Countertop Overhangs 101

Wondering about overhangs and how far it should extend from the cabinet? Well, there are different approaches to this, so take a look below and learn all you need to know!

Standard overhangs

  • On inset cabinetry, you don’t want counters to sit the standard overhang (about 1-1/4” from cabinet box) because of the nature of inset: your doors sit inside of the frame so your countertop needs to overhang less than an overlay or frameless cabinet.
  • Framed overlay and frameless cabinet doors sit proud of the cabinet box, and most doors are ¾” deep plus a 1/8” bumper on the back of door/drawer fronts. Overhanging countertops 1-1/4” gives an average (if something is out of square/plumb) overhang for the entire space, although it can vary by 1/8” in either direction. If your doors are thicker/thinner, change this standard accordingly.
  • Frameless cabinet owners sometimes want a more modern look, so they will attempt to achieve counters that match your door/drawer front projection. You have to be sure that your cabinet installers take extra care shimming cabinets to ensure the front plane of cabinetry is exactly in line all the way across.

Overhangs at seating areas

  • Basically, the higher your seat is off of the floor, the larger the angle your body makes between your torso and your legs, which is general math means that your legs protrude less the higher up you are.
  • Because of this, you need less space when you are at a bar height (standard 42” above the floor) and more space when you are at table height (standard 30” above the floor) in comparison to the standard kitchen countertop height (36” above the floor).
  • No matter what height you are at, each full table setting requires a width of at least 24” of space per person. However, at bar seats used for casual drinking and dining, some homeowners are fine with having closer to 21” of space for their needs.

Access standards

  • If you are working with someone who needs a space that is ADA friendly, the minimum open space below a countertop is 17” deep and 27” high, with the counter level being anywhere from 28-34” above the floor.
  • Wheelchairs have a larger width than a standard seat, so give them a 36” wide space to dine comfortably.