How to Remove Inset Cabinet Door Hinges

Man using a screwdriver to turn the screw on a cabinet hinge
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-70
What You'll Need
Drill or screwdriver
A container to store screws
Wood chisel or small sander
Glue remover or adhesive looser gel
Marker or pen for notes

Cabinet door hinges can be tricky to remove, especially if you aren’t sure exactly what you are dealing with and how they work with your door. Before starting on your redecorating project checking out the kind of hinges you have is a good idea.

The Different Types of Inset Cabinet Door Hinges

If you have a lipped door you might look for a semi-concealed hinge. This type of hinge is mounted to the face frame with part of the hinge hidden from view behind the door.

A full wrap around inset hinge works much like a butt hinge, but it gives extra support to the door and the mounting. This means there is less pull as the door is swung up during normal use.

A wrap around 3/8 also wraps around the face of the frame, but it can be attached with no visible screws, giving it a cleaner look.

The full inset European hinge holds the cabinet door flush to the frame and is not visible from outside the cabinet. This gives the cabinet an overall cleaner look while still giving the doors maximum support.

The method is basically the same for removing all these types of hinges. First, find the screws holding it together and then remove them with the proper technique.

Step 1 - Seek out the Glue

Look for signs that adhesive or glue has been around the edges of the inset cabinet door hinges. Glue is sometimes used when mounting them or if the hinges become loose and produces squeaks over time. If you see evidence of glue then use the remover only in the area immediately around the hinges since this can cause wood to discolor. Some remover works quickly while others might take some time. Read the instructions if there is any doubt as to whether or not it is working. Don't forget to check whether the glue remover has any safety instructions (such as to make sure the work area has proper ventilation).

Step 2 - Remove Screws

cabinet hinge

Remove the inset cabinet door hinge screws one at a time using the correct drill bit for the screw. Take the screws that hold the door in place out first and work from the bottom to the top so that no pressure is placed on the bottom hinges during the removal. Place the screws into a container as these can normally be reused.

Step 3 - Remove Hinge

Take the hinge away from the door and remove the screws that hold the hinge to the door. Keep these screws as well since again they can probably be used later.

Examine the door and the cabinet for any residual glue or roughing of the wood. Use the glue remover if there is any glue left standing on the wood. If the wood has become too discolored, roughed, or otherwise changed it might be necessary to sand this area down and repaint.

If an inset cabinet door hinges were used on your cabinets and you do not plan to replace the entire cabinet you might consider using another type of inset hinge. These work well especially if you have heavier than average cabinet doors.