The Cabinet Door Styles Compared

Cabinet shopping can seem easy, until you start hearing about the different cabinet door styles. You have no idea what they actually mean for your cabinet, which, if any, are better, and you start to worry you’ll make the wrong decision. You also notice that pricing is quite different on the different door styles, but you’re not really sure why. Does the most expensive of the cabinet door styles mean that the quality is better? Somebody help! Well have no fear, that’s why we’re here. We get these questions all the time and we realize that it’s not always properly explained to consumers. Today we’ll cover the main cabinet door styles and how do decide which one is right for you.
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Traditional Overlay/ Partial Overlay Cabinet Door Styles: $

Traditional overlay, often called “partial overlay” or “standard overlay” cabinet doors, are the most common style of kitchen cabinet. These are nice looking cabinets at a great price. In this style of cabinet, the doors and drawers cover only part if the cabinet frame. They are mounted on the face of the cabinet box. They will have a little less storage space than the other cabinet styles. While they may be the least expensive, it doesn’t mean the are not a great option. Some people don’t find them quite as attractive as the other options, but it’s all about personal preference and how much you are willing to invest. These doors are least expensive because the door is smaller, meaning that it uses less wood. They are often composed of MDF or wood veneer which costs less than solid wood. The rails and stiles are small and error in production would not be easy to notice. This means they can be made on a high speed production line, lowering the cost.

Full Overlay Cabinet Door Styles: $$

Full overlay doors are cabinet doors that cover the entire width of the cabinet, as shown below. The full overlay door style gives cabinets a more custom look than their traditional overlay counterpart. They will always require cabinet hardware because there is only ¼ inch of space between doors and drawers, so opening them without hardware is not an option. A benefit of full overlay cabinet doors is that you can store larger items in them because they do not have a vertical face frame stile between the two doors. They don’t need to work around that center style like they would in a traditional overlay cabinet. Full overlay cabinets are going to be more expensive than traditional overlay doors because its a larger door, which means there is more wood required to make it. Full overlay cabinets are typically solid wood panels and not MDF, which is another factor in cost. Because the doors will be right next to each other, there is less room for error in the manufacturing process, again, adding a bit to the cost.


Slab Cabinet Door Styles: $$$

A slab door style, also referred to as flat panel doors, have a completely flat door panel that is not raised or recessed at all. It doesn’t have arches and has a very simple design. A slab door style is typically used in modern or contemporary kitchens or bathrooms because of the clean lines. You will need cabinet hardware for slab doors. The other features that you choose will play a large part in enhancing the look of the slab door. Slab doors are typically solid wood, and you will rarely see an MDF product in a slab. Because of this, a slab door is on the more expensive side. Because it is one solid piece of wood, that makes it harder to manufacture. The wood has to be perfectly flat and cannot bend and warp. Grains of the wood typically need to go in one direction, which makes this a more expensive manufacturing process. Any error would be noticeable on a flat panel door, so they cannot be produced as quickly.

Inset Cabinet Door Styles: $$$$

Inset cabinet door styles are different than the above three because they feature doors and drawers that fit inside of the cabinet face frame openings. This type of cabinet construction gives a full view of the cabinet frame, with only small amounts of spacing or gaps between each cabinet component. Inset doors are going to be your most expensive option. The doors are extremely high quality because there is literally no room for error. Because they are sitting inside the frame, they cant be effected by heating or cooling cycles. Any inperfection in manufacturing the door is very noticable. The doors are very high quality. They have to be made of heavier materials that are less likely to warp. Becuase of this, manufacturing cannot be done in mass prodcution and is a very precise process. Inset cabinet doors are beautiful and distinct!
I hope this has been helpful in showing you the differences between the various cabinet door styles. If you have any addtional questions, feel free to contact us or comment below!

Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are one of the leading providers of all above styles of kitchen cabinets and bath cabinets in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!

Written By: Allie Bloyd