Are your cabinet doors sitting crooked? Over time, door hinges wear out. The longer this problem is left unattended, the more off-center your doors become. This affects how they close and whether they stay closed. Installing new hinges is a simple fix that any homeowner can do. This guide walks you step by step through the process of uninstalling old hinges and replacing them with new ones that will last for years.
Set Up Your Workspace
Begin by setting up your workspace for maximum efficiency. Since you’ll remove each door and its hardware, have somewhere to lay them flat that won’t block your access or damage anything. Lay out an old blanket on the floor, dining room table, countertop or other surface to lay the doors on.
Gather containers to hold the hardware and screws so nothing gets lost. Have all tools handy. Make sure there’s someone nearby who can assist you during critical points in the replacement process.
Remove Old Doors and Hardware
The first step to replacing cabinet hinges is to take all the doors down and disassemble them. Here’s how to remove cabinet doors:
- Use a screwdriver to remove the knob, catch and other hardware. Set these safely aside, ideally organized by type and placed in food storage containers or large plastic zipper bags.
- Remove the screws from the cabinet side of the bottom hinge and pull the door and hinge gently away from the cabinet if it sticks.
- Have an assistant hold the door with two hands while you remove the screws from the cabinet side of the top hinge. Pull the hinge away from the cabinet, and let your assistant lower the door and lay it on the workspace.
Safety Tip: Don’t lean the doors against your counter. They could scratch the paint on your lower cupboards, and if they fall over, it could damage them.
Fill Old Holes
Unless you’re replacing the hinges on your cabinet with the exact same style, fill in the old holes in your doors and the cabinets:
- Use wood filler and a spackling tool to fill each hole.
- If your new hinges will be installed close to the originals, use epoxy wood filler. It’s stronger than standard filler. This will allow you to drill near or over the old holes without the filler material chipping out.
- Allow the filler to dry according to the product instructions.
- Sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper so the filled hole is flush with the surface of the door or cabinet.
- If the repair is obvious, paint over the filler with the appropriate color.
Tip: While your cupboard doors are off, it’s a great opportunity to give your cupboards a facelift. Give them a deep clean and consider a new coat of paint in the same color or something new.
Attach the New Hinges to the Doors
To find the position for the new hinges on a door:
- Measure up from the bottom of the door to two inches, then mark the spot with a horizontal line.
- Position the bottom of the new hinge so it’s even with the mark and flush along the edge of the door.
- Insert a finish nail or awl into the holes on the hinge where it will be screwed to the door. Tap it with a hammer to mark the screw locations.
- Measure down from the top of the door to two inches, then mark the spot with a horizontal line.
- Position the top of the new hinge so it’s even with the mark.
- Mark the location of the holes as before.
Tip: When replacing hinges, take your old hinges with you to ensure that you choose hinges with the same depth, overlay and measurements. Also stay away from plastic hinges, as they tend to break.
Attach Hinges and Hardware to the Door
Attach the Doors to the Cabinets
To find the right position of the doors on the cupboards:
- Find the horizontal center point of the cupboard opening and mark that point on top and on bottom.
- Position the door over the cupboard so that the side without hinges is aligned with the center mark on top and bottom, while the door is centered vertically over the opening.
- Have an assistant hold the door in place while you check it with the level. When everything is plumb and in position, trace around the hinge on the cupboard to mark its horizontal and vertical location. Mark the holes where you’ll screw in the hinges.
- Drill pilot holes over the marks.
- Have an assistant hold the door in place while you screw in the hinges, starting with the top hinge.
Tip: Use a cabinet and drawer installation template to ensure all of your hinges and hardware are located in the exact same spot on all doors.
Worn-out hinges on cabinets can lead to crooked doors and may even become a hazard. Swap out old hinges for new ones when you notice your hinges starting to fail. Installing new cabinet hinges is an easy DIY project. New hinges refresh cabinets and eliminate squeaky or misaligned doors. Need supplies to get started? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.