Keeping your doors/drawer fronts the same size…

If you are keeping the same size cabinet doors, this is easy. Simply measure the existing doors and drawer fronts and supply that list to us with all items listed width by height. Please do not send us sketches of the kitchen or cabinet opening sizes as we can’t calculate your door/drawer front sizes without being on the job site to ensure clearances with other cabinets, trim, etc. Only supply the exact dimensions of the items needed and since you are replacing with the same sizes, this should be fairly simple to do.

Replacing with larger or smaller doors/drawer fronts…

Determine the overlay you want

We suggest you refer to this image or this video for more information on the term ‘overlay’, but basically it is referring to how much the door ‘lays over’ the opening it is covering. See the images below for examples of common overlays/inset configurations. Partial overlay leaves a reveal of cabinet showing around the doors and drawers that can be 1” or more. Full overlay doors cover the majority of the cabinet face, leaving only ¼” of cabinet showing around the doors. In this step, your job is to decide if you want the more traditional partial overlay or the more accepted and contemporary full overlay look….Or do you want to go with inset?

Stick with a standard

Make sure you size the new doors according to standard overlays offered by the hinge manufacturers. We suggest sizing your doors to conform to an overlay of ½” for partial overlay and 1-¼” or 1-3/8” for full overlay as these are common overlays and supported by all the hinge manufacturers. Sizing your doors according to these common overlays will ensure you can easily find 6 way adjustable hinges for your doors, either from us or from another supplier. If you opt for inset, you need to make sure to leave an 1/8″ space all around your doors where they meet the face frame. Be mindful that inset doors may not sit square in your opening and may need to be sanded to fit, so we do not suggest inset be used when refacing your cabinets. Fort this reason, the rest of this article will focus on overlay applications.

Measure your cabinet openings

Now comes the critical part – measuring the cabinet openings for your new doors and drawer fronts. Refer to this video for some pointers… While the task itself is easy, the results drive the sizes of the new doors and drawers, so care must be taken in this step. We suggest carefully drawing each wall of cabinets on graph paper and noting the opening sizes in each cabinet opening. When complete, your sketch might look like this…

Door Measuring

Now, measure for your doors and drawer fronts

Let’s assume you have chosen to make your new doors ‘full overlay’ for a more contemporary look and you are going with a standard full overlay of 1-1/4”. Then, let’s assume all the framing on the cabinets (represented by the dark lines in the drawing above) is 1.5” wide.

You would calculate a door size by adding 2.5’’ to the width of the opening the door is going on, 1-1/4” for each side. For instance, the wall cabinet left of the range in the sketch shows an opening of 12 x 27. The door that covers this opening would be 14.5” wide.

But what about the height? In truth, this is not a critical dimension because the hinge is not dependent on it. You may want to size the height so that the bottom of the door is ¼” from the bottom of the cabinet (matching the left and right reveals), but leave 1” reveal at the top to allow for installing a crown molding to the cabinet face. In this case, the door would measure 28-3/4” high (1-1/4” overlay on bottom and ½” overlay on top). The image below represents how the door would look on this cabinet. The height you determine is totally up to you, its is only critical that the door cover the opening in overlay applications.

Door Measure for full overlay

BUT…the above example will not work in every case. For instance, look at the wall cabinet to the right of the range in image 1 above. There is a middle upright rail dividing the cabinet in to 2 openings. The middle upright stile will ‘share’ 2 doors. So now what? Well, the trick is in remembering that you can make the door overlay anything you want on the NON HINGE side. So, lets assume the two doors on this cabinet will hinge one on left side of cabinet and one on the right. The doors would measure 14.5” wide because the doors lay the full 1-1/4” width on the outsides, but can only lay over ½” where they meet in the middle. The image below illustrates this.

Door Measure - DOuble Door

But what if you want the left door in this example to hinge on the RIGHT side (on the middle rail) so that you can more easily open it while cooking at the stove? Quite simply, the door SIZE does not change, but you need to order a ½” Overlay hinge for that door as the HINGE side is no longer 1-1/4” OL.

Similarly, you would size doors with drawers above/below by leaving the same gap between. If you left ½” gap between the two doors in the above example, leave a ½” gap between doors and drawers as well. The image below illustrates this.

Door Measure base

Things to remember as you size your doors/drawer fronts:

  1. Remember clearance in corners where doors need more space to operate freely. Because of knobs/handles, we generally suggest 2.5” of dead corner space (filler, etc) in all BASE corners, regardless of overlay. Wall cabinets can be tighter, 1.25” or so. You will want to leave more space where the opposing run of cabinets in a corner is actually a dishwasher or other appliance as these are typically deeper than 24”. We suggest at least 4.5″ to 5″ of filler space, but this will depend on your appliance specification.
  2. Consider using partial overlay sizing on left and right sides on diagonal corner cabinets so that the doors do not interfere with the full overlay cabinets on the opposing runs.
  3. Follow the same overlay principles for any door applied end panels or appliance panels. In other words, try and leave the same reveals even on these non-operable doors.

Should you have any questions regarding your measurements, we are happy to guide you. Just give us a call. However, because we are not there to engineer the project, all measurements, even ones we assist you in calculating, are the responsibility of the customer, so it really pays to take time to plan and measure.


Here are some links to parts of our catalog that deal with the term “overlay” as well as hinge boring

Overlay Explanation
Hinge Boring Options