Guide: How to Adjust Cabinet Hinges

Are your cabinet doors not lining up properly? If you’ve noticed your doors rubbing against each other or not closing evenly, your first thought is to do a search for “how to adjust cabinet hinges.”

The search could be why you’re here, in the first place.

After you see some of the common solutions, maybe you drift to the thought, “Are my cabinet hinges supposed to cause the doors to droop?” or “Will adjusting them fix the issue?”

Unfortunately, the answer to both of these questions is “no.”

Yes, it is possible to adjust cabinet butt hinges and we’ll cover doing so. However, to really understand and eliminate the issue, you have to first understand why your cabinet doors aren’t lining up like they once were.

What Causes Cabinet Hinges to Become Misaligned?

The most common reason your cabinets might become misaligned is wear and tear. Over time, the weight of the doors, constant opening and closing hinges, and poor-quality material cause hinges to bind and loosen. This leads them to sag or becomes uneven.

Of course, on your web searches, you probably heard a lot of potential causes that lean more toward myth than reality. A few of these include:

  • The house settled shortly after it was built or after major renovations. As the house settles, it can cause the doors to becoming misaligned. This isn’t accurate.
  • Temperature changes are believed to also cause cabinet hinges to become misaligned. In winter, the air inside can become dry causing the wood to contract. In summer, when the humidity is higher, the wood swells. Again, inaccurate.
  • All hinges need adjustment, from time to time. Many believe it’s simply part of your home maintenance routine. It’s false, too.

No, there’s no “Big Hinge” conspiracy. These are simply ideas and theories as to why you install cabinets with butt hinges and they eventually (sooner, rather than later) need an adjustment.

Want to know two things we’ve found over our more than 100-year history? First, it’s nearly always due to hinge quality. While you can adjust butt hinges, it won’t fix the problem. And secondly, adjusting only lasts for so long, if you’re using the same hinge, or type of hinge.

A Better Solution? SOSS Hinges

Before we explain how to adjust some kinds of cabinet hinges, it’s important to give a true solution to drooping cabinets. That solution is a high-quality, all-steel construction hinge, properly installed on your cabinets.

The difference between a SOSS invisible hinge made for thinner doors (found on cabinets) and common soft-close hinges is the quality. While most of those hinges are made from steel, it’s thin and molded or formed into a particular shape. SOSS hinges have solid construction using interlocking and stacking plates to rest the weight of the door on.

Our hinges are used in the White House and have been trusted by world-renown architects and designers (like Frank-Lloyd Wright). We have reports of SOSS hinges that have been in continual use for more than 100 years.

The biggest difference? No adjustments ever. Our hinges are made to last, even longer than your cabinet doors.

However, there may be certain situations where your current hinges need an adjustment. While this is a temporary fix, the need may arise and now we’ll cover a bit about adjusting certain types of hinges you already have installed.

How to Adjust Cabinet Hinges

Before you start adjusting your hinges, identify which type of hinge you have. Some are more difficult to adjust than others. Most modern cabinets use invisible hinges that are installed inside of the cabinet. Adjusting this type of hinge is relatively simple.

Make Sure the Hinge Mounting Screws are Secure

If the mounting screws on your cabinet door aren’t secure, you’ll run the risk of the door not opening properly or even falling off entirely. To avoid this, see if you can tighten the screws or if there is more damage preventing you.

Adjust Cabinet Doors Laterally

If your cabinet doors are too close or too far apart when closed, you’ll need to adjust them laterally in order to move the doors sideways. This is a simple process that only requires you to adjust one screw on each hinge.

Adjust Cabinet Doors Vertically

If your cabinet doors are not level with each other when closed, you’ll need to adjust them vertically. This is the most common issue that people face when it comes to misaligned cabinets because, over time, gravity can work against your hinges and cause the doors to sag.

Here’s how to level your cabinet doors:

Adjust the Depth of Your Cabinet

If your cabinet doors aren’t closing properly because they’re too close to the cabinet, or if they’re too far away from the cabinet and look odd, you can easily adjust the depth.

Making Adjustments on Hinges Without Adjustable Screws

If your cabinet hinges are older and don’t have any screws for adjustments, it will take more work to align them. You’ll first have to identify the problem, then make the changes noted above to the hinge itself, temporarily fixing the issue.

Some general tips include:

  • Tighten the mounting screws. In some cases, you might be able to fix a sagging door by tightening the screws that attach the hinge to the cabinet.
  • Bend the hinge arms. If your doors are too close or too far from the cabinet, you can try to slightly bend the horizontal arms of the hinge. Be careful not to bend them too much or they could break.
  • Replace the hinge. If you’re ready to eliminate the chore of regular adjustments and misaligned cabinets, consider switching to SOSS hinges.

Ready for a Hinge that Doesn’t Need an Adjustment?

See exactly how SOSS Invisible Hinges add to your aesthetic while never needing an adjustment. Whether you’re upgrading your cabinets, doing a home remodel, or a contractor looking for quality material, SOSS is ready with hardware that will last.