How to Replace Cabinet Doors for an Instant Kitchen Upgrade

If you're considering replacing your kitchen cabinets but the expense and work seem like too much, consider replacing just the cabinet doors. When you replace kitchen cabinet doors, the results look similar to a full replacement but you save a ton of time and money. This simple project replaces a single-door overlay kitchen cabinet door and takes about 30 minutes to complete.

When to Replace Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Replace kitchen cabinet doors when the kitchen cabinet boxes are in good structural condition but only the doors need replacement. If the cabinet boxes are warped, out of square, or if the veneer is peeling off, it may be time to install new kitchen cabinets.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

– Electric drill – Phillips screwdriver – Forstner bit (35 mm or 1-3/8-inch) – Straightedge – Tape measure – Pencil


– Cabinet door – Cabinet handles – 2 concealed hinges


Measure for a New Door Measure the width and height of the cabinet opening. Next, determine the desired overlay width. Overlays range from 1/2- to 1-1/2 inches, with 1/2-inch being a common overlay width. Double the overlay width and add it to both the width and height. So, for a cabinet with a 14-inch by 26-inch opening and a 1/2-inch overlay, the door would need to be 15 inches wide by 27 inches high.

Remove the Cabinet Door Use a manual screwdriver or electric drill with a driver bit to remove the cabinet door hinges from the cabinet frame. Remove the hinges and set them aside if you intend to reuse them.

Paint the Cabinet (Optional) The cabinet box face frames and sides may need to be painted to harmonize with the new cabinet doors. If so, paint the cabinets soon after removing the doors. This gives the paint more time to cure before you install the new doors.

Bore the Hinge Holes Use the drill, Forstner bit, and the concealed hinge jig to drill holes in the cabinet door for the concealed hinges. Use the old cabinet door as a reference guide for where to bore the holes on the new door. Or, if you are establishing new locations, hinge holes on 1/2-inch overlay cabinets should be 3-1/2 inches on-center from the top and the bottom.

Attach the Hinges to the Door Flip open the door hinges. Place the cup portion of one of the hinges in the hinge hole. Use the provided screws and a manual or electric driver to attach the hinge to the door. Begin with pilot holes to avoid splitting the wood. Repeat for the other hinge.

Mark the Mounting Plate Locations on the Cabinet Mark a line 2-1/4 inches from the edge of the cabinet on the inside of the cabinet. Measure up 3-1/2 inches from the bottom of the cabinet and make a mark on the line. Repeat by measuring down 3-1/2 inches from the top and making a mark.

Install the Mounting Plates on the Cabinet Remove the cabinet-side mounting plates from the hinges. Attach the mounting plates to the marked locations on the cabinet.

Attach the Door to the Cabinet Slide the door into the hinges and tighten the screws to hold the hinges in place.

Install the Cabinet Handles Install the cabinet handles on the cabinet door.

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