How To Install Inset Kitchen Cabinet Doors

If you want to update your kitchen cabinets, consider adding an inset door. An inset door sits inside the cabinet. It has a lip around the frame to make them look offset.You should be able to do this yourself, but it helps to have some carpentry skills. Here are tips to install an inset cabinet door.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • tape measure
  • door stops
  • inset hinges
  • screws
  • screwdriver or drill with a screw attachment
  • sandpaper
  • pencil
  • hammer
  • chisel
  • saw

Measure the interior of the cabinet door, so you will get the proper fit. Custom order the doors to match the measurements, or if you prefer, customize an inset door you buy yourself. You won't be able to use standard cabinet doors, since they are made to go on the outside of the cabinet.

Place the doors on a flat work surface, trim the doors to fit with the saw, and sand the edges. Ensure there is enough gap to accommodate swelling in the winter.

Install Hinges

The door hinges should come with a template. If it doesn't have a template, make a mark opposite the hinge sides two inches from the middle of the door and the lower and top corners.

Set a hinge on the top marks with the hinge pin on the side of the door that swings inward, trace around it, and remove the hinge from the door. Lightly score the lines with a utility knife, and chisel out the shape going an eighth of an inch deep.

Place the hinge in the hole. When you drop the hinge in, the plate should be flush with surrounding wood. Secure the hinge with screws. Repeat for the bottom hinge.

Install the Door

Place the door in the opening; getting an assistant to help, if needed. Once it is in and even with the hinges, lay a hinge plate on the door jamb and trace around it. Cut the shape with the hammer and chisel.

Set the door in the opening, and move it top, bottom, left, and right. If you feel a float, it means the cabinet door is even on all sides. Secure the hinge plates.

To prevent the doors from going too far into the cabinet, set up a door stop. If the doors rub together, detach a screw to fix the rub and reinstall it.

Your cabinets will have a more aesthetic appeal with inset doors. If you don't trust your skill or you want new cabinets, contact a professional installer.


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