Cabinet hinges are a vital part of your home’s functionality and may require minor repairs from time to time. While these problems can be frustrating, they’re typically easy to resolve with a little know-how and a bit of spare time.
The first step is to check the condition of your cabinet hinges. If they’re sagging or misaligned, you can fix them by tightening the screws.
Poorly Aligned Hinges
One of the most common problems with cabinet door hinges is that they aren’t properly aligned. When this is the case, the door may sag or pull away from the frame when it’s closed. To fix this problem, first, loosen the screws on the hinge that holds it to the frame. Use a shim or magazine to provide support for the door as you do this so that the hinge doesn’t fall out of position. Once the screws are loose, move the hinge in the direction that it needs to go to correct the misalignment. Make sure that there is still a gap between the door and the frame of 1 to 2 mm (0.039 to 0.079 in). After you’ve repositioned the hinge, screw it back into place and then test it to ensure that the door closes and opens smoothly.
You may also find that the problem is caused by a spacer that’s been placed between the hinge and the cabinet frame. If so, simply remove the spacer to solve the problem. Finally, there may be a coating of paint on the back of the hinge that’s keeping it from gripping the frame. If this is the case, scrape off the paint until you reach the original metal piece, and then reinstall it to see if this fixes the problem.
If you’ve addressed all of these problems and your hinge is still making click noises, it’s possible that the problem hinge has become completely worn out and needs to be replaced. If that’s the case, consult with a professional to determine which type of hinge is best for your cabinet.
Another common issue with cabinet hinges is that they’re not tight enough to securely attach the door to the frame. This can be easy to fix, but it’s important that you have the right tools and materials on hand to do so. To fix this problem, simply tighten the screws that hold the hinge to the frame. You can also switch to longer screws that will allow the hinge to better grip the frame and prevent it from becoming loose again in the future.
Over time, cabinet door hinges can loosen. The continuous opening and closing of the doors put a lot of strain on the screws holding the hinges in place. This is why it is important to check your cabinet hinges for looseness on a regular basis. If the screws are loose, tightening them is a simple fix. The problem with loose screws is that they can damage the wood around them. This can cause the screw to wear down or to strip, making it impossible to install a new screw into the hole.
Loose cabinet hinge screws can also cause the door to close unevenly or not at all. This is a simple issue to resolve by loosening the hinge screw closest to the door and then moving it up or down as needed. When you do this, it is a good idea to close and open the door often to make sure that you are moving the hinge in the right direction.
If you are unable to solve this problem with a minor adjustment, then it may be time to replace the hinge. This is easy enough to do; however, you will need to ensure that the replacement hinges match your existing hinges in terms of size and style. Having a picture of your current hinges will make finding an exact match much simpler.
Cabinet door hinges are available in a variety of styles and sizes. For example, some are a partial overlay and leave a small gap, while others are full overlay, fitting flush with the door and cabinet frame. Additionally, surface-mount hinges mount directly to the cabinet face frame and do not require a hole in the door.
If you have a full overlay hinge that is loosening, it can usually be fixed by adding an extra hinge to the top or bottom of the door. This will spread the load out and prevent the screws from wearing out as fast. You will need to find a matching hinge at your local hardware store, so taking a picture of your old hinges is a good idea before you go to the store.
All cabinet manufacturers’ installation and care instructions will warn you that hinge screws loosen over time. If you ignore this advice too long, a small gap between the edge of the door and the cabinet face will develop, and eventually, the hinge or the doors themselves may break.
The good news is that cabinet hinges are relatively inexpensive to replace, and a little shimming can correct most problems with them. The trick is to find a replacement that will fit the holes already in your cabinet face frame or door jamb and that is identical to the existing hinge in size and shape.
Some cabinet hinges are not adjustable and are often labeled as “snap-closing.” These have an internal spring that provides a small amount of force to close the door. If your door does not close, or if there is no spring force at all, this is an adjustment problem that you can fix by shimming the hinge.
There are also several different types of hinges for different types of cabinet doors. Most are a variation of the butt hinge, with one wing attached to the cabinet door and another attached to the cabinet face frame or face wall. Other hinges are called flush or semi-concealed and are not visible from the front of the cabinet but can be seen from the sides and/or back.
If your cabinet hinges are rusty, you can scrub them clean with steel wool, then scour them with sandpaper to remove the remaining rust and blemishes. Then, scrub the hinge again with a scouring pad or wire brush and apply a clear coat of wax to seal the metal, or use spray paint to coat them in a matching color. The wax will need to be reapplied every few years. A more permanent solution is to “pickle” the hinges in a weak solution of basic cola, Pepsi, or Coca-Cola, which contains phosphoric and carbonic acids that dissolve iron oxide and remove the rust. This is an aggressive method and requires some patience, but it works very well.
When you open your cabinet doors, there’s a good chance the hinges will make some noise. This is especially true if they are older or aren’t properly lubricated. Squeaking hinges can be quite annoying and frustrating, but they are easy to fix.
Firstly, clean your hinges by using a damp cloth to wipe over the surfaces. This will remove any dust or grime and allow the lubricant you apply to penetrate more easily.
Once your hinges are clean, you can lubricate them to stop the squeaking. There are a number of different lubricants you can use, including silicone sprays or melted wax. If you don’t have any of these, oil or dish soap will also work. Once the lubricant is applied, open and close your door a few times to test it. If the squeaking persists, it’s time to apply some more lubricant.
If the squeaking continues, try to identify which hinge is making the noise by opening and closing your door several times. Then, remove the hinge pins and prop them up on a table or counter. Clean the pins with a steel wool pad, again using diluted household cleaner if needed. If the squeak is caused by metal-on-metal contact, use some steel wool to smooth out any rough spots on the hinge pins.
Finally, coat the hinge pins with some melted wax to help prevent them from squeaking. Be careful not to over-coat the pins, or they may drip. You may need to coat the hinges multiple times to get the squeak to stop.
Sometimes, the squeaking is caused by the door itself rubbing against the frame of the cabinet. A little talcum powder should do the trick if this is the case. Rub a small amount of the powder into the areas where the door meets the frame to stop it from squeaking. Be careful to do this on a clean surface and lay a towel down underneath to catch any fallout.