Cabinet Skins: What Are They and Why Are They Used?

Jenny Cazares | Discovery Team | Dean Cabinetry

By: Jenny Cazares

Skin is attached to the bottom of a wall cabinet so that all parts of the cabinets have the same finish. The bottom of your wall cabinet would then match the paint, or stain, of the rest of your kitchen cabinets.

What is a cabinet skin?

Cabinet skins are thin panels of wood (usually ¼” thick) used for different purposes in a cabinet project. 

For cabinets that have a painted finish, a cabinet skin is painted to match the cabinet’s finish. In a kitchen that has a wood finish, the skin is a wood veneer that is finished to match your cabinet’s finish.

How is a skin applied to kitchen cabinet bottoms?

Skins are applied to the bottoms of wall cabinets so that the unfinished bottoms, and joints, have the same finish as the rest of the cabinetry. 

Sometimes light rail molding (aka light rail) is needed to hide the edge of the skin. This would be necessary with stock and semi-custom cabinets. 

Light rail molding is a decorative trim installed on the bottom of your wall cabinets. It comes in a variety of styles.

John Dean Custom Cabinets include finished bottoms on all wall cabinets. The cabinets are built in a way to accept the skin with or without a light rail.

Why would I want skin on the bottom of my wall cabinets?

The decision to add plywood skin on the bottom of your wall cabinets is purely for aesthetics; it offers a complete, finished look to the undersides of your wall cabinets. 

How would someone see the bottoms of my cabinets?

If you have seating in your kitchen, at an island, peninsula, or table, the bottoms of your wall cabinets might be visible. Clients sometimes don’t like the look of the unfinished bottoms of wall cabinets. 

The unfinished wood, usually maple or birch, is especially noticeable when a client has cabinets with a painted finish.  

Can I get skins for the bottom of my wall cabinets with any level of cabinetry?

Yes.

  • Stock Cabinets
    • Skins and labor to install them would be an additional cost
    • Will require light rail to hide the ¼ plywood skin
  • Semi-Custom Cabinets
    • Skins and labor to install them would be an additional cost
    • Will require light rail to hide the ¼” plywood skin
  • John Dean Custom Cabinets
    • All wall cabinets include finished bottoms
    • It will not require a light rail, the ¼ plywood is hidden behind the cabinet’s frame. 

What is the additional cost to add skins to the bottoms of my wall cabinets?

The additional cost will vary depending on the cabinetry line you choose. It is based on the cost of the materials and the time required to install them.

With John Dean Custom Cabinets, all wall cabinets include finished bottoms, so there is no additional cost. 

Should I talk to my kitchen designer about finishing the bottoms of my wall cabinets?

Absolutely. If you are unsure as to whether you should finish the bottoms of your wall cabinets, speak with your designer. They will be happy to share their input, and provide you with your available options, depending on the cabinetry line you choose. 

If you are choosing stock or semi-custom cabinets, your designer will provide you with the cost for skins, light rail, and installation. You can then determine if this option fits into your budget. 

Dean Cabinetry strives to deliver the best value for every cabinet price point, designing beautiful kitchens you will enjoy for years to come. 

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