Cabinet hinges come in a variety of sizes and styles. This article will show you how to properly maintain and replace these important kitchen cabinet hardware items.
All hinges have the potential to loosen over time due to normal use. Regular maintenance can prevent these loose screws from causing problems in the future.
1. Clean the Hinges
The hinges are exposed to a lot of grime and dust. Not being cleaned regularly can lead to black residue and smudges on the cabinet doors. Cleaning the hinges can help you avoid this, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. All you need is some warm water and a bit of vinegar. This solution will clean your hinges and remove any smudges or stains.
You can also use a mixture of baking soda and warm water to clean the hinges. However, you should avoid using any abrasive cleaners on your cabinet hinges. This is because they are made from different materials, and abrasive cleaners can damage the material. In addition, abrasive cleaners may leave scratches on the surface of your cabinet hinges.
Most cabinet manufacturers will advise homeowners to tighten the hinge screws on a regular basis. This is because the hinges will loosen over time due to normal use. Loose hinges can affect the ability of your cabinet door to close and can be a safety hazard. To avoid this, you should periodically check the hinges for looseness and tighten the screws as needed.
When cleaning the hinges, you should use a soft cloth or sponge. Do not use a hard-bristled brush, as this can scratch the surface of the hinges and cause damage. You can also use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas of the hinges and remove any stubborn debris. After cleaning the hinges, you should rinse them with clean water and dry them thoroughly with a microfiber cloth or towel.
If you notice any rust on the hinges, you should take steps to remove it before painting the cabinets. To do this, you should first disassemble the hinges and clean them with denatured alcohol. You can then sand the hinges with 220-grit sandpaper to remove any grease and dirt. Once the hinges are clean, you should lubricate them with silicone lubricant to minimize friction and prevent paint from sticking to the hinges. You should then apply a rust inhibitor to the hinges to protect them from further corrosion and wear.
2. Adjust the Hinges
Most cabinet hinge manufacturers include instructions and warnings that advise homeowners to periodically tighten the screws that hold the hinges in place. This is important because the hinges may loosen over time and with normal use, causing the door to sag or even fall off completely. Using a screwdriver to tighten the screws will restore the hinges’ proper position and prevent any future damage or failure. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws, as this could strip the screw opening in the hinge or the screw hole in the door back or cabinet box.
Another common problem with cabinet doors is that they become misaligned, either sticking out too far from the frame or brushing against it when closed. This is usually easy to fix with a little jiggling or repositioning of the door and may involve adjusting one or both of the hinges.
Typically, cabinet hinges have a front-to-back adjustment and an up/down adjustment that is enabled by elongated holes for the mounting screws. In most cases, this adjustment is a matter of slightly loosening the mounting screws and moving the hinges to the correct position with a little experimentation. Once the door is in the proper position, the screws should be retightened by hand, and the door gently closed to check its alignment.
Most hinges also have a lateral adjustment that can be used to move the hinges laterally left or right, as needed. This is generally a matter of loosening the screws on the hinge base plate that allow for this adjustment and then turning them in the direction you want to move the hinge.
It may take some trial and error to determine the best position for your cabinet hinges, but with a little bit of patience, you can ensure that your doors always close properly and look good when open. Taking the time to perform these simple maintenance tasks is well worth the effort and can help prolong the life of your cabinets for years to come. If you are uncomfortable with these home repairs or need professional assistance, contact a local cabinet repair specialist.
3. Replace Broken Hinges
Cabinet hinges are available in a variety of styles to suit the layout of your bathroom and your personal taste. The type of hinge you choose will also affect how your cabinets close. For example, some hinges have a soft-closing mechanism to prevent cabinet doors from slamming shut and making loud noises. You can find these hinges at many home improvement stores for an affordable price.
Most hinges are reversible, so you can install them on either side of the door. However, some are more difficult to adjust than others. It may need replacing altogether if you have a particularly stubborn hinge that doesn’t allow the door to close.
To identify if the issue is with the hinge or the door, first look over the entire surface of the door. If there are scratches or dents, you can repair them by sanding and repainting the door for a smoother surface. Then, open and close the door to see if the problem persists.
If the door doesn’t have a sensible closing force or there’s no spring action at all, this indicates that the internal spring has broken and you need to replace it. The same is true if the door doesn’t come completely off the hinge when pulling it on the handle.
When choosing a replacement hinge, make sure it’s the same size as the old one. Otherwise, you’ll need to fill in the screw holes with wood putty before installing the new hinge. After the putty has dried, you can paint or stain it to match the rest of the cabinet and door trim.
Various kinds of cabinet hinges are available for framed and frameless cabinets. Framed cabinets have wooden frames on the front, sides, top, and bottom. Frameless cabinets are built directly into the walls of the cabinet box. Framed and frameless cabinets both benefit from concealed hinges, which hide the screws from view when the door is closed.
There are two kinds of concealed hinges: inset and overlay. Inset hinges let the door lay partially or fully over the frame, while overlay hinges offer a more seamless finish. You’ll need to measure the width of your frame and the thickness of your doors to determine which kind of hinge is best for you.
4. Paint the Cabinets
A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in boosting the look and feel of your cabinets. But painting isn’t always a simple process for cabinet doors and drawer fronts, which often have intricate designs that require special consideration and care. If you’re not familiar with the intricacies of painting these structures, it might be best to hire a professional.
Before you begin painting, wipe down all surfaces to remove grease and grime. Use a damp cloth or lint-free rag to clean the interior of the cabinet box, as well. This will help ensure that any particles that don’t get cleaned up won’t contaminate your new finish, says MacFarlane.
If you’re sanding your cabinets to prepare them for painting, be sure to use a stain-blocking primer, which dries quickly and seals knots that may bleed through the topcoat. You can purchase oil-based or 100 percent acrylic latex primer at most home improvement stores.
It’s a good idea to move all your cabinets and hardware into another room or out of the way before you start to work, if possible. This will prevent your kitchen from becoming a construction site for several days.
Next, tape off the floors, walls, appliances, and any other areas that you don’t want to get paint on. If you’re removing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, label each one with a number (or an alphabetical system) as you take them off to make it easier for you to remember where they go when it comes time to reinstall them. Save any screws and hinges for safekeeping in a jar or other container.
Once the cabinet boxes are ready for painting, apply a coat of primer using either a brush or roller. Allow the primer to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat, and then proceed with painting the doors, drawer fronts, and their frames.
If you’re not familiar with the intricacies involved in painting these structures, it might be a good idea to test your skills in a small, out-of-the-way area of your house before you tackle your kitchen cabinets, recommends MacFarlane. A bathroom is an ideal place to do this since the cabinets and hardware won’t be as visible as they would be in your kitchen.