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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Cabinetry / Shelving Category


Door swings open and shut incorrectly.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Screwdriver

  • Handful of wood slivers or toothpicks

  • Power drill


If you have a hard time opening a cabinet door, it requires some service.  The door, under the circumstances, has obviously been through a lot of wear-and-tear by now and proper re-alignment is necessary.

Depending on the extent of the wear-and-tear that has caused the door to swing out of whack, either one of the four (4) following solutions, sorted incrementally to match the severity of the wear-and-tear, may be applicable:

Solution 1

The door hinge screw(s) seem to be partially unscrewed, then do the following:

  1. Simply tighten the screw(s) that is/are sticking out enough so as to be flush with the other screws that are intact as originally screwed in and so as to make sure the hinge being fastened by the screws is snug tight against the door.

Solution 2

The door hinges seem to be loose, and in fact the screw(s) seem to be wobbly while in the cabinet door or otherwise have lost their "teeth" to stay tightly in place, then do the following: 

  1. Unscrew/remove each affected screw one at a time and subsequently place wood slivers (tip: an alternative to these slivers, if tight on cash, toothpicks can work just as well) into each screw hole.

  2. Screw the screws back into place with a screwdriver, expecting some resistance while you screw, which means the sliver/toothpick fillers are doing their job (tip: you can also add screw glue or any general glue to the groves of the screws or in the screw holes for a tighter hold if you so desire before screwing back the screws).

Solution 3

If the above wood-filler technique does not solve the screw's wobbly state and otherwise loss of screwing "teeth," then cautiously consider the use of bigger screws and their compatibility with the hinge holes and door width dimension (so as to avoid the screw's going through the other side of the door) before proceeding to do the following:

  1. Remove the existing screws.

  2. Use a power drill to drill in the screw holes so as to lengthen their depth (about the depth of about 3/4 the size of the bigger screw) in order to act as pilot holes for the bigger screws.

  3. Screw the new bigger screws into the holes previously lengthened in depth with the drill, expecting to feel some resistance towards the end of screwing each screw as your own screwdriver turns will make the final boring of the holes with the groves of the screws, themselves.

Solution 4

If the three options above won't work (because the very bad, worn-out condition of the hinge locations on the doors and cabinetry itself), short of replacing the door or the whole cabinetry, do the following:

  1. Unscrew the existing screws so as to free the hinges (paint may have masked over the hinges, so carefully use some muscle to get the "stubborn" hinges free).

  2. Shift the hinges to other locations of the door and corresponding cabinetry side to which the door has been previously attached.

  3. Mount the hinges at the new locations found to be acceptable by drilling new appropriate holes and screwing the existing screws as you normally would. Caution: This option is the least desirable if the mounting hinge screws are designed to be visible, as in such cases the previous holes may cause an eyesore, which will need to be patched and possibly refinished to match the existing appearance of the whole cabinetry scheme.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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