Framed vs. Frameless Cabinetry

Posted on August 19th, 2010 14:06

Cabinetry Construction - Deconstructed!

Cabinetry is divided into two major categories when considering construction methods - Framed and Frameless.

Framed cabinetry utilizes a 3/4" solid wood "frame" that is dado-ed to the top, bottom and sides of the box. This frame actually extends beyond the width of the box and covers up some small portion of the inside of the box interior. Framed cabinetry gets it's structural integrity from this frame.

Frameless cabinetry, also often called "32 Millimeter", "European" or "Full-Access", cabinetry does not utilize this frame technique of construction. Frameless cabinets have panels that are put together using wooden dowels and glue and the back of the cabinet is dado-ed into the top, bottom and sides of the box. It is this back panel, which in the case of UltraCraft is a full 5/8" thick, that gives structural integrity to the box.

So, What's All The Hype

Well, the fact of the matter is that manufacturer's of cabinetry in the United States are set up for framed cabinetry. About 85% of all cabinets made in the US are framed. In Europe, Asia and other parts of the world, Frameless cabinetry makes up the majority of the cabinetry. Why? Well, after World War II these countries, devastated by the war, needed an efficient way to rebuild. The 32 Millimeter system or frameless cabinet style, developed in Germany, was one way to efficiently rebuild.

Since frameless cabinet manufacturing required different machinery and production techniques, cabinet manufacturer's in the United States were not eager to spend capital to change over to this new system. After the war ended, the US saw immigration from European and Asian countries. With that, the European style of building cabinetry - Full Access Cabinetry - was also introduced to the US and slowly began to take hold.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with framed cabinetry. It can be beautiful, functional and made to suit your personal style. There are, however, some advantages to a Frameless box construction.

  • Because there is no frame, frameless cabinets give you 10-15% more usable space. You have more room in the same footprint!
  • All doors on frameless cabinetry are full overlay doors and the gaps between all the doors and drawers in your kitchen or bathroom are uniform. This gives you a highly stylized look.
  • The sides of frameless boxes are "flush finished" meaning that there is no seam when viewed from the side. To get this in framed cabinetry, you have to have the cabinet specially modified - usually at a cost. The flush finished end on frameless cabinetry gives your cabinets a furniture like appearance.

Of courser, UltraCraft, the premier manufacturer of frameless cabinets in the United States, has some distinct advantages of their own that set them apart from both their framed and frameless competition.

  • EPP Certified Engineered Wood Panel Construction
  • ESP Green Certification
  • 100-Year Manufacture's Limited Warranty
  • Thousands of Door Style and Finish Combinations
  • Standard Dovetail Drawers on Destiny and Vision
  • Adjustable Full-Depth shelving on All cabinetry
  • Easy-to-Clean Melamine Interiors
  • Made in the USA!

If you want to learn more about framed cabinetry and the UltraCraft advantage, contact your local authorized dealer.


Filed under: Cabinetry, Cabinet Shopping

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Whether you are just starting on your journey to remodeling your home or have been researching it for a while, this blog's aim is to provide the consumer with the knowledge to make educated decisions about their design/build experience.

We hope that these articles will help to cut through the "industry speak" and make you more comfortable about the products you buy, the people you work with and your overall experience with designing and building your new kitchen, bath, den, or closet remodel.

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