The most common items requiring repairs whenever tenants leave are the kitchen cabinet doors. The typical problems are sagging doors, doors that don't close, pulled out cabinet door hinges or any combination of these.

Concealed Hinges for Kitchen Cabinets

The hinges used for the cabinet doors are called concealed hinges, sometimes called european hinges. Unlike the traditional butt or mortise hinges, concealed hinges can be seen inside the kitchen cabinet only. They give a neater appearance for the kitchen cabinet doors on the outside.

There are three type of concealed hinges: inset, full overlay and half overlay. The type of kitchen cabinet door hinges we have is the half overlay like the one shown below.

With forceful closing and opening of kitchen cabinet doors, sometimes the screws of the kitchen cabinet door hinges loosen and eventually get pulled out. Usually, this loosening of the door hinge screws happens on the cabinet side of the concealed hinge rather on the door side.

An installed concealed hinge is shown below. The part of the hinge that attaches to the kitchen cabinet door is on the left. The other part is on the kitchen cabinet itself.

Re-screwing the screws back in works, but only temporarily. This is because hinge screw holes have become bigger that the screws have lost grip on the wood. Actually, this is already the situation when the kitchen door hinges have completely detached from the cabinet itself.

One solution to this problem of worn out screw holes is to relocate the hinges to another part of the wood (cabinet and door), but for concealed hinges, that would entail two things:
  1. Reinstalling the kitchen cabinet door hinges and chiselling new wood out from the cabinet door to fit the door part of the concealed hinges.
  2. Resurfacing the unsightly hinge screw holes and hinge marks left in the old location of the concealed hinges. You will also need considerable wood filler to cover the hole left by door part of the concealed hinge.

A Better Alternative

A better and cheaper solution to this problem without having to relocate the cabinet door hinges to other areas of the wood is to replace the old hinge screws with longer screws and, additionally, use epoxy to glue the screws in.

The longer screws will grip into newer wood in the kitchen cabinet. The wood epoxy does two things. One, it acts as a wood filler, and two, it bonds the screws to the wood.

This solution, by the way, works for other kitchen cabinet hardware that use wood screws to attach to the wood. These include kitchen cabinet hardware like door handles and door knobs.

For this DIY project, you need the following materials and tools:
  • Wood Epoxy
  • Dish or tray of water
  • Putty knife
  • Phillips-type Screwdriver
  • Stackable items (that can wedge the door in place while the epoxy cures)

The next post will discuss the detailed procedures to readjust the concealed hinges.