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How to Measure Cabinet Doors Before You Order

How to Measure Cabinet Doors Before You Order

Posted by John C. on 2020-12-28

Are your kitchen cabinets in need of a facelift? If so, you have two options. You can either replace everything or you can replace the doors and drawers, keeping the cabinet boxes intact.

If you choose the second option you will need to meticulously measure the spaces where the new doors and drawers will go. For the imperial system traditionally used in the US then measure to the closest 8th or if possible 16th of an inch. If, on the other hand, you are using the metric system, measure to the nearest millimeter. Ultimately, it will depend on the measurements used by the manufacturer.

Precision is essential otherwise the new cabinet doors simply won’t fit. In most cases, you can use the size of the existing doors. Whether you are measuring the doors or using another method, it is important to double-check your measurements.

Types of Kitchen Cabinets

Framed Cabinets

Traditional cabinets have what is called a face frame. What this means is that when you open or remove the doors you will see a wood frame on the front. Commonly made of hardwood that is 3⁄4 inch thick, it will be covered in part by the edge of the cabinet door or drawer. The standard partial overlay is 1⁄2 inch all round which means that the door must be 1 inch wider and 1 inch taller than the size of the opening. Some other typical overlay sizes are 1⁄4 inch, 5/8 inch, 3⁄4 inch, and 1 inch.

Two important factors to consider are:

  1. If the cabinet has more than one door there must be sufficient space for two doors to open at one time. This means that a single door cannot cover more than half the thickness of the vertical frame stiles.
  2. The hinges you use must be the right size for the overlay. Not only will you need the correct hinge for the overlay, but you will also need to consider the boring. It is important to double-check that the hinges, boring, and overlay will all work together. If you are in doubt, feel free to check out our guide to hinge selection or reach out to a member of our trained sales team.

Frameless Cabinets

Sometimes referred to as full-overlay cabinets these commonly have sidewalls that are around 3⁄4 or 5/8 inches thick. There is no frame at all and the hinges for doors are mounted inside the cabinet wall.

Since there is no frame on the box to attach hardware, the hinges must be installed into the walls of the box instead. This means that for a frameless box, your cabinet doors will need a full overlay. The biggest benefit of these style boxes is that they have more storage capacity.

Choosing Thermofoil Cabinet Door

Choosing New Cabinet Doors

Usually, cabinet frames are made with the same species of hardwood used for the cabinet doors. If MDF was used you can replace the doors with new MDF. You could also use wood doors painted to match the color of the frame. One important note on MDF is that you cannot stain it, so your options are a bit more limited.

For glass-paned doors, be sure to check the position of the horizontal mullions compared to the shelves in the cabinet (if there are any). If they don’t line up you’re going to see this from the outside and may want to change your plan.

Draw What You Measure

You don’t have to be a draughtsman or architect to draw a rough layout of your kitchen cabinets. It doesn’t even have to be to scale – but the measurements you note must be accurate. Also, note the size of the horizontal rails and vertical stiles that make up the cabinet frame.

Draw What You Measure

Once you have this information on paper, re-measure to ensure the dimensions noted are correct. Then you can assess whether you have to stick to the same size cabinet doors you currently have, or whether you can alter the overlay dimensions.

Measure the width of the stiles and rails that make up the frame. Then measure the overlay and the thickness of the wood or other material used for the doors. Measure all units in case they are not all the same, and don’t forget to draw the layout of the kitchen indicating base and upper units as well as tall cabinets.

Final Tips on Measuring Cabinet Doors

Modern Thermofoil Cabinet Doors

One easy way to get the process started is to measure with your smartphone. If you have a new Apple or Android device, there are measuring apps that you can get. These apps use augmented reality (AR) technology to create a digital tape measure. For Apple users, newer iPhones come with the Measure app installed. If you have an Android phone, there are many apps available through the Google Play store. While these apps are very useful and have come a long way, they are not always 100% accurate. It is important to always double-check your measurements with a tape measure or ruler. Hopefully, you now feel confident in your abilities to accurately measure your cabinets. If you are still feeling unsure about your measurements, feel free to reach out to a member of our highly skilled sales team who can help you measure.

Now that have measured, drawn, and re-measured, you are ready to order your fabulous new cabinet doors!