How to Adjust Old Cabinet Door Hinges (Ultimate Guide)

If homeowners open their cabinet doors frequently, the hinges will get damaged, crooked, or loose over time. When they become noisy or do not open smoothly, they demand adjustments. Thus, I will show you how to adjust old cabinet door hinges through this guide.

Before grabbing the tools, you must figure out the type of cabinet door hinge.

Next, you need to identify the problem and pick the best solution. By doing so, you can adjust the hinges excellently.

On most occasions, you can fix the cabinet door hinges by yourself. They typically do not need extra help from skilled technicians.

This article will give you all the details so you can overcome the existing problems with just a few tools.

How to Adjust Old Cabinet Door Hinges

Check the Types of Cabinet Hinges

Some cabinets employ mechanisms that let you move door hinges in & out or side to side. Meanwhile, others feature adjustable hinges.

They enable you to move them side to side, front & back, and up & down.

Concealed Cabinet Hinges

Concealed Cabinet Hinges

These European-style hinges nestle inside the cabinets. Furthermore, they include an adjustable bar between a couple of mounting plates.

This type of cabinet hinge comes with six visible screws. You can overlook the two hinges that accommodate the mounting plate.

Two of the four screws belong to the hinge assembly bar. Meanwhile, the remaining two sit on the side of the cabinet.

Those four screws adjust the hinge, so the cabinet door functions well. The screw that is farthest from the cabinet door manages the working mechanism.

If the cabinet doors overlap, tighten/loosen the screw for the desired results.

Then, unfasten a pair of screws that support the mounting plate if you want to move the cabinet door up & down. After that, re-tighten them to keep the plate in place.

Since the hinges boast multiple screws, you can adjust them with ease. The adjustments of concealed door hinges tend to be straightforward.

Traditional Door Hinges

Traditional Door Hinges

People also know them as butt hinges. Usually, these hinges feature three screws that accommodate each mounting plate.

They have no room for adjustment too.

These door hinges typically belong to older cabinets. Some “updated” butt hinges come with oval screw holes.

Luckily, they provide some adjustments.

All you need to do is loosen the screw. After that, you must either pull/push the cabinet door into your preferred position.

Lastly, tighten the screw again.

Some hinges are outdated and include mounting screws that link them to the cabinet frame. If you have them, be prepared since they require more work.

Find Out the Problem

how to adjust old cabinet door hinges

Before adjusting the hinges, you should start with visual inspections. In addition to paying attention to the door’s function, look at the hinges’ alignment.

If the hinges are not working, you will likely deal with the following problems:

  • Hinge holes get stripped. Furthermore, they become overly large for the screws.
  • There is a screw that comes off and damages the cabinet door mechanism.
  • The hinges appear bent and rusted.
  • The cabinet doors no longer open and close properly.
  • The existing hardware cannot support the cabinet door. It makes the door sag as well.

Once you find out the problem, it will be easy to address the issue and take the right approach. Checking out the cabinet hinges also helps you uncover other hidden tear and wear signs.

How to Adjust Cabinet Hinges Correctly

How to Adjust Cabinet Hinges Correctly

After analyzing the underlying problem, it is time to tackle the issue. Before getting to work, you better read up on these door hinge adjustment tips.

Cabinet Door Hinges Become So Stiff

Cabinet Door Hinges Become So Stiff

Undoubtedly, time affects many things. If the hinges no longer work perfectly and get tighter than usual, proceed with the adjustment.

First of all, unscrew the hinges. Move them to the left & right.

Then, look at them. If this does not remedy the problem, adjust them up or down or slide them to the left/right.

You have to remove the base plate too.

Once you know which directions they lose their stiffness, re-screw them. After that, close the cabinet door.

Normally, wood warping might cause the stiffness of cabinet door hinges. Repositioning the hinger up/down will solve the issue.

A Case Where You Have Cabinet Doors Rubbing Together

how to adjust old cabinet door hinges

When you shut your double cabinet doors, they start to rub against each other. Rectify the issue by adjusting them on both doors.

Find a couple of screws on the hinge. Next, untighten the screw that is closest to the door a bit. This solution will let you re-adjust the hinge to the right/left.

You can try one direction at a time. Then, check to make sure the doors no longer rub together.

If there are no desired results, give the other direction a chance. Do things carefully unless you want to lose the doors’ alignment.

Cabinet Door Hinges Get Noisy


Who doesn’t hate creaky cabinet doors? I believe you find them annoying. If your door hinges create an irritating noise, address this issue soon.

You need to adjust the old hinges left & right or up & down.

However, if they get rusted, try applying cooking or engine oil. Use any of these lubricants on the cabinet door.

Once you apply some on your hinges, try swinging the cabinet doors for about 60 seconds. By doing so, the lubricant can reach all the joints.

In most cases, this solution will keep the annoying noise at bay. Check the oil type you choose beforehand to prevent it from ruining the cabinet’s visual appeal.

Cabinet Door Hinges Become Loose

Cabinet Door Hinges Become Loose

If you face this scenario, your cabinet doors hang lower than before. It proves the screws have loosened due to age and use.

To rectify the issue, you must readjust the hinges. That way, they will be in the right position. Also, you need to re-tighten the screws.

If the holes for the screws are still in excellent condition, the cabinet door hinges will remain tight.

Avoid re-tightening the screws too hard.

On the other hand, if the holes no longer house the screws, you must drill some pilot holes for them.

Just follow this instruction:

  • First of all, open the door of the cabinet.
  • Tighten and then adjust the screws on the hinges using a screwdriver.
  • Check the alignment as well as tension by closing the cabinet door.
  • Re-adjust the screws. Once the door no longer gets loose, close the cabinet door properly.

Cabinet Doors Are Not Appropriately Aligned

Your existing cabinet doors do not look the same as they did before. They continue to deteriorate because of aging. However, they should align.

If the doors seem out of place, you must adjust the hinges. As I have mentioned, repositioning the hinges is a perfect way to tackle this issue.

Search for the loose screws since they can be the cause. If the screws are great, adjust the hinges inwards.

Repeat the process until the doors get aligned.

A Scenario Where You Have Overlapping Cabinet Doors

adjust old cabinet door hinges

You can solve this issue by adjusting the hinges down or up. If they allow for in & out mechanisms, you must try this solution.

However, if this remedy does not work out, look for other signs of damage. Inspect the doors, hinges, and the framework of the cabinet.

Tools That You’ll Need to Adjust Cabinet Hinges


After identifying the problems and discovering the solutions above, you need to fix the old cabinet hinges soon.

To adjust them, you will need a screwdriver.

Be sure to grab a screwdriver with the right tip. Purchasing the Cremax Magnetic Set is recommended.

This multi-tip set is suitable for any toolbox.

The adjustment does not require a power drill since it can ruin the cabinet door altogether. It tends to strip the cabinet wood or the heads of the screws.

If you cannot adjust them by yourself, call a professional. This option keeps you from harming the cabinet and paying high repair costs.

Adjusting Old Cabinet Door Hinge Alternatives

how to adjust old cabinet door hinges (1)

You deal with issues related to cabinet door hinges. However, an adjustment did not work out as expected.

If that is the case, take the following alternatives into account.

  • Replace the Cabinets

If you cannot adjust the old cabinet hinges, retire them. It is suggestible if they have got significant damage in the box or doors.

However, if the cabinet doors are the only things that get damaged, replace them along with the old hinges.

Since cabinets are a tremendous investment, you must consider all the options.

  • Purchase New Hinges

In some cases, cabinet door hinges are overly old for adjustments. That is why you have to replace such hinges.

There are numerous hinge options for cabinet doors. Some excellent choices are the JOK ½ Inch Overlay and the Decobasics 25 Pairs.

  • Ignore the Issue

If you are not ready for hinge adjustments, try to live with the problems. Things will worsen over time, though.

Furthermore, the damage can affect other cabinet parts.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to hinge adjustments, a visual inspection does matter. Moreover, you can adjust the old hinges by yourself using a reliable screwdriver.

Those tips on how to adjust old cabinet door hinges help you get things done the right way. However, if the task seems overly challenging, call in an assistant or a carpenter.

How to Adjust Old Cabinet Door Hinges

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