What is A Cabinet Door Overlay and What are the Options?

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What is A Cabinet Door Overlay and What are the Options?

One main thing you’re going to have to decide on when shopping for kitchen cabinets is your door overlay. When I say overlay, I mean the way that the cabinet door sits on the frame of the cabinet box.

Types of Cabinet Door Overlays:

  • Partial Door Overlay
  • Full Door Overlay
  • Inset Doors.

Partial Door Overlay

Partial door overlay (also known as standard overlay) cabinet was the industry standard for many years and looks exactly as it sounds. The door only partially covers the cabinet face frame, leaving large gaps. The design exposes 1? to 2? of the cabinet face frame between cabinet units. It also makes it possible to install more functional hardware, though the face frame still reduces the amount of accessible space inside the cabinet.

On the image shown above is an example of a partial door overlay cabinet. As you can see, the frame is visible on this cabinet. You can see a space underneath these drawers. You can see a space between the doors. Since the doors and drawer fronts are smaller and use less material than the full overlay, this style is often used to cut manufacturing costs. Partial overlay styles are typically used for low-end new construction such as apartments or entry-level homes.

Full Door Overlay

Full door overlay cabinet styles, the doors and drawer fronts almost completely cover the cabinet face. It reveals as little as 1/4? to 1/2? of the frame between cabinet units. This creates a continuous look and minimizes the visible gaps between each cabinet door. The resulting smooth profile enhances a transitional or contemporary style. Full overlays affect the cost of cabinet manufacturing since the larger doors use more material.

Look at the image shown above, it is what a full door overlay cabinet looks like. You see no space. The cabinets meet each other in the middle and you cannot see the frame around the doors or drawers. This is what makes it a full overlay cabinet door. The full overlay door is going to be more expensive than a partial overlay.

Inset Door Overlay

Inset door overlay is shown in the left image. This is the first cabinet door type and has been around for centuries. The cabinet door is actually set within the frame, so it’s completely flush on the front of the cabinet.

It takes precise craftsmanship to fit the inset door or drawer inside the face frame. It uses different hinges(revealed or concealed) than overlay styles. Doorstops are required in the cabinet box because the door does not rest, or stop, on the face frame when it is closed.

For those reasons, inset door styles are typically more expensive than overlay styles. It is because there is no room for error when building the cabinet. If that cabinet door is off even slightly, it’s not going to open properly. So that’s something else you need to consider.

I hope you now understand the different options you have when it comes to the door overlay of your kitchen cabinet. Kitchen cabinets are the largest expense when it comes to your kitchen. You want to make sure you choose the best quality options, but also something that fits your style. You want to enjoy your cabinets for the next few decades, so these choices are crucial, as well as the installation of your kitchen!

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line kitchen remodeling design and build firm, you’ve come to the right place. We know everything there is to know about kitchen remodeling, and we’re ready to help you!  If you need help contact Bianco Renovation, northern Virginia’s Premier Home Remodeling Contractor. 


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