Cabinet Door Sizing

The big difference between measuring for Frameless Kitchen Cabinet Doors and Framed Cabinet Doors is precision. There is leeway when fitting doors to a cabinet with a face frame. Not so with frameless.

Euro-Style Kitchen doors have a tolerance of 1/16th of an inch. All you will see when you are done is the cabinet door, false door panels, and corresponding fillers where opposing cabinets meet. Gaps between doors and fillers are approximately 1/8th of an inch, plus or minus a tiny fraction of that.

You want to make your initial measurements as precise as possible so any trimming necessary is absolutely minimal. Otherwise, your finished product will be awkwardly visible in contrast to another door that has not been trimmed.

Door Width Measurement Guidelines

  • If a cabinet is by itself, no side panels, measure the whole cabinet side to side. That is your door width.
  • If a cabinet is by itself with side panels, subtract 1/4 inch from the cabinet width. The side panel size will be measured from the wall to the front of the cabinet plus 7/8″. This allows for thickness of door plus 1/8″ hinge adjustment play.
  • An end cabinet with side panel joined to 1 or more additional cabinets will allow for 1/8″ gap between door and side panel. The opposing side where it meets another cabinet will have 1/16″ subtracted from the measurement. This will correspond to 1/16″ subtraction from adjoining cabinet door measurement. A 1/8th inch gap between the 2 doors will result.
Example: 3 wall cabinets, each 15″ wide with decorative side panels to finish off each end, joined together and mounted in a stand-alone installation as one big unit.
  • First door on left will have a measurement of 14-13/16″ wide.
  • Middle door will have a measurement of 14-7/8″ wide.
  • Door on right will have a measurement of 14-13/16″ wide.
  • Drawer Fronts will follow the same guidelines.

This scenario will give you 1/8″ gap between each door and the same gap between the outside doors and the end panels.

Door Height Measurement Guidelines

This measurement is a little tricky, so use the following steps.

Base Cabinets

  1. First know the depth of your countertop overlapping the top of your cabinet. If the bottom of your countertop edge is flush with the top of your cabinet, then you will be “net” on your drawer and door vertical sizing. If not, measure from the bottom of your countertop edge to the bottom of your cabinet. That will be your new ” net” vertical sizing.
  2. Use a 6″ drawer front as your basic size for your top drawer.
  3. Subtract 6″ plus 1/4″ from the the total vertical measurement. This allows for drawer clearance under counter top edge.
  4. With the space left for your door, subtract 1/8th inch. This allows the proper gap between bottom of drawer front and top of door. The remaining number is the vertical measurement for your base cabinet door.

Wall Cabinets

  1. If the top of your wall cabinet has crown molding or a filler, subtract 1/8th inch from total vertical cabinet measurement.
  2. If under-cabinet lighting space is required, add 3/4″ to vertical cabinet measurement for door.

Example: 42″ tall cabinet height: 42″ – 1/8″ + 3/4″ = 42 5/8″ door size.

This allows for door to cover the actual molding surrounding the under-cabinet lights.

Mounting The Doors

For concealed hinges you need a 35 mm (millimeter) boring bit specially designed for cabinet doors. On top of that you need some type of boring tool.

What I did was purchase a small drill press from Harbor Freight. I mounted the press on a plywood stand that had an adjustable fence to butt my door against. I then took a scrap of wood and clamped it to my drill press base platform. I adjusted it to gauge the distance from the edge of the door to the edge of the bored hole. The gap should be 3/16″.

The center of the top and bottom hole should be 3″ to 3 1/2″ from the edge of door. The middle hole (if necessary) is centered between the other two.

When placing hinge cups in the hole, use a straight edge the length of the door to align the hinges before screwing them in with 5/8″ cabinet door screws. Insert cabinet mounting clips into hinges and place in open position.

Clamp temporary piece of wood to underside of cabinet to support door while installing. It will stick out from bottom of cabinet about 1″. Rest the door on temporary wood support while resting open hinges against inside of cabinet box. Press door against 1/8″ shims to maintain proper distance between door and cabinet face. Screw in clips to inside of cabinet box.

On wall cabinets with under cabinet lighting, add 3/4″ piece between bottom of cabinet and temporary wood support. This will clear molding addition and longer door.

Mounting Drawer Fronts

Drawer Fronts are the hardest part of the cabinet door/drawer front mounting process. The drawer fronts fill the gap between the bottom of the countertop and the top of the door. Maintaining a precise 1/8″ gap between them and the top of a door can test your patience (if you have any). This is what I do.

  1. Insert two drywall screws into backside of the front of the drawer box where you plan to have permanent mounting screws. Let them poke through the front of box by about 1/8″ – 3/16″.
  2. Place 1/8″ spacer between bottom of drawer front and top of door.
  3. Close drawer box and door.
  4. Rest drawer front on spacers and align edges of drawer front with door.
  5. While holding drawer front in place, tap on front with your fist or hammer (covering hammer face with rag or similar protection).
  6. Remove drawer face and locate small screw marks on inside of drawer front.
  7. Drill shallow 1/8″ starter holes in screw marks.
  8. Remove drywall screws.
  9. Drill 1/4″ holes where drywall screws were located
  10. Insert wafer-head cabinet mounting screws (screws with head and washer combined) in holes. Align screw tips with drawer front holes. Then screw in snug but not tight.
  11. Close drawer and make slight alignments as is necessary.
  12. Tighten screws

Finishing Up

What is left is the fillers where cabinets meet at a right angle. They will be mounted so that they will also have a 1/8″ gap between them and the adjoining door/drawer front. You can screw or glue them to a similarly colored sub-filler that mounts flush with the face of the cabinet box. The front of the finished filler will then be flush with the doors/drawer fronts.

All of this installation process will give you a nicely finished and clean-looking European-Styled kitchen. If done with care and patience, it will have a professional appearance to it. If something doesn’t look right, it is easy to fix. Hinges and drawer fronts are all adjustable.

This will end our cabinet building, finishing, and installation series. Don’t be put off by anyone spouting off criticisms of why someone like you should attempt a project of this magnitude. When you are done, it should silence them. And you will be proud of accomplishing this project on your own without professional help. Happy kitchen building!

I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!


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