This is a common question that we get from customers and realistically the answer can be yes or no, it really depends upon the situation. There are some ready-to-assemble products on the market that will reduce the number of items they have to stock by making the cabinet box a universal color and then you have to buy matching kitchen cabinet end panels to get the cabinets to match the face frame and doors (Ikea products are like this). Our cabinet lines all have finished sides, so they are stained or painted (depending upon the cabinet line) to match the face frame and doors. So if your only concern is whether or not the sides are finished, then you don’t have to worry… you won’t need the end panels.
So when WOULD you use end panels? There are a couple of scenarios where you would need to use end panels, but I think it is important to explain why we sell them first. All of our cabinets are framed cabinets, which means there is a face frame on the cabinets that adds extra rigidity and strength. The face frame on our cabinets overlaps the sides by 1/8” to lock them in place.
We sell kitchen cabinet end panels to fill in this gap when the end of the cabinet will be exposed. As I mentioned, the sides are finished to match the face frame, so in what scenarios would you want to use end panels?
1) Esthetics – Esthetics is the most basic reason. Some people want the sides to be flush with the face frame, so the end panel will create that look.
2) Installing Crown Moulding– If you are installing crown moulding, you will need the sides to be flush to create a clean corner. The end panel will create a flush side, which also makes that corner much much easier to calculate.
3) Installing Decorative End Panels – We started selling the regular end panels as part of our deco door kits, but most companies don’t. Most often a decorative end panel is really just a cabinet door that you are attaching to the side of the cabinet. For that reason, it is not going to fit into the 1/8” groove that is on the side of the cabinets. You want this surface to be flush so that the door can overlap onto the edge of the face frame.
When it comes to refrigerator panels or pantry end panels, we currently do not sell them because they are too large and too hard to ship without getting damaged. In most cases people don’t use them on pantries or refrigerator panels anyway.
So if you are trying to determine if you need the end panels, use the three scenarios above as a guideline. If you don’t fall into any of those three, then odds are you don’t need them.
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