Fridge Panel Dimensions

Refrigerator panel dimensions provided in the manufacturer's manual should be checked against the actual appliance measurements, because sometimes things change. February 17, 2012

This is probably an everyday thing for most of you, but this is the second time I've made Fridge Panels and I'm a little confused. This is a GE Profile side by side. There are four panels in all. I measured for the panels from outside to outside of the aluminum frame that captures the 1/4 backer board, but the measurements from the manual are completely different. I have not discussed it with the customer, but I'm sure they want the panels to cover the frame. Now I'm concerned about crowding the handle or binding the door. Any advice?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
Go online and get the specs from the refrigerator manufacturer. With the model number you should get the information you need. Some refrigerators don't allow trim kits but the ones that do have all the information you would need. They will have a PDF and give you the backer panel size. The space size usually .10 and the overall outside dimension for the finish panel. These specs account for the handle on the door.

From the original questioner:
I guess I was unclear. The customer provided the manual that came with the fridge, and it matches the online PDF from GE's web site exactly, but the measurements on the document are quite a bit (greater than one inch in some instances) different from the ones I took on site. In your experience, are the measurements in the manual 100% correct? Also, what do you usually use to get the .10" spacer? 1/8" hardboard?

From contributor J:
I have not run into this but I have heard of problems like this. The PDF online isn't up to date with the latest model. Maybe call the manufacturer and make sure. I know that could take some time but a last resort maybe. I happen to have a spacer for the CNC so I take a 1/8 panel and mill down to thickness. Before CNC I would take the same panel and wide belt down to thickness. I always go a little thicker than not so it helps me get over that outside flange piece.

From contributor M:
The online specs note that the dimensions provided with the appliance supersede any specs provided on their websites. The dimensions provided with the appliance in hand are correct for that frig. I'm confused as to why anyone would think that the panels ought to cover the trim around the door frames, as they are what actually holds everything on the frig door. At our shop we don't use a 1/4" backer, just glue up solid panels to size specified and raise with a 1/4" tongue to fit under extrusions. Some customers might prefer doors on 1/4", but I've not had any.

From the original questioner:
I like your idea Contributor M. To answer your question, it's because the manual lists three ways to do it. Two ways preserve the use of the factory door handles, and one removes the door handles, covers the trim pieces, and uses handles that match the rest of the cabinets. With all three methods though, the manual shows the use of a 1/4 inch backer which the fridge panels attach too.