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How to Fix Cabinet Doors That Won’t Close

When cabinet doors won’t close, determine whether the door itself is getting stuck or the hinge is keeping it from moving freely. But the door itself may be at fault. Wooden doors can absorb moisture and warp in hot, humid weather. One way to find out if that is the cause is to wait for dry weather. The wooden door will shrink when the humidity drops.

Placing a fan in front of the door also will help evaporate the moisture. That should solve the problem. Occasionally, it doesn’t; then you should lightly sand the edge where the door sticks. Very likely you will also have to refinish the sanded portion, using paint or stain.

Sometimes, doors need to be sanded extensively on the bottom, side, or top edge. If that’s the case, you need to take the door off the hinges after you determine where it’s sticking. You need a hammer, a screwdriver, pencil or chalk, coarse and fine sandpaper, a clear primer, and paint or finish. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open and close the door several times to determine where it’s rubbing.

    Determine whether the hinges are loose or have worn pins and repair them before continuing.

  2. Using a pencil or chalk, mark the edge to show exactly where you have to work.

  3. Put the screwdriver under the hinge pins and tap the bottom with the hammer.

    This is the easy way to raise the pins.

  4. Take out the pins and lift the door off the hinges.

    If you're working on upper cabinets, you might want a helper for this step.

  5. Lay it down with the side that needs work up and sand it.

    Use coarse sandpaper for this initial sanding.

  6. Periodically put the door back in to see if it swings free.

    Don’t take off more wood than you need to.

  7. Smooth the cut edge by sanding again.

    This time use a fine-grained sandpaper.

  8. Prime and finish the edge to match the door.

    That will keep it from absorbing excess moisture on another humid day.

  9. When the door is finished, hang it on the hinges, lubricate the pins, and put them in.

    Again use the hammer to tap them in place.

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