When I ask customers if they would prefer a Handleless kitchen or a Handleless effect kitchen, very few realise that two different styles exist. Therefore, it may be useful to explain the differences between the two.
A true handleless kitchen with continuous rail
For a kitchen to be called truly handleless, the doors must have no handles. To open the doors, a continuous rail is fitted into the cabinet. The rail enables your fingers to slide over the top of the door & open it from behind. This is pictured below.
The other type of true handleless kitchen uses push to open catches to allow the door to be opened. Although handleless kitchens with push to open catches look stunning, they aren’t particularly practical. Firstly, this type of system can’t be used with an integrated dishwasher or fridge freezer. Secondly, the push to open mechanism’s usually start failing after just a few years. Thirdly the doors can often open just by you brushing past them. This is why I generally recommend clients choose an alternative type of handleless kitchen instead.
A handleless effect type handleless kitchen
In recent years, handleless effect kitchens have become as popular as true handleless kitchens. Handleless effect kitchens have an integrated handle at the top of each door to enable opening. two examples can be seen below.
Their are two types of integrated handle style handleless kitchens on the market. Their are the low quality wrapped type & there’s the high quality painted & lacquered type.
Two types – wrapped & painted & lacquered
If you buy the low quality wrapped type, it can be difficult to open the doors. This is particularly the case with doors attached to integrated dishwashers, fridges, freezers & fridge freezers. The reason for this is that the groove at the top of the door is very shallow. Because it’s so shallow, it can be very hard to get the necessary grip required to pull open the door. This is less of a problem with the higher quality painted & lacquered type doors as the groove is much deeper.
It’s mainly the high street chains & trade-only suppliers that sell the low quality wrapped type handleless kitchen doors. The majority of integrated handle type handleless kitchen doors sold by Independent kitchen showrooms are the high quality painted & lacquered type.
The pictures below show you the difference in the depth of the groove between a low quality wrapped type door & a high quality painted & lacquered type door. The image on the top is a high quality painted & lacquered type, the one below is a low quality wrapped type. It’s easy to see from the bottom picture why opening doors on integrated dishwashers, fridges, freezers & fridge freezers is so problematic with the wrapped type.
The other problem with wrapped type doors is they’re prone to de-laminating (as shown below). De-laminating is where the surface peels away from the MDF base. The first signs of de-lamination is bubbling around the edges of the doors. You don’t get this problem with the higher quality painted & lacquered type.
A subtle handle across the top
If you like the look of a handleless kitchen, but also like the practicality of having a handle, why not go for a kitchen with a subtle handle across the top of the door? although this isn’t technically a handleless kitchen, it gives a similar look. Below are a few examples of these.
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