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How to Replace Hinges on Your RTA Cabinets

Nothing in a home is as essential and overlooked as cabinet hinges – until they start squeaking, sagging, or giving out completely, that is. If your ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets are showing signs of wear and you’d rather not spend the money to replace the entire unit, replacing the hinges can breathe new life into your storage spaces. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to refresh your cabinets with new hinges, ensuring they function like new.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before diving into the replacement process, gather the necessary tools and materials. You’ll need:

  • New hinges (ensure they match the existing ones in size and style)
  • Screwdriver (either flathead or Phillips, depending on the screws)
  • Power drill (with appropriate bits, optional for efficiency)
  • Measuring tape (to ensure precise placements)
  • Pencil (for marking holes)
  • Level (for precise alignment)

Ensure you purchase the right type and number of hinges to replace the old ones. It’s also wise to invest in quality replacement hinges to prevent having to do this task too frequently.

Step-by-Step Instructions


Step 1: Remove the Old Hinges

  • Empty the cabinet where you’ll be working and keep the area clear.
  • Carefully open the cabinet door and locate the screws holding the hinges to the cabinet box frame.
  • Using the appropriate screwdriver or power drill bit, unscrew each hinge from the frame. If the screws are stuck, try a dab of WD-40 or a manual screwdriver with more torque.
  • With all screws removed, gently lift the door away from the cabinet and set it aside.
  • For safety, store screws and old hinges in a small container to avoid misplacing or stepping on them.

Step 2: Prepare the Cabinet and New Hinges

  • If your new hinges require additional screw holes or overlays, measure and mark the positions inside the cabinet.
  • Ensure the area inside the cabinet is clean and free of any debris that could prevent a tight seal of the new hinges.
  • Check if the new hinges come with any protective coatings or packaging that needs to be removed before installation.

Step 3: Attach the New Hinges

  • Position the new hinge in place and line it up with the markings from the previous step.
  • Insert the screws and, using your fingers, partially tighten them to hold the hinges in place.
  • With the hinge held flush against the cabinet frame, use the screwdriver to fully tighten the screws until the hinge is secure.
  • Repeat the process for all the hinges, taking care to align them properly and keep the screws tight but not overtightened to avoid stripping.

Step 4: Adjust and Test the Doors

  • If your cabinet doors have adjustable hinges, this is the time to fine-tune their positioning. Many hinges have screws that can be manipulated to change the door’s height, depth, and angle.
  • To adjust the door, loosen the appropriate screws slightly and move the door to the desired position. Tighten the screws again to secure the new placement.
  • Once all adjustments are made, test the door to ensure it swings freely and closes properly without any issues.
  • Use a level to check that the doors hang straight. If not, make necessary adjustments until they do.


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Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some common issues you might run into and how to address them:

  • Doors don’t line up correctly: This can happen if the hinges are not adjusted properly. Double-check the alignment and make the necessary adjustments using the method outlined in Step 4.
  • Screws won’t come out or go in smoothly: If screws feel like they’re being forced, stop and double-check the alignment. It’s crucial not to strip the screw holes, as this could compromise the new hinges’ integrity.
  • Doors aren’t closing properly: If the doors aren’t closing all the way, the issue may be with the alignment of the hinges. Revisit Step 4 to ensure everything is adjusted correctly.

Final Tips

For smooth and long-lasting performance, consider these additional tips:

  • Maintenance is key: Regularly check the alignment and tightness of the hinges and screws to prevent damage and ensure their longevity.
  • Know when to call a pro: If you encounter extensive hardware or structural issues during the replacement, it may best to consult a professional. They can make sure that your cabinets and hinges are properly installed and functioning at their best.




By following these steps, you can easily replace the hinges on your RTA cabinets and enjoy their full functionality once again. The process may seem tedious at first, but getting it right will save you from the hassle of dealing with malfunctioning hinges down the line. Properly functioning cabinet doors not only make your daily life more convenient but can also add to the overall look and appeal of your kitchen or living space.

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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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Evan Nelson

Evan Nelson is a skilled content writer with over 5 years of experience specializing in kitchen and bath design. His expertise in the field and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible way have made his articles a valuable resource for homeowners and design enthusiasts alike. Evan's insights have been featured in top publications like Homes & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Real Homes. He focuses on providing practical advice, innovative ideas, and detailed guides to help readers make informed decisions about their kitchen spaces. With a passion for creating content that educates and inspires, Evan's writing helps transform kitchen dreams into reality.

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