How to Fix Cabinet Doors That Won't Close

open wooden cabinet door with bowls inside
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • $10-30
What You'll Need
Wood glue
Replacement hinges
What You'll Need
Wood glue
Replacement hinges

Cabinet doors that overlap or refuse to stay closed are unsightly and can be a safety hazard. To fix this issue, troubleshoot the cause and fix your cabinet doors with the guide below in four steps or less.

Step 1 – Tighten the Hinges

The first and simplest step in fixing your cabinet door that won’t close is to see if a screw is loose.

Assessing the Hinges

Simply open your cabinet door and look at the hinges. Put slight pressure on the underside of the door. Does the door lift up when you do this? If so, you just need a screwdriver to fix it.

Tightening the Screws

To fix the cabinet door, life the door into place and gently tighten the screws with a screwdriver until it’s snug against the wood. If the screw turns too freely, the hole may be stripped, and you may need to replace the hinge.

Step 2 – Adjust the Hinges

Nowadays, most homes have cabinets with European hinges, or large hinges hidden on the inside of the cabinet that are adjustable. If your cabinet doors are overlapping, or if they are edging forward slightly, then you may need to adjust your hinges.

Fixing an Overlap

The screw used for adjusting the alignment of a European hinge is the one closest to where the cabinet opens. There are two grooves that form a plus sign across it. Turn the screw counter-clockwise to move the door away from the side where it closes if there is an overlap.

Fixing a Gap

Having a gap is one of the most common problems with door hinges, and it's easy to solve. For unsightly gaps, turn the screw clockwise to move the door closer to the shutting edge. Try minute adjustments first. If this doesn't work, try again, making another small adjustment.

Step 3 – Fix the Screw Locations

If neither of the above steps work, you may need to replace your hinges or fix stripped screw locations.

Stripped screw locations can be fixed in one of two ways — either you can relocate the hinge and possibly damage the cabinet door, or you can pull out or reinforce the cabinet framing in the area with the stripped screw. You can also try using wood glue to reinforce a stripped screw hole, but this may offer only a temporary solution to your problem. If you choose to try wood glue, use the appropriate safety precautions when working with the substance, including wearing a face mask and making sure your work area is well-ventilated.

Step 4 – Replace the Hinges

If the screw holes are in good shape, but the hinge itself appears damaged, remove the door carefully and set it somewhere safe. Take the hinge to your local hardware store to find one that matches in screw size and location. To reinstall the hinge, just attach the new one with the same screws.