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How to Mount Doors on Custom Cabinetry

by Greg Keefer

Custom cabinetry often looks great until the doors are mounted. A little tilt here and a droop over there can create the appearance that a grade-schooler put the project together. Hanging flush cabinet doors is an important finishing touch on custom cabinetry, and you need to do it right the first time.

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Here's the smart way to go about it:

Flush Cabinet Doors

Kitchen cabinet doors that sit flush with the frame are more difficult to hang correctly than most DIYers think. Once the door is up, you can easily see where the doors aren't perfectly level, don't fit squarely on the frame, or leave unsightly gaps.

Options to Correct Problems

Here are three options when fixing the way the doors hang:

  1. Remove the hinges and try again. This might work, but you'll probably end up with overlapping screw holes that require plugging (and it'll be obvious).
  2. Plane the cabinet door. Make it look level, and even up any gaps.
  3. Scrap the project and start over. Not a good option, and you want to avoid. Do it right the first time.

Screw Holes

Before drilling screw holes on new cabinet doors or correcting the screw holes on existing older doors, close the door, and hold it in place. Use shims to evenly space the gap around the outside edges of the door. Crawl in behind the door you're working on, and use a pencil to mark the hinge locations. That way, the hinges will match up perfectly on the door and the frame.

Hinge Placement

Remove the door, and measure out a matching depth for both the door and frame hinges. Line up the hinges to the pencil mark.

An alternative: mount the hinges, shim the door into plumb, and mark the frame at the hinge locations. Take the door off, drill screw holes in the frame, hold the cabinet door in place, and attach the hardware.

When the doors are mounted correctly, custom cabinetry looks great. But, if you rush through the project an do a poor job, you may as well let a first-grader have a try.

About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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