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Adjusting Kitchen Cabinet Doors with European Hinges

This video gives tips on adjusting European style kitchen cabinet doors with concealed hinges. Once you’ve watched it refer to the section below where I go into more depth about how to adjust an entire kitchen that has this style of hinge throughout.

  • Tip: If possible avoid maxing out the adjusting screws on the hinges in either direction. This can cause unwanted problems if you go to one extreme or the other as you turn the screws.

When addressing the problem of out of adjustment kitchen doors that have European cabinet hinges, you should always start with the cabinets on the ends. Specifically adjusting the ones where there is a finished end first. Adjust the door to be flush on the bottom of the cabinet or so that there is a consistent straight line in conjunction with the cabinetry edge that may be exposed. Now work your way to the left or right and adjust all the other doors. If your cabinets are not plumb this is going to be a challenging task.

Pay particular attention to areas around the hood upper cabinet. In some cases you may want to start in this area and work away from them as you adjust the surrounding doors.  The door margins tend to be wider in these areas more times than not. Adjusting kitchen cabinet hinges in this area correctly can really make the doors look good. If they are not aligned right here, you will end up with larger gaps in some areas than in others.

  • Tip: If the cabinetry is not installed plum, level and square it will drastically affect the ease of making the adjustments to the doors.

You’re going to make the position changes to several doors and then step back and take a look. What you’re looking for is consistency in the gaps between all of the doors. Be patient, this is going to take several passes to achieve perfection.

After making the up and down adjustments and also the ones that move the doors from left to right, close them. Apply pressure to the top of the door and also the bottom with your fingers at different times. If one is touching the cabinet face and the other is not, you will need to either adjust the top or bottom of the door in or out. The goal is to get the door positioned so that when it is closed both the top and the bottom are touching the cabinet face. If you adjust it too far inward there is a possibility of it binding with the face of the cabinet.

  • Tip: If possible avoid maxing out the adjusting screws on the hinges in either direction. This can cause unwanted problems.

Always adjust the base cabinet doors before trying to make alterations to the drawer face positions. Get the base doors aligned perfectly and then adjust the drawer faces.

After everything is in alignment go back through the entire kitchen and tighten the screws that hold the hinges onto the hinge plates. This will ensure that they will stay fixed in the position you have them in.

It’s basically a matter of trial and error when you are learning how to make these adjustments to kitchen cabinet doors. Adjusting European style hinges is a bit tricky. Just remember to be patient and think through what you are doing with gentleness of hand and precise observation of what the adjustments are affecting as you go along.

  1. Bonnie
    February 22nd, 2011 at 10:09 | #1

    This is the most helpful information I have found on this subject. The Internet is filled with so much junk that you have to sift through. It is refreshing to find an authority on repairing cabinets.

    After reading this, I adjusted three doors that didn’t look right in my bathroom and they turned out fine. I took your advice and made sure I was not in a hurry.

    I’m going to work in the kitchen next Saturday and see if I can get those European hinges in the right positions.

  2. Brette
    June 27th, 2015 at 12:47 | #2

    This addresses only doors with European hinges. If only mine did. Mine are leaf hinges with pins, so this information was of no use to me.

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