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How to adjust kitchen cabinet doors

Fed up with crooked kitchen doors? Before you start shopping for replacement doors, read this guide on how to adjust your kitchen cabinet doors for a neat and tidy finish.

Kitchen cabinet doors sagging? Before you start shopping for replacement doors, there’s an easier and cheaper solution. Cabinet door hinges do wear out, but in some cases, they simply need adjusting.

This step-by-step guide has been compiled to help you tackle this DIY job yourself, and as long as you have experience, it shouldn’t be too taxing. However, if you’re not a confident DIYer, or simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, hiring a handyperson would be your answer.

To find out how much on average a handyperson charges per hour, take a look at our handyperson hiring guide – they’re more affordable than you think! 

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How to adjust kitchen cabinet doors

How do you realign kitchen cabinet doors?

All you need for this task is a Phillips screwdriver. Oh and a bit of time!

Most standard cabinet How to adjust soft close kitchen cabinet doorsdoors will have two hinges, one at the top and one at the bottom. Unless it’s a larger pantry door, for example, that will have more.

Step one

The screws on a hinge are appropriately called hinge adjustment screws. They can be tightened or loosened to adjust the door up or down, side to side, and forward to back.

The most common adjustment required is side to side, and the screw that makes this adjustment is the large grub screw near the centre of the hinge. Turning the screw clockwise moves the door closer to the edge of the kitchen cabinet.

By adjusting both the top and bottom hinges, you’ll be able to move the doors closer together or further apart.

Top tip: Take some time to identify the screw you need by making tiny increments and watching in which direction the door moves.

Step two

To adjust the door up and down you have to use the top and bottom screw that will loosen the backplate. You can then move the hinge vertically until your door is level with the cabinet.

Common mistakes at this point: When adjusting these two screws, the door may drop slightly. Place something under the door to support its weight while you carry out this adjustment. Otherwise, a particularly heavy door could pull the hinge off the cabinet and even damage the cabinet.

Step three 

If you have a gap between the back of the door and the cabinet, you can adjust this by turning the screw that is at the back of the hinge. When turned left or right, the door will move toward or away from the cabinet. You can also use this screw to even up double doors, so the middles are in line with one another.

If your door isn’t closing properly, it may be because this gap is too small and the back of the door is rubbing against the cabinet. By slightly widening this gap, you should prevent the door from rubbing with the cabinet.

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How to adjust soft close kitchen cabinet doors

Soft-close hinges are a great invention that is fitted with a special mechanism to prevent the door from slamming shut and avoiding squashed fingers. However, if you suddenly discover that your once soft-close cabinet is now slamming shut, it’s time to adjust the hinges.

Reasons for a soft-close hinge to stop working include the cabinet door overlapping the neighbouring door, the door hanging crookedly, or the door sitting too far out from the cabinet face. But whatever the reason, these steps below will help you adjust the hinges successfully. Again all you need is a Phillips screwdriver.

Step one

If your cabinet doors aren’t properly aligned, then they won’t close correctly. Use your screwdriver to tighten the screws of the hinge and straighten out any crooked doors. If you don’t do this first, it will be difficult to adjust the hinge settings later on.

Step two

To realign the door with a soft-close hinge, the process is the same as a normal hinge, so you can follow the steps above.

On some types of soft-close hinges, there is an adjustment lever at the back of the hinge. Turning this lever affects the tension on the damper that slows the door down when it closes.

If you can’t find this lever or you’re unsure what you are looking for, it might be time to call in a seasoned handyperson who can do the job for you.

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How to adjust kitchen cabinet doors that won’t close

How do you adjust old cabinet doors that won’t close?

If your door isn’t closing properly, it will probably be because the gap between the door and cabinet face is too small and the back of the door is dragging against the cabinet. By slightly widening this gap, you should prevent the door from binding with the cabinet.

Adjust the hinge by turning one of the screws that sit on the horizontal axis of the hinge (the other screw in the centre adjusts the door side to side). This moves the door forwards or backwards, enabling you to create an even gap down the whole length of the door.

Door hinge adjustment tips

  • There can be a bit of trial and error when it comes to finding the correct screw you need to turn on the hinge. Take your time and use some patience to work out which screw is needed to adjust the door in the necessary direction.
  • Pop something underneath the cabinet door you are adjusting to support its weight whilst you are moving it about. Maybe a small box or stool.
  • When making ‘up and down’ adjustments and the backplate is a little stiff, try tapping the backplate very gently with a hammer to loosen it off, allowing you to then move the back plate up and down.
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How to fix crooked cabinet doors?

Cabinet doors become crooked when a screw or hinge comes loose. If the top hinge is loose, push the door up and back to straighten the door. Ask someone to hold the door in alignment with the cabinet while you tighten the screws of the hinge.

The bottom hinge rarely loosens as there’s less pressure on it, but if the screws are loose, tighten them too.

How do I adjust my kitchen cabinet doors up and down?

The up and down adjustment is on the two screws on the backplate. By loosening those screws off and moving the backplate up or down, you will move the door laterally up or down.

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