Exploring the Pros and Cons of Face Frame Cabinets

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Face Frame Cabinets

When it comes to renovating or building new cabinetry, homeowners and designers alike are tasked with weighing the practicality and aesthetics of cabinet types and styles. From examining different cabinet hinge types to different cabinet types, the selection process can be overwhelming. One popular type of cabinet is the face frame cabinet, known for its conventional look and enhanced durability. In this blog, we will explore the pros and cons of face frame cabinets to help make your cabinet door hardware purchases a breeze. Check out our blog on Everything You Need to Know About Door Hinges to assist you in making a decision about door hinges.

What Are Face Frame Cabinets?

As the name implies, face frame cabinets have a frame on the front of the cabinet box that is attached to the cabinet doors. 

How Do They Work?

The face frame, which is attached to the front of the cabinet box, serves as a support system for the cabinet door hardware, preventing it from sagging over time. This frame can vary in width depending on the desired aesthetic. The cabinet doors are then attached to the face frame using different types of cabinet door hinges, like:

  • Concealed door hinges
  • Surface-mounted door hinges

What Material is the Face Frame made of?

The frame can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own set of pros and cons.

Solid Wood

One popular option is solid wood, which offers an everlasting, close-to-nature aura and unparalleled longevity. However, it can also be on the more expensive side of the spectrum and may require more maintenance than other materials. 

Engineered Wood

Another option is engineered wood, which is made from a combination of wood fibers and resin, producing a sturdy and more affordable material.


MDF is another frequent choice due to its affordability and versatility, as it can be easily painted or stained to match any decor. However, it may not be as durable as solid wood or engineered wood. 

Cohesion in Cabinet Door Hardware

Ultimately, the choice of material will depend on personal preference, budget, and the imagined aesthetic. Regardless, one of the main objectives should be to ensure that the material complements the style of the cabinetry, the overall space, and other elements of the cabinet door hardware, such as cupboard door hinges and knobs.

Differences Between Face Frame and Frameless Cabinets

Face frame and frameless cabinets have some key differences that can have several implications for their design and functionality.

 Face Frame

One of the most prominent differences between the face frame and frameless cabinets is the presence or absence of a face frame. Face frame cabinets have a frame on the front of the cabinet where the cabinet doors rest, whereas frameless cabinets are designed without a frame. 

Cabinet Door Hinge

On framed cabinets, which include a built-in frame, the door hinges attach the door to the face frame. This allows for easier installation and adjustment of the doors and drawers. On frameless cabinets, however, the cabinet door hinge attaches directly to the box. This can make installation more challenging, but it also creates a sleeker look.

Storage Space

Another key difference is storage space. Frameless cabinets offer slightly more storage space because there is no face frame overhang taking up cabinet space. 

Pros of Face Frame Cabinets

Face frame cabinets have numerous benefits that make them a popular choice.

Strength and Rigidity

One of the biggest advantages of face frame cabinets is their durability, which comes from the strength and rigidity of the frame. The face frame adds additional support for the cabinet doors, preventing them from warping over time. This means that face frame cabinets can withstand daily wear and tear in high-traffic areas, particularly kitchens, and bathrooms.

Easier Installation and Adjustment

The face frame makes it easier to install the cabinet and adjust the doors and drawers. This saves time and frustration during the installation process.

Wide Range of Options

There are generally more options in sizes and modifications available in a framed cabinet line. With a wide range of materials, finishes, and styles to choose from, you can customize your cabinets to fit your specific needs and cabinet door hardware. For example, with wooden cabinet frames, you can go for matte black door hinges and knobs for a more balanced look.

Timeless Outlook

Additionally, face frame cabinets offer an elegant and timeless look that never goes out of style, adding artistic value to any space. Moreover, you can always use antique brass door hinges or

the brass interior door hinges to complement the look.

Cons of Face Frame Cabinets

While face frame cabinets have many advantages, they also have some drawbacks. 

Extra Expense

Face frame cabinets are, at times, more expensive than frameless cabinets as they require separate skin panels to be installed on-site on exposed sides. This demands extra time, labor, and expense for the construction and installation processes.

Less Interior Space

Another potential disadvantage of face frame cabinets is that they may have slightly less storage space compared to frameless cabinets. This is because the face frame takes up some space inside the cabinet, reducing the amount of storage space available.

Frame Obstruction 

Furthermore, the face frame can make it more difficult to access the contents of the cabinet. Not to mention, it may become harder to fit in larger items due to the frame. 

High Maintenance

Another disadvantage of face frame cabinets is that they may be more strenuous to clean and maintain compared to frameless cabinets. The face frame and concealed door hinges can collect dust and debris, and the small crevices between the frame and the cabinet box can be tough to reach. 

Final Choice: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Face frame cabinets offer durability, easier installation and adjustment, a wide range of options, and a timeless outlook that never goes out of style. However, they can be more expensive, take up slightly less interior space, obstruct cabinet access, and require higher maintenance. Ultimately, the material and style should complement the overall cabinet door hardware and the space. Regardless of which cabinet type you choose, TDC offers door hinges for it.


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