How a cabinet is built determines how it looks and functions. Hinges, shelving and even finishing options can vary greatly depending on the type of construction used. These basics will help you determine what construction type is best for you.
When selecting cabinet door styles, wood types, finishes, moldings and storage solutions, there are wide range of possibilities to make your dream room come true. These choices can be overwhelming though, if you don’t have a basic understanding of cabinets and their differences. Explore these helpful cabinet terms and elements to become your own expert.
According to "Home Remodeling" magazine, a renovated kitchen can add 80 to 100 percent of its cost to the value of the home. That means a kitchen renovation costing $20,000 will add $16,000 to $20,000 to a home’s value. A home that was appraised at $200,000 could now be worth $220,000. Kitchen renovations include things like new countertops, wiring, lights, custom cabinets and state-of-the-line appliances.
Beadboard Paneling that incorporates beaded, routed detail and conveys relaxed, casual styling. Beaded styling adds texture and design to flat panel wood coverings, and is noticeably accentuated by glaze finishes. Beaded Door A flat panel cabinet door design that incorporates vertical beaded texture on the recessed panel area of the door. The wood door frame is more simple and constructed with cane and stick joinery. Cherry Cherry is an elegant, multi-colored hardwood, which may contain small knots and pin holes. Natural or light stains accent these color variations making a distinctive statement in a full kitchen. Cherry wood will darken or “mellow” with age. This mellowing is a natural occurrence and the benefit of owning a solid cherry kitchen. Custom Cabinetry With custom cabinetry, the sky’s the limit in terms of cabinet dimensions, shape, wood types, finish and special detailing. Custom cabinetry provides customers an unlimited number of styling options in both their framed and frameless offerings. Sales of custom cabinets are much less than those of either semi-custom or stock cabinetry in the industry. Flat Panel A recessed center panel to a door or drawer design conveying Transitional, Shaker, or Arts and Crafts styling. Framed Cabinets The traditional framed cabinet has a front frame around the cabinet opening to which the door is attached. These are the most popular type of cabinets in the U.S. and are easier to install than frameless cabinetry because of their recessed end panels and rigid front frame. Framed cabinets are available in Traditional and Full Overlay styling which are explained below. Framed construction utilizes glue, staple and dowel or screw construction. Frameless Cabinets Frameless, or European-style cabinets, have no front frame. The doors are attached directly to the sides of the cabinet. Frameless cabinets, which are more contemporary in style, offer the advantage of completely unobstructed access to the cabinet interior because there is no front frame. Frameless construction utilizes pin and dowel construction.
Full Overlay Cabinet door styles that cover most of the face frame, giving prominence to the door and drawer design. Glaze Finish An additional furniture finish treatment that is applied to improve a standard stain, enhance door detail and even-out wood type variation. Glazes The substances used to coat cabinetry that produces enhancements in door detail, wood color and tone. The addition of glaze finish treatments as an added finishing step has revolutionized the cabinet industry, bringing home fashion to the forefront of consumers’ minds. Glazes actually enhance and improve the beauty of the wood and the base finish color. Glaze treatments and techniques can vary from heavy to light. Lighter treatments lend themselves to a more subtle appearance. Hickory Hickory is a strong, open grained wood that is known for its wide variation in color. It is not uncommon to see doors or parts of doors that range in color from light to a deep brown when finished in light or natural stains. Darker stains will mildly tone these color variations. These characteristics are what make each hickory kitchen unique and the preference of those who love wood. Maple Hard maple is a strong, close grained wood that is predominantly off-white in color; although it also contains light hues of yellow-brown and pink. Hard maple occasionally contains light tan or small dark mineral streaks. MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) An engineered wood offering an extremely tight and smooth surface. Exceptionally stable, MDF is favored for laminating with thermofoils and melamine. Melamine Laminate This is a material used on drawer and doors surfaces to cover substrate of either particleboard or MDF. All laminate is durable and easy to clean. Melamine laminate is also a material used for fabricating countertops since it is thicker than vinyl and provides a hard, durable surface.
Mullion Doors Mullion doors have glass inserts in place of the typical solid center panel for a more stylish appearance. The inserts have horizontal and vertical dividing bars similar to those in windowpanes. Oak Red oak is a strong, open grained wood that has a range in color of white, yellow and pink. Red oak is sometimes streaked with green, yellow and black mineral deposits and may contain some wide grain. Recessed Door A flat panel held inside the perimeter of a door. A flat panel recesses between the stiles and rails. Semi-Custom Cabinets Semi-custom cabinets offer fewer options than “custom cabinets” and are available in a number of different sizes, shapes, wood types and finishes. Semi-custom cabinetry provide customers a limited number of styling options in both their framed and frameless offerings that include such things as reduced depths, increased depths, matching interiors, inverted frames, etc. Sales of Semi-custom cabinets are much less than those of stock cabinetry in the industry. Soffit A soffit or “bulkhead” is the area between a ceiling and the top of wall cabinets and usually 12 inches high and extending out over the wall cabinets. Solid Wood A door with a solid wood center panel is comprised of boards that are joined or glued together to form the width of the center panel. Because natural woods have variations in color and grain pattern from board to board, these variations will be apparent in a solid wood door. Predictably, a solid wood door is more expensive than a veneered door. Stock Cabinets Stock cabinets, which offer fewer options than either “custom” or “semi-custom” cabinetry, are also available in a number of different sizes, shapes, wood types and finishes. Stock cabinetry provides customers a very limited number of styling options in both their framed and frameless offerings. Sales of stock cabinets are greater than those of either custom or semi-custom cabinetry in the industry.
Thermofoil Flexible, 100 percent solid-colored vinyl. With adhesive on its underside, it is applied to smooth, engineered wood or MDF which has been formed into a door, drawer or molding design. It has solid, opaque coloration and is easy to clean and maintain. Ideal for durable areas. Traditional Overlay Styling Overlay is the amount of front frame covered by the door and drawer. The exposed front frame is referred to as the “reveal.” The reveal on Traditional Overlay cabinets is typically 1 inch. Veneer A veneer is a thin piece (1/32 of an inch) of solid wood which is attached with glue to a substrate (usually “particleboard” in raised panel doors and “hardboard” in flat or recessed panel doors). Veneered components are more uniform in finish and grain consistency. Veneered center panels in doors provide stability by minimizing its shrinking and expansion in dry and moist climates thereby eliminating cracking and splitting. V-Groove A vertical beaded or grooved door style design. Works well to highlight finish techniques. Vinyl Laminate This is a material used on the interior of all cabinetry as well as most cabinet exterior end panel surfaces. Typically 2 mils thick, it is very easy to clean. Since vinyl is thinner than melamine, it can easily wrap various cabinet components while providing the highest degree of resistance to moisture and abrasions. Wood Grain Pattern and texture produced in wood. Wood Species Different types of hardwoods or softwoods. Examples are maple, oak, cherry and hickory.
Inset cabinets fit doors and drawers inside the face frame openings, giving full view to the frame with only minimal spacing/gaps between components.
Sample of Recessed or Flat Panel - Inset Door
Sample of Raised Panel with Mitered Corners - Full Overlay
Sample of Recessed or Flat Panel - Partial Overlay
Frameless or Full Access cabinets offer greater accessibility by eliminating the frame face, and relying instead on thicker box construction for stability. Only full overlay doors can be used with hinges attached directly to the sides of the cabinet box. Shelves are typically adjustable. This cabinet style has become standard in commercial settings, offices, schools and medical buildings. Due to its clean, contemporary style, it is growing in popularity in residential settings as well.
Framed cabinetry utilizes a traditional construction type, with rails and stiles forming a “frame” at the front of the cabinet box. Framed cabinets attach door hinges to frame face and shelves are usually, but not always, adjustable. Inset, partial, and full overlay door styles can be used with framed cabinets.