If you open your cabinet doors three times a day, it means that you put the door hinges to work over a thousand times in a year. It’s only natural that the hinges will become crooked, noisy or damaged, over time requiring adjustment.
If you need to adjust old cabinet door hinges, you must first identify the cabinet door hinge type. After that, you need to figure out the problem, settle on the right solution, and adjust the hinges to your liking.
In many cases, you should be able to adjust old cabinet door hinges on your own without extra help. The rest of the article will provide you with all the details you need, starting with delving into the points above.
Identify the Cabinet Door Hinge Type
Some cabinets come with adjustable hinges that can be moved up, down, side to side, as well as in and out. Others come with only mechanisms that allow you to move the hinges side to side or in and out. For older cabinets, however, you’ll most likely only be able to move the hinges up or down by adjusting the screws that have been used to mount the hinges.
Before you set out to adjust your old cabinet door hinges, you need to take a quick look at the design. If the hinges come with multiple screws outside the mounting options, then they can be adjusted easily. If they are old or just very plain, with only the mounting screws holding them to the cabinet frame, you’ll have to do a bit more work with the adjustment.
Figure Out the Problem
Why are you thinking about adjusting your cabinet door hinge? As you’ve seen above, a cabinet door is one of the most frequently used doors in any house. With this regular use comes a plethora of problems.
Did the hinges become rusted and bent? Did one of the screws come off, ruining the opening and closing mechanisms? Are the cabinet doors no longer shutting properly or started hitting the walls? Once you figure out the underlying problem, it will be easier for you to know what approach to take with the adjustment. Inspecting the cabinet hinges can also unearth other signs of wear and tear you probably didn’t know about before now.
Settle on the Right Solution
Once you are sure about the problem you are trying to solve by adjusting the cabinet door hinges, it is time for you to get to work. Here are some of the most common cabinet-door-hinge-related problems, and how you can solve them with adjustments.
Cabinet Doors Rubbing Against Each Other
Do you have double cabinet doors that rub when closed? You can correct the problem by adjusting the hinges on each of the doors. Look for two screws on the hinge. Loosen the screw nearest to the cabinet door a bit—enough to allow you to adjust the hinge to the left or to the right.
You’ll have to try one direction per time. At the end of each attempt, check to ensure that the cabinet doors no longer rub. Repeat the process if necessary, and don’t forget to try the other direction. Be careful to avoid ruining the alignment of the doors.
Cabinet Door Hinges Too Stiff
If age has made your cabinet door hinges a bit tighter than usual, you can solve the problem with adjustment. First, repeat the process of moving the hinge to the left and to the right. If this doesn’t solve the problem, adjust the hinge up or down by slightly unscrewing the base plate holding the hinge. Adjust the plate slightly in either direction, screw it back and then try closing the door.
In some cases, wood warping could contribute to the stiffness of the hinges. Adjusting the position of the hinge up or down may correct the problem.
Cabinet Door Hinges Loose
If your cabinet door hinges are loose, the door will hang lower than usual. Age and use can make the screws loosen over time. To solve the problem, adjust the hinges to ensure that they are in the right position, and then tighten the screws again. If the screw holes on the cabinet haven’t worn out, the hinges will remain tight. Don’t tighten the screws too hard so as to maintain the tension.
Cabinet Doors Too Noisy
A creaky or noisy cabinet door can be annoying—especially when you are trying to grab some midnight snack at 2 am in the morning! Fortunately, the problem can be solved by adjusting the hinges either up or down or left and right.
If the hinge has rust, you should also consider using some lubricant on the door. A little dash of engine oil or cooking oil can do the trick. Apply some on the hinges, and swing the doors for a minute to allow the oil to seep into all the joints. In some cases, this would be all that is required to get rid of the noise. However, you need to pay attention to the type of oil you use to avoid ruining the aesthetic appeal of your cabinet.
Cabinet Doors Are Overlapping
Adjusting the hinges up or down is an excellent remedy for when your cabinet doors are overlapping. If your cabinet door hinges support in and out adjustments, you need to try that as well. However, if the cabinet doors suddenly overlap, it is a sign of damage somewhere, so don’t fret if you don’t solve the problem. Take a closer look to find out if the damage is on the hinge or on the cabinet (doors and box).
Related: How to Fix a Warped Cabinet Door
Cabinet Doors Not Properly Aligned
Your old cabinet doors can’t look the exact way they did when they were installed, but they should at least align. If you find a door looking out of place with the rest of the cabinet, it probably means the hinges need to be adjusted. As you’ve seen above, adjusting the position of the hinges is one of the best ways to deal with this problem. Check for loose hinge screws. If there are none, adjust the hinge inwards until you get the right alignment.
What Are the Tools to Use for Adjusting Old Cabinet Hinges?
The only tool you need when adjusting old cabinet hinges is a screwdriver. You only need to get one that has the right tip to work on the screws on your hinges. Don’t have the right screwdriver? You should consider buying one. A multi-tip set is good for any toolbox. The Cremax Magnetic Set is an excellent option to consider.
Don’t make the mistake of using a power drill as one accidental slip can damage the cabinet door completely. If you can’t complete the adjustment on your own, consider calling in a professional. If you cause more damage to the cabinet, you’ll only end up paying higher fees for the repair.
What Are the Alternatives to Adjusting Old Door Hinges?
If you have cabinet-door-hinge-related problems that can’t be solved with an adjustment, you may have to consider the alternatives. They include the following:
Ignore the problem
You can learn to live with most cabinet door hinge problems if you aren’t up for the adjustment process. Even problems like stiff or broken hinges can be ignored. The only downside to this is that the problem will most likely worsen with time. A loose or stiff hinge today can break completely in a few months. The damage can also rub off on other parts of the cabinet, including the doors and the box.
Buy new hinges
- 25 Pairs = 50 Hinges, for 25 cabinet doors.
- Self closing, semi-concealed, variable overlay hinge,...
- The center-to-center screwhole dimension for the hinge...
- Steel base material, 1.5 mm, about 1/16th of an inch...
For cabinet door hinges that are just too old for adjustments, replacing them makes more sense. There are lots of options for kitchen cabinet door hinges. Some popular ones include the Decobasics 25 Pairs, Silverline 25 Pairs, and the JQK 1/2 Inch Overlay.
Consider replacing the cabinets
If the problem with the cabinet hinges can’t be fixed with an adjustment or buying new ones, it may be time to retire the cabinet entirely. This is especially true if you find extensive damage in the doors or the cabinet box. If only the doors are damaged, you can replace them alongside the hinges, but with problems affecting the box as well, a complete replacement of the cabinet is the best solution.
However, this is a substantial financial investment, so you need to weigh your options properly before making a decision.
Adjusting old cabinet door hinges is a simple process you can complete on your own with the right screwdriver. You only need to understand why you are adjusting the hinges and ensure you are adopting the right adjustment approach to get your desired results.
However, there is no shame in admitting that the task is too complex for you. If the age of the hinges or the design means you can’t handle the process, call in a carpenter to have a look and recommend a course of action.