RTA inset cabinets inset or full overlay?

capecgFebruary 16, 2014

At the point where I'm ready to order my Conestoga cabinets. A KD told me to consider that inset cabinets would likely not wear as well where and peel where the painted doors comes in contact with the frame. Also said that the doors would warp and need to be adjusted during the humidity in Summer. Of course this KD didn't carry inset cabs so not sure if that was the driving force behind her opinion. Also wondering if inset were harder to assemble to make them even ? Can you see a space between the door and the frame?
I appreciate any advice you can give me. This kitchen remodel is a big deal to me an I don't want to make a big mistake.

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oldbat2be

Hopefully CEFREEMAN will weigh in; she orders the inset Conestoga doors/drawers exclusively and has posted about clearances in the past.

We did our kitchen, pantry and mudroom with Conestoga full overlay RTA cabinets. The finishes have worn beautifully. We're in the process of building our first inset 'cabinet' - but not using Conestoga's RTA box. We just ordered the face frame, doors, drawer fronts and drawers from Conestoga and are building our own box; so I can't speak to installation/assembly. The full overlay is beautiful in some places but if I could do it again, I think I would have used inset in the kitchen/throughout.

When I questioned the inset 'gap' here's what Brian Long (The Cabinet Joint, highly recommend) - said:

"The gaps on inset are set as is and must be so to use the hinges (Blum) that are supplied and avoid binding. The gap at outside is 3/32" from the factory with a space between doors of 1/16 to 1/32 but this is nitpicking because even if they left the factory like that, they WILL expand and contract some and a 1/32" is only a little thicker than your fingernail. If you need the gaps tighter than that, we need to do the doors as custom sized and if there are any issues with hinges not working or door binding, they will not be warranted."

Fulll overlay:

Where I dislike the full overlay is the vertical gaps between cabinets (they draw the eye) and where I didn't know enough to spec the drawer sizes correctly. If I could redo, I'd make sure the overlay drawer fronts were as close as possible to eachother. Look to the left of the picture, around the microwave. Do you see how there's a gap between the bottom of the microwave and drawer? (and to the sides of the drawer and to the sides of the microwave and...)

Also note that if you repurpose a cabinet; change from doors which swing open (ex, sink cabinet) to a pull out drawer, the door size will now be different (smaller in this case) than it should have been. So be sure of your design!

I hope others will speak to challenges with inset cabinets.

Here's our inset cabinet front from Conestoga:

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:25AM
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capecg

Thanks for taking the time to give me such an in depth reply. I want to go with Conestoga inset but thought I should find out if I was making things more difficult on the installation end. Your points were exactly what I needed to hear. Those little things that no one else focuses on but seem glaring to you.. We have never tried to put together/install RTA cabinets but my husband is a building contractor and has installed kitchens so I don't think he will have a problem. My other option was Shiloh cabinets that I love but the cost savings for the Conestoga is so great it means I don't have to give up any of the cool features of my design.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:30PM
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aries61

fyi: with Conestoga, upper are 12.5" deep no matter if you do full overlay or inset. You can do deeper, but you need to ask for them.

Curious, which one of the Conestoga resellers are you going with? Are you ordering them unfinished or finished? When I priced out Conestoga inset against Shiloh, they came very close in price, but had to assemble the Conestoga.

oldbat2be: Curious, what door/drawer style did you order in the inset? In your full overlay, what's the height of your upper cabinets?

Thanks

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:59PM
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CEFreeman

Horse poop. Piles of it.

Now, if you're doing the installing, do it as they suggest and they will be fine. Beaded inset cabinets have been in use for 100s of years without problems. I highly doubt the machine engineered beads will affect the function and look of them. I ordered mine without being drilled for concealed hinges, because I am using exposed hinges for a more traditional look.

I can put an upper cabinet together in 10 minutes, and maybe another 10 to hang the door. Lowers, since they're drawers, took me a bit longer, but it was purely the Blum, full extension drawer glides. I use the face frame down method, which is more sturdy and you're not pounding on the face frame. I very much recommend watching their video, though. I was terrified the 1st time and after that it was, "[snort] I can do that."

When I have saved $$, I buy another cabinet. If I haven't found one at the Reuse centers. Ironically, contradicting that KD, even these older cabinets function beautifully.

Brian is consistently patient and informative, does the best to help me order what's best for my kitchen, i.e. details I decide I do or do not need, and the cabinets are always lovely. I'm saving for a couple beaded face frames to put on frameless cabinets I got, again, at the Restore.

Again, stupid piles of poop, which annoys me. Evidently that KD is mouthing something to sell her own product. I wonder if she's ever even seen a beaded inset cabinet at work? Remember, less dust! :)

Please tell Brian that Christine in Maryland, who orders unusual, complicated unfinished beaded inset cabs and face frames (he might place me) said hello and he'll be hearing from me again soon. It is my hope!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 1:03PM
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CEFreeman

I forgot this tip:

Install your doors before you put the face frame on!!!!! Then, unhook the door part of the hinge for installation. It makes it a million percent easier than trying to balance a door vertically, measure your gaps, and try to screw something in.

To install my doors and get the tiny gap evenly spaced, I tape something 1/16th of an inch to one side and bottom of the cabinet, and install my hinge on the other side.

I use a zip tie cut long and taped on. I also have some wood strips that are 1/6 and 1/8th of an inch, so I use those, too.

I'm actually excited for you. You are going to love your cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 1:07PM
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capecg

Wow! Thanks for the tips. I am ordering my cabinets from a local builders supply company that we deal with. We live in MA on Cape Cod. The savings is significant from Shiloh quote from another supplier ($16,400 vs $23,100) cabinets only. Reason being he is only adding 10% profit since we have a business relationship with him. Sounds like I would be crazy not to go with Conestoga and I feel comfortable doing the inset. Really appreciate all your advice. So excited! I am doing island and half the kitchen in cherry and back wall taupe painted maple - effect is more like a built in with wine self etc.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:25PM
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CEFreeman

Oh, how lovely! With stained woods vs. the very common-yet-lovely white. That is such a serious price difference.

I have cabinet envy.
I can't wait to see your finished product.

I'm going to drop you a quick note.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:35PM
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oldbat2be

Capecg - you're welcome! I didn't quite understand the 'built in with wine self' part :) Cherry - just a note that we chose Cordovan stain and that was a little redder than I'd like. Suggest getting samples in a selection of the stains.

aries61 - door style in inset is Madison, in their Shaker line. Height of upper cabinets in full overlay is 36".

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:56AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
I used conestoga for my cabinets after a lot of research and ordering a pair of sample doors in the styles that I customized from their almost-limitless options. Their doors are just the bee's knees.
I chose inset for the wall cabinets and full overlay (1 1/4") for the bases.
I used old-time mortised brass butt hinges that are not adjustable in any way, but I am a pro for carpentry, etc.
I haven't had any issues with anything rubbing. and the gaps get bigger in winter and tighter in summer, but that's the nature of wood.
Conestoga puts ultimate custom quality within reach of those willing to do some handiwork themselves.


Casey

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:22AM
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CEFreeman

Casey, I am not even remotely surprised at how beautiful your space is. Knowing your experience, I'm also glad to hear you endorse Conestoga. I lucked into them and don't want to do anything else -- when I have to actually save and invest in a piece!

I used full wrap, non-mortised butt hinges, too. Full wrap because I'm nervous Nellie and want the extra security. Most likely not necessary, but... I also like the minaret tips. :)

Would you mind a close-up of how you did your light rail? I haven't figured how I want to do that yet and yours looks really nice.

Thanks!
(sorry to hijack some. :)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:35AM
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capecg

So beautiful Casey!
Nothing like a picture to be able to look at.

olbat2be: thanks for the advice on stain. I was thinking of natural cherry but the Conestoga natural looks too light.
Reason being I heard cherry darkens over time - have you had that experience? My kitchen is on the North side of the house so doesn't get direct sunlight.

And not sure what full wrap non-mortised butt hinges means, so I guess I'd better get educated! That's what Google is for......

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:38PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Hi CE,
My light rail is just a 3/4"x 1 1/2" oak nosing.
Casey

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:45PM
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aries61

capecg, did you ever order and install your Conestoga Inset Cabinets?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:52PM
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CEFreeman

I am almost to the point in my savings to order a few more from The Cabinet Joint.com. Actually face frames for lovely Norcroft cabinets I bought before I knew better.

I cannot wait.
Casey, I don't think I ever thanked you for the info!
Christine

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:31AM
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aries61

Christine, I'm think of ordering Conestoga inset cabinets for my kitchen and was wondering if I should. Are they hard to put together?

I don't think I ever saw any picture of the ones you built and installed. Did you every post any pictures?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:49AM
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CEFreeman

aries61, no, I haven't posted pictures. I keep changing my cabinet configuration. Buying piecemeal also doesn't lend for an attractive look ... yet. :

Putting them together. No. I can now put an upper together in about 10 minutes. A base takes a little bit longer, just because I haven't done as many. Not only do I strongly recommend Brian and TheCabinetJoint.com, they have assembly videos that are very clear. I don't follow them exactly, anymore, but it makes it simple.

When you get yours, why don't we chat and do it together. Make certain you have some clamps, because it's the easiest way to hold something in place while the glue is drying.

I'm excited. Just waiting for my state tax refund!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:39AM
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aries61

Christine, Can't do anything until I finalize my layout. Every time I think that it's finalize, I think about making more changes. The last change that I'm thinking about is not doing the OTR microwave and doing a wood hood, but they can be quite expensive. Conestoga has an inexpensive one, but not sure about it. I'll post a picture of it.

I've posted my layout on here several times and I've gotten feedback, but quite a few times some get mad because I nix there ideas because it involves moving windows, doors or plumbing which I don't want to do.

I originally was going to do Shiloh, then Amish, then Conestoga. They all have good and negative things about them, but leaning right now towards Conestoga.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:32AM
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capecg

Kitchen is going in tomorrow!! So anyone want to chime in on assembly tips? It will take at least a few days to install Appreciate any input.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 8:10PM
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aries61

capecg, good luck with the install and post lots of pictures.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 10:03PM
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susanlynn2012

capecg, I can't wait to see pictures! Good luck with the installation of these beautiful cabinets!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 12:57AM
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oldbat2be

Good luck! Create a comfortable work area for assembly (large sheet of plywood on milk cartons covered with shipping blanket), fit pieces together prior to glueing (even mark sides with notes/arrows) and definitely watch the videos. The first couple will take much longer then you will get the hang of it. Take lots of pictures and deep breaths. I remember well the drama after a section is just glued and you realize that it's on backwards....

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:16AM
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CEFreeman

I hope you got my missive, er, email, I mean last night. It's not hard to do and it's rather exciting. You probably bought yours finished, didn't you? I get unfinished. One of my other tips on unfinished is to wash your hands and don't put on hand cream. You don't need dirty smudges or greasy hand prints!

Ok! I'm awaiting my delivery....

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 8:30AM
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goodguy2k2k

Good luck with assembly. The assembly is not hard. The install is much more time consuming and harder depending upon how level your wall, floors, etc are and how much customization you decided to go with.

Link to another thread on install and choices:

Here is a link that might be useful: Conestoga colors and install notes

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:26AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

If yours have the vinyl splines for the faceframes, glue them in. It doesn't say that in the instructions, but they can pull loose otherwise. Use a 1/4" crown stapler with 1" staples or a 18ga. brad gun with 1 1/4" brads for the pinning. Of course, keep all pinning where it can't be seen. Pull diagonal measurements to check for square, in addition to using a framing square reference.
Your eye can sometimes see if the box is twisted.
I had a couple instances where plywood sides did not match exactly; this was detected by stacking them together to see if they were identical. Then trimming with a block plane so they matched.
Casey

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:02AM
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CEFreeman

Soooooo?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:54PM
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capecg

Well, believe it or not, we are still working on installing the kitchen. The frustrating part is there were so many missing pieces. The good part is that it is absolutely beautiful. We are waiting for the upper corner cabinet and decided to re check that it is on it's way. Again found that Conestoga messed up and is sending a door instead of the box that is missing. So, all the upper cabinets can't be installed on 2 walls because they need to feed off of the corner. Another 2 weeks!!! Tired of living in limbo. Haven't had a sink or stove for 5 weeks and it keeps going on. Trying focus on the good and that is that I'm going to have one gorgeous, quality kitchen when it is done.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 4:33PM
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rod725020

Capecg,

Who did you buy your Conestoga cabinets from?

Did the replacement parts come pretty quickly?

Thanks, Rod

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:54PM
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capecg

I'm on Cape. Cod and got them from a local builder's supplier. My husband is a building contractor. You live neat here? The replacement parts are sporadic. Some coming in a couple of days. Others a couple of weeks. Still waiting for some. But the result is awesome!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:03PM
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young-gardener

capecg- How is the kitchen coming? I'm dying to see your Conestogas!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:35PM
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tempe110

I'd love to see too! I'm thinking of ordering their door fronts and building my own plywood boxes.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 1:10AM
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lam702

We chose Conestoga doors and materials for our DIY reface. We went with the Cabinet joint, Brian was very helpful, patient throughout our many, many questions and changes. Everything arrived in perfect condition, not a scratch on it. They did send us one drawer front slightly too large, but were very quick to send a replacement. I would definitely order from them again, we are very pleased with the quality.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:14AM
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capecg

Sorry for the delay....finally ready to post some pictures of my
Conestoga cabinets. Went with natural cherry on sink wall/stove wall and island. Back wall is Hearthstone Grey with a white glaze.
Shaker Style. The quality is phenomenal! Love my kitchen, though still need to do a backsplash. Also used 12" cabinets and made a window seat. Used the cherry. Looks great! Will post those pictures when the cushions are ready. Hmmm. might have to post pictures one by one. Not sure how to do more.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:02PM
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capecg

Sorry for the delay....finally ready to post some pictures of my
Conestoga cabinets. Went with natural cherry on sink wall/stove wall and island. Back wall is Hearthstone Grey with a white glaze.
Shaker Style. The quality is phenomenal! Love my kitchen, though still need to do a backsplash. Also used 12" cabinets and made a window seat. Used the cherry. Looks great! Will post those pictures when the cushions are ready. Hmmm. might have to post pictures one by one. Not sure how to do more.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:04PM
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capecg

More of the cherry

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:06PM
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capecg

Excuse the messy dining room in the distance. We re painted the entire first floor as well as replacing all the floors with 5 1/2" ash. Like a new home. We've been here 29 yrs. and 5 kids so really needed updating.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:10PM
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CEFreeman

Oh, wow. What a beautiful kitchen. And what really gorgeous cabinets. I know I can't say enough good things about mine, and I think you're with me in that boat.

You must be in hog heaven. Once you finally got all the right parts, how long did it take you to slap together a cabinet? Aren't they easy!!!?

Now... about those outlets....

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:29PM
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aries61

capecg, turned out very nice.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 10:05PM
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westportjp

Capecg --

Can you tell me which crown molding that is?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 1:34PM
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capecg

Westportjp ~ the crown is # 619.....4" does that help?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 2:26PM
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westportjp

That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2014 at 10:39AM
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jterrilynn

Hi, I started using Conestoga back in 2010 when Casey was about the only one here who had them. I was nervous but took the plunge. Love their RTAâÂÂs! In my last house my husband and I built this kitchen with full overlays. The finish was still perfect three years later when I sold. In the house IâÂÂm in now we are doing inset cabinetry in the master bath. One is not harder than the other to assemble. Although I buy my cabinets from Chad at Cabinetmakerschoice the cabinetjoint has the best Conestoga assembly videos.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 5:12PM
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