What is the difference between frameless and face frame cabinets?

Cabinets can be constructed with or without face frames. The "box" of the cabinet consists of the sides, top, and bottom.

Face frame cabinets have horizontal and vertical trim boards that "frame" the front of the cabinet box. The doors rest on the surface of the face frame. These trim boards add stability to the cabinets and allow thinner material to be used for the box. Frameless cabinets do not require a back. Hardwood trim is often used over less expensive boxes to give a nicer appearance. This trim usually matches the cabinet doors. However, the trim's overhang hinders cleaning and blocks access to items in the cabinet. Also, there is a loss of space over a row of cabinets and inside drawers. It is impossible to install cabinet-width pull-out drawers in face frame cabinets.

Frameless cabinets do not make use of trim boards. Veneer that matches the material of the cabinet's face is used to cover the visible edges of the box- this is called edge banding. Stability comes from thicker side panels in the box or use of a back. Frameless cabinets provide greater accessibility and space with wider drawers and door openings. Frameless cabinets have a more contemporary look.

face frame and frameless cabinets