Understanding Cabinet Overlays

Cabinet doors are the most visible part of your cabinetry and is a key factor in defining your style and bringing personality to your space. When choosing your door style, you will want to consider the door overlay as it can have a direct impact on the overall appearance of your cabinetry.


Castleman Carpentry offers the fully custom cabinetry therefore providing the most flexibility in cabinet overlays in order to achieve the design style desired for your remodeling project.


Cabinet overlay is the correlation of your cabinet doors to the cabinet face frames. The overlay refers to the amount that the door covers the face frame.  As a custom cabinet maker we offer any overlay necessary to create the look and feel desired by the homeowner. For simplicity sake, we will review the three basic overlay categories:

Full Overlay

On full overlay cabinetry there is little face frame visible. In other words, the doors fully overlay the face frame. This provides a clean seamless look that is commonly used in a modern living space.

Traditional Overlay

Traditional overlay is the most common overlay sometimes referred to as a partial overlay. On traditional overlay cabinetry there is some face frame visible between the doors. The cabinet doors on a partial overlay will generally cover up 3/8” to 5/8” of the face frame on all sides of the opening. The traditional overlay, as the name implies, is generally seen on traditional cabinetry.


Otherwise known as zero overlay, the full face frame is visible as the cabinet doors will set into the face frame. Typically inset cabinetry takes more time to build as there is little to no room for adjustment and the door parts must fit perfectly into the openings. Inset cabinetry is seen in both vintage applications and contemporary applications. It is a beautiful upgraded design element.