Cabinet Hinge Adjustment

DEAR MIKE: I have several cabinets that all have the same problem: the doors don't close correctly. Some of the doors touch each other either at the top or bottom, while others stay open a crack when I close them.

The hinges are not on the outside of the cabinet. In fact, they are fairly large and are hidden inside the cabinet. One side of the hinge has been drilled into the door and is connected by a large horizontal bar that gets attached to another part mounted inside the cabinet. The hinges don't seem loose, so has the wood warped or what? -- Stephanie C.

DEAR STEPHANIE: You are describing European hinges (a.k.a. cup hinges) which are in need of adjustment. They are the mother of all hinges. These babies are sturdy and adjust easier than any other hinge.

If you had said that your cabinet doors were hitting each other and that you didn't have European hinges, then you would have had a bigger problem.

Hinges take all kinds of abuse. I have caught my kids using the base cabinet doors as a stepping stool to climb on the kitchen counter. It's amazing that: a) the kids haven't injured themselves doing this, and b) the top hinge hasn't ripped out of the wood.

Other times the kids will throw open the door to get something and you can hear the door groan almost to the point of breaking. All the while the hinges maintain their composure. It's really no wonder that they need an occasional adjustment.

There is a Euro hinge at the top and bottom of the door. For doors that hit each other as they close, you can adjust the hinge to move the doors sideways. This is the closer screw to the opening of the cabinet. It has two grooves forming a cross on the top of it.

If you turn this screw counterclockwise, it will move the door away from the middle and towards the outside of the cabinet (creating a larger gap). By turning the screw clockwise, the doors will move toward the middle (closing any gap). Adjust both top and bottom hinges on both doors so that when the doors come together there is a uniform gap.

If one door is higher than the other, look to the screws that hold the baseplate to the inside of the cabinet. The baseplate has grooves so that you can move the entire door up or down. Loosen these screws on each baseplate, move the door into the correct position and retighten the screws.

If a cabinet door doesn't fully open or close, you can adjust the mounting screw that holds the hinge assembly to the baseplate. This screw is located in between the baseplate screws. Loosen this screw on both the top and bottom hinge. If the door won't open up all the way (you will hear the door rub against the frame) pull the door out from the cabinet a little at a time and test the fit.

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