How to adjust kitchen hinges

Updated July 19, 2017

Cabinet alignment is an important factor in proper care and maintenance of kitchen cabinets. Improper alignment is most often due to the hinge of the cabinet door being loose or needing adjustments. Adjusting the hinge, as needed, on your kitchen cabinet doors can be easily done to maintain their longevity and preserve your investment.

Check cabinet alignment. Even properly installed cabinets can sometimes get out of alignment over time and may need to be repositioned. Place a level on the side and bottom of the cabinet to check levelness. Level as needed by loosening screws at the back of the cabinet and place shims, or small pieces of wood, behind the cabinet until levelness is achieved.

Check if cabinet doors line up across the same line when they are closed. If not, hinges need to be adjusted. Open the crooked cabinet door, loosen the screw of the hinge and move the door up or down to put the door in proper position. Once the doors seem to be aligned, tighten the screw securely. Repeat the process as needed.

Adjust the hinges or add spacers (if applicable for your cabinet type) if there is a gap of more than 1/8 inch between the two cabinet doors. Securely tighten the screw of the hinge once the proper space between doors is set.


Most hinges on cabinet doors have four different positions for adjustments. The process of loosening the hinge to find proper alignment may take several times of moving the cabinet and tightening the screw to get it right. Be patient. Adjust hinges immediately when misalignment is noticed on cabinet doors to prevent excess damage. Prevent this problem by avoiding improper use or leaning on doors when opened or slamming doors shut. If hinges are broken or missing, seek professional help from a cabinet installer or cabinet manufacturer to replace with proper hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • Screwdriver
  • Shims
  • Spacers
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About the Author

John Fechik has been writing since 2009. He owns a business in Michigan and is a licensed builder with over 35 years of experience in kitchen/bath design and cabinet making. He also has over 40 years of experience in the music and recording industry and buys and sells items on eBay. He has an Associate of Applied Science degree in orthotic/prosthetic technology from Baker College.