Let's revamp your old cabinets and drawers

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There will come a time that your cabinets and drawers will surrender to the inevitability of decay. The drawers won't close properly, the doors will be crooked, the handles will fell apart and the wooden surfaces will be carved with scratches.

Whether these problems are brought upon by old age or by maltreatment, you will stand wrists on waist and think how to remedy the situation. After all, the kitchen is a focal point of the house, daily used by all family members and any inconvenience will make your life unnecessary difficult.

Of course, the first thought will be to replace them. However as the expense of such an endeavour sinks in, you will eventually look for alternatives. Hence, we decided to give you a hand. It will only require a little attention and some craftsmanship for your cabinets and drawers to look and act as good as new.

Let’s see then how to give your old cabinets and drawers a second wind.

Doors are crooked or don't align

A common issue with cabinets are doors that are slightly unaligned or crooked. The answer to their condition is pretty simple. As you will observe, the hinges that are hidden inside the cabinets are adjustable. Take a screwdriver and try turning the screws slightly until the crooked door is raised or lowered to meet its adjacent counterpart. By adjusting the screws on the hinges you will also be able to move the door closer or further from the cabinet frame or bring  onto the same level, whether horizontally or vertically. A quick and inexpensive technique.

Sticky drawers

Bespoke Handmade Traditional Kitchen: modern Kitchen by Williams Ridout
Williams Ridout

Bespoke Handmade Traditional Kitchen

Williams Ridout

Drawers can often present a sticky issue; they don’t roll seamlessly along their slides. Unless the roller slides are damaged in any way, the solution to your issue is another easy one.

Perhaps some food debris has become lodged in the mechanism? If so, simply remove the drawers from the cabinet and clean the rollers and slides.

Since the drawers are out of their position, make sure that the screws on the slides are firm. To make sliding all the more easy, apply a dry lubricant on the slides. The benefit of dry lubrication against oily is that the latter will collect dust, which can be counterproductive. Place the drawer back into position, opening and closing it a few times to help the lubricant spread.

Loose handles

Another common issue with the cabinets and drawers is their handles. After years of pulling, pushing and grabbing, sometimes with much more force than needed, they come loose. So how to fix loose handles?

Well, as you have probably guessed, one way is to just tighten their screws. However, in many cases this solution will be a short victory as they will twist loose again. But don’t be dismayed as there is a permanent solution! You can use thread-locking liquid, such as Loctite 242, which is applied to the thread of screws preventing them from loosening.

Greasy surfaces

If you cook often in the kitchen, especially frying, then you have noticed grease splashes all over the cabinets and smudges on wooden surfaces as a result of steam. The greasy surfaces just kill the shine of your kitchen decor.

Grease can be fought though! You can use your grease specialised dishwasher detergents and mix a couple of tablespoons in warm water and scrub away with a sponge. When cleaning a kitchen, baking soda can be your best friend. If there are a few stubborn stains, mix baking soda in water and wipe the grease away with a sponge. It is best to avoid scouring pads as they will scratch wooden surfaces. For a shining finish, use a wood polish!

Doors bang when closed

Cabinet doors, after years of usage, usually bang when closed. Even though this might not seem a huge problem it can be a precursor of another issue. The force and vibrations from the banging door may cause the hinges to loosen and the door to fall from its place. Hopefully not on someone’s head!

To remedy the situation you can use soft-close hardware or adapters that will allow your cabinet door to close softly and quietly. They are inexpensive tools that can save you from a lot of trouble in the long run. There is even a cheaper solution with self-adhesive bumpers that will withhold a door smacking against bare wood.

Doors won't stay shut

Happiest when the skies are blue: modern Kitchen by Alaris London Ltd
Alaris London Ltd

Happiest when the skies are blue

Alaris London Ltd

In contrast to banging doors, there might come a day that a door just won’t stay shut, whether just for a few millimetres to stuck all the way open. This annoying occurrence has a pretty simple fix that answers to magnetism.

Take a magnetic catch and attach it to a cabinet rail, while you screw a magnetic plate to the door opposite the catch. If you are a science fan then you will have already figured out that the magnetic pull will keep the doors closed.

Scratches in the wood

The overuse of the wooden kitchen cabinets and drawers will inevitably lead to one conclusion: scratches. Once again, the remedy is quite easy and inexpensive.  With touch-up stain markers you can fill in the scratches and the surface will look as good as new. 

Perhaps you will experience the slight inconvenience of finding the perfect colour marker to match with your cabinets or drawers but even if you find one that is a hue slightly lighter or darker, it will hardly be noticeable.

Drawer has a bowed bottom

When a drawer has a bowed bottom is a consequence of over-stuffing it with more weight that it can handle. Naturally, if it continues to carry excess weight, the drawer bottom will collapse, leaving with you with drawer mayhem. Therefore, remove any heavy parts from the drawers and carefully place the remaining items in an orderly fashion. 

If the reason for overfilling was the lack of storage space, consider adding some an additional storage solution to your kitchen. Since the drawer bottom has already being inflicted with some damage you will need to reinforce it. A simple way is by adding an extra layer of plywood on the bottom.

Your kitchen cabinets and drawers might be suffering the hardships of time but by following these simple ways you can help prolong their life.

Have you got any other good tips for fixing old cabinets and drawers? We'd love to know them!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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