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Cabinet Door Decisions

by Greg Keefer

Building or replacing a cabinet door can be a challenging, yet rewarding, do-it-yourself project. But, you have lots of elements to consider and decisions to make before you get started.

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What Door Style Do You Want?

Most cabinet doors are made of particle board, plywood, or some other wood product. Beginners should stick with the tried and true:

  • Slab style: A flat piece of wood cut to fit the cabinet is the foundation of the door. The slab style cabinet door is the easiest to work with at home.
  • Raised panel and flat panel doors: Panel doors begin with solid wood frames, and, then, the real work begins. The stile and rail construction is beautiful, and you can give the cabinet door your own creative touch with a router or shaper cutting set.
  • Inset: This door is set into the face frame.
  • Full and partial overlay: These doors cover either all or part of the cabinet frame. The advantage is that sizing the door needs to be less exact.

The Cabinet Door Function

Construct your cabinet door to the intended use. You should make work shop cabinets out of solid wood for durability. Kitchen cabinets receive lighter use, and you can construct them as delicately as you wish. Remember, inlaid cabinet doors and other more decorative doors are subject to expansion, contraction, and warping over time. A solid wood or wood product door is sturdier.

Getting Fancy

If you have the expertise or are a risk-taker, you can try tenon and mortise joints. If you're a beginner, stick with the simple joints and cabinet styles that don't require a router table.

Creating your own cabinet door is a fantastic DIY project. Just keep these considerations in mind during the planning stage, and your cabinet doors can last for years.


About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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