Face frame Cabinets vs. Frameless Cabinets
The terms "face frame" and "frameless" refer to the cabinet box construction and how the cabinet doors are attached to the box. Neither type is considered superior with regard to long-term usage. Frameless cabinets offer slightly more interior space. Face frame cabinets, on the other hand, allow for several different cabinet door overlays, thus offering a wider variety of cabinet style choices.
Face frame Cabinets
Face frame cabinets have a supporting frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. This face frame is usually 1½-inches wide. The door is mounted on the cabinet frame. The amount of frame covered by the cabinet door is called “overlay.” The majority of kitchen cabinets in U.S. households are face frame construction.
Frameless cabinets (also called European construction) have no supporting front face frame, the cabinet doors attach directly to the sides of the cabinet box. The box’s side, bottom, and top panels are usually 5/8-3/4-inches thick, with the door resting on the cabinet's front edges. Frameless construction allows the cabinet doors to align closer, creating a sleeker, cleaner style than is possible with face frame cabinets. The door overlays the cabinet box leaving a 1/16-1/ 8-inch margin between the door and box edge. In contrast, face frame cabinets can only overlay the cabinet box frame to a minimum 1/4-inch margin.