Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Inset cabinet doors can spice up your custom kitchen

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

The ultimate in custom kitchen cabinets includes inset doors. While most kitchen cabinet doors rest on the cabinet facing, inset doors nestle right into the cabinet, creating a flat, solid appearance. This is especially suitable for older homes, where the kitchen cabinets need to blend in with the traditional look of the overall architecture.

Need unique kitchen cabinets? Inset doors could work

There are two basic types of inset doors: full inset and partial inset. Full-inset cabinet doors are set into the frame, giving a "flush" appearance. Partial inset doors have a notch on the outside edge of the cabinet door. This allows the doors to protrude slightly from the cabinet. Both full and partial inset doors require knobs or pulls to open the doors.

Another option is the beaded inset. This is a type of door that has a "bead" cut into the frame around it. This doesn't affect the function of the door, but may offer a more appealing look. Beaded insets are often a much more expensive option, than simple, full inset or partial inset doors.

Inset doors found in the custom kitchen

Inset doors are often more difficult to install than other types, as the doors require precise alignment with the frames. This extra attention to detail can drive up your labor costs. In addition, the creation of inset doors is usually a custom job. Expect an increase of 15 to 20 percent in the cost of cabinet doors, if you choose to go with partial or full inset.

Though inset cabinet doors were once used only for framed cabinets, new advances now allow for installation of these doors on frameless cabinets, which have no center stile and concealed hinges. With the use of a vertical pilaster, or a small column on the inside of the cabinet, inset doors are possible.

Partial inset doors have become less popular over the years. As a result, many manufacturers offer them as a custom option only. Many homeowners find one cost-effective option to be replacing partial inset doors with overlay doors, or doors that rest on the outside of the frame.

When you choose inset doors, be prepared to search for a contractor or manufacturer who can handle the request. In many cases, you might wait longer for your custom work to be done, and installation could take longer than usual.

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