What is the difference between inset and overlay cabinets?

In overlay cabinets, the door rests on top of the cabinet frame. There are several styles of overlay, depending on how much of the face frame the door conceals. Full overlay cabinets cover the frame to within ΒΌ" or less. Traditional overlay leaves about 1" of the frame face exposed, allowing space for a back bevel to be added if visible knobs or handles are not desired. Upper cabinet doors can be constructed with smaller overlays to accomodate crown molding.

In inset cabinets, the face of the door is flush with the face of the frame. This provides a smooth cabinet front alignment. Knob or handle hardware is necessary for inset cabinets.

inset and overlay cabinets