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Tips for Adding Cabinet Doors

Doors are hugely impact-full on your final project's look and functionality.  They are the face of your piece.

  • Ordering doors from an online cabinet door company is a great option.  Since the cabinet door companies buy hardwood in bulk, it's often price competitive to building your own doors, and you'll get a professional looking door that will hold up over time. There's also endless styles to choose from, and you don't have to investing in special tools.
  • If you have a router, table saw and miter saw, we share our Shaker Door Building system here (includes a free Shaker Door Calculator).

Doors for Frameless Cabinets

  • Doors on a frameless cabinet are pretty straight forward - inset or full overaly.  I highly recommend full overlay as it creates a more streamlined look and is more forgiving and easier to install than inset doors.  
  • I recommend Concealed or sometimes referred to as Euro Style hinges - the ease of installing, the options for adjustment, and the hidden look can't be beat.
  • Most full overlay hinges have a 5/8" overlay, so for a standalone cabinet, your door should be 1-1/4" bigger (5/8" + 5/8") than the opening.
  • If you have cabinets with center dividers that require hinges on both sides of the divider, you will need a Half Overlay Frameless Hinge.  Half Overlay hinges usually overlay by 1/4".
  • When in doubt about ordering the right door size, I often will draw with a pencil the doors on the front of the cabinet, and then measure and order off my pencil marks. I leave 1/4" reveal (of cabinet box) in between doors and drawers.

Doors for Face Frame Cabinets

  • For Face Frame Cabinets, we recommend Concealed Hinges for Face Frames as well. The face frame style will include a bracket that attaches to the face frame, instead of the side wall of the cabinet.
  • In addition to inset hinges and full overlay hinges, you can also do a partial overlay door.
  • When in doubt, simply pencil out your doors on the front of your cabinets and measure from your pencil marks. I leave 1/4" reveal between doors and drawers.  
  • Since Face Frame hinges come in a variety of overlays, you can also measure the overlay from your pencil marks and order the hinge needed for that overlay.  This is especially usefull when hinges might share a face frame stile.

Installing the Hinges

  • It is much easier to have a second person help with door installation.
  • I install the hinges on the doors first.
  • For frameless hinges, I will measure where the screw holes need to be placed inside the cabinet and make line parallel to the front edge of the cabinet (usually about 1-1/4" in front front edge of cabinet).  Then I just have to start my screws on the line.
  • There's quite a bit of adjustment with Concealed hinges.  Make sure you start the hinge so it can be adjusted either way.