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What’s the deal with the deep refrigerators these days?

Mike Fuson

For years I’ve built my boxed in fridge cabinets 26.5” deep which left about 4” sticking out of the cabinet. Here lately clients have been purchasing refrigerators that are massive deep! The latest one had the door inside of a door design with the drawer at the bottom. Client had to take both doors off and the drawer out and it barely fit through a 36 “ door. They regret the choice now and was showing me that they couldn’t even reach what was in the back of the fridge. I’m guessing this thing was close to 40” over all depth once it was in. Question. How deep to build the cabinet? I hate the way it looks sticking out of the cabinet that far. This particular one went to the ceiling, there’s no way of standing a deeper cabinet up unless a bigger crown is used. I’ve made that cabinet in three pieces before, meaning two sides and a box and then assemble on site. Or build the whole thing on site in the upright position. The easiest fix would be if they would stop making the dang things so deep but that ain’t going to happen. So what’s the solution, and how much is acceptable sticking out of a cabinet? Thanks

9/23/17       #2: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Rich Kuban Member


Dealing with the same issue with washers and dryers in laundry rooms. Plus with front loaders, they want a folding counter on top. And older laundry rooms are not that wide across - also have to allow room to service and access hookups.

9/23/17       #3: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Leo G

Usually you build the cabinet to the box/door junction where the seal is on the refrigerator. If you go deeper than that the door might get interference from the cabinet box.

9/24/17       #4: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Ken Petrunick

I agree with Leo we do the same thing allowing only the door to protrude pass the panel. We just had a problem with a fairly expensive fridge with the thickness. 36" width cavity with on spec sheet which is usually a 35 5/8 width for a fridge. Back of fridge measured correct but the sides of the fridge were bulged out at least 3/4 on each side making it impossible to slide the fridge into the recommended opening. Client calls both manufacturer and store and the say this is normal. First time in 25 years I've had this happen. Going back this week to do a little modification to the panels to allow the fridge to fit. Boy wouldn't it be nice if they manufacturer stood behind their sizes and took some responsibility. Instead it costs us money to have to send someone out to fix. Just a little rant

9/24/17       #5: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Mike Fuson

I agree that only the doors need to stick out past the front of the cabinet. But don’t you think it will look dorky for a fridge cabinet to stick out 8-10” past the countertop? I do. Then again it looks dorky for the fridge to be sticking out of the cabinet also. If you look on houzz all the pics you see are with just the doors sticking out, but the cabinets look to be 26” or so. Counter depth fridges, the way it should be. I just did one with a 48” commercial fridge that was 24 3/4” deep. I just don’t get why some of these fridges are designed this deep, that’s my rant.
Ken, I too have had one bulging fridge and had to modify just as you are. Frustrating...

9/24/17       #6: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Mike Fuson

This is what I’m talking about.

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9/24/17       #7: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Mark B Member

For me, that would be a situation where a plane change in the cabinets to accommodate that fridge would be incorporated. Its no fault of yours if the fridge was purchased after the layout but I personally wouldnt be happy with that much projection in a kitchen we made.

We tend to do a lot of kitchens with varied height and depth cabs so accommodating a non-standard appliance depth isnt really an issue but the appliance package has to be locked down before production begins.

In that situation I would either have made that entire fridge cab the depth required for the fridge and been done with it.

9/26/17       #8: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Jared Emery

I've done a stud pocket for those fat-assed fridges on occasion, and gain another 3.5". Take out the drywall, multitool out the one or two studs in the way, toenailed a header of sorts to carry the wall weight down, and give that fridge a push.

9/27/17       #9: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Alan F. Member

We did a few house for the first time in ages. The GC made a recess in the framing for the REFER so it flushed out.
I think he went 2 x 10 framing to 2 x 4 at the refer.
Whoever designed the houses had it all worked out so everything flushed out

9/27/17       #10: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Harold morantz

Website: http://morantz

Here in south Florida nobody cooks! The appliances are just for show. Counerdepth is normal but most clients go for flush inset. I hate that monster fridge but the recessed wall is the best bet.

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9/27/17       #11: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Mike Fuson

I appreciate all the responses. It’s a bad situation no matter how you look at it. Thing about it on this particular fridge, and I don’t know if you can tell from the pic, bu the doors round out in the front. So even if I had built the cabinets full depth minus the doors then it would protrude about 3” on the side and about 7” in the middle. So I’m going to say there’s no good answer but to build it out even with the doors. Thanks again.

9/28/17       #12: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Mark V.

Just a few thoughts…

I do not build a kitchen till I have appliance specs in hand and have reviewed them, no exceptions.

A 36” refrigerator is made to fit into a 36” opening, not a 36” opening, plus bulge allowance! That refrigerator should have been returned, unless there was a disclaimer on their appliance specification sheet, which is very doubtful.

I build custom frameless cabinetry, so modifying cabinets to fit a poorly manufactured appliance, after the fact, is not going to happen easily, if at all. Ken, please tell us who is manufacturing these problematic refrigerators, so we all can keep our eye out should a client choose one.


9/29/17       #13: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
Mark B Member

I think the problem with the last few responses is that kitchens like Harolds example and what sounds like Mark V's are completely different animals that the kitchen I commonly build and looks like Mike Builds. Your talking about an appliance "opening". These are not kitchens with matching panels applied to all appliances. These are your standard face frame or even framless kitchen with a 30" gap for a range, a predeterimined gap for a fridge, a 24" gap for a dishwasher, and so on. Of course if the appliance spec'd is wider/deeper accommodations are made but my average kitchen looks NOTHING like that of Harolds beautiful examples. There is simply no way to make the fridge in question look like either of those photos. Its a standard retail fridge for a residential kitchen. The recessed wall in the back is surely an option if planned for but obviously the kitchen was spec'd at a given fridge width and the customer didnt take standard counter depth into consideration.

Again, Harolds kitchens are beautiful. Would love to build them more often, but they, and their budgets, are not what comes through our shop regularly.

9/29/17       #14: What’s the deal with the deep refri ...
keith farr

In a former life I was a home builder and the realtors would always say "dont put the fridge in until we get it sold" because they would stick out and make the kitchens look much smaller. Now as a cabinet builder I warn my customers about buying the big footage fridges. Ive seen many fridges returned after the customer realized what I had been telling them. We build our standard ref enclosure 25 1/4" deep so to cover countertop overhang next to the box. Then I always tell customer how far out their model will protrude . Let them decide, document it, build it!

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