Kitchen cabinet crisis
slindmark
May 10, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are building a new home and must decide between inset and full overlay cabinets. We're going for that country farm feel so I'm leaning toward the painted wood inset cabinets. I'm concerned about maintenance. Are they a lot of extra work to level and maintain? Or, as many have suggested, should we go with MDF? Can we still go with inset if we go with MDF? I'm concerned that MDF is too "perfect" looking for the old farm feel I want. I'm hoping my Houzz friends can put me out of my misery here. Thanks so much.
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
I think inset would be great for a farmhouse look (they are more old fashioned, in a good way), though full overlay can also have a vintage farm house look with the right hardware. Inset is usually just a bit more expensive. I would avoid MDF, however. It doesn't hold up as well as wood, especially around water. There are Houzz threads that discuss this in more detail. http://www.houzz.com/discussions/407874/MDF-vs-plywood-box
May 10, 2013 at 7:02pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
slindmark
Thank you, teeny. I appreciate your comments. Have you heard any horror stories about having to constantly level the inset cabinets?
May 10, 2013 at 7:08pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
zennifer
We just made this choice...we went with inset doors. I just love the furniture look of them. They were more expensive...but I think it was worth it.

The downside of inset doors is that they apparently need adjusted seasonally...the hinges we used are hidden and are easy to adjust, however.
May 10, 2013 at 7:09pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
zennifer
Ours have been in for a little over a month, during a big shift from dry to wet...no adjustments yet. We have the Blum hidden inset hinges, with cherry doors and 1/8" space.
May 10, 2013 at 7:11pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
feeny
Honestly, I haven't ever heard anything about problems with leveling in relation to inset cabinets, and I hang out on Houzz quite a lot. But I am not a professional, so perhaps one of the experienced construction people here can weigh in on that question. We ended up choosing full overlay Shaker cabinets for our vintage-style kitchen (our house is from 1920) just because I liked the sleek, simple look of them, but inset would actually have been a bit more authentic.
May 10, 2013 at 7:12pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
slindmark
Thanks so much for all the immediate input. I knew I should have started here. There's nothing more helpful than hearing from people who have had to make the same decision, regardless of the final decision made. I think both inset and full overlay are lovely, but when I go back and review my Ideabook pictures for the kitchen I see that about 95% have inset cabinets. Its just such a big decision and I'm hoping this is the last house I'll ever build so I want to do it right. Again, thank you all for your help.
May 10, 2013 at 7:21pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
kustombuilt
Slindmark, I build custom cabinets and my opinion is, if you are going for the farmhouse look inset doors would fit that style the best. They usually do cost more, because of the extra labor involved to get the spacing around the inside of the face frames just right. Generally speaking, MDF doors usually will not expand and contract as much as a wood door, but the down side is, like somebody mentioned, is they will not hold up as well with moisture. I would just make sure the person building your cabinets use good hinges with a lot of adjustments. Also, for the finish, instead of paint, use a tintable catalyzed laquer with a good primer underneath.If you decide on MDF, this process works just fine. You could also go 1 step furthur and glaze them, so they look aged and not so perfect. Hope this helps!
May 10, 2013 at 9:03pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
zennifer
The Blum hinges I mentioned adjust almost 1/8 inch in every (three) directions...I'd definitely recommend them. I'm super impressed with them.
May 10, 2013 at 9:29pm     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
kustombuilt
Zennifer, your right, Blum makes great hinges. I use salice, also 3 way adjustments. Great for inset doors! :)
May 10, 2013 at 9:34pm   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
slindmark
Thank you for your input. It's also good to hear from the pros.....so very kind of you all to take the time to offer such detailed advice. Who knew there were so many decisions?
May 11, 2013 at 3:54am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Judy M
I've had inset door for over eight years, never needed an adjustment. Love the look, add a few glass doors for a real farm house feel.
My cabinets with glass have a bead board backing as does my island back which I think adds to a farm house feel.
May 11, 2013 at 4:18am     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
slindmark
Thank you, Judy. I'm beginning to feel a lot better about the inset doors. Are yours wood of MDF?
May 11, 2013 at 6:20am   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
kustombuilt
That's interesting to hear Judy. Usually you should not have to make many adjustments. We have full overlay in our house for about 4 yrs and I have not had to adjust mine either. We have flat panel doors with solid wood frames and MDF panels.
May 11, 2013 at 6:43am   
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Kitchen Cabinet Crisis
My husband and I are having trouble deciding on kitchen...
Dark Huge Kitchen Crisis!
HELP! I have tried several colors on the walls-cabinets-fireplace...
Kitchen wall color crisis
It's time to paint the walls in my galley kitchen but...
Kitchen crisis!!
These are the tiles we chose for our kitchen, 3 sides...
Temporary kitchen remodel crisis!
We are remodeling our entire house top to bottom. Our...
More Discussions
POLL: Best Home Security System?
Everyone wants to make sure their home and family is...
Help Me Convince Him This Can Be Beautiful!
My boyfriend and I are thinking of purchasing this...
Kitchen lighting
Hello! We are renovating a 60s colonial we just bought....
Need help with Hood and Liner installation
I need to install a VentAHood liner and semi custom...
Under stairs - wasted space
I would really appreciate help in trying to figure...
© 2014 Houzz Inc.
Houzz® The new way to design your home™