Frameless Cabinet Dimensions and Countertops

A newcomer to frameless asks how much room to leave at cabinet tops for cabinet overhangs. Opinions vary. October 1, 2005

As a fairly recent convert to frameless cabinets I am still trying to fine tune my construction methods. I have been making my top rails out of 3/4" thick stock by 1 1/2" and turning it on edge to give me an 1 1/2" top rail. I did this to allow for drops on laminate and solid surface countertops and for a small 1/4" overlay on the top door or drawer. I have seen others who just have the top rail that is 3/4" by say 3" laying on edge to provide a top rail that is only 3/4" thick.

This would make the construction process much easier, but my question is this: What is the standard overlay on the top edge of the doors or drawer? Do you have to build up an underlayment or webbing for the countertops to allow for the drops? And finally, what is the standard reveal between the top of the door or drawer and the bottom of the countertop? Any help would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
Our countertops are built up and the reveal at the top is 3mm.

From contributor P:
I figure for the entire thickness of the countertop to be sitting on top of the cabinet, with no underhang. Typically, I'll leave 1/4" reveal if a granite top is being used (most common in our area) as there is often a bit of underhang when 5/8 subtop material is used. With a slab-type (concrete) top, it's 1/8".

From contributor R:
I build my frameless cabinets like the Blum Process 32 manual states. The top of a drawer (for base cabs) and the top of a door (for wall cabs) are all 10mm short of the top. With the bottom of these items flush with the bottom of the cabinet and building the cabinet to a standard height you will end up with a balanced door panel every time.

In frameless cabinets I think rails would not be the correct term to use. The top of my base cabinets have a 3/4" x 6" stretcher laying flat from side to side. One in the front and one across the back. This is plenty for the countertop guys to attach anything they need to my cabinets. The overlay is different depending where the item is. Overlay for a door bottom is 19mm, sides and top (if a drawer is above it) is 16mm. At the top of the cabinet the overlay is always 9mm. If the door is at the end (next to an exposed panel) the overlay is 19mm. But if you have an applied end panel there it is 16mm overlay.

From contributor P:
I build 1 1/2" thick counter tops (3/4) base with 3/4" buildup, so there is no overlap of the front of the cabinet. I allow 1/4" reveal at the top. I use 3/4" x 5" stetchers, laid flat, so there is 3/4" showing at the front of the cabinet.