How to Align Your Cabinet Doors in 60 Seconds

Alure Home Improvements
Doug Cornwell, Alure Home Improvements‘ chief operations officer, demonstrates how to properly align your cabinet doors in a recent episode of “Alure’s 60-Second Fix,” a helpful series of do-it-yourself home-repair video tips. (Jon Sasala/Long Island Press)

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“Ever walk into your bathroom or your kitchen and seen how your cabinet doors don’t close correctly?” asks Doug Cornwell, Alure Home Improvements’ chief operating officer.

It’s a common problem because over time your cabinet doors have the tendency to shift out of alignment. After a while, the doors can become so far out of alignment, they won’t even shut.

“It could be caused by a number of things,” explains Cornwell in a recent episode of “Alure’s 60-Second Fix: How To Align Your Cabinet Doors In 60 Seconds.” “It could be the time of year because in the summer time, the humidity will make the doors swell.

“Or you could have added some weight to the cabinet that would make the cabinet shift the doors out of alignment,” he continues. “The good news is that it’s an easy fix.”

In fact, all it takes is just the turn of a screw.

“European-style cabinets have hinges on the inside of the cabinet that have a six-way adjustable hinge,” Cornwell adds. “Basically it does a couple of things to the door. It allows the door to go straight up or down. It allows the door to move in or out and away from the cabinet frame.

“Or it will actually take the door and tilt it from side to side,” he says. “Don’t get nervous! It’s not too bad. We’re going to show you how to do it.”

In the example presented here, the problem is that the doors don’t line up along the top and the bottom when they’re closed. The door on the right is sagging. There’s also an uneven space between them. The gap is narrow at the top and wider at the bottom.

“The door is cock-eyed,” Cornwell says. “So we need to straighten it out.”

First, open the cabinet door and look at the hinge assembly on the cabinet wall inside—not the adjoining bracket on the door. For the first adjustment, you’re going to alter the top hinge slightly. Since the door has slid too far over to the right, it has to be pulled back. Take the first screw that is nearest to the door bracket, and with your screwdriver in place, give it a twist to pull the hinge bar back into its housing. The goal is to shift the top of the door slightly to the right.

“Give it a test to see if it needs further adjustment,” Cornwell advises. “If it looks good, you don’t.”

So with that minor fix, you’ve moved the cabinet door so at least it closes without banging against the other door.

“So now we want to address the other gap,” Cornwell says, pointing out the uneven space between the doors.

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It’s almost a repeat of the first step, only this time you focus on the bottom hinge. Open the door, and look at the hinge assembly inside the cabinet wall. Focus on the screw in the bottom hinge that is nearest to the door bracket. Use your screwdriver to adjust the hinge so it moves toward the gap to even up the space.

“You move it out just a touch,” says Cornwell. “Then give it another test.”

If the gap is gone, the doors should line up perfectly, opening and closing smoothly.

“There it is!” points out Cornwell, proudly. “The hinges are all fixed and the doors are back in line.”

Now the cabinets perform as they’re intended to do. It’s open and shut. And to think all it takes is just a simple turn of the screw!

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