Face frame cabinetmaking has been a popular construction style in North America for years. The cabinet box, often made with plywood or plywood veneers, had a hardwood front frame applied on the North American cabinet. The frameless European style is a simple box without a wood face frame. Many shops use a combination of both methods by attaching a wood face frame to a European style cabinet box to retain the “North American” appearance.
Face Frame Style Kitchen
Frameless Style Kitchen
As you can see, there are very subtle differences between the face frame style kitchen on the left and frameless style kitchen on the right.
So what’s the difference and which style do should you build?
It’s all a matter of preference and the look you want to achieve. Here are some points regarding each style…
- Frameless cabinets do not have a lot of space between the doors from cabinet to cabinet. Face frame cabinets expose more wood and the look is more North American traditional.
- Cost wise – it’s a little less expensive and quicker to build frameless cabinets.
- Quality – both styles are of equal quality if built correctly.
- Frameless cabinets can be “wood” styled with veneer edge tape and wood doors installed. The difference is the lack of distance between doors from cabinet to cabinet between the face frame and frameless style.
- Both cabinet systems in “Build Your Own Kitchen Cabinets” (face frame) and “Building Frameless Kitchen Cabinets” can be made with any sheet material (melamine or veneer) and both use European hidden hinges, drawer glides, and cabinet legs.
- Any style of cabinet including uppers, base units, pantry, tall, microwave, and corner cabinets are fully detailed in both books and can be built using either system.
- Face frame and frameless cabinet styles can be used for kitchen, bathroom, utility, laundry, or workshops and, can be mixed. For example, you could use a face frame style cabinet for your kitchen and frameless cabinets in the bathroom.