has been assembled, cabinets should be moved as little as possible before installing to prevent structural damage. For that reason, paying to have the cabinets assembled before delivery is not recommended.
Refreshing or Refacing Cabinets
The major advantage of refacing, repainting or refinishing your cabinets is reduced disruption from demolition and construction. Cost savings may be short term, since the cabinet boxes and drawers are already aged. Read 8 Questions to Ask Before Refacing Your Kitchen to determine whether refacing is a good option for you.
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Want a great kitchen? Learn more with the topics below to help keep your remodel plan on time, on task and on budget.
- Know Your Cabinets
Find out about cabinet types, components, materials, and more.
- What makes a quality cabinet?
Not all cabinets are equal. Learn the quality difference.
- What do kitchen cabinets cost?
Our average sale is about $8,000, but your mileage may vary.
- How do I measure my kitchen for cabinets?
Sketch your measurements to start working with a kitchen designer.
- This Old House Cabinet Buyer’s Guide (PDF)
Read this before you buy new kitchen cabinets.