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How To Figure Cabinet Door Sizes

January 23rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

There are several things that effect how you figure what the cabinet door sizes will be for your Kitchen, vanity, laundry room, desk or wall unit. The thickness of your door material, the type of hinge your using, box style and the application of the door all affect your final decision. What I mean by “application” is, will it be an inset or overlay style installation? The first thing you need to understand is that there are no “standard” sizes.



The other factor,  that effects how to determine (or, “calculate”) what the size is  going to be,  is the construction style of the actual storage box areas. Will they be installed on a face frame style or European box? In the following paragraphs we will take a look at several methods of determining cabinetry door sizes in relation to all of these elements I have just mentioned.

This basic technique works for pantry cabinet designs, wall cupboards, drawer faces and base doors.

  • Tip: Always try to purchase your hinges from a local cabinet supply company if you have one in your area. The reason I say this is because they can explain to you how the hinges work and the correct way to figure out the cabinet door size. If you find a professional cabinet maker who has a shop, he or she can explain to you how the hinges operate and what type of tolerances will be required.

Figuring Out European Concealed Hinge Cabinet Door Sizes

Let’s first define what a true European style cabinet is before we discuss figuring out the door sizes. The term “frameless” is best used to describe this style box. Once the doors are installed they will be flush with one another and have an 1/8” margin between all of them. If you look at the front of this type of box without any doors on it, the top, bottom and sides will either be 3/4” or 5/8” thick. If your doors are an overlay style, which means they’re going on the outside of the cabinet, then you will be using a full overlay hinge for this type of application.

Determining the size of a full overlay door on a European style cabinet.
If your cabinet is thirty inches wide and your box is constructed using 5/8” material you will use a 5/8” full overlay hinge. Divide the thirty inches in half which is 15” inches. Now, deduct 1/8” off and your finished door sizes will be 14 7/8” wide each. This will allow an 1/8” margin between every door once they are installed and adjusted. They will be recessed in 1/16” leaving a reveal at the cabinet side (or, “end”). When two cabinets are butted together the two 1/16” recesses will cause the door margin to be one eight of an inch.

  • Tip: Here’s how to double check your European door sizes. You deducted a total of one quarter of an inch off of the over all cabinet size of 30” to determine the correct dimension. So, take the two door sizes of 14 7/8” and add them together then add 1/4” to the figure and the sum should equal the overall size of the cabinet. Look at it this way, 14 7/8” + 14 7/8” + 1/16” recess left +1/8” margin center +1/16” recess right,  the total is equal to thirty inches.

Are There Standard Cabinet Door Sizes?

Every brand has their own standard for how big or small their door sizes are. There are standard sized cupboards, but not a “universally” accepted door sizes. Every company manufactures their cupboards a little different than the next business.

Calculating Face Frame Cabinet Door Sizes

The process of calculating the size of face frame cabinetry doors is a little different. This type of box has 2″ to 2 1/2″ styles and rails on the face of the sides, top and bottom of the  cabinetry parts. Here’s the easiest method that I have used to determine the correct dimensions.  From left to right, measure the inside clear dimension between the face frame stiles. Now, add the overlay dimensions, left and right of each door to the inside clear measurement, deduct 1/8” and divide the figure by two. This will give you the correct dimension (please refrence all tips in this article). So if you have a 28 1/8” inside clear dimension and you are using 1/2” overlay hinges, each door should be 14 1/2” big. This is your finished door size. Please refer to the conversions table below to determine the decimal equivalent to fractions.

  • Tip: If you are calculating the sizes for  Formica cabinet doors you must deduct for the thickness of the laminate when you are determining the cut size of the door. If your over all door size needs to finish at 14 inches then deduct 1/16” (two 1/32” thick pieces) if your using VT thickness mica and 1/8” (two 1/16” pieces) if your using standard thickness plastic laminate. For standard thickness your cut size would be 13 7/8″ for VT it would be 13 15/16″

Conversion chart for decimal to fraction equivalents when figuring cabinet door sizes

1/16” – .0626
1/8”- .125
3/16”-.1875
1/4”-.25
5/16”-.3125
3/8”-.375
7/16”-.4375
1/2”.5
9/16”-.5623
5/8”-.625
11/16”-.6875
3/4”-.75
13/16”-.8125
7/8”-.875
15/16”-.9375

  • Tip: Every hinge has its own tolerance adjustments, if you can cut a couple of trial pieces of wood, try installing them on a two door cabinet using your hinges. This will help you get an exact method of calculating accurately. In some cases you may have to deduct 1/32” or add this dimension to the cabinetry doors to make them fit properly. This is an important tip to consider, especially if you are special ordering expensive cabinet doors.

As you can see, the process of calculating European and face frame style cabinetry door sizes is largely dependent upon the overlay of the face frame style cabinet hinge that is being used.

Figuring out the size of the door is just a matter of adding, subtracting and dividing things out. You must double check every final size that you calculate. Remember this rule, “measure twice cut once.” This is the standard rule I use when I am ordering doors. Sometimes I measure three or four times before I cut or order anything.

Determining accurate cut or finish material parts for your cabinetry will lesson the stress load of dealing with mistakes after the doors have been ordered. Do not rush this process, especially if you are just learning how to calculate kitchen, vanity, or laundry room door sizes, either for face frame or European cabinetry styles.

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