Framed Vs Frameless Cabinets

Framed Vs Frameless Cabinets

You’ll discover that there are two kinds of cabinets to choose from when you’re selecting kitchen cabinetry for your space: framed and frameless cabinetry.

Each has benefits to offer as well as a selection of possible designs and layouts. The following is a comparison of framed and frameless cabinets to assist you in making a decision on which kind of cabinetry is more suited to the needs of your project.

Cabinets with a Frame

American-style cabinets that are more classic in appearance are called framed cabinets. Installing doors and drawers, as well as making adjustments, is simplified by face frames.

They need to have separate skin panels built on-site on the sides that are exposed to the elements. With a framed cabinet line, there are often more sizing and customization choices available to choose from.

What Are Some of the Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Framed Cabinets?

Framed cabinet


The framed cabinet has an additional solid wood face frame that is positioned between the cabinet door and the cabinet box. This is the primary distinction between the two types of cabinets. Rails are the horizontal parts that make up the face frame, while stiles are the vertical supports that hold it together.

The face frame of the cabinet has a variety of wood grain directions, which serves to improve the horizontal strength of the cabinet where it opens on the front.

A further advantage of installing a face frame is that it reduces the likelihood of racking, a kind of misalignment in which the cabinet box is prone to be slanted out of the square.

In the event that a cabinet is tilted, neither the vertical nor the horizontal components will be level, and the doors and drawers will not line correctly.


Cabinets with frames and those without frames will have distinct requirements for the installation hardware. This is because of the difference in how they are constructed.

Cabinets that have a face frame that runs their breadth are joined to one another along their length. Because of this, the screws are able to penetrate farther into the connection points of the cabinet that is near them.

Cabinets with frames are able to allow longer screw lengths (typically 2-1/2 inches) “) because of the depth of the face frame and the use of solid wood in its construction. (In order to stop the natural wood from cracking, the face frames need to have pilot holes pre-drilled into them.)

Since frameless cabinets are attached to each other directly via the cabinet side panels, a shorter screw length (often 1-1/4 inches) is utilized “max). It is possible that the number of screw places necessary to firmly connect the cabinets will need to be increased if the shallow anchoring into neighboring cabinetry is used.

How to Put in Framed Cabinetry as Opposed to Frameless Cabinets


An overlay is the amount of the cabinet face that the doors and drawer fronts overhang when they are attached to the cabinet. The reveal refers to the portion of the cabinet face frame or box that is visible after the doors and drawers have been closed.

There are three different kinds of overlays available for framed cabinets: inset, standard, and complete. Each and every cabinet offered by has a full overlay.

Inset refers to doors and drawers whose front faces are recessed and somewhat smaller than the holes they cover. This allows them to match perfectly with the face frame.

This method provides the most reveal and exposes the greatest portion of the face frame, but it is quite challenging to prevent the doors and drawers from binding and sticking when there is a change in the amount of humidity present.

The door and drawer fronts are often made to be a little bit bigger than the holes they cover, and they also slightly overhang the face frame. Basic overlays have a smaller expose on the face frame and are more forgiving in terms of door and drawer alignments than other overlay options.

Complete means that the door and drawer fronts are bigger than the apertures and overflow the face frame, with just a very tiny expose visible to the outside.

Just the tiniest part of the cabinet’s interior is visible when it is constructed without a frame since the door and drawer faces are made to be approximately the same size as the cabinet box.

They have a streamlined look and need to be fitted very carefully so that the doors and drawer fronts do not bind into the surrounding cabinets or the walls. They give a streamlined appearance.

It’s easy to become lost in the discussion about framed vs. frameless cabinets. Are there any distinctions between framed and frameless cabinetry? The stakes seem low, so why choose one? The question is, how do we choose?

Many things will be affected by the cabinet-building method you choose.

It’s a function of the new kitchen’s layout and how many cabinets we can accommodate.

Storage Capacity and Design Alternatives

Read on to find out more about the different types of cabinet construction and how to choose the one that is best suited for your newly renovated kitchen.

Wall Units Without a Frame

Frameless cabinets, as the name implies, do not have an exposed face frame. The absence of vertical face frames lends a contemporary aesthetic to these cupboards.

Because of the prevalence of such cabinets throughout Europe, the term “European” has come to be associated with frameless cabinets. American-style cabinets often include a face frame, whereas European-style or “Euro” cabinets lack any visible frames.

Frameless cabinets are the best option if you need to get the most out of limited space in a compact kitchen or bathroom. Framed and frameless cabinets both have the same amount of outside space, however, frameless cabinets have more usable inside storage.

Many people mistakenly believe that frameless cabinets are not as sturdy as their face-framed counterparts. The 3/4″ material (plywood and melamine) used by Jay Rambo and other high-end manufacturers for their boxes ensure the strength and longevity of their frameless cabinets.

Building Without a Framework

Building Without a Framework

The four walls and the rear of a frameless cabinet are built in. The “cabinet box” has four total sides, including the top and bottom. As there is no predetermined top or bottom, most frameless cabinets may be fitted in any orientation

Cross-sectional view of a frameless cabinet revealing its basic construction from top to bottom, side to side, and back to front. Good quality frameless cabinets will have no front and will be constructed with plywood or melamine sides that are 3/4 inches thick.

In contrast to framed cabinets, which are constructed entirely of solid wood, the hinges and drawer tracks in frameless cabinets are connected to the sides.

Roll-outs, drawers, and pull-outs have a size limitation due to the face frame, however, this limitation disappears when the face frame is removed.

Woodworking Network conducted a poll of cabinet makers and other industry professionals to compile their trends report, and they found that frameless cabinets are among the most popular and desired cabinet components.

As their poll showed, most cabinet makers are pushing their frameless products. Furthermore, these professionals in the field said that face-framed cabinets with complete overlay doors are increasingly being requested. Cabinets with face frames and full overlay doors may provide the impression of being sleek and modern without really being frameless.

Pros of Having Frameless Cupboards

  • Full-access cabinetry refers to frameless cabinets that lack a face frame to allow for more inside access. With this new and improved access, you can keep even more of your kitchenware within.
  • Because there is no face frame to maneuver around, adjusting the shelves with frameless cabinets is much simpler.
  • Every frameless cabinet has flush external sides as standard, but framed cabinets often only offer this as an extra. Doors and drawers of frameless cabinets “butt” (or come very close to) against one other, creating a sleek, modern appearance.
  • In a frameless cabinet, the Complete Overlay totally conceals the box, with just a 2mm exposure visibly.
  • In terms of aesthetics, frameless construction offers a wealth of options. Cabinets without frames are versatile and may be utilized in a wide variety of styles.
  • Frameless cabinets allow for open shelving without the need for doors since there is no outside frame surrounding the apertures.
  • The doors may be taken off without the need for any special equipment or effort. If you want to remove the hinge from the door, all you have to do is press the button on the rear of the hinge.
  • There is no stile in the Centre of the cabinet’s doors since there is none in frameless cabinets. If you remove the central stile, you’ll get extra storage space and better access to whatever’s within. (To be fair to framed cabinets, we also don’t put a Centre stile in cabinets that aren’t at least 36 inches wide.)
  • central stile framed cabinet
  • Concealed cabinet door hinges

Cons of Frameless cabinets

  • The regular methods of overlay and inset are unavailable. This only applies to total overlays.
  • The number of fillers required to provide acceptable clearances for drawer and door slides must be increased.
  • The doors and the cabinet fronts may require adjusting if they are not parallel. This is because the hinges are positioned on the side of the cabinet.
  • Cabinets with frames vs. those without A Furniture Shop Run By Jay Rambo
  • Jay Rambo Cabinetry’s frameless cabinetry. White Wood with a rift cut. Espresso coating
  • In this unit, you can see the facial frame.
  • The cabinet’s clear front makes the frame obvious.

Cabinets with a Frame

American custom has always called for framed cabinetry. The term “American style” was used to describe this. Framed cabinets, as the name implies, feature what is called a face frame that is affixed to and covers the front of the cabinet box. The shot clearly depicts the facial framing.

An analogy to a picture frame was intentionally made for the real facial frame. Consisting of two rails (horizontal) and two stiles (vertical), it is made of solid hardwood. Stiles and rails are 1-1/2″ broad and 3/4″ thick, respectively.

Face frame assembly involves attaching cabinet doors (also visible in the photo). The face frame serves to improve the horizontal strength of the cabinet at the front opening.

At the right is a diagram showing a section through a framed cabinet. Take note of the cabinet’s front face. The drawer is routed through the frame, and the latter also serves as a mounting point for the drawer’s hardware.

Framed cabinets of higher quality have stiles and rails that are 1 1/2 inches wide and 3/4 inches thick both horizontally and vertically and have 1/2-inch-thick side panels. The face frame will only allow the smallest of roll-outs, drawers, and pull-outs to fit through its aperture.

Pros of Framed Cabinets

  • Framed cabinets have been in use for many years and will remain so for the foreseeable future. That’s for a lot of reasons that make sense.
  • They provide a timeless style that is instantly recognizable to everyone from the United States. When we open a cabinet, we want to see wood.
  • The frame provides a level and solid surface on which to hang the cabinet doors, making them exceedingly durable. The wooden face frame is securely fastened to the hinges.
  • Because of the frame, the cabinet can never become “out of square.” Door sticking and drawers not opening correctly are both signs that the cabinet is out of square.
  • Framed cabinets provide a great deal of design freedom since they may accommodate a wide variety of door and drawer fronts. There are a variety of appearances possible depending on the method used to fasten the doors and drawers to the face frame.
  • The face frame is exposed in the spaces between the cabinet’s doors and drawers, as in a partial overlay.
  • It’s called “full overlay” because the fronts of the doors and drawers entirely conceal the framework. It’s hidden until you start pulling out cabinets and drawers. The complete overlay is equally at home in classic and modern settings.
  • The doors and drawers of an inset cabinet are concealed inside the face frame. The doors, drawers, and face frame of a row of cabinets all come together to make one continuous, flat surface.
  • Framed cabinets may be set up in three different ways: partial overlay, full overlay, and inset.

Cons Of Framed-Cabinet

  • That’s why they say nothing is perfect. There are a few of drawbacks to framed cabinets, but they aren’t major.
  • A little “lip” is created on the interior of the cabinet by the frame, which may be annoying or even frustrating to certain users. The “lip” is not ideal if you’d rather slide your plates out of the cabinet than raise them. Nevertheless, most of us don’t even realize it since we’re so used to it. The “lip” is often sanded down in high-end bespoke woodwork.
  • The inner area of drawers and roll-outs is reduced compared to that of a frameless cabinet. More about this topic is provided below.

The Benefits of Having Frameless Cabinets in Your Kitchen

A stunning room with frameless cabinetry

Evaluation of Framed vs. Frameless Cupboards.

Traditionalists choose face frame cabinets because they are flexible and can accommodate a wide variety of door and drawer fronts. Face frame cabinetry is characterized by its doors and hinges.

Cabinets without frames are a versatile addition to any interior design scheme. In spite of its common association with cutting-edge modernism, quarter-sawn oak Shaker doors that have been stained or painted may give the impression of a more traditional or even transitional space.


For a streamlined and uncluttered appearance, use frameless cabinets with full overlay doors. Different materials give doors their own distinct styles.

The traditional painted Shaker door is one option, but other options include high-gloss lacquer, high-gloss acrylic, and wood-grained thermally fused laminate slab doors.

With frameless cabinets, homeowners may express their individuality and follow the current trend toward highly customized kitchen areas.

If you want moldings and raised panels on your doors, but don’t want to sacrifice functionality, use face-framed cabinets


As there is no face frame overhang, the inside of frameless cabinets is significantly more spacious.

Frameless cabinets with the same width as framed cabinets might have broader drawer boxes thanks to the former’s increased access area. In comparison, the opening width of a frameless cabinet of the same width (say, 15 inches) would be 13.25 inches, whereas that of a framed cabinet would be 12 inches.

When you’re attempting to make the most of your drawer space, that extra 1 1/4″ of each drawer really adds up. So, you didn’t know that… When designing a custom closet, frameless cabinets are the preferred option.


Often, frameless cabinets will have concealed European-style hinges.

With face frame cabinets, you may use whatever sort of hinge you choose. The classic look of American cabinetry is accentuated by the addition of a decorative latch.


Because of their lack of frames, the contents of frameless cabinets can be seen in their entirety, making them ideal for housing bulky equipment. Large serving dishes may have trouble fitting past the center stile and frame of face frame cabinets, preventing access to the interior.

What’re Better, Framed or Frameless Cabinets?

It’s impossible to provide a universally applicable response to this topic. Both alternatives are reliable and solid in construction. It is not important to choose between framed and frameless cabinets based on their structural strength and endurance.

Do Frameless Cupboards Not Hold Up as Well?

No. Although framed cabinets have an extra layer of hardwood and frameless cabinets are often made from engineered wood, the latter is just as durable as framed cabinets since they depend on a thicker box for strength and stability. You may find several bespoke frameless manufacturers that use just plywood in their builds.

How do frameless cupboards typically appear?

To put it simply, frameless cabinets do not have a face frame at the front of the cabinet box. The cabinet’s box is immediately linked to the doors and drawers.

For the same reason that there is no central stile running down the middle of a frameless cabinet, which helps save on material, these cabinets are also more space efficient.


The decision between framed and frameless cabinets ultimately boils down to individual taste and desired aesthetic. The primary distinction between framed and frameless cabinets is the box structure; the two styles are essentially the result of using different building techniques.

If you want a more classic design, beautiful hinges, and a variety of door styles, framed cabinets are the way to go (inset, partial-overlay, or full-overlay).

When every square inch of your kitchen counts, use frameless cabinets. They provide for extra storage space in drawers and cabinets and have no distracting center stiles in the design.

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