Installing Custom Appliance Door Panels
The methods for installing custom made refrigerator or dishwasher door panels, to match your kitchen doors, will vary from one appliance manufacturing company to the next. Usually the installation of the decorative doors is a one person job.
It is important to make sure that you order the trim kit for your appliance model.
Not all units will have a trim kit. Do not forget to inform your sales person that you want to have custom cabinet doors manufactured and installed to match your kitchen cupboards on the front of your dishwasher or refrigerator.
I’m going to share a few things I learned during my 27 years of cabinetry installation.
- Tip: All manufactures instruction suggests that the panel sizes that are supplied in the instructions should be verified directly with the manufacture. Make sure to take the time to either double check the dimensions through your appliance company’s sales contact or call the supplier direct yourself. Do NOT avoid following through on this suggestion. These companies make the recommendations for a reason.
Dishwasher Door Panel Installation Tips
If you’re planning on having raised panel hardwood doors, made to match your kitchen, installed on the front of your dishwasher, you may have to order special door support springs. Because of the weight of the hardwood doors, the factory springs are usually not strong enough to carry the extra weight of the doors. The manufacture or appliance company should install the springs for you.
Installing Custom Door Panels on the Dishwasher
There are two panel locations that you will have to work with when installing the panels to match your kitchen doors on the dishwasher.
The lower (or, “small”) appliance factory panel is held on by a couple of screws; remove it completely from the dishwasher. The metal trim piece on the bottom or side should be removable. Once the trim is off of one side or the bottom, slide the new hardwood or plastic laminate door panel into position. Attach the trim piece and screw the unit back onto the face of the dishwasher.
The upper panel (or, “large”) trim kit piece gets removed from the side of the dishwasher door. Loosen the screws, remove the metal and slid the door panel into place. Put the metal strip back on and fasten it with the screw and your done installing the dishwasher door panels.
How to Install Refrigerator Custom Door Panels
Some refrigerator appliance models will have the custom door panel trim pieces screwed on already. These fasteners are always on the inside edge of the door. Sometimes there is a decorative magnetic strip that covers over the trim piece screws. Once the magnetic piece is removed the screws should be exposed and can then be removed. Take the trim kit piece off and insert the custom Formica or real wood door panel in the grooves. Fasten the trim back onto the inside edge and you’re done with the refrigerator door panel installation.
- Tip: If you’re installing hardwood custom doors, always wipe the water off of the finish immediately when using the water dispenser. If the liquid is left on the faces, surely they will get ruined over the course of time.
When you’re installing the new custom made appliance panels on to your refrigerator or dishwasher it’s important to use some type of shims behind the custom door panel pieces if they are smaller than the space. They must be tight to the front of the trim kit groves. It is not acceptable for there to be any rattling noise or considerable amount of movement in the appliance door panels. They must not be too loose and they cannot be too tight either. When you are finished the dishwasher or refrigerator custom made panels should fit just right.
If the edges of the decorative doors are slightly too large for the grooves, DO NOT force the panel into the slot. Get the edges milled to the proper thickness and try to install the custom door panels at a later time.
Fabricating, ordering, designing and installing custom appliance door panels for your refrigerator, ice maker, or dishwasher should never be rushed. These are very expensive parts of the kitchen cabinet design that must be made right the first time. This is why you must check and double check the panels throughout every process from start to finish. One slight error could cost you a lot of money in ordering and installing a replacement.