Removing Kitchen Cabinets Properly? Kitchens are considered to be the heart of every home. However, when cabinets get old and outdated, they start losing their charm. If you are planning to revamp your kitchen, one of the best ways to do it is by removing existing kitchen cabinets and replace them with new ones.
Tips Before Removing Kitchen Cabinets
Removing kitchen cabinets is a daunting task. However, it does not have to be difficult. But remember, you should hire a professional for this type of project if you aren’t experienced working with tools and materials used in laying out kitchens.
Removing kitchen cabinets should not be a costly or time-consuming process. With the right tools and motivation, you can successfully remove your kitchen cabinets in a day. Here are some helpful hints from experienced homeowners on how to remove cabinet doors.
1. Read through this whole guide first before attempting the job yourself!
2. Be prepared for several days of tedious work while removing your kitchen cabinets, doors, and drawers. Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue and injury while working with power tools.
3. Wear clothes that can get dirty, cover any furniture you do not want to be dirtied with dust, and move anything fragile out of the way before beginning your project.
4. Put on safety goggles, and make sure you protect the cabinets by covering them with a drop cloth before starting.
5. Get all of your tools together and lay them out in an accessible area, including:
- Screwdriver set.
- Measuring tape.
- Utility knife.
- Level (if needed).
- Mounting hardware for new cabinets.
- Carpenter’s pencil or marker to mark measurements on doors or drawers before removing them from the cabinet frame, just in case you have to remove anything from the frame.
- Pry bar handy for use when it is time to remove the cabinet door from its frame.
6. Lay down a drop cloth under where you intend to do your work to avoid damaging hardwood or tile floors.
7. Read the rest of the guide before you begin!
Kitchen Cabinet Removal Process
You need to know the proper technique and prepare the required tools and materials on how to remove kitchen cabinets. There are different methods for removing built-in kitchen cabinets; here, we will discuss two of them:
- The cabinet demolition stripping method.
- The woodworking approach.
Remove doors from cabinets
- Use a screwdriver to remove door hinges from cabinets.
- Remove both hinges at once when possible.
- Use a drill to get rid of stubborn screws.
Drawer slides usually have rail tracks on both sides that need to be removed with pliers or screwdrivers before extracting drawers.
Tip: Some cabinets have front-facing drawer slides, so these need to be removed first.
Remove cabinet bottom
- For kitchen cabinet tops that sit flush with the countertop, unscrew the base plate 90 degrees and lower it out of its hole. Tip: If your cabinet is fastened to the floor, then after loosening the screws, lift the entire base up and off the flange.
- Next, use a hammer or saw to remove any protruding nails or screw heads from the flooring surface.
Prepare new cabinets
Before moving existing cabinets out of their holes, carefully measure the dimensions of the new unit and mark each opening on its backside for a precise fit later on during the installation process.
Remove Base Cabinets
- You can use a saw or pry bar to remove cabinets that are fastened to wall studs. Tip: For extending base cabinets beyond the countertop, start by cutting an inch or two into the bottom of toe-kick areas at both ends of the cabinet. This will give your toe-kicks more clearance when you push the cabinet back into position.
- Next, using a hammer or pry bar, rip out all flooring between cabinets, including subflooring underlayment and any remaining nails.
Dispose of debris
- Place all removed cabinet parts in a garbage bag for disposal with your regular trash.
- Finish up job with light sanding/painting of floors, walls, and new cabinets surface if necessary before reinstallation process.
Tips and Warnings
If you have just decided to replace old kitchen cabinets by building new ones, purchase adjustable shelving brackets to remove excess material from the cabinet carcass easily. As with any do-it-yourself project, follow the safety precautions written on product labels before work begins.
More Detailed Kitchen Cabinet Removal Process
1. The first step is to remove the doors and the drawers. This will make it easier for you to get behind the cabinets and take them off their hinges.
To do this, use a screwdriver or drill with a phillips head bit to remove the screws from your hinges. You will probably want someone else to help you with this part as it can be very heavy and awkward for one person alone.
Once you have removed all of your door hinges, carefully move them away from your kitchen cabinets.
2. Next, remove all your drawer slides and glide them by unscrewing them entirely out of the cabinet box. These, too, should be moved out of the way when they are no longer attached to the cabinet.
3. To remove your cabinets easier, take out any screws holding in your upper cabinets. This includes any screws located at the top of the cabinet, inside the cabinet above towards the back, and anywhere else that there is a screw located on an upper kitchen cabinet.
Sometimes lower cabinetry will also have screws along with its interior, but this isn’t always the case, so check yours carefully before proceeding if this applies to your situation.
4. Now that you have all of your screws removed, use either a screwdriver or drill with a socket attachment (allen wrench) to remove all of the actual hinges from each kitchen cabinet door or wall cabinet corner bracket.
If you have a corner bracket, the extractor tool should extract the screw right out of it. Even if you don’t have one, though, you should be able to unscrew this part with your socket set as well. It might take some elbow grease, but all screws can be removed using this method.
5. Now that all hinges and screws are removed from your kitchen cabinets, carefully pick them up and begin taking them down off of the cabinet wall or walls they were attached to.
As soon as you have moved your first cabinet away from its wall, ask someone to assist you in holding it so it doesn’t fall over and potentially break anything inside it by knocking into plates or glasses that may still be inside of it before being emptied.
If you have a corner cabinet, position this one at the same time so that it can be taken down from its wall as well.
6. Now that all of your kitchen cabinets are empty and have been taken off their hinges and screws, decide which ones you would like to remove from your kitchen completely. For most kitchens with upper and lower cabinets, it is best to start by first removing the upper cabinets before moving on to the lower or base cabinets.
Once these are removed, you can then work on taking out any island cabinetry and any other freestanding cabinets if they exist in your kitchen space.
7. Once your freestanding (island) cabinetry has been removed from the room, take a look at how your kitchen layout is going to change with the removal of these cabinets.
If you have a corner space used by an island cabinet, it is most likely going to be very hard to use it in the same way once there isn’t something located there.
You may want to think about moving appliances around or getting rid of some small appliances if their access will be difficult due to your new layout.
In addition, you should also check out how the room feels without its upper and lower kitchen cabinets before removing any base cabinets from your kitchen design plans.
8. Once you are satisfied with how things look in your kitchen without the cabinetry down, move on to removing any base cabinets from the space. You will need at least two people for this step as these can be heavy and awkward to lift and move around on your own.
A common mistake a lot of first-time do-it-yourselfers make when removing their kitchen cabinetry is that they think they should remove all of their wall cabinets first before taking down lower kitchen cabinets or base cabinets.
This isn’t always the case, so it’s important to remember to take down lower cabinets first and island cabinetry if you have one before moving on to any upper or wall cabinet removal.
Once you have successfully taken out all of your existing kitchen cabinetry, allow enough time (usually 24 hours) for the room to dry after you’ve thoroughly cleaned it out.
Once that time has passed, you can start thinking about re-designing your kitchen with new cabinets or simply painting the walls and hanging some attractive wall art to help detract attention away from the lack of cabinetry.