Give your kitchen cabinets a second life

To buy new or repair your kitchen cabinets: The big dilemma

How do you know whether it’s worth putting the work into repairing kitchen cabinets or whether you should just bite the bullet and buy new ones? Before you do anything with your cabinets, you should consider the following things.

How much time do you have?–Kitchen cabinet repair can be a big job to take on, and it is labor intensive. What you imagine will take you an hour can actually take days or weeks, so be ready to commit to your cabinets.

Think about your budget–Whereas buying a whole new set of cabinets may seem like the easier option, it can be an expensive business. Giving your cabinets a DIY facelift is definitely the budget-friendly option, but bear in mind that you will still have to spend out on tools, which can add up quickly.

What state of repair are the kitchen cabinets in?—If your cabinets are seriously falling apart or they are made from very cheap materials, you might be better off getting rid of them. However, if you have a sturdy solid wood cabinets, it’s worth saving them. If the repair is just a matter of aesthetics, then refinishing cabinets (stripping, sanding and resealing) or painting them can make a surprising difference in brightening up a room and make it look larger.

Obviously, if you want to change the layout of your kitchen or update appliances, you should probably rip the cabinets out and start all over again.

Tools and materials for repairs

Before you begin your big kitchen cabinet repair job, it’s important to get your tools lined-up. Thankfully, you don’t need a whole host of exotic sounding gadgets; these are things you can easily find in your local hardware store.

C-clamps—These will hold the section of the cabinet you are working on in place.

Screwdriver—Probably the most important and helpful tool in your box. Cabinet doors can become loose and wobbly over time. Most hinges just need tightening up with a screwdriver to bring the door back into alignment with the cabinet.

Drill—To reattach your repaired kitchen cabinets.

Wood glue, screws, nails and a hammer—These are vital for broken drawer boxes or for reattaching anything that has fallen off or is coming away.

Sander—Great for smoothing over scratches or deep gouges in the wood and sanding away hard edges.

Paint—If you are going to refinish or reface your cabinets then you’ll want a fresh lick of paint.

Stain or polish—Give some shine back to sanded or replacement doors.

White wine vinegar and soapy water—You can use this to brighten up dull or dirty metal hardware such as handles.

Spray on lubricant—Sometimes, all you need to do to make drawers slide smoothly again is to use a little lubricant. If you find that your drawer gliders are seriously worn out then you might need to replace them.

Putty and wood filler—You might have holes or cracks on cabinet doors that need filling in.

Kitchen cabinet repair Do’s and Don’ts


Allow yourself enough time to complete the project—You don’t want a half-finished cabinet lying on your kitchen floor.

Empty cabinets and remove doors and drawers—If you are planning on painting, then also remove the hardware or place masking tape over things like hinges.

Label the doors—Make sure you know where the doors and drawers belong in your kitchen or things could get confusing!


Skimp on sanding—Painting over damaged wood is a bad idea; it won’t fix anything and will look shoddy

Pick the wrong color or use cheap paint—Do some color tests, go for paint which is wipeable and durable, and use a roller to avoid messy brush strokes.

Reattach your cabinets too quickly—You will want to wait for any glue, paint or stain to dry before you start putting the cabinets back in their place.

About Author: Having several years of experience in home improvement field, Owen Wrigth is keen on sharing his knowledge and secrets with others. Doesn’t matter if you’re a homeowner with little to no knowledge in the field or an experienced contractor, you can always learn something new and interesting from his stories. Owen hopes that his articles will give you a bit of insight on home improvement.