Measuring Guide

Measuring for Cabinet Doors

Measuring for Drawer Fronts

Measuring for Dovetail Drawer Boxes

If it’s your first time refacing your kitchen cabinets, measuring your cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and drawer boxes may seem like a daunting task. However, when you read this handy measuring guide, you’ll find that it’s actually quite easy. By following these simple instructions, you can ensure you have everything you need to create beautiful kitchen cabinets.

Please Note: These instructions are intended for cabinet doors and drawer fronts with partial overlays, in which you can see a portion of the face frame on all 4 sides of the installed door or drawer front. Even if you’re using cabinet doors and drawer fronts with partial overlays, your specific situation may be different from the examples used in this guide. Amish Cabinet Doors does not take responsibility for errors made as a result of following these recommendations.

Tools You’ll Need on Hand

Measuring tape, notebook, and pencil

You don’t need any specialized tools to measure your cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and drawer boxes. However, there are a few basic things you’ll want to have on hand before starting.

 You should have a standard tape measure to obtain accurate measurements. You should also have a pen and paper to write down your measurements. Finally, you should consider drawing a diagram of your cabinets and the doors and/or drawers you want to replace. This will help you keep your measurements organized, so that you’re recording the correct measurements for each cabinet door and/or drawer.

The Importance of Measuring Accurately

Before placing your order with Amish Cabinet Doors, you’ll want to be absolutely sure you’ve measured correctly. We custom build your cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and drawer boxes to your exact specifications. So if your order is measured incorrectly, you’ll end up with ill-fitting components that can’t be returned.

In order to ensure you obtain the most accurate measurements possible, you should remove any cabinet doors and/or drawers before measuring. This is typically as easy as pressing a release mechanism on the door hinge or drawer slide. Once your doors and/or drawers have been removed, measure each dimension to the nearest 1/16 of an inch. We recommend that you take each measurement at least twice to ensure accuracy. You’ll also want to make sure you’re writing each measurement down on your notepad or cabinet diagram. Finally, if you’re measuring for a cabinet door or drawer front, make sure you’re including any overlay in your measurement (more on this below), as this is the most frequent mistake we see.

Pencil and ruler icon

Measuring for Cabinet Doors

Use the steps below to measure for new cabinet doors. When you write down the measurements in your notepad, be sure you’re recording your measurements as width x height.

Step 1 — Measure Your Cabinet Opening

Use your tape measure to determine the width and height along the inside edge of your cabinet door opening. When measuring the width, start your tape measure on the left stile (the vertical part of the face frame) and run it along the inside edge to the right stile. When measuring the height, start your tape measure on the bottom rail (the horizontal part of the face frame) and run it up the inside edge to the top rail. Be sure to record your measurements to the nearest 1/16 of an inch and measure twice to ensure accuracy.

Diagram of cabinet opening with multiple components labeled
Illustration showing top and bottom rails and left and right stiles

Step 2 — Adjust for Cabinet Door Overlay

Now that you’ve measured your cabinet opening, it’s time to calculate the size of the cabinet door you’ll need — including the door overlay.

What Is an Overlay?

Most cabinet doors are not the same size as the cabinet opening they cover. Cabinet doors typically extend past the edge of the cabinet opening. The distance they extend past the cabinet opening is known as an overlay.

Cabinet doors often have an overlay of ½ an inch. However, overlays can range from ⅜ of an inch all the way up to 1 9/16 inches. Ultimately, the size of your cabinet door overlay comes down to how much of the frame you want to cover.

Diagram showing cabinet doors and hinges with full overlay, half overlay, and inset cabinets

How to Determine the Overlay of Your Existing Cabinet Doors

When updating your cabinetry, it helps to know the overlay of your existing cabinet doors. This allows you to match your new cabinet doors to your existing cabinet doors, or alternatively, to create a new look for your cabinets by adjusting the overlay. In order to determine the overlay of your existing cabinet doors, follow these simple steps:

  • Close the cabinet door you wish to measure.
  • With a pencil, make a mark along the outside edge of the door on the side where the hinge is located.
  • Remove the cabinet door.
  • Measure the distance between the pencil mark and the inside edge of your cabinet opening. This is your overlay.

Please Note: If you decide to increase the overlay of your existing cabinet doors, make sure you have enough space between cabinet doors to do so.

Calculating Overlay for Single Cabinet Doors

When calculating the dimensions for a single cabinet door, the process is relatively simple. To calculate the width of the door, simply take the overlay that you wish to add to your door and multiply it by 2. Then, take that number and add it to the width of your cabinet door opening. To calculate the height of the door, repeat the same process, substituting height for width. This can be expressed using the following formulas:

  • Cabinet Door Width = 2 x Cabinet Door Overlay + Width of Cabinet Door Opening
  • Cabinet Door Height = 2 x Cabinet Door Overlay + Height of Cabinet Door Opening

For Example: If your door opening is 16 inches wide and 30 inches in height, and you wish to add a ½-inch overlay, you would need to order a door that is 17 inches wide (2 x ½ + 16) by 31 inches in height (2 x ½ + 30).

Calculating Overlay for Double Cabinet Doors

Double cabinet doors use 2 cabinet doors that butt together to cover a single opening. When calculating the dimensions for double cabinet doors, the height is calculated using the same process used to calculate the height of single cabinet doors. However, the calculation of door width is slightly different.

Please Note: The maximum width we will manufacture cabinet doors is 24 inches. If your door opening is larger than 24 inches, you will need to order double cabinet doors.

To calculate the width of each cabinet door, take the overlay that you wish to add to your doors, and multiply by 2. Then, take that number and add it to the width of your cabinet door opening. Next, take your new total and divide by 2, then subtract 1/16 of an inch. By subtracting 1/16 of an inch, you allow for an ⅛-inch gap between cabinet doors.

These calculations can be expressed using the following formulas:

  • Door Width = (2 x Door Overlay + Width of Door Opening) / 2 – 1/16
  • Door Height = 2 x Door Overlay + Height of Door Opening

For Example: If your door opening is 30 inches wide and 40 inches in height, and you wish to add a ½-inch overlay, you would need to order 2 doors that are 15 9/16 inches wide ((2 x ½ + 30) / 2 – 1/16) by 41 inches in height (2 x ½ + 40).

The Relationship Between Cabinet Doors and Cabinet Door Hinges

The overlay of your cabinet doors should correspond to the overlay of your door hinges. If you have a particular set of cabinet door hinges you’d like to use for your project, then you’ll need to order cabinet doors with a corresponding overlay. On the other hand, if having a specific cabinet door overlay is important for the aesthetics of your project, then you’ll need to make sure your cabinet door hinges have that same overlay.

Please Note: At Amish Cabinet Doors, we can bore your cabinet doors and supply concealed door hinges. Our concealed door hinges are available with ⅜-inch, ½-inch, ⅝-inch, ¾-inch, 1-inch, 1 ¼-inch, 1 ⅜-inch, and 1 9/16-inch overlays.

Please Note: Some online guides suggest calculating the dimensions for your new cabinet doors by measuring your existing cabinet doors. While this method is a bit easier than the method we recommend in this guide, we advise against it for 2 important reasons. First, if you’re going to be replacing your door hinges, the new hinges may not have the same overlay requirements as your existing hinges, which will change the dimensions of the door you need to order. Second, your existing cabinet doors may have warped or shrunk over time, so that measuring the existing doors will not give you accurate dimensions. In order to ensure your door measurements are as accurate as possible, we recommend that you measure using your cabinet openings as outlined above. This method involves a few more steps, but will be well worth it when you receive the properly sized cabinet doors for your project.

Pencil and ruler icon

Measuring for Drawer Fronts

When measuring for drawer fronts you should follow a process similar to the process for measuring for single cabinet doors:

Step 1 — Measure Your Cabinet Opening

Use your tape measure to determine the width and height along the inside edge of your cabinet drawer opening. When measuring the width, start your tape measure on the left stile (the vertical part of the face frame) and run it along the inside edge to the right stile. When measuring the height, start your tape measure on the bottom rail (the horizontal part of the face frame) and run it up the inside edge to the top rail. Be sure to record your measurements to the nearest 1/16 of an inch and measure twice to ensure accuracy.

Diagram of cabinet opening with multiple components labeled

Step 2 — Adjust for Drawer Front Overlay

To calculate the width of the drawer front, simply take the overlay that you wish to add to your drawer font and multiply it by 2. Then, take that number and add it to the width of your cabinet drawer opening. To calculate the height of the drawer front, repeat the same process substituting height for width. This can be expressed using the following formulas:

  • Drawer Front Width = 2 x Drawer Front Overlay + Width of Cabinet Drawer Opening
  • Drawer Front Height = 2 x Drawer Front Overlay + Height of Cabinet Drawer Opening

For Example: If your cabinet drawer opening is 16 inches wide and 6 inches in height, and you wish to add a ½-inch overlay, you would need to order a drawer front that is 17 inches wide (2 x ½ + 16) by 7 inches in height (2 x ½ + 6).

Please Note: Some online guides suggest calculating the dimensions for your new drawer fronts by measuring your existing drawer fronts. While this method is a bit easier than the method we recommend in this guide, we advise against it. Your existing drawer fronts may have warped or shrunk over time, so that measuring the drawer fronts will not give you accurate dimensions. In order to ensure your drawer front measurements are as accurate as possible, we recommend that you measure using your cabinet openings as outlined above. This method involves a few more steps, but will be well worth it when you receive the properly sized drawer fronts for your project.
Pencil and ruler icon

Measuring for Dovetail Drawer Boxes

Over the years, your kitchen drawers get tugged open and slammed shut thousands of times. With every movement, their contents shift, causing the sides and bottoms of the drawers to wear out, loosen, and eventually fall apart. If it’s time to replace your cabinet drawers, there’s no better option than using high-quality, durable dovetail drawer boxes from Amish Cabinet Doors.

Before you order your new dovetail drawer boxes, you’ll need to take measurements. To do so, just follow the simple steps below. When measuring for new drawer boxes, you’ll also want to keep the following in mind:

  • We are capable of building your drawer boxes in 1/16-inch increments. Please round down all of your measurements to the nearest 1/16 of an inch. 
  • We use ½-inch or ⅝-inch wood for the sides and ends of our drawer boxes. Bottoms are built of ¼-inch matching wood, and the bottom insert is ½ of an inch. 
  • The maximum height we will manufacture drawer boxes is 20 inches. Although we will build drawer boxes or rollouts with a height of less than 2 inches, we do not advise it. 
  • We do not have a minimum or maximum width or depth for our drawer boxes. 
  • Please state all measurements for your dovetail drawer boxes and pull-out trays as width x depth x height. 

Measuring for Dovetail Drawer Boxes with Side-Mount Drawer Slides

When measuring for drawer boxes, your measurement will depend on the type of drawer slides you’re using. To measure for drawer boxes with side-mount slides, follow these steps:

Cabinet drawers with side-mount slides

Step 1 — Remove Your Existing Drawer Boxes

Carefully remove your existing drawer boxes from the cabinet frame. This will make it easier for you to accurately measure your cabinet(s). Before you remove the drawer boxes, we recommend removing any contents, as drawers can be quite heavy when loaded with stuff.

Step 2 — Determining the Width of Your New Drawer Boxes

Start by measuring the width of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure on the left stile (the vertical part of the face frame) and run it along the inside edge to the right stile. 

Once you know the width of your cabinet opening, you will need to adjust your measurement to provide enough clearance for drawer slides. The amount you will need to adjust will vary depending on the drawer slides you’re using.

For Example: All of the side-mount drawer slides that we carry on our website require ½ inch of clearance on each side of the box. So, if you’re ordering from Amish Cabinet Doors, you will need to subtract 1 inch (½ + ½) from the width of your cabinet opening.

Step 3 — Determining the Height of Your New Drawer Boxes

Measure the height of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure on the bottom rail (the horizontal part of the face frame) and run it up the inside edge to the top rail. 

When using side-mount drawer slides, you’re not required to have a certain amount of clearance at the top or the bottom of the drawer box. However, we recommend subtracting ½ from your height measurement, which will leave you with ¼ inch of clearance at both the top and the bottom of the drawer box.

Step 4 — Determining the Depth of Your New Drawer Boxes

Measure the depth of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure at the bottom back corner of your cabinet and run it along the inside edge up to your cabinet opening. 

In some instances, builders will run electrical or plumbing through the back of your cabinets, in which case you will need to adjust your depth measurement accordingly. In addition, you’ll want to be sure that your drawer boxes are properly sized for the types of drawer slides you’ll be using. We recommend deducting 1 inch from the length of your slides.

Step 4 — Determining the Depth of Your New Drawer Boxes

Measure the depth of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure at the bottom back corner of your cabinet and run it along the inside edge up to your cabinet opening. 

In some instances, builders will run electrical or plumbing through the back of your cabinets, in which case you will need to adjust your depth measurement accordingly. In addition, you’ll want to be sure that your drawer boxes are properly sized for the types of drawer slides you’ll be using. We recommend deducting 1 inch from the length of your slides.

For Example: If your drawer slides are 22 inches in length, then you’d want a 21-inch deep drawer box.
Please Note: All of the side-mount drawer slides that we carry on our website come in lengths of 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22 inches. Our full-extension side-mount drawer slides also come in a 10-inch length. If you plan on ordering drawer slides from our website, you’ll want to take these options into account when determining the depth needed for your drawer boxes.

Measuring for Dovetail Drawer Boxes with Undermount Drawer Slides

To measure for drawer boxes with undermount slides, follow these steps:

Cabinet drawer with undermount slides

Step 1 — Remove Your Existing Drawer Boxes

Carefully remove your existing drawer boxes from the cabinet frame. This will make it easier for you to accurately measure your cabinet(s). Before you remove the drawer boxes, we recommend removing any contents, as drawers can be quite heavy when loaded with stuff.

Step 2 — Determining the Width of Your New Drawer Boxes

Start by measuring the width of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure on the left stile (the vertical part of the face frame) and run it along the inside edge to the right stile. 

Once you know the width of your cabinet opening, you will need to adjust your measurement to provide enough clearance for your drawer slides. The clearance required will vary depending on the type of undermount slides you use. Most undermount drawer slides require a certain amount of space between the cabinet opening and the inside face of the drawer box. Because this distance is measured from the inside face of the drawer box, you’ll need to take the thickness of the drawer box sides into account when calculating this number.

For Example: The undermount drawer slides that we carry on our website require the inside faces of the drawer box to be spaced 13/16 of an inch from the inside of the cabinet opening. This means you need a total of 1 ⅝ inches (13/16 + 13/16) of clearance.

We offer ½-inch- and ⅝-inch-thick drawer box sides. Because you need to allow for 1 ⅝ inches of clearance for the undermount glides, and because this clearance is measured from the inside faces of the drawer box, your calculation will vary depending on the thickness of your drawer box sides.

If you order ½-inch-thick sides for your drawer boxes, you will need to subtract ⅝ of an inch from the width of your cabinet opening. With two ½-inch-thick sides and the additional ⅝ inches of space that you subtracted, this provides the necessary 1 ⅝ inches of clearance (½ + ½ + ⅝ = 1 ⅝) needed for our undermount slides.

If you order ⅝-inch-thick sides for your drawer boxes, you will need to subtract ⅜ of an inch from the width of your cabinet opening. With two ⅝-inch-thick sides and the additional ⅜ of an inch of space that you subtracted, this provides the necessary 1 ⅝ inches of clearance (⅝ + ⅝ + ⅜ = 1 ⅝) needed for our undermount slides.

So, if your cabinet opening is 24 inches wide and your drawer box will have ½-inch-thick sides, then you should order a drawer box that is 23 ⅜ inches wide. On the other hand, if you were to use that same 24-inch wide opening but your drawer box has ⅝-inch-thick sides, then you should order a drawer box that is 23 ⅝ inches wide. In both cases, there is 13/16 of an inch of clearance between each inside face of the drawer box and the side of the cabinet opening, adding up to 1 ⅝ inches of total clearance.

Step 3 — Determining the Height of Your New Drawer Boxes

Measure the height of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure on the bottom rail (the horizontal part of the face frame) and run it up the inside edge to the top rail. 

Once you know the height of your cabinet opening, you will need to adjust your measurement to provide enough clearance for your drawer slides. The clearance required will vary depending on the type of undermount slides you use.

For Example: The undermount drawer slides that we carry on our website require ¾ of an inch of clearance. So, if your cabinet opening is 8 inches in height, you should order a drawer box that is 7 ¼ inches in height.

Step 4 — Determining the Depth of Your New Drawer Boxes

Measure the depth of your cabinet opening. When measuring, start your tape measure at the bottom back corner of your cabinet and run it along the inside edge up to your cabinet opening. 

In some instances, builders will run electrical or plumbing through the back of your cabinets, in which case you will need to adjust your depth measurement accordingly. In addition, you’ll want to be sure that your drawer boxes are properly sized for the types of drawer slides you’ll be using. If your drawer slides are 22 inches in length, then you should order a drawer box that is also 22 inches in length.

Please Note: The undermount drawer slides that we carry on our website come in lengths of 12, 15, 18, and 21 inches. If you plan on ordering drawer slides from our website, you’ll want to take these options into account when determining the depth needed for your drawer boxes.
Please Note: Some online guides suggest calculating the dimensions for your new drawer boxes by measuring your existing drawer boxes. While this method is a bit easier than the method we recommend in this guide, we advise against it. Although well constructed dovetail drawer boxes tend not to warp and shrink to the same degree as cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and standard drawer boxes, you’re still able to get a more accurate measurement by measuring the cabinet opening. In addition, if you’re replacing standard drawer boxes that are not constructed with high-quality dovetail joints, your existing drawer boxes may have warped and shrunk over time. In order to ensure your drawer box measurements are as accurate as possible, we recommend that you measure using your cabinet openings as outlined above. This method involves a few more steps, but will be well worth it when you receive the properly sized drawer boxes for your project.
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