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Mounting Recessed Kitchen Cabinet Doors

by Greg Keefer

Kitchen cabinet doors that sit flush with the frame are a lot more difficult to hang correctly than you would think. Once the door is up you can easily spot problems like how badly it's off level, how it doesn't fit squarely on the frame, or how it reveals unsightly gaps.

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Fixing Problems in Recessed Kitchen Cabinet Doors

If your cabinet doors don't fit properly, you have three options.

You can remove the hinges and try again. This might work, but you'll probably end up with overlapping screw holes that require plugging.

Your next option is to plane the kitchen cabinet door. Take off enough wood to make the door look level and to even up any gaps. You can also plane the frame and accomplish the same purpose. Planing is a lot of unnecessary work and can create problems if you plane off a little too much wood.

The third option? Do it right the first time. Here's how:

  • 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 door. Crawl in behind the door being worked on and use a pencil to mark the hinge locations so that the hinges match up perfectly on the door and the frame.
  • Next, remove the door and measure out a matching depth for both the door and frame hinges. Line up the hinges to the pencil mark. You can also mount the door hinges, shim the door into plumb and then mark the frame at the hinge locations.
  • Take the door off and drill screw holes in the frame. Hold the cabinet door in place and attach the hardware.

Mounting recessed kitchen cabinet doors can be a challenge for the do-it-yourselfer. Take the process one step at a time and the results should be worth the extra effort.

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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