Over time and with frequent use, your cupboard doors start to hang incorrectly on their hinges. If the sloppy look that this creates starts to bother you, you'll be happy to know several DIY solutions exist. We researched this to help you with your kitchen repair needs.
No matter if it falls out of alignment or doesn't close properly, the steps to adjusting a kitchen cupboard door are:
- Loosen the screws in the hinges
- Adjust the door to align or fit
- Tighten screws while holding the door in place
- Repeat as necessary
Sounds straightforward, right? Well, it never hurts to take a closer look when it comes to DIY home improvement projects. For a more comprehensive look at the process of adjusting your kitchen cupboard doors, read on.
Why Are My Cabinet Doors Crooked?
Let's start at the very beginning: recognizing the signs that your cabinet doors need adjustment. Typically, the problem presents as gaps around the door that allow you to see inside the cupboard. Squeaking and creaking can also point to an alignment issue.
But how do your cabinets get that way? Well, sometimes it starts as far back as the installation. Sloppy handwork might leave your doors crooked from the start.
Otherwise, your cupboard doors fall out of alignment thanks to repeated slamming shut or wrenching open. Additionally, years of use can cause screws to loosen. That's why it's a good idea to readjust your cabinet doors every so often, regardless of alignment. If you remember to tighten the screws every couple of years, you can avoid more involved work down the line.
European hinges are the most commonly used kitchen cupboard hinges. This is good news since they're designed for regular adjustment.
You've probably taken note of them before, but hadn't realized what you were looking at. For reference, European hinges look like this:
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How Do You Adjust Kitchen Cupboard Door Hinges?
Notice the various screws holding the hinge to the inside of the cupboard. Depending on the direction you want to move your door, you'll loosen one or two of them, make the adjustment, and tighten them once again. Rarely will you have to touch the screws holding the door in place.
What do you need to perform cabinet door realignments at home? Thankfully, the answer is a Philips head screwdriver and not much else. If you don't have one of these at home, there are plenty of options available on Amazon.
Go simple with a tried-and-true model like this one.
Or purchase a set that allows you to get the optimum fit no matter the size of the screw.
We don't recommend using a power drill. The more controlled your movements, the less likely it is that you'll splinter the wood or strip a screw by accident.
How Do you Fix Cabinets That Don't Close?
For gaps that prevent your cupboard doors from closing correctly, you must adjust the depth screw. What do we mean by that? Consider this picture.
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All you have to do is loosen up the screws on the boxy part of the hinge. Once you set the door, you can tighten the screws once again. Give the door a few experimental openings and closings to assure sound handiwork.
To help make this a one-step process, it can be handy to have a level around. If you don't have one at home, you can always find one on Amazon, like so:
How Do You Fix a Sagging Cabinet Door?
If you find your cabinet door sagging but not yet sitting incorrectly against its opening, your adjustment should deal with the same set of screws. In the case of sagging, it might just need a quick tighten before it once again looks like new.
However, if tightening the screws isn't enough, you can always loosen them, reposition the door, and then lock the door into position by tightening up the screws once again.
How Do You Adjust the Alignment on a Cabinet Door?
For alignment issues, you need to move your cabinet door vertically.
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Simply loosen the mounting screws, make your adjustments, and then tighten the screws back up. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the door to sit just how you want it.
How Do You Adjust a Corner Cabinet Door?
Unfortunately, the adjustment process is a little trickier when it comes to corner doors. The primary hinge is different, after all. Instead of the European hinge, you will find a piano hinge on corner cupboards. They look like this:
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To readjust a door on this kind of hinge, you need to remove the hinge entirely. For this reason, issues with corner cabinet doors are best solved by replacing rather than adjusting.
How Do You Fix Uneven Kitchen Cabinets?
Not sure if your door is sitting level? Before you go making adjustments, using a level to see if the doors are uneven is wise.
If you're sure they're listing off to one side, you now know how to make adjustments to the hinge to get the door to move in any direction you want. Don't forget that it may take a couple of readjustments to get things sitting just right.
Can a Warped Kitchen Cabinet Door be Fixed?
Finally, warping is a common problem you might encounter. This is when the corners of your cabinet door flair out.
While you can try making adjustments to the hinge to get the door to sit evenly, the problem with this is that the door itself is not a flat plane anymore. So, hinge adjustments can minimize the visual problem, but they won't fix the issue altogether. We suggest ordering new cabinet doors, if this is the case.
For example, this unfinished light-wood door makes the ideal replacement. You can add a stain yourself or enjoy the rustic charm of leaving it as is.
Dark wood more your style? Amazon has that too!
Further Home Improvement Projects
Now that you're slightly handier with a screwdriver, you're ready to take on the world. Or, at the very least, some other home improvement projects. If you need a place to start, consider our tips on reorganizing the space under the sink. Since you readjusted the cabinets to fit correctly, no one will be able to see under there, but having a tidy kitchen is a reward onto itself.
On the other hand, if you're starting from scratch building the kitchen of your dreams, you might consider our advice on whether or not your kitchen tile should extend underneath the cabinets.