When choosing cabinetry for a project, you should consider how many cabinets fit in the space, how the client will use them, their longevity and the cabinet door style options you can work with. Cabinet construction influences the appearance and functionality. Two styles, framed and frameless cabinetry, result in distinct looks. 

Understanding the noteworthy differences between framed and frameless cabinets, plus the advantages and disadvantages of each style, will help you make a sound decision that satisfies a client’s aesthetic and practical needs. 

What Is a Framed Cabinet?

Framed cabinetry is the American standard. Framed cabinets have a solid wood face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. The frame resembles a typical photo frame with two horizontal wood pieces, or rails, that are often an inch and a half wide and three-quarter inches thick, plus two vertical wood pieces, called stiles, with identical dimensions. 

The face frame covers the front of the cabinet box and serves decorative and functional purposes. For instance, it provides structural support for the cabinet doors because they attach to the inside part of the frame. The cabinet door style determines whether the hinges are visible. 

Doors and drawers attach differently to the frame to create distinct looks. The overlays define how much of the frame shows when you open and close the doors and drawers. 

There are three primary types of framed cabinet overlays.

  1. Partial overlay: In this traditional design, the doors and drawers only partially cover the face frame. It’s a perfect fit for transitional and traditional styles.
  2. Full overlay: The cabinet doors and drawers cover most of the frame, and it’s only visible when you open them. It works well with modern and contemporary styles
  3. Inset: This look is exclusive to framed cabinets. The cabinet doors and drawers fit into the frame for a smooth, flat surface that looks stunning in Mediterranean and farmhouse styles. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Framed Cabinets 

Framed cabinets combine a classic look with the practical ability to support heavy countertops. They also have drawbacks, including potential limitations on access and storage space. Understanding the pros and cons of framed cabinets can help you make more informed decisions.

  • Attaching the cabinet doors to the face frame creates sturdy, stable cabinet boxes.
  • The face frame adds to the drawers’ strength and stability.
  • They offer more flexible size and modification options than frameless cabinets.
  • These cabinets are easy to install, even for less experienced contractors and DIYers.
  • The face frame limits the interior space in the drawers up to an inch and a half less than full-access cabinets.
  • The spacing between doors and drawers is not ideal for modern and urban designs.
  • Additional skin panels are necessary to cover exposed cabinet sides.
  • The face frame is still visible with any of the overlays.
  • They are challenging to customize after installation. 

What Is a Frameless Cabinet?

What Is a Frameless Cabinet?

Frameless cabinets, or full-access cabinets, are a modern construction style that does not include the face frame. This European construction style has rapidly gained worldwide popularity. The doors or drawers create the face of the cabinet for a smooth, contemporary finish. The doors cover the entire front of the cabinet box and attach to the sides with hinges.

Full-access cabinets adopt a full-overlay style with minimal space between doors and drawers and no horizontal rails or vertical stiles. They often use heavier wood materials to compensate for the lack of the face frame, ensuring more stability. Frameless cabinetry is ideal for several styles, including modern, urban, transitional, contemporary and traditional.

Pros and Cons of Frameless Cabinets

Frameless cabinets offer a seamless appearance and easier access to stored items. However, it’s best to compare the pluses and minuses of frameless cabinets to weigh your options and educate your customers.

  • Frameless cabinets provide more storage because they are at least one inch deeper than framed cabinets.
  • They fit wider and larger drawer boxes than the same-width framed cabinets.
  • These cabinets offer extra space for large appliances like blenders, juicers and food processors.
  • They allow unobstructed access to the cabinet’s interior.
  • They are versatile enough to complement multiple style preferences. 
  • Frameless cabinets offer more customization and positioning flexibility.
  • They seamlessly accommodate different organization options, including roll-out shelves. 
  • The doors easily detach for cleaning or renovations with a push of a release button. 
  • Frameless cabinets offer more material options, including acrylics, laminates, textured melamine and metallics. 
  • Frameless cabinets tend to be narrower to prevent the bottoms from sagging when spanning longer lengths.

Our Vesta Cabinet Line

Are you looking to impress your clients with high-quality frameless cabinets? Choose the Vesta Full Access Ready to Assemble Cabinetry by Conestoga Wood Specialties. The Vesta frameless cabinet lines use three-quarter-inch melamine boards for the cabinet side, tops, bottoms and shelves and a quarter-inch thick back. We also use sets of pre-inserted plastic dowels to ensure accurate alignment, prevent the cabinet from getting out of square, enhance joint strength and provide fast assembly times.

We proudly make our products in the U.S., ensuring flexibility by offering various door styles, materials, colors, finishes and sizes. We provide approximately 50 interior storage options that fit perfectly into these full-access cabinets and numerous size customizations to satisfy your clients’ unique style preferences. 

Our Vesta Full Access Cabinetry is available in two standard box colors — Fog Grey and Coastal White. We also provide trendy cabinet colors at an extra charge. You can achieve the perfect finish with a wide selection of Conestoga drawer boxes, pull-outs and interior storage accessories

Source High-Quality Full-Access Cabinetry From Conestoga Wood Specialties

Conestoga Wood Specialties recently released our Vesta line, which you can quickly assemble using premium materials and precise joinery that ensures longevity. Combine different designs, sizes and finishes to match your clients’ styles and provide them with long-term satisfaction. We can also help you customize your cabinet doors to wow your customers. 

Our premium frameless cabinets ship promptly to ensure you meet project deadlines and increase customer satisfaction. Contact our dream team today for more information about our framed or frameless cabinetry. 

Source High-Quality Full-Access Cabinetry From Conestoga Wood Specialties