2/10/2017  • 

Blog – October 2017

Joey is an 18 year veteran of the industry and has been with Deslaurier since 2003. Joey holds a degree from Queen’s University in Kingston and a Diploma of Interior Design from Algonquin College in Ottawa. She is an Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) with NKBA accreditation and is currently doing courses towards successful completion of her CKBD.


Framed vs. Frameless Cabinetry

In order to help us with our design we ask clients to send or bring photos of kitchens they like. Websites like ‘Houzz’ show photos from all over North America. Often clients will reference an American photo. The majority of American cabinet companies manufacture ‘framed’ cabinetry while the majority of Canadian kitchens are ‘Frameless’.

In framed cabinetry there is a face frame which consists of rails (horizontal members) and stiles (vertical members). This attaches to the front of the box and, generally, is seen around the door and drawer front. The hardware (hinge) is attached directly to this frame. Framed cabinetry can be full overlay, partial overlay or inset. The names refer to the amount of the frame that the door actually covers. In inset design the doors are actually flush with the frame. This references a more traditional look and is reminiscent of cabinetry that was built in place rather than manufactured in a shop as we do today.

 In frameless cabinetry the door covers the full width and height of the box with a small buffer space for ease in opening and closing doors and drawers. The hardware is installed directly to the box. It is also called ‘European’ cabinetry and was introduced to the Canadian market sometime in the 1970’s. While the U.S. offers both these cabinetry construction styles, Canada and Europe, almost exclusively, offer frameless cabinetry. The benefits to frameless cabinetry are numerous. Frameless cabinetry offers full access to the interior of the cabinet. There is no space lost in the drawer systems that is taken up by the rails and stiles in framed construction. In fact our rollouts are ‘zero clearance’ now to offer even more accessible storage space. Also, with many manufacturers who offer framed construction there is a centre stile which hinders full access to the interior of the cabinet. Frameless cabinetry also offers ease of cleaning as there is no face frame to impede wiping down the interior.

When using frameless cabinetry to design and plan a kitchen, greater care must be taken to ensure clearances for hardware, appliances and internal accessories. While framed cabinetry has a built in ‘buffer’ strip, frameless does not, so any protruding hardware or appliance handle needs to be reviewed.

When we review pictures with clients we try to dissect what they like about the photo. More often than not they are looking at the cabinetry colour, door style or countertop colour. Sometimes they are looking at accessories they want built in to their cabinetry. Occasionally clients will ask for the framed cabinetry look they see illustrated in an American photo. It is fairly easy to replicate this look using frameless construction by adding flush columns and fillers between the cabinets to give an inset look. This look is illustrated in our showroom in our ‘Cape Cod Style’ display.

While there may be some benefits to the traditional look of framed construction, frameless construction offers vast flexibility to show all different styles of kitchen design from modern to contemporary, to transitional, to traditional.  The result is a clean design. And, by using frameless construction we can offer full access to the interior of the cabinet and provide accessories to take advantage of every available inch by not having to offset around rails and stiles.

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