Kitchen cabinets are one of the most noticeable features in any kitchen. Over time, cabinet doors can start to look worn, damaged, or simply out of style. Replacing kitchen cabinet doors is an easy and affordable way to give your kitchen a whole new look without the expense of a full remodel. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about replacing cabinet doors in your kitchen.
Should You Replace or Refinish Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors?
Before deciding to replace your cabinet doors, you may want to consider refinishing them instead. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding between replacement and refinishing:
- Condition of existing doors – If your doors are in good structural condition without extensive damage, refinishing is likely a good option. If the doors are warped, cracked, or falling apart, replacement may be better.
- Desired change – Do you want to change the style/look of your cabinets or simply update the color? For a new style, replacement is likely better. To change color, refinishing may work.
- Cost – Refinishing is generally less expensive than full replacement. However, replacement doesn’t require the existing cabinet boxes to be in perfect shape for the new doors to work.
- Time and disruption – Refinishing can usually be completed quicker than replacement, but does require emptying cabinets. Replacement causes more disruption but can provide a quicker overall update.
Consider your goals, budget, and the current state of your kitchen cabinets. For minor updates, refinishing may be the better option. But for a major style change, replacement is likely the route to take.
Choosing New Cabinet Doors
Once you’ve decided to replace your cabinet doors, you’ll have to select the type of new doors. There are several door styles to consider:
- Slab – A flat, solid panel. Simple and versatile.
- Shaker – A slat-style door with a recessed center panel. Classic and clean-lined.
- Raised Panel – Has a center panel that raises above the frame for dimension. Traditional style.
- Glass Panel – Contains a glass insert in the center panel for display. Provides an open, airy feel.
- Arched – Has an arched top for a unique, elegant look. Works well in traditional kitchens.
Consider your kitchen’s current style and what look you are going for. The door style should coordinate with your cabinets, countertops, backsplash, and overall design aesthetic.
Common materials used for replacement cabinet doors include:
- Wood – Natural material that brings warmth. Oak, maple, and cherry are popular choices. Requires some maintenance.
- Thermofoil – Made from wood composite covered with plastic laminate for durability. Affordable and low maintenance.
- Metal – Often stainless steel or aluminum. Provides an industrial, contemporary look.
- Glass – Glass doors create an open display. Usually paired with a metal or wood frame.
The material you choose impacts the cost, durability, and overall look of your new doors. Consider your lifestyle, budget and kitchen style when choosing materials.
How To Measure for New Cabinet Doors
You’ll need to take detailed measurements of your existing cabinets to ensure your new doors will fit properly. Here is how to measure for replacement doors:
- Measure height and width – Use a tape measure to measure each cabinet door from top to bottom for the height and across at the widest point for the width. Measure in inches, taking multiple measurements to ensure accuracy.
- Measure thickness – Use calipers to precisely measure door thickness in inches. Also check for any panels or ridges that add depth.
- Measure diagonals – Measure across the diagonal of the door from opposite corners. The measurements should match if door is square.
Be sure to note which measurements correspond to which cabinet door.
Cabinet Box Dimensions
You’ll also need to measure cabinet boxes:
- Box height and width
- Depth from front of cabinet box to back wall
- Height, width, and depth of any interior shelves
- Location and size of knobs or pulls
Measuring cabinet boxes will ensure proper clearance for new doors.
Carefully measure hinge type and placement on existing doors:
- Distance from top and bottom of door to hinge
- Distance from side of door to hinge centers
- Diameter and shape of hinge mounting plates
- Offset from door frame to hinge (if any)
Match hinge measurements closely on new doors for proper alignment.
Follow a meticulous measuring process for all cabinets to ensure your new doors will fit correctly within the existing frames. Having detailed measurements on hand also makes the ordering process much easier.
How To Order Replacement Cabinet Doors
Once measurements are complete, you’re ready to order replacement doors. You have a few options:
Check with the manufacturer of your existing cabinets – many can create replacement doors made to seamlessly match. Provide them with your measurements and door style selection.
- Doors made to fit your cabinets exactly
- Matches cabinet finish and style
- May be simpler process
- More expensive than other options
- Limited to styles offered by manufacturer
Cabinet Door Company
Online retailers like CabinetDoors.com allow you to customize doors to your specifications and ship directly to you unfinished or with your choice of finishes applied. Provide your measurements and specifications for an exact fit.
- Fully customized sizing and style options
- Wide range of materials and finishes available
- Typically more affordable than cabinet manufacturer
- You handle finishing if ordered unfinished
- May not perfectly match existing cabinet finish
Home Improvement Store
Major home stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s carry a selection of stock and custom order replacement doors. You can bring in measurements and order doors finished or unfinished.
- Convenience of in-store shopping
- Ability to see product samples in person
- Retailer handles installation
- Limited sizing and style options for in-stock doors
- Custom ordering can be more challenging
- Quality may not be as high as cabinet specialty companies
No matter where you order, request extra doors in case of any errors or damage. Carefully check doors once delivered before beginning installation.
How To Install Replacement Cabinet Doors
Once your new doors arrive, it’s time to install them. The process involves:
Remove Existing Doors and Hardware
Detach old doors from hinges and remove all hardware – handles/knobs, hinges, etc. You may be able to reuse existing hardware on new doors. Temporarily number doors and cabinets to keep them matched up.
Prepare New Doors
Make sure surfaces are clean. Attach hinges and hardware according to manufacturer specifications. Pre-drill any necessary holes. Confirm each new door correctly aligns with corresponding cabinet box.
Hang New Doors
Mount new doors onto cabinet frames, aligning hinge positions precisely. Check that doors open smoothly without rubbing. Make minor hinge adjustments as needed.
Reinstall Shelving and Drawers
Replace any shelving or drawers. Test glides/slides for smooth operation. Adjust as needed to prevent rubbing on new doors.
Seal and Finish Edges
If exposed, seal and finish any raw wood along door edges to match faces. Allow finish to fully cure before regular use of cabinets.
Take care when installing to avoid damaging new doors. Have helpers to manage the doors while mounting. Watch alignment closely so doors hang squarely within openings.
Cost to Replace Kitchen Cabinet Doors
The cost to replace kitchen cabinet doors can vary greatly depending on several factors:
- Type of door – Custom wood doors are more expensive than stock thermofoil
- Door material – Solid wood costs more than veneers; glass is typically the most expensive
- Door style – More ornate/detailed doors carry a higher price
- Quality – Higher grades have more costly finishes and sturdier construction
- Existing cabinet modifications – May incur additional costs for cabinet alterations to fit new doors
- Professional installation – Hiring a carpenter adds labor fees to the total cost
On average, expect to pay around $350-500 per existing door opening, with the total project cost ranging from $3,000-8,000. Get multiple quotes to find the best value based on your specific kitchen and needs.
Should You Hire a Carpenter?
While a skilled DIYer can tackle a door replacement project independently, hiring a professional carpenter has some benefits:
- Experience – A carpenter has expertise hanging many doors and can properly handle adjustments.
- Quality installation – Ensures doors hang evenly and seal tightly to frames.
- Reduced mistakes – Having a pro mount delicate new doors minimizes errors.
- Access to tools – Carpenter will have specialized tools for tasks like drilling precision holes.
- Warranty – Many carpenters provide a warranty on workmanship.
However, hiring a carpenter does add to the total cost. Whether or not to hire help is usually based on your skill level, time availability, and budget.
Updating Other Elements of Your Kitchen
Replacing doors is one of the quickest and easiest ways to update your kitchen. But for a more extensive remodel, you may want to also consider:
Like doors, countertops get a lot of wear and can also start to look dated over years of use. New countertops can entirely transform the look of your kitchen. Popular options include:
- Butcher block
Countertop installation cost ranges from $2,000-$5,000 on average.
A new backsplash is a great way to add visual interest behind a freshly updated countertop. Ceramic, metal, glass, and stone tile are all popular choices. Average cost to install a new backsplash is $800-$1,200.
Sink and Faucet
Replacing your sink and faucet goes hand in hand with new countertops. Stainless steel, enameled cast iron, and composite materials are common sink types, costing $200-$600 on average. Faucet costs vary widely based on style – expect $100-$500 for a new fixture.
Improved lighting can make your whole kitchen feel fresh and new. From illuminating backsplashes to undercabinet lighting, plenty of options exist for enhancing your kitchen’s lighting design.
Paint and Hardware
Small details like paint color and hardware should also be evaluated when renovating your kitchen. Repainting cabinet boxes or walls and switching out knobs and pulls provide inexpensive ways to pull the whole new look together.
While not always necessary, changing the flooring to complement your updated cabinetry can really make your kitchen feel brand new if it’s in your budget. Hardwood, tile, stone, and luxe vinyl are popular kitchen flooring options.
Replacing cabinet doors is a great place to start, but coordinating other kitchen upgrades can really take your whole remodel to the next level.
Maintaining Your Replacement Cabinet Doors
Once your new doors are installed, be sure to care for them properly to keep them looking like new:
- Use soft cloths to gently clean doors as needed using mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Immediately dry any spills or water splashes; prolonged moisture can damage doors over time.
- Use cutting boards to protect cabinet surfaces from knives or serving wear and tear.
- Re-apply protective finishes per manufacturer recommendations as needed.
- Tighten loose hinges, pulls, or knobs as necessary.
- Consider adding bumpers inside drawers and cabinets to protect from internal impacts.
Proper care and maintenance will help your new cabinet doors retain their beauty and function for years before needing to be replaced again. Enjoy your kitchen’s fresh new look!
Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing Cabinet Doors
Replacing kitchen cabinet doors often brings up many questions for homeowners. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
How long does it take to replace cabinet doors?
The time it takes to replace kitchen cabinet doors can vary between 1-3 days on average depending on the size of the kitchen. Removal of old doors and installation of new doors usually takes the most time.
Can I replace cabinet doors without replacing the boxes?
Yes, you absolutely can just replace the doors and leave the existing cabinet boxes in place to save time and money. As long as the boxes are structurally sound, new doors can be mounted to provide an updated look.
What tools do I need to replace cabinet doors?
Handheld tools like tape measure, pencil, level, screwdriver, drill, and safety glasses are essential. A jigsaw can help cut doors if needed. You may also want specialty tools like a cabinet hinge jig for alignment.
Should I paint or stain new cabinet doors?
That depends on your desired finish – if you want a painted look, use a high-quality cabinet paint. For a stained wood finish, use stains and sealers made for cabinetry. Leaving doors with a factory finish is also an option.
Can I mix cabinet door styles in my kitchen?
Mixing door styles is absolutely possible, but it’s best to follow basic design principles. Keep doors cohesive on each cabinet run, and complement any accent door styles throughout the space.
How do I dispose of old cabinet doors?
Depending on their condition, you may be able to sell or donate serviceable old doors. For disposal, doors can typically go out with regular garbage or recycling pickup if broken down into pieces.
Replacing kitchen cabinet doors provides an affordable way to update the look and style of your existing cabinets. Carefully measure your cabinets, choose complementary doors for your kitchen design, and properly install them for a successful and dramatic upgrade. Keep your new doors looking fresh by caring for them properly over time. With the right planning and preparation, you can give your kitchen a beautiful facelift with new replacement doors.