One of the biggest areas of confusion that we see in our online quote submissions for Conestoga’s RTA cabinets is a general misunderstanding of the Flush vs Exposed end options and what you are really getting as compared to the standard unfinished end. To make this clearer, always think in terms of your installed cabinetry:

Standard Cabinet End:

Any cabinet end that is against a wall or another cabinet and will NOT be seen need not have any end option noted at all on the quote request. The standard cabinet end is a B grade veneer for Advantage (plywood cabinet line) and a blonde birch print melamine end for Essence (particleboard cabinet line). Since the end of the cabinet will not be seen, there is no need to request flush or exposed at additional expense. The face frame extends past the cabinet side by 5/16″ as in the image below.

Exposed ends

Exposed & Flush Ends:

Any end of any cabinet that is going to be at all visible should be treated with either the Flush or Exposed end option as it needs to be finished to match. In the case of unfinished cabinets, exposed or flush should still be requested so that the cabinet is prepared with a finish ready veneer so that your finishing time is minimal as the cabinet end is prepared and ready to accept your paint or stain.

Exposed End:

The exposed end option simply takes the standard 1/2″ thick cabinet end described above and adds matching specie veneer and finish to the end. This does add expense as the finish labor and A grade plywood adds expense for Conestoga to produce. In the case of the Essence particle board cabinet line, the end is a real wood veneered end, NOT a close match melamine. The face frame still protrudes 5/16″ past the side of the cabinet, just as the standard unfinished end would. It is also worth noting that this is not a veneer you need to apply. The cabinet end already comes with the veneer and finish applied. The exposed end option should be ordered per cabinet and the sides getting the option clearly called out as Left, Right or Both.

Flush End:

The Flush end option results in an 11/16″ plywood side with a matching specie veneer and, if finished cabinets were requested, the matching finish will be applied on the end. As with the Exposed end option, the Flush end option does increase the price of the cabinet as the finishing labor and improved grade of plywood does add expense for Conestoga. The Flush end option should be ordered per cabinet and the sides getting the option clearly called out as Left, Right or Both.

It is worth noting that the Flush End option is only available on the All plywood Advantage cabinet line. The Flush end is preferred over the exposed end for a couple of reasons. First off, it makes for a more furniture-like product and really adds little expense over the exposed end option – perhaps a few dollars per side. Secondly, the flush end option is ideal to allow extra clearance on full overlay cabinets. How so? Well, let us assume you have pulled your Cook Top Base cabinet forward 3″ and then are abutting some cabinets to the left and right of it. If you only opt for the exposed end option for your Cook Top cabinet, the face frame will still protrude past the cabinet side by 5/16″. Then, when you go to pull out the top drawer on the adjacent cabinet, the drawer front rubs the edge of the face frame on the cooktop cabinet. See the diagram below to see this. The diagram illustrates the use of the flush end on the right side while the exposed end option was used on the left side.

Flush and exposed interference drawing

Another benefit to the flush end is in the installation of moldings like a crown, base or light rail If you were to wrap the cabinet in any of these moldings and were using the exposed end option, you would need to first shim the 5/16″ gap with finished strips or notch the face frame. See the diagram below which illustrates this. However, with the Flush End option, the trim can cleanly wrap the cabinet with minimal trimming or fuss.

Crown on exposed and flush end

A note about Custom Woods:

In the case of custom woods, Conestoga will supply a pre-cut end SKIN which the customer will apply to the cabinet side. The skin will be in the same specie as the custom cabinet wood (IE: Walnut, lyptus, Alder, etc). The flush and exposed end options would not apply, but the quote request should still indicate which cabinet side(s) should be finished so that we can properly size and supply the end skins for your finished ends. You would simply laminate the skin to the cabinet side using a readily available spray-on adhesive such as the 3M product below. We have used this countless times and really like it.

3m spray








As usual, should you have any questions about the cabinet end options available to you, please let us know. We are happy to assist you!

Watch an Overview video Here!


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