How to Replace Cabinet Doors Like a Pro

Learn how to give your kitchen or bathroom cabinets a fresh new look with these easy steps for replacing cabinet doors.

Replacing old, worn or dated cabinet doors is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With some basic DIY skills and the right materials, you can transform the entire feel of your space with new cabinet doors.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the complete process of how to replace cabinet doors, from removing the old doors, getting measurements, selecting new doors, installing them and more. Follow these steps below to learn how to replace cabinet doors like a pro.

Step 1: Remove Existing Cabinet Doors and Hardware

The first step in cabinet door replacement is removing the old doors and hardware. Start by opening all the cabinet doors and removing everything stored inside. This will give you easy access to the doors and make them lighter to maneuver.

Before removing the doors, take photos of the cabinets from different angles. This will help you remember how everything was originally installed, making it easier to put the new doors back on in the same way. Pay attention to which way the doors opened – side-to-side or up and down. Also note any unique hinges or sliding mechanisms.

To remove the doors, simply unscrew the hinges from the frame using a screwdriver. Be sure to keep the screws for reinstallation later. Carefully lift off each door and set it aside someplace safe.

Next, use a screwdriver to detach all hardware including knobs, handles, latches or locks from the doors and frames. Place the hardware in plastic bags and label them according to location, i.e. “top left door cabinet” or “bottom right drawer.” This organization will ensure correct reinstallation.

Once all doors and hardware are removed, take a clean damp cloth and wipe down the door frames and cabinet boxes to clear away dust and debris. Now your cabinets are prepped and ready for your exciting new doors!

Step 2: Measure Carefully for Accurate Fitting

With the old doors removed, now it’s time for precise measurements of each cabinet opening. Careful measuring is crucial for finding replacement doors that fit correctly within your existing frames. Follow these tips for measuring:

  • Use a metal measuring tape. Cloth tapes can stretch and provide inaccurate numbers. Make sure your metal tape measure is fully retracted so the numbers aren’t off.
  • Measure width and height. Note both the width and height of each individual cabinet door opening. Measure in inches from inside edge to inside edge of the frame. Write down each measurement.
  • Measure any cutouts. If your cabinets have openings for appliances like a dishwasher, record these measurements too. New doors may need to be cut to accommodate.
  • Note depth. Cabinet depth from front to back can impact door size too. Measure and record this. Standard is around 23 1⁄2 inches deep.
  • Include moldings. If the cabinet frames have build-out molding or trim, subtract this extra depth from your measurements.
  • Measure diagonals. Record diagonal measurements to check for squareness. Noting this will help ensure proper door fitting.

Measure meticulously and record all the measurements. Also be sure to make note of any unique cabinet features, like tilted fronts or uneven openings. Having all the right measurements will make the door selection process much smoother.

Step 3: Select Your New Cabinet Doors

With measurements in hand, you’re now ready to shop for your new doors. There are many options to choose from, so keep the style and functionality of your kitchen or bath in mind. Consider factors like:

  • Door material: Wood, vinyl, metal, glass and more. Each has pros and cons.
  • Door style: Slab, shaker, inset, louvered, modern and more. Select your desired look.
  • Custom or stock: Stock sizes are more affordable but custom doors match your space exactly.
  • Budget: Prices vary greatly. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Quality counts.
  • Easy installation: Look for doors with simple hinge systems, not complicated European hinges.

Be sure to order doors based on your precise measurements, keeping matching sizes for each cabinet opening. Add up the total number of doors needed including for drawers, pot drawers and appliance garage doors.

It’s wise to order a few extra doors in case mistakes happen or replacements are ever needed down the road. Once your new cabinet doors arrive, do a test fit before attaching hinges and hardware. Make sure you’re pleased with the look, style and fit.

Step 4: Remove Cabinet Drawers

If your cabinets have drawers, these will also need to be removed prior to installing the new doors. Taking out the drawers allows complete access to the cabinet frames for easier door attachment. Follow these tips:

  • Empty drawers fully and remove any lining or protective covering.
  • Use a screwdriver to detach any hardware like glides or tracks. Label pieces.
  • To remove drawers, tilt up the front edge and lift out. Prevent scratches by laying drawer fronts on towels.
  • Caution: Some drawers have locking mechanisms. Disengage locks before pulling firmly on the drawer front to slide it out.

With the drawer fronts detached, also take the opportunity to clean cabinet interiors, wipe down the drawer boxes and fronts, and remove dust. Organize contents neatly to one side of the workspace so drawers can be easily reinstalled after the new doors.

Step 5: Install New Hinges

With old doors and drawers removed, cabinets cleaned and new doors test fit, it’s go time for hanging those fresh new doors! Follow these steps for foolproof hinge installation:

  • Refer to your original hinge positions marked during Step 1 above. Replicating the same hinge placement maintains overall cabinet alignment.
  • Most stock replacement doors come pre-drilled for hinges. If doors are not pre-drilled, place hinges to the inside of the door edge at equal spacing top and bottom. Drill pilot holes before fastening hinges.
  • For frameless cabinets, position hinges 5-7 inches from top and bottom of door sides. For framed cabinets, align hinges with the outer frame edge.
  • Attach hinges to doors first using supplied screws. Refer to manufacturer instructions. Make sure hinges are centered on the door edge.
  • Then fasten hinge plates to the cabinet frame, screwing into original hinge holes if possible.
  • Test fit doors and make minor hinge adjustments until each door aligns properly within the cabinet frame.

Take care to position all new hinges in exactly the same location as the originals. This will ensure proper door clearance and ideal functioning.

Step 6: Cut Doors Properly for Obstructions

In some cases, replacement cabinet doors may need trimming or cutting to fit correctly around obstructions like pipes, brackets or appliance openings. Measure carefully before cutting:

  • Note the location and size of any obstructions on the old cabinet door. Transfer these measurements to the new door.
  • Double check by testing the new door and marking cutout locations.
  • Using a sharp jigsaw, carefully cut openings or notches following measurements. Wear eye protection.
  • File or sand cut edges smooth so they don’t snag.
  • Test fit the modified door and make any additional trim cuts for a clean-fitting cutout around obstructions.
  • Apply iron-on veneer or adhesive edge banding to hide cut door edges if needed.

Cutting replacement doors accurately takes precision but allows for a professional custom fit. Take it slow and always measure twice before cutting.

Step 7: Reinstate Doors, Hardware and Drawers

Once all new doors are hung properly on their hinges, it’s time to put everything back together. Follow these final steps:

  • If needed, cut doors further for items like undermount sinks and range hoods. Check for full clearance.
  • Pre-drill any necessary holes for knobs and handles. Install hardware using a screwdriver. Reuse old hardware or buy new.
  • Referencing labels, rehang drawer fronts and reinsert drawers. Test glides and tracks to make sure drawers slide smoothly.
  • Reinstall any racks, dividers or other original interior fittings.
  • Give cabinets a final wipe down to remove any hinge grease, metal shavings or sawdust.
  • Remove painter’s tape and protective drop cloths.
  • Load cabinets and drawers with contents. Organize neatly!
  • Stand back and admire your beautiful “new” kitchen or bath!

With drawer fronts, doors, and hardware reinstalled properly, you can now relax and enjoy your updated space!

Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing Cabinet Doors

Some common questions often come up when tackling a DIY cabinet door replacement project. Here are helpful answers to the most frequently asked queries:

How much do replacement cabinet doors cost?

For stock size doors, costs average $30-50 per door for economy brands, $80-150+ for mid-range quality, and $200+ for premium doors. Custom doors are more.

What tools do I need to replace cabinet doors?

Basic tools include a tape measure, screwdriver, drill, hammer, level, utility knife, pencil, and jigsaw or handsaw to cut doors if needed. Safety glasses and clamps are also useful.

Can I change just some cabinet doors?

Yes, but for a cohesive look it’s best to replace all doors. Mixing old and new is less attractive. Replace drawer fronts too.

Should I paint or stain new cabinet doors?

That’s an option, but for convenience many choose ready-to-install stained, painted or laminate doors. They install quickly without the wait.

How do I install cabinet doors properly?

Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for new hinges and hardware. Replicate your original door style and hinge positions. Allow even reveals between doors and drawers for a flush fit.

What if my walls are uneven?

Shim behind hinges with wood strips if needed to make doors hang straight on crooked walls. Scraps of 1/8” or 1/4” plywood work well as shims.

How do I clean and care for new doors?

Use mild soap and water for wood and laminate doors. Avoid harsh cleaners. Wipe spills promptly. For glass insert panes, use glass cleaner. Check manufacturer’s care instructions.

Can I install cabinet doors myself?

Definitely! With some basic DIY skills, installing pre-hung replacement doors is totally doable. Just follow all the steps listed above. Watch online tutorials for extra guidance.


As you can see, successfully replacing worn or outdated kitchen or bathroom cabinet doors is an achievable and affordable DIY project with spectacular results. Following the steps for accurate measurement, new door selection, careful installation and correct hardware placement will ensure your new doors fit right and function properly for years of beauty and enjoyment.

While each cabinet door replacement process involves some unique details based on your existing set-up, the basics remain the same. Have confidence in your carpentry skills, work slowly and double-check measurements, and you can completely transform the look and feel of your space. It’s incredibly satisfying!

We hope this detailed guide gives you all the information needed to complete your cabinet door replacement project like a pro. Just take it one door at a time. With some dedication and patience, soon you’ll have a kitchen or bathroom imbued with a fresh modern style. Don’t forget to celebrate with your first meal or cup of coffee in the space when the job is done! You did it.






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