Replacing your kitchen cabinet doors is a great way to give your kitchen an affordable upgrade. Removing the existing cabinet doors is often the first step when replacing kitchen cabinet doors or converting to open shelving. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know on how to properly remove kitchen cabinet doors.
Overview on Removing Cabinet Doors
Removing cabinet doors in your kitchen, whether it’s just one door, a set of cabinets, or all of your upper and lower cabinets, allows you to replace the doors without replacing the entire cabinet box and frame. This makes refacing your kitchen cabinets much more affordable than a full kitchen remodel.
When undertaking a kitchen cabinet door replacement project, the first step is removing your existing cabinet doors. This requires detaching the doors from the cabinets themselves. Most cabinet doors are connected to the cabinet frame with hinges. To remove cabinet doors, you simply need to unscrew the hinge hardware connecting the doors to the cabinet frame. The doors can then be lifted off.
Below we will go step-by-step on how to properly remove both face frame and frameless cabinet doors.
Before starting your kitchen cabinet door removal project, make sure you have the following supplies on hand:
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Tape measure
- Labels or painters tape for marking doors
- Drop cloths or towels
- Garbage bags
- Replacement cabinet door hinges (if needed)
How To Remove Kitchen Cabinet Doors: Step-By-Step Guide
Follow these steps when removing cabinet doors in your kitchen.
Step 1: Clear Countertops and Cover Floor
First, clear everything off your countertops and protect your floors with drop cloths. Remove everything from inside the cabinets as well. This gives you plenty of workspace.
Step 2: Label All Doors, Hinges, and Cabinets
Before removing any doors, be sure to properly label each door and cabinet box with painters tape. This ensures that when you go to reinstall or replace the doors, everything lines up properly.
Mark the corresponding door, hinge placement, and cabinet for each door. This keeps doors, hinges, and cabinets matched up in case the new hinges or doors are slightly different sizes.
Step 3: Inspect Hinge Style
Inspect how the existing cabinet doors are attached. There are a few common ways modern cabinet door hinges are installed:
- Concealed Hinges: Most modern cabinet doors have concealed European-style hinges with removable hinge plates. These allow doors to open wide.
- Butt Hinges: Typically seen on older or more traditional style cabinet doors. These have two hinge plates that sandwich together.
- Continuous Hinges: Long piano-style hinges that run the length of the door. Popular on things like lazy susans.
Identifying your cabinet door hinge style helps guide the removal process. Concealed hinges are the easiest to remove.
Step 4: Remove Concealed Hinge Doors
For concealed cabinet door hinges:
- Fully open the cabinet door.
- On the inside cabinet wall, locate the screws that connect the hinge plate to the cabinet frame.
- Using a Phillips head screwdriver, unscrew the screws and remove the hinge plate from the cabinet side.
- Then open the door slightly wider than 90 degrees. Lift the cabinet door up and away from the cabinet frame. This removes the hinge barrel from the mounting plate on the door.
Repeat for all doors with concealed hinges.
Step 5: Remove Butt Hinges
For doors with butt cabinet door hinges:
- Fully open the cabinet door.
- Unscrew the pins from both leaves of the butt hinge using a screwdriver. This allows the two halves to detach.
- Lift the door off the cabinets.
For continuous hinges, unscrew the leaf on the cabinet frame. Bend the hinge back and forth to pop the pins loose and detach the door.
Step 6: Remove Doors and Clean Cabinets
With all the doors removed, take down your labels and thoroughly wipe down the cabinet boxes and doors. Carefully remove any old caulk, nails, or screws from the cabinet face frames.
Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off debris. Then clean with a damp sponge and mild detergent. Fully dry all surfaces.
This prepares the cabinets for your replacement doors. It also allows you to inspect for any rot or structural damage before installing new doors.
Step 7: Prepare and Install New Doors
With all doors removed and cabinets cleaned, you now have empty cabinet boxes ready for your new doors!
First, ensure your new cabinet doors are the correct sizes to fit your existing openings properly. Confirm all new hinge positions align with the old mounting plates and holes before installing.
Use the opportunity to upgrade to soft-close door hinges or concealed hinges if your old doors did not have them.
Pre-drill any pilot holes, install the hinge mounting plates, and re-hang all the newly painted, stained, or replacement doors.
FAQs: Removing Kitchen Cabinet Doors
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on removing cabinet doors:
How do you remove old cabinet doors?
- Identify the hinge style (concealed, butt, or continuous)
- Unscrew any screws connecting the two halves of the hinge together or connecting the hinge plates to the frame
- Lift doors off the hinges and away from the cabinet
Can you remove cabinet doors without removing the frame?
Yes. Only the doors themselves need to be detached from the cabinet boxes when replacing doors. Leaving the fixed cabinet frames and boxes in place is standard.
Do all the doors have to be removed?
For small projects, removing just one problem door is fine. But for kitchen transformations, all visible doors often get replaced or painted to give a cohesive new look.
What tools do you need to remove kitchen cabinet doors?
A Phillips head screwdriver, tape measure, label stickers or painters tape, and a plastic putty knife for cleanup is all that’s typically needed.
How do you remove cabinets without damaging them?
Prevent damage by clearing counters, covering floors, labeling doors, inspecting hinges, carefully unscrewing hardware, detaching rather than forcing doors, and thorough cleaning.
What is the cost to replace kitchen cabinet doors?
The cost to replace cabinet doors ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on if you do them yourself or hire a pro. New doors cost $100 to $500 per door. Refinishing can be just a few hundred dollars.
How long does it take to replace kitchen cabinet doors?
It takes 16 to 30 hours to replace all the doors in an average kitchen. Removing doors takes just 30 minutes to 2 hours per section. Hanging new doors is the most time consuming.
Replacing your kitchen cabinet doors is an affordable, high-impact way to transform the look of your kitchen. Follow these steps when removing doors for replacement or refacing. If you need a kitchen remodel around the Metro Atlanta area, contact Pinnacle Building Group today!