Things to consider when changing kitchen doors
Changing kitchen doors can be a great way to refresh your kitchen, without the expense of ripping your kitchen out and starting again, but what things do you need considering before you make a start? We'll go through some of the typical things that need considering before replacing kitchen doors with new ones.
First and foremost you will need to work out what style of door you are looking to use in your new kitchen makeover. Don't forget that the cabinets you are using will be hidden once you have your new doors fitted, so don't let the cabinet colour influence you too much.
This is the most important thing to get your head around before starting your project. The vast majority of cabinets in the UK are a standard size, but beware, they are not all the same, so check before you buy!
Once you have the size of the cabinet, you will need to work out the door sizes. These will always be slightly smaller than the cabinets sizes. This is so that the doors don't brush up against each other when they open and close. Our doors are always 4mm narrower than the cabinet and 5mm shorter than the cabinet.
As an example, one of the most popular cabinet sizes is the 600mm base cabinet. This is typically 720mm high by 600mm wide. Our door for this cabinet would be a 715mm high by 596mm wide.
Door drill positions
This is the position of the drill holes for the hinges. It is useful, but not essential, to get the holes for the hinges drilled in advance. You can get a drill bit and do this yourself, but it will take a lot longer, and if they are done by the manufacturer they will be machine drilled, so are going to be millimetre perfect and completely straight, giving you less issues further down the line.
There are two things to consider when it comes to door drill positions.
Left or right drill position
For each door, you will need to choose whether the drill position is on the left or right of the door. This is looking from the front (outside) of the door. If the door is plain, with no complicated pattern, such as a plain slab door, this won't matter as you can rotate the door to suit your needs. If the door has a pattern on it, or if it is a J pull door, you will need to select the drill side in advance.
Drill holes position from the top and bottom of the door
Each manufacture drill the holes for the hinges in different places. It is normally in relation to the cabinets they use. Typically they are drilled at 100mm from the top and bottom of the door, or in our case, 98mm from the top and bottom of the door. If these do not align with your current hinge position you will have to make a decision whether to re-fit the hinges on the cabinets, or whether you will need to choose a door supplier that can drill the hinge holes to the position you require.
Larger doors, such as the 1450mm high doors also often have a third hinge holes too, for additional support. These are normally measured from the top of the door, but it is worth checking before ordering.
The hinge positions are measured from the top of the door (or bottom of the door) to the centre of the hinge hole.
Things are slightly more complicated, and there are a few more options, when it comes to drawer packs and larder units, where more than one drawer or door make up the entire until. To make things a little easier, we have combined the usual door and drawer combinations together, to give you an idea of what you will normally need.
Hinges and plates are normally a standard fitting, but the means of fixing to the door and cabinet can vary slightly. They are normally either fixed with a pre-drilled hole and screw, or with a wood screw that fixes directly into the door or drawer. This shouldn't cause you an issue, as you should be able to re-use the existing screws, if they do vary from the original ones.
You can also normally re-use hinges, however we would always recommend upgrading to soft-close hinges if you are replacing the doors. They not only give a better feel/finish to your kitchen, they also help protect the doors and cabinets from undue damage.
When it comes to finishing the new kitchen refresh, the finishing touches really matter. You want to order plinth (sometimes called kickboard) and end panels that match your new doors. You normally buy these in standard sizes, and cut them down to fit the kitchen.
The size of the plinth tends to vary in length, normally about 3 metres, but the height is normally 150mm high. The plinth fixes to the legs of the base units. If the run of kitchen base units is over 3 metres, you will need to add a join into the plinth.
You have two options when it comes to plinth. You can either cut a 45 degree cut into the plinth, and wrap the plinth around the cabinet, so it runs 90 degrees to the front of the cabinet. Alternatively you can run it up to an end panel.
You normally fit end panels at the full height of the cabinet plus legs, so where a normal base cabinet it 720mm high, with 150mm legs, you would normally fit the end panel at 870mm high. These panels will normally be supplied oversized, so that you can cut to the size required. It is also possible to fit the end panel at just the heigh of the base unit (720mm) with a plinth running down the side of the base unit, although this is normally done when you are matching an end panel to the rest of the run of cabinets, for instance a J profile end panel on a kitchen island.
Cornice and Pelmet
Cornice and pelmet go on the top and the bottom of your wall units. The cornice goes at the top, while the pelmet, sometimes called light pelmet goes below.
These have traditionally been ornate edging to finish you kitchen, however in recent year we've seen a shift a a more plain style for these, to the extent that many ranges now only come with an option of a plain square edged multi-purpose rail. As the name implies, they are used for a number of different things, including use as a light pelmet, cornice and also sometimes as an edging on the end of runs of units.
Cornice and pelmets are not always used in modern kitchens, especially where the finish is a modern, clean-lined finish. Especially where the doors are a J profile door, where the pelmet can get get in the way of you opening the door using the J profiles.
One of the reason light pelmets are not as popular is that they used to be used to hide any fitted lighting that were fixed to the underside of the wall cabinets, however since LED lights are now so slim, this is no longer required, meaning they are largely used as an ornate finish, so it is down to personal taste as to whether you use them, or not.
Please bear in mind that where a pelmet and cornice is used, you will either need to then cut them at a 45 degree angle, and fix them to the side of the wall unit, or more normally, have a higher end panel to compensate for the pelmet and cornice.
As an example if you are using a 36mm multi purpose rail for both a cornice and light pelmet, you will need to add 72mm to the end panel, so instead of a 70mm high end panel for a medium wall unit, you will need the end panel to be 792mm high.
In conclusion, replacing your kitchen doors on your current cabinets is a very cost effective way of giving your kitchen a face-lift, but there are a few things to consider before buying. Think about the elements we've laid out here, and you should be well on your way to getting a great looking new (old!) kitchen.