Framed vs Frameless cabinets

Lorenza5064January 16, 2013

I am looking at ONE MORE cabinet company before I commit to cabs for the reno'n. The cabinet maker that is currently in the lead for the job builds only framed cabs. with overlay or inset doors. I am thinking that due to the compact size of my space I need to optimize storage in every way possible. Frameless cabs offer more functional space than framed cabs, but I wonder if there are drawbacks to choosing a frameless cabinet. I will conduct due diligence to avoid the use of "particle board", mdf materials. See the a2gemini thread that describes in excruciating detail the disaster she encountered with an oversized drawer in an mdf drawer box.... Are there design or structural differences between the two types of construction that I should consider before I make the final call? Thanks for all advise and counsel!

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Funny, I could have almost composed your exact question. I too leaned frameless until I found out that the custom cabinet people who I want to use only do framed. I went to meet with one of the cabinet makers today and gained a little more insight that may be helpful. He said that he CAN do frameless, but that in his opinion he does not think they are as A) sturdy and B) flexible. The sturdy piece is self explanatory. He feels that solid wood face frame adds to the overall strength of the cabinet. But he let me know something about framed custom cabinets that I did not realize. He said that he constructs large sections of the cabinets as one piece. For example, my island which is about 9x4 feet would be made as one large "box" with the individual drawers and such arranged with infinite flexibility within that space. In a frameless island, each drawer stack would require it's own side and back frame. He said this cuts down a bit on flexibility of how the drawers and cabinets are arranged and it also increases the spacing between things because they all require their own box which are then abutting each other.

Does that make sense? He agrees that frameless will add to overall space, but he just wanted me to understand that there are some space saving advantages that framed also have which could mitigate somewhat the advantage of frameless.

In his opinion he thinks frameless work best in a semi-custom situation where it is going to be more cost effective. In his case, he said he could do the frameless if that's what I wanted but that it would require a significant change in their operation so it would cost more or equal to the framed and he feels it would be an inferior overall product for the money.

I really want custom cabinets made and installed by someone who cares about his craft so I'm leaning toward going with one of these makers who only do framed instead of frameless. It's really up to you whether the potential added space or saved money is worth it to you. I'd go through and try to add up exactly how much space you think frameless will get you over framed. I'm not sure how to do that, but someone smarter than me must be able to.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Thanks Jfay, yes I have heard that a framed cabinet is inherently more structurally sound. I also know about the concept of "combining" framed cabinets as you described. I understand that the only limitation on combining cabinets is the ability to deliver them and get them in to the space. Tight corners, staircases, etc. would limit the length of a run of combined cabinets. I will say that my current kitchen is a WoodMode, circa 1991, frameless cabs and I have not been that impressed with their performance over time. I am sure that hardware has improved in 20+ years, but this time around I am interested in contracting with local craftsmen. Thanks for your insights

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 7:58PM
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I just wanted to chime in a make a suggestion that you check out Barker Cabinets. They make RTA cabinets (frameless) in any size (height, width, depth) with many door styles. They even have a design program to help you layout your kitchen. Although they are RTA, they are basically custom, as you are choosing the exact dimensions (not like IKEA, for example). They are beautiful and incredibly sturdy and solid. There is no particle board or formaldehyde used in their construction whatsoever. We ordered some about 8 months ago to create a kitchen in a mother-in-law apartment. My MIL is wheelchair bound, so we even ordered them at a height of 29" so she could access the counter surface more easily. I assembled them myself, and it was not very difficult. My sister just remodeled her kitchen and used inset cabinet doors, and although she loves the look, she said she has noticed that she has less usable cabinet space.
I would definitely recommend Barker! All of their products are made in the USA, too. It might be worth a look.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:53PM
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I am sorry, Jfay, but that idea of frameless not being as sturdy as framed is bunk that was de-bunked years ago. Kitchens in Europe have been doing frameless cabinetry for decades, and it finally made its way here in the '80's. Frameless cabinets allow more storage space, particularly for drawers, and for uppers you don't have those stiles in your way. I've had framed cabinets, and the stiles drove me crazy. I've had frameless in the last two homes, and wouldn't choose otherwise.

Having said all that, I think framed cabinets are very beautiful in a traditional-look kitchen. If you are going for a traditional aesthetic, then framed cabinets are the way to go. But that's a choice made out of personal taste, aesthetic, and to match with a traditional decor, not because the framed cabinets are sturdier. Get framed cause you love the look, but not because you think frameless aren't sturdy.

I did not understand the part about the "infinite flexibility" of framed (vs. frameless). Your cabinets will be the design you've stipulated, i.e., number and size of drawers, width of each cabinet, etc. regardless of framed or frameless. My frameless cabinets were semi-custom, and the sizes were in increments of 1/2", with any combination of drawers, doors and cabinets I wanted. The "box" of frameless cabinets that you mentioned - now I am scratching my head. The cabinet maker is saying he makes one long box instead of several smaller ones - won't that long width interfere with the integrity of the box, making it eventually sag (if it is an upper), and making it get out of plumb (if it is a lower)?

Also, make sure you look at the depth of framed upper cabinets. If they are the traditional 12" deep, and you allow for the frame, they may not fit your dinner dishes (check your dishes' diameter). We have seen that problem come up on this forum many times. The OP should look at framed cabinets on display in a kitchen design shop, and make sure her dishes will fit.

One thing that drove me crazy about my framed cabinets was that the drawers would stick in summer, and in winter, the uppers' doors would have too much space around them as the wood shrunk in winter. This may not be an issue in a climate that is more even.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Chiming in with shannonplus2: the "not sturdy" comment is pure huey. The tools (expensive!) and techniques needed to make frameless cabinets are different. Face frames are "more traditional" in the U.S. If you're dealing with a cabinet maker who only does face frames, he might well tell you that you want his cabinets because they are inherently better than frameless. Actually, I would have less faith in such a cabinet maker's knowledge/integrity. Both types of cabinets have desirable characteristics. You might prefer one over the other for various valid reasons, but "sturdy" and "flexible" are not among those reasons.

A quickie on face frame vs. frameless for a particular kitchen:

better choice for a small kitchen where every inch matters
larger drawer storage in same space
no stiles in the center of cabinets
full extension drawers
a "more modern" look

Face Frames:
good choice for "traditional" look
best in kitchens with lots of cabinet space
can use inset and partial overlay doors
can use decorative hinges
most U.S. custom cabinet makers only do this type

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:44PM
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I kind of think the lost space idea is silly.
A frame is at most, 3/4" deep. If you're using overlay doors, it's the exactly same depth as frameless.

If you're doing inset, you lose that 3/4", but all normal dishware fits into the cabinets fine.

We get these ideas that something is a lot bigger (or smaller) that it actually is. I was wigging about 3/4" drywall making my rooms smaller. I needed every tiny bit of space I could get. Oh, come on. In retrospect and great honesty, I can be a dumbass.

Just get what you like.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:49PM
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CEFreeman - it is not silly. We are trying to help the OP with our experiences. I have had framed cabinetry before, and I swear to you, the drawers were significantly smaller. The frame as you mentioned is around 3/4" deep; on a drawer, that is 3/4" on each side of the drawer. Really, those drawers were such a pain. And my dishes barely cleared the upper cabinets' depth. I will reiterate that the OP should go to a showroom where there are framed cabinets on display, and see for herself the drawers, and whether the uppers will fit her dishes. And, as Suzannes1 pointed out, if her kitchen is spacious it won't matter.

This post was edited by shannonplus2 on Thu, Jan 17, 13 at 12:58

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 12:57PM
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I remodeled my kitchen six years ago with frameless and have moved to a home where the cabs are framed. Honestly I have not noticed any difference in storage space.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 1:37PM
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I personally would have preferred frameless cabinets for the storage reasons mentioned here, but the cabinet maker I chose only does framed. However, I want to correct the misconception about stiles - framed does not imply stiles. My framed cabinets have no stiles

Also, I'm pretty sure that if you decide to get inset, it's essentially a framed cabinet anyway, and the drawer sizes will be the same. So frameless would give you the most space benefit in a full overlay design.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Regarding sturdiness - it is a function of how well the cabinets are made, regardless of whether they are framed or frameless. I agree with other posters that cabinet makers who say frameless are not as sturdy as framed, either don't know any better, or don't want to have to start making frameless cabinets.

We got rid of our old framed cabinets, and I was so glad to see them go. Sagging, sticking, clunky. Those framed cabinets did not hold up well at all. But that's a function of how they were made originally, not that they're framed. They also had the dreaded stiles, and everything seemed narrow. Now we have frameless cabinets in a shaker style, and in our small kitchen, it was an enormous addition of space.

Soibean - just to be clear, Inset is framed. You cannot have "inset cabinets" without them being framed cabinets.

I'll link a thread about dishes and glasses not fitting. There are solutions in that thread, if you want to have framed/inset cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread about Inset Upper Cabinet Depth

This post was edited by alwaysfixin on Thu, Jan 17, 13 at 14:30

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 2:27PM
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alwaysfixin - that was exactly my point about inset. A lot of people think they want frameless cabinets but also want inset and they are mutually exclusive. And people should know that framed doesn't imply stiles. My framed, inset cabinets have no stiles. So the whole frameless vs. framed cabinet question only applies to people getting partial or full overlay cabinets. To maximize drawer space, you would need to get frameless full overlay cabinets.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 2:49PM
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I didn't mean to imply I thought frameless was less sturdy. I was just sharing what the cabinet maker told me his opinion was. I couldn't say one way or another since I really don't have the experience to compare and I'm sure that much depends on craftsmanship in the end.

I LOVE the look and functionality of frameless and don't doubt that when done right it is very sturdy. I just don't seem to have any local cabinet people nearby who feel comfortable doing it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:54AM
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I didn't read all the posts in the thread so I apologize if I say redundant things. When I did my cabinet purchasing, I found the process painful. I wanted frameless for all the space reasons. I was changing my layout from a U to an L with an island and losing a lot of uppers. My husband was very concerned about space.
I really wanted to use a local cabinet maker for whom I had excellent referrals so I told him I was considering frameless and I told him why; center stiles, smaller drawers, that frame 'lip' in any cabinets with doors that you need to lift things over. he explained that his cabinets are modified framed. yes they have a frame but no lip and, at least in my case, there would be no center stile. he explained how he reduces the frame to maximize drawer width.
I urge you to speak with the cabinet maker you are considering about your concerns and listen to his responses. I am very happy with my choice and the process using a local person was so smooth and wonderful it completely made up for any small space that was possibly lost. Plus if something is off, or I just have a question, he doesnt hesitate to come by or to have me stop in the shop to discuss it.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:00AM
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Lorenza - good to investigate all options.
When I went on a house tour - I saw how the custom guy built the cabinets - and I think it is what you are saying.
Instead of modular boxes - Each box taking up space - he built the run of cabinets without a break between the cabinets - so it might give more room in the end depending on the layout.
I was too far along (and am dealing with the oops) to consider this route - but will look into it for the BR remodels.
Let us know what you decide.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:03AM
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I have two different brands of frameless, both are very sturdy, so that is Hooey, as said above.

I choose frameless because I like the full overlay look, it has a more contemporary look.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Our old cabinets are frameless. I don't like the European hinges. They are so big and clunky and they don't open all that far. Guess I am old fashioned...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:26AM
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I've never had frameless, though I have been struck by the added drawer space when shopping for frameless. I'm not sure how much of it is hype, but the InnerMost website asserts that there is as much as 60% added drawer space and an added inch of depth in every wall cabinet with frameless, and they also calculate the added space in each of their featured displays. For example, the one I am linking boasts an added 6,271 more cubic inches.

I'm pretty dedicated to going frameless with my remodel in my small ranch. Like everything else, though, that is subject to change until I sign on dotted lines...

Here is a link that might be useful: Innermost (from Home Depot)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:48AM
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That's funny, I never gave my Euro hinges a second thought (they are inside the cabinet after all, and out of the way of the cabinet contents). Mine, and my old ones too, open very wide so maybe that is a brand difference.

If you have a site-built cabinet that is one long box with doors added onto the front, it is much harder to do any rearrangement or modification down the road than if each cabinet is its own separate box. Runs of separate cabinet boxes are joined together side-to-side once they're in place, so I don't think sturdiness is any different assuming build quality is similar for both. Not a reason not to do it this way if you like the look, just something to think about.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 11:56AM
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We call cabinet hardware the jewelry of the kitchen and we include hinges in that hardware. They should look good and function well. As I said, I am old fashioned.

It is interesting what those of us who like a vintage look insist on and compromise on. For example, our cabinets will be quite vintage but our appliances are not at all vintage.

In our household, we both cook and my DH is making the cabinets. He has pretty strong opinions and so do I. Am I getting everything I want? No. Since he is building the cabinets, he is pretty insistent about some things. And, yes, we did have several disagreements. At one point, I said if he wouldn't do what I wanted I didn't want new cabinets. Etc, etc.

Our cabinets will have face frames but will NOT have center styles.

And I can see those European hinges in my uppers through the glass (when the doors are closed)... very ugly to me. Look at the photo.

Many people who come in our kitchen don't see why we are even spending the money for new cabinets, but there you go.

This post was edited by donaleen on Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 13:02

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Depending on the cabinet the "more storage space" argument can change widely. I have traditional framed cabinets in my bathroom, and the drawers loose a full inch of space on all sides, it is an AWFUL wast of space.

My kitchen cabinets have a very small overlay, though when looking at them they appear frameless. The overlay is so small that even the drawers loose hardly any space.

THe cabinet makers I've been talking to all charge more for frameless, so I may go with something similar with a veery small overlay.

Regarding hinges, mine are great!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Frameless drawer stacks definitely have greater capacity than framed ones. Drawers must be narrower to accomodate the side portions of the frames. But the frame piece between the drawers is the real killer which restricts the amount of stuff you can store in each drawer. With frameless, you can fill your drawers up to the level of the drawer base above it. It makes a HUGE difference, particularly in small kitchens where every inch matters.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Donaleen - you're not the only person to dislike the European hinges. I've definitely heard that before. It's one of those personal preference things. Love your cabinets!

On how much "lost space" there is in a framed cabinet: I've posted this photo before, but it seems like a good time to do it again because it's such a great visual. This is a cabinet that we took out of our old kitchen and it was sitting around out back when I thought to take the photo from the backside. The top section was always a drawer and you can see the air space between the drawer sides and the cabinet sides. In life, that drawer was maxed out when the contents reached top of the box and no more. Notice the air space between the top of the box and the top of the cabinet. The two lower trays are retro-fitted roll out shelves. Again, a ton of lost space so they could roll out and still clear the face frame.

Here are roll out shelves in a frameless pantry. You can see the only lost space is the width of the glide on either side. You can also see the European hinges that some people just don't like:

This last one is a drawer in a frameless cabinet. With this kind of a drawer, you can fill it past the top of the side rails up to just clearing the top of the cabinet which is just 3/4" below the top of the drawer face. I actually do that in the drawers I keep plastic storage containers in. Those containers are so handy, but such a storage pain!

Hope the visuals help.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:44PM
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This is a question to any of you have frameless cabinets, for example a common 18" double garbage/recycle base cabinet.

When you pull the garbage cabinet open (or any frameless cabinet I guess), you see the full extension glides on the sides, yes?

The glides attached to the front door/back of the cabinet, with the two garbage cans suspended within some middle cabinetry?

Seriously, having had framed cabinets always but desiring that extra space, do you mind seeing those side glides? I guess you adapt to the change, they often are Blum glides anyway, just not hidden under-mounts as in framed drawers? Or is this not how it is on frameless bases? Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:14PM
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No, you aren't really aware of the slides. I don't have a trash cab to show you, but the roll-out drawers in the pantry should be the same. I'm doing my best on the photography, but it's tricky.

The slide mechanism is mostly under the roll-out.

This is what you see when you have the tray rolled out and you're actually angling for a view:

If you have a trash pull-out it should be the same except that the door would be attached to the front of the tray like a drawer face. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 3:26PM
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Does anyone have advice on the quality of Home Depot's InnerMost cabinets. They are more expensive than Kraftmaid cabinets through another vendor and I am wondering how they hold up?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:22PM
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All of my photos above are InnerMost (except for the one of the old cabinet sitting out in the back yard). Ours have only been in for about 1-1/2 years, but they're great. No issues at all. The biggest difference between Kraftmaid and InnerMost is that Kraftmaid are framed cabinets and InnerMost are frameless.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Thanks suzannesl. Your pictures and description truly help!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:28PM
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I see where it was mentioned previously in this thread, but whether they are framed or frameless, the durability is really going to come down to what materials it is made of. For most people, the frameless cabinets that they think of are what Ikea sells, which if you are comparing frameless cabinet made of particleboard to framed cabinets made of plywood, I would take the framed cabinets every time. People complain about frameless cabinets sagging and not being as structurally sound, but it is truly what it is made of. A frameless cabinet made of solid wood or plywood will be just as strong and as durable framed.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 8:25AM
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But if everything that isn't plywood means particleboard to you, you are also missing most of the equation. And probably paying for an upgrade that shouldn't be necessary in a quality cabinet.

I never saw a cabinet maker using particleboard, but most use mdf as their standard side material. It can actually be stronger and less likely to warp than plywood. It can be more likely to swell with leaks, but I've had water under both sinks now for different reasons. Because of the finish, my island is done in an upgraded line with all plywood construction. The base of my prep sink cabinet had some swelling when it got wet while the main sink base with mdf did not. Nothing I can't live with on the interior of a cabinet behind the pet food, but the main sink, with all the cleaning supplies, DW connections and a hot water dispenser that had a leak in the tubing-- mdf and no damage from the leak.

Plywood ends are worth paying for -- probably necessary to get a consistent finish, but in the interior boxes, plywod may not be giving you anything more than an unfounded emotional appeal. At least if you are looking at quality construction in the first place.

My kitchen cabinets are all frameless. Love them and between frameless construction and a switch to more drawers and better use of space, feel I added at least 50 % to the useabililty of my kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:31AM
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I went with full plywood construction, as a) I only paid the material upgrade to my cabinet maker ($800 on a 10 x 14 kitchen with 9 foot ceilings) and b) the interiors look much nicer IMHO than melamine.

Our plywood cabinets have a birch veneer that is real, has grain, varied etc. Wood grain melamine on MDF or particle board looks dead and plasticky in comparison.

BTW on the framed/frameless debate - in Canada the vast majority of cabinets are frameless. When we did ours we considered inset doors for a very classic look, but it was more expensive and did limit the space available.

While on a cabinet with doors, the limitation is only in the opening, on drawers, it becomes a significant impact. For really wide drawers, clearly less of an impact in terms of percentage of space lost, but on a bank of narrow drawers, such as our 18" drawers flanking our range, we would have lost likely at least 2-3 inches in width with framed cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:05AM
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its pretty simple we build frame and frameless cabinets structually if done right one cabinet is not any stronger the framelesscabinets definatly give you more storage each drawer is 1.5" wider and you also gain a drawer in height since the frameless cabinets do not have the rails up and down so you get an extra 6" in height for drawer cabinets

we have a display of each side by side of each and we give customers what I call cabinets 101 both cabinets have their advantages as far as looks but as far as quality there should not be any

we've been building cabinets for over 30 years , 16years ago I had a mfg's rep tell me this frameless stuff will never catch on , its now what they mostly mfg

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:48AM
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People complain about frameless cabinets sagging and not being as structurally sound,...

I don't think people who own these cabinets are making this complaint. I think those complaints come more from custom cabinet makers who don't have the tools or the training to make frameless cabinets. An example is Jfay's comment from way in the beginning of this thread:

I too leaned frameless until I found out that the custom cabinet people who I want to use only do framed. I went to meet with one of the cabinet makers today.... He said that he CAN do frameless, but that in his opinion he does not think they are as A) sturdy and B) flexible.

And I CAN make you a dining room chair, but you'd be a fool to pay me to do it - I've never done it before and I'm missing some essential tools (and the training to use them) necessary to make a good job of it.

Framed and frameless cabinetry both have desirable qualities exclusive to each. Some cabinet lines are just better quality for both materials and construction, which are not exclusive to whether the lines are framed or frameless. Plywood and "particle board" both come in various qualities. You wouldn't want the cheap version of either used for cabinets you cared about. One is not inherently better than the other for this use.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 2:17PM
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I have to agree with suzannesl.

As a cabinetmaker myself I can give you the skinny.

Frameless ( true European 32mm ) is a SYSTEM of making & installing cabinets that interface with euro hinges and slides SEAMLESSLY.
It is a metric system based on intervals of 32mm.
To do frameless properly you need equipment that most American cabinetmakers dont have.

If your cabinetmaker does not have the following, he should not attempt to make frameless cabs.

1. Modern Cabinet Software ie CabinetVision, AutoCAD
2. CNC Router / Boring Machine / Sliding Saw
3. Edgebander
4. Full knowledge of one of the euro hardware lines

Think about it, the face frame was not conceived to give us "sturdy boxes" it was make a square frame for doors and drawer fronts on an imperfect plywood box. Euro boxes are perfect because they are NOT made from plywood. Basically, if you don't have the money, you build face frame. If you have made the investment, you can build frameless.

I build both styles. I prefer frameless as it is exact. Incidentally, frameless boxes are to be installed on a hanging rail with special suspension blocks. I can tell you with great certainty that the vast majority of euro boxes in the US are made and installed incorrectly.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 5:16PM
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cabmanct - okay, so you can't keep us hanging...what is the incorrect way this is often done in the US? We're about to finalize our selection on our cabinet maker and I want to be sure that I know how they SHOULD be installed. Also, if you could, please relay what happens if they aren't installed this way?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:28AM
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I think Cabmanct's post is informative, except for the part about the "vast majority" being made and installed incorrectly. Where does that claim come from? Based on what information? That's an inflammatory statement that needs backup. It irks me when someone makes an enormous generalization from what appears to be a completely personal viewpoint.

I have been on this forum for years, and there are some complaints of cabinets hung badly --regardless of whether they are framed or frameless, there are bad installers--but I had never heard before that the "vast majority" of frameless (or as Cabmanct called them, "euro boxes"") are made and installed incorrectly. If it's the vast majority, and there are tens of thousands of frameless cabinets hung all over the country, wouldn't we have heard this claim before? I am concerned that someone reading that will panic. If you have a reputable cabinet company, and a reputable installer, that you know has been doing good installations before, I don't expect you will have your frameless cabinets made and installed incorrectly.

This post was edited by akchicago on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 11:12

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:06AM
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I am a cabinetmaker, I know how the sausage is made. I know very many cabinetmakers and I know very many installers. My practical knowledge is not a generalization, it is not a personal viewpoint, far from it. It is fact. Are you a cabinetmaker?

Ok akchicago, lets begin the lesson.
Frameless as you call them are euro boxes, thats because they originated in Germany post ww2. Europe had no kitchens, so they needed cabinets quickly. They sat down and came up with what is essentially a modular system based on a 32 mm increment. This was the initial distance between two boring spindles on the first euro woodworking machine. Incidentally, many Europeans take their kitchen cabinets with them when they move. Because of this ( and other reasons to be explained ) there needs to be a common installation system that is simple to use.

I am not bashing American face frame cabinets, they are just differently made and need different machines and due to the joinery and material choice have much looser tolerances.

Look at Poggenpohl website, they have a video of the manufacturing process. Now this is the utimate in euro but you get the idea, the machinery is top notch. Its not a powermatic table saw, a planer and a jointer.

Anyhow....32mm ( the true name of frameless ) is a system.
The base cabinets should have adjustable legs, such as the ones made by Camar. There should be no integral toe. This was cables can pass underneath and water damage will not wick upwards into your cabinet.
There should be no blocking of the slides or hinges, they should be flush with the cabinet sides and work "in system" ie increments of 32mm. Reveals are commonly set to 3/32" and should be perfectly lined up horizontally and vertically everywhere.
In terms of the biggest installation mistake, look at the uppers. They should have "suspension blocks" in the top left and right corners. These are small adjustable hardware that have a hook on the back that fit onto a metal rail that is attached to the wall behind. The reason for these suspension blocks is this,...if you were to say mount the cabinets directly to the wall with screws, the cabinets will conform to the irregular contours of the wall. These forces cause racking of the box, the box has no face frame to keep the opening square, now all the front edges of the cabinets are out of plane, that means your doors will not be set square or co-planar ie your reveals will never be constant.

I am not trying to dissuade you from frameless. I love frameless. What I am trying to impress on you is that its very important to choose the right cabinet company. Here's the thing, I am coming from a very high level and to be honest most people dont see the things that I do.

Why dont you tell them that you want the faces to be perfectly flush and the reveals equal, level and plumb. Stress this point and tell them you will go around and check each door when its done.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:07PM
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I asked my DH, who is an excellent cabinet maker, to read cabmanct's post. (My DH is just a guy with a powermatic table saw, planer and jointer.) He says you aren't wrong but you aren't right either.

With his limited tools, he CAN and HAS made frameless cabinets where the tolerances were perfect. Your method, with its special tools, saves time which, if you do enough of it to pay for your expensive tools, can save money for the consumer.

However, in period homes, frameless cabinets look like somebody with their eyebrows burned off. Did I mention, my eyebrows are gong bald? Oh no. And I thought I was a period piece.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Whoa, It seems I really touched off quite the debate. Reminds me of a joke with the punch line "and that's the way the fight started". Spar on!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 2:05PM
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FRAMELESS!!!!! (Unless you are going for a period look or special look and want inset OR, have a super large kitchen where space is not an issue). I have had frameless before and will never have anything else (if I can help it) -- especially if you are having lots of drawers!!! Funny, but the people/companies who disparage frameless are the ones that do not carry or make frameless, so, of course, they will find negatives! What can possibly be negative about having more room, easy access, and deeper drawers?!?!?!

This post was edited by legallin on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 14:52

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 2:50PM
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My "method" with my special tools is the accepted method. Try and find a powermatic/American saw in a European shop.

A Powermatic PM66 costs ,maybe, $5000 at most.

A Martin/Altendorf/Scmi sliding saw range from $25,000 to $40,000.

Why would that be since they can both make the same perfect cabinet?

You can make a cabinet with a pen knife, doesn't mean you should.

So he made a perfect box and still mounts it to the wall with screws ( no rail ) and racks the box out of square, there goes the perfect box.

As I said Euro is a system not a cabinet.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:44PM
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