How to fix a kitchen cabinet door

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How to fix a kitchen cabinet door

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Sometimes, it’s the little things that drive us crazy in the kitchen. The loose door knobs, nicked door fronts and slamming drawers. If any of these sound familiar, check out this collection of quick and easy kitchen cabinet repairs. You’ll find simple solutions for many of the most common kitchen cabinet woes.


Step One

Adjust depth and side screws - Euro hinges are designed for easy adjustment. If the door isn’t flush with the doors next to it, adjust the depth screw. This screw moves the door in or out. Some depth screws move the door as you turn them. But with most, you have to loosen the screw, nudge the door in or out and then tighten the screw. If your hinges don’t have depth screws, start with the side screws. These move the door from side to side. In some cases, you have to loosen the depth screw slightly to adjust the side screw.


Step Two

Replace and adjust the catch - Most newer cabinets have self-closing hinges that hold the doors shut. Others have magnetic or roller catches. A catch that no longer keeps a door closed is either broken or out of adjustment. Catches are fastened with two screws, so replacing a damaged catch is simple. Adjustment is just as simple, but you might have to readjust the catch a couple of times before you get it right. Loosen the screws, move the catch in or out, and tighten the screws. If the door doesn’t close tightly, try again.


Step Three

Place bumpers at top and lower corners - Tired of listening to those cabinet doors bang shut? Peel-and-stick door and drawer bumpers are the solution. Get a pack of 20 at a home center for $2. Make sure the back of the door is clean so the bumpers will stick, then place one at the top corner and another at the bottom.


Step Four

Replace with identical slides - If you find that slides are bent, rollers are broken or rollers won’t turn even after lubricating, replacement is the best solution. To keep the project simple, buy new slides that are identical (or almost identical) to the old ones. That way, replacement is an easy matter of unscrewing the old and screwing on the new. Remove a drawer track and a cabinet track and take them shopping with you. You’ll find slides at home centers for $5 to $15 per drawer.


Step Five

Spray lubricant on tracks and rollers - A few minutes of cleaning and lubricating can make drawer slides glide almost like new. Start by removing the drawers so you can inspect the slides. You can remove most drawers by pulling them all the way out, then either lifting or lowering the front of the drawer until the wheels come out of the track. Wipe the tracks clean and coat them with a light spray lubricant. Also lubricate the rollers and make sure they spin easily.


Step Six

Remove fasteners and old glue - Don’t put up with a broken corner joint on a drawer. Fix it before the whole drawer comes apart. Remove the drawer and then remove the drawer front from the drawer box if possible. Most fronts are fastened by a couple of screws inside the box. Remove nails, staples or screws from the loose joint and scrape away old glue with a utility knife.


Step Seven

Predrill nails holes and glue the joint - Predrill 1/16-in. holes for nails, apply wood glue to the joint and nail it together with 1-1/2 in. finish nails. Wood glue will make a strong repair if there’s wood-to-wood contact at the joint. If the wood at the joint is coated, use epoxy instead of wood glue.


Step Eight

Glue knobs in place - Any handle or knob that comes loose once is likely to come loose again. Put a permanent stop to this problem with a tiny drop of thread adhesive like Thread Lok (about $3 at home centers). Don’t worry; if you want to replace your hardware sometime in the future, the knobs will still come off with a screwdriver.


Step Nine

Fill holes with toothpicks and glue - If a screw turns but doesn’t tighten, the screw hole is stripped. Here’s a quick remedy: Remove the screw and hardware. Dip toothpicks in glue, jam as many as you can into the hole and break them off. Either flat or round toothpicks will work. Immediately wipe away glue drips with a damp cloth. You don’t have to wait for the glue to dry or drill new screw holes; just go ahead and reinstall the hardware by driving screws right into the toothpicks.


Step Ten

Use a stain-filled touch-up marker - If you have shallow scratches or nicks, hide them with a stain-filled touch-up marker. Dab on the stain and wipe off the excess with a rag. But beware: Scratches can absorb lots of stain and turn darker than the surrounding finish. So start with a marker that’s lighter than your cabinet finish and then switch to a darker shade if needed. For deeper scratches, use a filler pencil, which fills and colors the scratch.


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