Have you ever looked at your cabinets and noticed that the doors just aren’t aligned straight with each other. It may seem like a minor issue, but unaligned doors can detract from even the most beautiful cabinets. That’s why it is always a good idea to know how to align cabinet doors. Trust me! Eventually you will need to do this.
Cabinets doors can become crooked for many different reasons. Sometimes it is just time and wear and tear that throw them out of alignment. Sometimes it is just a less than detail oriented installer that is at fault. Or, maybe you just built your own shaker doors and need to hang them straight. Regardless, getting your doors in perfect alignment is much easier than you may think, and I am going to show you how to align cabinet doors in 3 easy steps.
Don’t Overlook These Details!
You know what they say? The devil is in the details. Notice how the doors above are not properly aligned. The left door is slightly too low. Just that small discrepancy causes the doors to appear crooked. It also makes the hardware looked as though it was installed improperly.
How to Align Cabinet Doors – Step 1…
To begin with, we are going to make sure that the doors are hung at the correct height. You do this by assessing the outer corner of your cabinet. When you look at the four corners on a set of cabinets, they should be at the same height as each other.
At this point, the inside corners may or may not be straight and level with the outer corners. If they are, great! You might be able to skip step 3, but if the inner corners are crooked, don’t worry about it for the moment. We want to first make sure that we have the cabinet doors hanging at the correct height. You can use a level at the bottom edge of a set of doors to check that they are the same. But remember, you are only checking the outer corners right now.
The screws indicated in the above image allow the doors to move vertically, or up and down. If the outer corners are not aligned with each other and hanging at the correct height, the first thing to do is to check these screws. Sometimes they can come loose and cause the door to droop. First try to tighten them and see if that pulls the doors straight. If the holes have become wallowed out to the point that you can’t tighten the screw, you will need to exchange your old screws for ones that are slightly longer.
If tightening the screws doesn’t solve the problem, or if the screws are not loose, then we will make an adjustment. To do that you simply loosen these two screws on both the top and bottom hinge for the door that you want to raise or lower. Then, shift the door into a position that brings the outer corners to the correct height. Tighten the screws to lock the door in place.
How to Align Cabinet Doors – Step 2…
Next, we will make sure that the doors have adequate space between the cabinet and the door’s edge on the hinge side. The screw indicated in the image above locks the two sections of the hinge together. It also will allow you to move the door away from the cabinet. If you loosen it enough, you can completely remove the door from the cabinet.
As you can see by the red, circular areas, the door needs to have a small gap between the door edge and the cabinet. This keeps the door from binding up. If you have an even gap that is about 1/8″ wide, you can skip this step. But if you need to make this adjustment, simply loosen this screw and very gently nudge the door in the direction that you need to go. Once you have achieved the correct gap space, lock the screw back down.
How to Align Cabinet Doors – Step 3…
Finally, we will adjust the side-to-side alignment, or the inner corners. This adjustment is what is called for when your inner corners are crooked, or when you want to close or widen the space between doors.
To make this adjustment, we will tighten or loosen this screw on the top and bottom hinges. The trick to making this adjustment is to remember that what you do to the bottom hinge will affect the top corner (or vice versa). So, if I need to raise the top corner, I will tighten this screw on the bottom hinge. Loosening this screw on the bottom hinge will have the opposite effect – it will lower the top corner.
To make drastic adjustments on one corner, you may need to both tighten the screw at the opposing hinge while loosening the screw on other hinge.
If what you are trying to achieve is to close the gap at the center of a set of double doors, and the corners are all already aligned, then you will tighten each screw on all four hinges by the same amount. This will cause the doors to move towards each other.
On the other hand, if you need to move the doors away from each other, like when they are rubbing, then you would need to loosen each screw by equal amounts. Make small adjustments to prevent over doing it.
See! Now, wasn’t that easy? And, now you have a neat little skill that will keep your cabinets in perfect condition for years to come. Just try to not notice everyone else’s misaligned cabinets. I dare you. 😉
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