Wall Cabinet Undersides

Should they match the face frames? Or be a lighter shade to reflect light? Does it even matter? Cabinetmakers discuss the options. July 9, 2005

I have a client who asked about having melamine showing under wall cabinets. His concern was about the cherry matching the face-frames/doors. I immediately thought why not go with plywood (since that's what I usually use), but he wants the melamine for interiors.

My question is, is this a standard for upper cabs to have the same species as face-frames on the under side of the cabinet? Of course there is going to be under cab lighting, and I feel that it isn't that necessary because it is hard to see the underside of the uppers even if you use at least a 2 1/2" bottom rail. Any advice would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
As long as everything is edge-banded, it shouldn’t be an issue. If there is a concern, just add a light rail.

From contributor P:
We usually skin the underside with a piece of 1/4" ply in the same specie as the rest of the cabinet exteriors, scribing it to the wall, then attaching with glue and micro pins. On any melamine or pre-finished plywood interior job, we build the rough cases, then apply finished ends as needed, either loose ends for frameless that attach in the field, or applying a finished end on the rough case on a face-frame job.

From contributor J:
I would suggest that you ask him what is on the underside of his cabinets in his home now. He will have no idea, and will then realize that it is not an issue. I have always used two sided melamine for the bottoms of my uppers, and banded the bottoms of the sides white.

From contributor S:
Another solution which comes to mind might be to just use cherry grain melamine for the interiors of the upper cabinet. You would then automatically have cherry-looking undersides. Roseburg amber cherry is what I use, but there are several others.

From contributor M:
There is one sided melamine panel with a veneer raw cherry face available in my area (CA) and I use it for the type of cabinets you are describing.

From contributor P:
Our top of the line custom cabinets are offered in melamine interiors. We construct the carcass using a solid color melamine such as almond and veneer the exposed ends with matching face frame material such as cherry. We inset the bottoms 2" to allow for lighting, and then edge tape the bottom of all sides including the front face frame with matching color for interiors. We then attach 1/4" panels matching melamine for false bottoms a 1/2" inset from the bottom to hold zenon puck lights.

From contributor D:
How about a light-reflecting underside? Of course, it's just a 12" rip of white VG laminate or cabinet liner applied to the bottom of the cabinet (behind the valance) to cover the unfinished cabinet ends. For short runs of 3 or 4 uppers, it’s applied in the shop. For longer runs where it is too heavy to hoist to the wall or L-shaped runs, it's just applied in the field.