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Kitchen Cabinet Terminology and Definitions
Bead board
Paneling that incorporates beaded, routed detail and
conveys relaxed, casual styling. Beaded styling adds
texture and design to flat panel wood coverings, and is
noticeably accentuated by glaze finishes
Beaded Door
A flat panel cabinet door design that incorporates vertical
beaded texture on the recessed panel area of the door.
The wood door frame is more simple and constructed with
cane and stick joinery.
Cherry is an elegant, multi-colored hardwood, which may
contain small knots and pin holes. Natural or light stains
accent these color variations making a distinctive
statement in a full kitchen. Cherry wood will darken or
“mellow” with age. This mellowing is a natural occurrence
and the benefit of owning a solid cherry kitchen.
Custom Cabinetry
With custom cabinetry, the sky's the limit in terms of
cabinet dimensions, shape, wood species, finish and
special detailing. Custom cabinetry provides customers an
A recessed center panel to a door or drawer design conveying Transitional, Shaker, or Arts
and Crafts styling.
Framed Cabinets
door is attached. These are the most popular type of cabinets in the U.S. and are easier to
install than frame less cabinetry because of their recessed end panels and rigid front
frame. Framed cabinets are available in Traditional and Full Overlay styling which are
explained below. Framed construction utilizes glue, staple and dowel or screw construction.
Frame less Cabinets
Frame less, or European-style cabinets, have no front frame. The doors are attached
directly to the sides of the cabinet. Frame less cabinets, which are more contemporary in
style, offer the advantage of completely unobstructed access to the cabinet interior
because there is no front frame. Frame less construction utilizes pin and dowel
Full Overlay
Cabinet door styles that cover most of the face frame, giving prominence to the door and
drawer design.
Glaze Finish
An additional furniture finish treatment that is applied to improve a standard stain, enhance
door detail and even-out wood species variation.
The substances used to coat cabinetry that produces enhancements in door detail, wood
color and tone. The addition of glaze finish treatments as an added finishing step has
revolutionized the cabinet industry, bringing home fashion to the forefront of consumers’
minds. Glazes actually enhance and improve the beauty of the wood and the base finish
color. Glaze treatments and techniques can vary from heavy to light. Lighter treatments
lend themselves to a more subtle appearance.
Hickory is a strong, open grained wood that is known for its wide variation in color. It is not
uncommon to see doors or parts of doors that range in color from light to a deep brown
when finished in light or natural stains. Darker stains will mildly tone these color variations.
These characteristics are what makes each hickory kitchen unique and the preference of
those who love wood.
Hard maple is a strong, close grained wood that is predominantly off-white in color;
although it also contains light hues of yellow-brown and pink. Hard maple occasionally
contains light tan or small dark mineral streaks.
MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)
An engineered wood offering an extremely tight and smooth surface. Exceptionally stable,
MDF is favored for laminating with thermofoils and melamine.
Melamine Laminate
This is a material used on drawer and doors surfaces to cover substrate of either particle
board or MDF. All laminate is durable and easy to clean. Melamine laminate is also a
material used for fabricating countertops since it is thicker than vinyl and provides a hard,
durable surface.
Mullion Doors
Mullion doors have glass inserts in place of the typical solid center panel for a more stylish
appearance. The inserts have horizontal and vertical dividing bars similar to those in
Red oak is a strong, open grained wood that has a range in color of white, yellow and pink.
Red oak is sometimes streaked with green, yellow and black mineral deposits and may
contain some wide grain.
Recessed Door
A flat panel held inside the perimeter of a door. A flat panel recesses between the stiles
and rails.
Semi-Custom Cabinets
Semi-custom cabinets offer fewer options than “custom cabinets” and are available in a
number of different sizes, shapes, wood species and finishes. Semi-custom cabinetry
provide customers a limited number of styling options in both their framed and frame less
offerings that include such things as reduced depths, increased depths, matching interiors,
inverted frames, etc. Sales of Semi-custom cabinets are much less than those of stock
cabinetry in the industry.
A soffit or “bulkhead” is the area between a ceiling and the top of wall cabinets and usually
12 inches high and extending out over the wall cabinets.
Solid Wood
A door with a solid wood center panel is comprised of boards that are joined or glued
together to form the width of the center panel. Because natural woods have variations in
color and grain pattern from board to board, these variations will be apparent in a solid
wood door. Predictably, a solid wood door is more expensive than a veneered door.
Stock Cabinets
Stock cabinets, which offer fewer options than either “custom” or “semi-custom” cabinetry,
are also available in a number of different sizes, shapes, wood species and finishes. Stock
cabinetry provides customers a very limited number of styling options in both their framed
and frame less offerings. Sales of stock cabinets are greater than those of either custom or
semi-custom cabinetry in the industry.
Flexible, 100 percent solid-colored vinyl. With adhesive on its underside, it is applied to
smooth, engineered wood or MDF which has been formed into a door, drawer or molding
design. It has solid, opaque coloration and is easy to clean and maintain. Ideal for durable
Traditional Overlay Styling
Overlay is the amount of front frame covered by the door and drawer. The exposed front
frame is referred to as the “reveal.” The reveal on Traditional Overlay cabinets is typically 1
A veneer is a thin piece (1/32 of an inch) of solid wood which is attached with glue to a
substrate (usually “particle board” in raised panel doors and “hardboard” in flat or
recessed panel doors). Veneered components are more uniform in finish and grain
consistency. Veneered center panels in doors provide stability by minimizing its shrinking
and expansion in dry and moist climates thereby eliminating cracking and splitting. Some
matching interiors in Merillat cabinetry are wood veneers as opposed to vinyl.
A vertical beaded or grooved door style design. Works well to highlight finish techniques.
Vinyl Laminate
This is a material used on the interior of all cabinetry as well as most cabinet exterior end
panel surfaces. Typically 2 mils thick, it is very easy to clean. Since vinyl is thinner than
melamine, it can easily wrap various cabinet components while providing the highest
degree of resistance to moisture and abrasions.
Wood Grain
Pattern and texture produced in wood.
Wood Species
Different types of hardwoods or softwoods. Examples are maple, oak, cherry and hickory.
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