When it comes time to renovate your kitchen, you have a lot of choices to make. Kitchen cabinets are high on the list and typically makeup 70% of the cost of a kitchen renovation. With that type of investment, you want to be sure to choose the best RTA cabinets for your new kitchen. Your decision to choose frameless or framed RTA cabinets depends on the style and look you want to achieve – let’s look at the differences and benefits of frameless and framed kitchen cabinets to help you determine the best style for your home.
What are frameless cabinets?
Frameless kitchen cabinets have long been popular in European cabinet construction. With the introduction of more modern cabinet styles in the U.S., frameless cabinets continue to gain market share.
These cabinet boxes and doors do not have a frame around them. The boxes for frameless cabinets are thicker than what you’ll find with framed cabinets, built with 3/4″ plywood to ensure durability.
Frameless, “faceless” cabinets offer the sleek look and clean lines that many homeowners want in their contemporary kitchen design. Frameless cabinets are designed with strength and durability in mind. They’re made of thicker plywood, and you can easily replace the doors in the future for a fresh look, whether that’s a color update or new material.
Frameless cabinet installation involves attaching the door directly to the cabinet box, creating extra space in the cabinet’s interior that homeowners appreciate. With more interior space, you can install larger roll-out shelf accessories. Since they don’t require knobs or handles, frameless cabinets may be a very cost-effective option for homeowners on a budget.
What are framed cabinets?
Framed cabinets are the leading construction style for most cabinets installed in U.S. homes. Framed construction cabinets feature a front face or frame where drawers and doors attach. The front face makes a four-sided box made with 1/2″ plywood. This frame offers extra strength and durability and helps cabinets remain square and prevent sagging. Framed construction has the middle stile or framing that creates a separation of space and makes the installation of drawers and doors easier.
Shaker-style kitchen cabinets are the most common framed cabinets. This cabinet style works nicely in any kitchen style, from traditional to modern. Shaker kitchen cabinets feature one flat recessed panel on doors and drawers to create a clean line. Consider framed panel fronts with extra overlays and beveling for a more traditional kitchen cabinet style, such as SK’s Tacoma and Cambridge styles.
Which cabinet style offers better quality – frameless or framed?
Most cabinet manufacturers follow the same quality guidelines for frameless and framed kitchen cabinets. You can also purchase sample doors from RTA cabinet companies to compare how each style looks in your home and get a hands-on feel for the quality of construction.
Frameless cabinet benefits
Extra space – Frameless cabinets offer welcome additional interior space allotment that you won’t see with framed cabinets. This extra space adds a few inches of extra storage and makes it possible to install larger cabinet accessories.
Sleek style – While the extra storage provides functionality, the sleek cabinet fronts give you a clean slate for other decisions about your kitchen decor. If you like minimalist, contemporary, or modern styles, frameless cabinets are an ideal choice.
Durable and sturdy – The all-plywood construction used in frameless cabinets has been tested for resistance to significant variations in temperature and humidity, so you can have confidence that you’ll invest in a sturdy, long-lasting product. The thicker cabinet box ensures outstanding durability and sturdiness.
Fully customizable – You can choose from many different styles of frameless cabinets. You can easily change the color of frameless cabinets down the road with a new finish for the cabinet doors.
Cost-effective – Homeowners and contractors often purchase frameless RTA cabinets to assemble on-site, which can save money when compared to costs for pre-assembled cabinets. RTA cabinets are flat-packed for easy, economical shipping and often ship within 48 hours of order placement for delivery within 4-6 days. Manufacturers typically need 4-6 days to assemble a cabinet order and another 4-6 days for shipping and delivery. This tight timeline can help homeowners save on total project costs as installation can begin as soon as cabinets arrive. Fully assembled cabinets are more expensive due to additional factory construction costs and extra packaging for safe shipping.
Framed cabinet benefits
Ample storage – Framed cabinets create two distinct storage areas within a two-door cabinet, separated by the middle stile. You can install different cabinet accessories on each side to suit your needs.
More embellishment – Framed cabinets feature different levels of insets, overlays, and beveling in their design for an elegant, old-world kitchen style. If you prefer a traditional or transitional kitchen look, framed kitchen cabinets offer the most appropriate option. Framed Shaker cabinets have a clean line around their frame for a more modern look that can still suit a traditional or transitional kitchen.
Sturdy and durable – The face frame of framed cabinets improves the stability and durability of cabinet boxes and doors. The all-plywood construction of framed cabinets has been tested for resistance to variations in humidity and temperature. Properly installed framed cabinets can last 20-30 years.
Customizable – You can choose from many different adornments and colors for your framed cabinets. The variety allows you to take your kitchen design in any style direction to fit your personality and the decor in the rest of your home. When it’s time for an update, you can easily change the color of framed cabinets with a new finish for the cabinet doors.
Cost-effective – Framed RTA cabinets are less expensive than pre-assembled cabinets because you assemble them in your home. Fully assembled cabinets are more expensive due to additional factory construction costs and extra packaging for safe shipping. RTA cabinets are flat-packed for easy shipping and often ship within 48 hours of order placement for delivery within 4-6 days. Manufacturers typically need 4-6 days to assemble a cabinet order and another 4-6 days for shipping and delivery. This tight timeline can help homeowners save on total project costs as installation can begin as soon as cabinets arrive.
FAQS about choosing frameless vs. framed RTA cabinets
Which cabinets are better: frameless or framed?
Simply Kitchens employs the same quality construction methods for frameless and framed kitchen cabinets. Either construction style can be a sound choice for your remodeling project or upgrade. Look at various styles in both framed and frameless cabinets to decide which appearance you prefer.
Which cabinet construction is right for your kitchen – frameless or framed?
Framed and frameless kitchen cabinets each have distinct looks and advantages. Visit our photo gallery to see all the options. You can also speak to one of our expert kitchen designers to help determine if framed or frameless cabinets are right for your kitchen.
Choosing frameless vs. framed RTA cabinets
Our expert kitchen designers at Simply Kitchens can help you choose between framed or frameless cabinets for your kitchen. Visit our photo gallery with portfolios of framed and frameless cabinets to help you choose the perfect look for your kitchen. Set up an appointment today for an online or in-person consultation to explore your kitchen renovation options in 2022.