Renew Kitchen Style With Easy Door Replacements

Is your kitchen looking tired and dated? Do the cabinets make your home seem old and worn? A full kitchen remodel can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but replacing just the cabinet doors provides big visual impact at a fraction of the price. Updating your cabinet doors introduces new door styles, materials, finishes and colors for far less spend than new cabinets. Read on to learn the step-by-step process for this affordable kitchen refresh.

Determine Project Scope

When considering a kitchen cabinet door replacement, first decide whether you’ll replace doors only or add new hinges and hardware too. Examine cabinet boxes to ensure they’re level and sturdy enough to support new doors. If boxes are damaged or crooked, you may need deeper repairs before installing new doors.

Also evaluate your current kitchen layout and workflow. Does it function efficiently or do you find yourself running into issues as you cook and clean? Rearranging cabinets or changing appliance locations may better support your needs. If major layout changes are needed, consider consulting a kitchen designer.

can you replace kitchen cabinet doors

Replace Doors Only or With New Hardware

Replacing doors while keeping existing hinges and hardware cuts costs. However, old hinges may not work with updated door styles. New hinges, especially hidden varieties, create a seamless modern look. Just ensure old cabinet boxes have solid framework to anchor them. Updating hardware alongside new doors ties everything together nicely.

Check Cabinet Box Condition

Examine cabinet carcasses for level surfaces and sturdy front frames. New doors may highlight existing flaws. If fronts lack rigidity or boxes seem unstable, adding supports or fresh framework may be prudent before hanging updated doors. Crooked or damaged cabinets should be addressed for proper door clearance.

Evaluate Kitchen Workflow

Consider how your current layout functions when cooking, cleaning and socializing. Does the kitchen feel cramped or disjointed? Are appliances inconveniently placed? Rearranging your layout or moving fixtures may better suit how your household uses the kitchen. Changes like these easily complement a door replacement project.

Select Your New Doors

Choosing replacement doors lets you customize your kitchen’s look at a fraction of the cost of new cabinets. Door styles, materials, finishes and hardware offer many combinations to suit your taste and budget.

Popular Kitchen Cabinet Door Materials

  • Wood: Classic material available in many stain options
  • MDF: Affordable composite wood good for painted finishes
  • Thermofoil: Durable plastic laminate resists chipping and scratching
  • Glass: Adds modern style and openness with glass inset panels

Door Styles

Consider the style you want your new doors to convey then select options to match. For a traditional look, choose raised panel doors with decorative routing. Flat slab doors provide a streamlined modern aesthetic. Inset door designs make cabinets seem frameless for a sleek appearance.

Finish Options

Stained finishes showcase the wood grain pattern beneath, while painted doors let you incorporate vibrant colors. Popular finish choices include:

  • Stains: Provincial, Golden Oak, Espresso
  • Paints: White, Navy, Light Grey
  • Glass colors: Frosted, Clear

Hardware Finishes

Select knobs, pulls and hinges in finishes to coordinate with your new doors and color scheme. Oil rubbed bronze, brushed nickel and matte black suit various design aesthetics and tastes.

Measure Precisely

Precision measurements ensure properly fitted new doors. Removing old doors lets you account for inconsistencies in existing openings. Experts recommend measuring widths at top, middle and bottom of each cabinet then using the smallest dimension. This allows fitting any slight imperfections in openings.

Remove Existing Doors

Take doors off cabinets by fully loosening hinge screws. Label each door to identify its original position. This prevents mismatching sizes or designs if existing doors differ between cabinets. Number doors and cabinets with removable tape to streamline reinstallation.

Account for Hinge Changes

If updating hinge style or type for your new doors, measure accordingly. For example, Euro-style concealed hinges demand different measurements than standard exposed hinges. Consider hinge adjustments you may make after installation too when taking door panel measurements.

Prepare and Install New Doors

With detailed measurements and doors in-hand, prep and mount your new panels. Use filler to patch old screw holes if needed. Allow finish to fully cure before hanging doors to prevent damage. Take care drilling any pilot holes for hinges to keep wood from splitting.

Fill Old Screw Holes

Examine frames for visible holes left from removing old hinges. Fill any noticeable gaps with wood filler compound. Let dry completely then sand smooth. This provides clean surfaces when installing new door hinges.

Make Cutouts for Glass and Hardware

If doors contain glass panels or hardware cutouts, carefully measure and cut spaces for these features. Use a drill to create corners of openings then trim out remainder with a jigsaw. File rough edges smooth. Follow any manufacturer templates when available.

Drill Pilot Holes for New Hinges

Drill small starter holes for screws before driving them into new doors. Pilot holes prevent wood from splitting. Place holes precisely based on new hinge locations. Carefully measure twice to avoid misplaced holes.

Mount Hinges and Hang New Doors

Attach new hinges into pilot holes with screws. For hidden hinges, ensure proper setback distances from cabinet fronts for ideal door positioning. Have a helper hold weight of door while mounting. Then test opening, closing and alignment.

Test Door Fit

Assess overall fit of newly hung doors. Align side and top/bottom spacing even between adjoining cabinets for a streamlined look. Make small hinge adjustments if doors feel loose, drooping or misaligned.

Achieve Aligned Fit

Precisely aligned cabinet doors showcase quality installation work for a polished finished appearance. Take time making small tweaks to achieve flush sides and consistent reveals.

Ensure Cabinets are Level

Use a spirit level across tops, bottoms and fronts of cabinets to identify any un-plumb spots. Level and shim as needed for most consistent base. Door alignment works best on flat cabinets lacking tilts or twists.

Eliminate Gaps

Carefully adjust for uniform spacing between doors and surrounding cabinets. Aim for even 1/8″ reveal margins around all sides. Adjust up or down and left or right to fine-tune alignment of doors for clean symmetrical gaps.

Test for Proper Door Operation

Open and close doors checking for smooth movement without rubbing or catching. Ensure doors sit flush to face frames when closed. Leave no gaps where corners meet. Make gradual hinge tweaks until operation feels aligned.

Check Appliance Clearances

Test surrounding appliances, drawers and roll outs following door adjustments. Appliance doors should open without collision. Slide storage elements out noting any collision points with cabinet doors. Reposition offending doors as needed.

Factor in Hidden Elements

Don’t forget about interior design elements not visible inside your cabinets too when replacing doors. Measure drawer fronts separately from cabinet doors as sizing may differ. Carefully replace unique angled panels. Consider glass design and pantry access too.

Drawer Front Design and Replacement

For a cohesive look, include drawer fronts when switching doors. Measure drawer widths separately from cabinet openings. Note any differences in existing styles to replicate or update. Consider DIY’ing flat slab drawer fronts to save costs if replacing doors professionally.

Account for Angled Cabinets

Angled cabinet ends deserve special attention when taking door and drawer measurements. Consider light access needs too depending on placement near windows. Unique size and design of angled filler panels impacts material choices too.

Glass Design Matches Cabinet Aesthetic

When replacing doors with glass elements, ensure glass color and etching design align with your chosen cabinet finish and style for cohesive look. Glass doors require delicate precision when measuring to prevent cracking.

Keep Pantry Accessible

Integrated pantry cabinetry may sit behind replaced doors. Ensure any specialty storage systems remain fully accessible and adjustable following new door installation. Floating shelves should install flush keeping contents reachable.

Choose Coordinating Hardware

The finishing touch for replaced doors comes with selecting properly matched hardware in the form of pulls, knobs and hinges. Coordinate finishes across all elements for consistent appearance.

Match Hinge Finishes

Ensure finished metal of any newly selected hinges fits aesthetically with other hardware pieces like pulls or knobs in tone and style for harmonious look.

Style and Place Knobs and Pulls

Knob and pull style should align with kitchen style for ideal pairing with replacement doors. Position new hardware consistently across all drawers and doors for balanced appearance.

Include Functional Fittings

Beyond typical hardware, consider useful specialty hardware pieces like soft-close adapters, handy towel bars or tilt-out trays matching chosen finish for added convenience.

Establish Reasonable Budget

Replacing doors costs a fraction of full cabinet installs. Upscale doors and pro installation raise costs closer to new cabinets though. Set realistic expectations when budgeting door projects accounting for all desired elements.

Account for New Doors and Hardware

Quality wood doors with pro cutting and drilling plus integrated hinges, pulls and knobs could run $2,500+ for average kitchen. Opt for MDF doors and DIY preparation to slash costs significantly.

Compare Installation Options

Hiring an experienced pro ensures proper measuring, modifications and mounting yet adds expense. DIY installs save substantially but require skill and patience getting adjustments just right.

Contrast to Full Cabinets

Whereas new semi-custom cabinetry installed may cost $15,000 to $30,000+, replacing doors only ranks closer to $2,500. But for updated style on a budget, doors bring impressive bang for buck!

Enjoy Transformed Kitchen

With sleek new cabinet doors, your once tired and dated kitchen takes on a fresh modern look for just a fraction of a full remodel cost. Enjoy the updated space perhaps inspiring further enhancements down the road too!

Freshened Space Without Busting Budget

Dingy old cabinets make kitchens seem stale and aged. Crisp new doors breathe airy light back into the space revitalizing mood and style economically.

Inspiration for Further Updates

Replacing doors sparks ideas for additional refreshes like paint colors, backsplashes or countertops to incrementally renovate your kitchen over time following initial success.

Updated doors boost a kitchen’s aesthetic greatly for little investment. Home buyers notice eye-catching upgrades like these that set houses apart while reviewing listings.

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