How To Fix An Out Of Square Cabinet: Best DIY Techniques




Are your cabinet doors and shelves misaligned and corners uneven? Is it hard to use? Are you facing problems storing all your necessities in your kitchen cabinet? 

What if I say, you can easily fix it and increase its functionality like when it was new? Yes. You heard it right. You can get a new cabinet without replacing your existing one.

Hi! This is your personal woodworking expert with 5+ years of experience. Here’s how to fix an out of square cabinet and your unsquare cabinet dilemma.

How To Fix An Out Of Square Cabinet

Fix An Out Of Square Cabinet

Take a mental or physical note of all the problems and gather the tools you need to fix them. Now fix the issues one by one. Realign the door, even the corners, and level the shelves. Finally, test all the repairs and adjust if you need to.

Stop! Do not rush yet. It is not the actual process. Are you interested in fixing your out-of-shape table? Let me help you. Let’s dive right into it.

An overview-

Some main facts-

  • An out-of-square cabinet is when a cabinet or any of its parts such as cabinet doors, cabinet box, cabinets square, and cabinet carcass are not perfectly square. 
  • The studier the joints between the cabinet parts, the even the shelves are. 
  • The reason for misaligned doors are loosened screws.
Estimated CostEstimated DurationSkill Level
$1506 hours Beginner

Signs That A Cabinet Is Out Of Square

Before moving forward with the actual process, let me ask you one thing. What is an out-of-square cabinet? Are you sure you have the right knowledge?

Let me help you. An out-of-square cabinet is when a cabinet or any of its parts is not perfectly square. 

This applies to the cabinet doors, cabinet box, cabinet square, and cabinet carcass. 

Do you want to know the signs that a cabinet or any of its parts is not completely square? These are;

Signs That A Cabinet Is Out Of Square

Uneven Gaps

You should look for any gaps between the cabinet doors and cabinet carcass. 

Are any of the doors looser than the other? Are any of the gaps inconsistent or wider than the others?

If yes, it indicates the cabinet is out of shape.

Misaligned Doors

Check the alignment between the cabinet doors.

Do any of the cabinet doors appear crooked? Do you find it difficult to close any of the cabinet doors all the way?

If you answered yes, it may be because your cabinet is out of shape.

Uneven Corners

You can use a measurement tape and measure the corners of the cabinet diagonally.

Are the corners perfectly square? Do both of the measurements match? Is there the same distance between the corners? Is the drawer box not square?

If you said no, it means your cabinet is out of square.

Uneven Shelves

You should check for the alignment between the shelves inside the kitchen cabinet.

Are the shelves leveled? Do they sit at the same heights?

If not, your kitchen cabinet is out of square.

Carefully check cabinet parts and find out the answers to these questions. By the end, you will be sure whether your cabinet is out of square or not.

How To Fix An Out of Square Cabinet?

How to fix a cabinet that is not square? It may seem hard as it is a bit of a lengthy process. However, it is quite simple.

Whether you are fixing fake wood cabinets or flat plywood kitchen cabinets, these steps will bring good results regardless.

How To Fix An Out of Square Cabinet

Assess And Prepare

If any of the parts or components of the cabinet are not perfectly square, the cabinet is said to be out of square.

So, carefully assess the entire cabinet, even the kitchen cabinets mounted on the cabinet walls.

Note down the issues or mark them with markers to identify them better.

If there are any accessories on the cabinet, such as a piece of trim or hidden under cabinet lighting with a frameless cabinet take them out before you start the process.

Gather The Tools

If there are a lot of issues, it will take some time to fix all of them. So, try to save time on the parts you can.

Gather all the tools before you start on the project. This way, you will not have to look for items in the middle of the process, and you will save a lot of time.

You can use this tip while fixing a broken cabinet, too.

You will not require a lot of tools. The things you need are a few different head screwdrivers, nails and brackets, cabinet shims, 

Fix The Issue

How do you square up kitchen cabinets? There are a few different kinds of issues and each of them has different processes and techniques.

Don’t worry. The processes are super easy and simple. These are:

Realign The Doors

How to fix an out of square cabinet door? The first step is to identify the misalignment.

You don’t need to do much to do that. It will be visible, especially if the cabinet doors are overlay doors.

The reason for misaligned doors are loosened screws. Tighten the screws properly and the doors will be fixed.

Even The Corners

To measure whether the cabinet square is perfect, use a measuring tape and measure the distance between the corners. 

If the distance is different, adjust the frame until you get the perfect shape.

You can also use the straight-edge method that most professional cabinet makers use.

Level The Shelves

Remove all the crooked shelves from the kitchen cabinet and reinstall them. 

The reason for uneven shelves is that they don’t have enough support. That is why the shelves bend when there’s more weight than they can bear.

The joints also affect the shelves. The studier the joints, the even the shelves. 

For example, if your cabinet has butt joints, it is natural that the shelves are uneven as it is the weakest one.

While installing the shives, use nails and brackets to provide them with the necessary support. You can also use a cabinet shim for additional support.

Test And Adjust

After you are done with all the repairs, test them again. If you find any slight issues, make sure to tune in until they are completely fixed.

That’s it. How do you square a large cabinet? I tried to be as detailed as I could. 

If you still want to learn more, you can join the community for developers. Some online communities might help you.

If you can’t find any current community, the old ones are full of great information too.

Problems Caused By An Out Of Square Cabinet

An out of square cabinet is a lot similar to a racked table. You may have already known that the fixing process is a lot similar to fixing a racked cabinet.

The problems you are facing right now may not seem that serious but it can get a lot worse. 

To give you a better idea about it, here are some of the issues you may experience in the future if you don’t fix it now;

Problems Caused By An Out Of Square Cabinet

Reduced Storage

As you know, out-of-square cabinets have uneven corners and shelves. These things make it difficult to organize things inside the kitchen cabinet.

Uneven corners make it difficult to store different items, whereas uneven shelves create difficulty in organizing things.

It is the same for both base cabinets and upper cabinets. Even in larger cabinets.

Faulty Appearance

Out of square cabinets, no matter how straight the cabinet edges are, appear crooked to bare eyes.

The crooked doors, uneven gaps, and corners reduce the overall visual appeal and make the kitchen cabinet look faulty.

Decreased Functionality

An out-of-square cabinet loses its smooth operation abilities to the point that it becomes difficult to work with the cabinet.

Difficulty to operate and reduced storage space causes the functionality of the kitchen cabinet to decrease.

Unstable Cabinet

The out-of-square shape causes the kitchen cabinet to lose its balance and stability. Depending on how out of shape it is, the cabinet can be unstable to the point that the base cabinet can’t stand straight.

Any damage whether it is big or small, it is always better to fix it while it is less. 


If you don’t want to face these issues, fix them immediately and add bun feet to the kitchen cabinets so they don’t crush the floors.

How Much Out Of Square Is Acceptable For Cabinets?

 Though being out of square is a serious issue, there is a certain level where it is acceptable.

The only difficulty is that you will need to think about a few factors for that. Interested in learning about them? These are;

Visual Symmetry

In case of appearance, as long as the gaps and misalignments are not visually significant, it is acceptable. 

If the cabinet doors look reasonably straight, the gaps appear smaller, and the misalignments seem minor, it should be fine.

Functional Integrity

Even if the operation may not be as smooth as before if the kitchen cabinet functions moderately and you can store the necessities, it is still under the acceptable level.

Industry Standards

According to professional cabinet makers, the acceptable level of an out-of-shape cabinet is 1/32nd of an inch wider. The out-of-squareness is considered somewhat serious after that level.

If you want a well-functioning kitchen cabinet, you must keep these things in mind.

Limitations And Considerations While Fixing Out Of Square Cabinet

Actually, there is the possibility of facing some issues while fixing an out-of-square cabinet like some limitations and considerations! Let me help you gain some idea about these all so that you can get helpful when it’s your turn to fix this kind of cabinet.

Limited space for adjustment Need to take accurate measurements before making the adjustments.
Structural issues with the cabinetInspect to find out any structural damages or weaknesses 
Alignment of the surrounding cabinetsBe careful not to affect the structure of the base cabinet
Materials and weight of the cabinetsUse appropriate support and reinforcement if needed
Limitations And Considerations While Fixing Out Of Square Cabinet

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can I Fix An Out-Of-Square Cabinet Without Professional Help?

Yes, it is possible to fix an out-of-square cabinet without professional help. Follow the proper steps and you will achieve a well-functioning cabinet.

Can An Out-of-Square Cabinet Affect Its Functionality?

Yes. An out-of-square cabinet has low functional integrity.

Can Wood Glue Be Used To Fix An Out-Of-Square Cabinet?

If you want to remove the uneven shelves and reset them, you can use wood glue to do that. However, you must put some nails, brackets, or simply a piece of wood for additional support.

When Should I Consider Disassembling The Cabinet For Repairs?

If the cabinet box or the frame is too out of square, you should consider dissembling the cabinet.


How to fix an out of square cabinet? It may seem like a lot but the process is simple. 

Inspect the cabinet and prepare it by removing all the things. Make sure to gather all the tools beforehand. Now, fix the issues one by one and test them.

If you find anything not properly fixed, readjust them. There you have it. I hope it helps you the way it helped all my other friends. All the best.

If you are interested in learning more about restoring a Cabinets, stay with- Restore Journey.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

  • How to Restore a Metal Table?  Step-By-Step Metal Table Restoration Guide

    How to Restore a Metal Table? Step-By-Step Metal Table Restoration Guide

    Metal table restoration is about making your table look nice again and keeping it for a long time. If you are curious about how to restore a metal table, we will tell you all the details. To restore your metal table, follow the process below: Doing this is super important now because it’s better to…

  • Round Table Restoration Simplified| From Novice to Expert

    Round Table Restoration Simplified| From Novice to Expert

    Round table restoration is like giving a new lease on life to a piece full of stories and memories. These tables often stand at the heart of a home, gathering people together. So, if you think, what can I do with an old round table? This guide is for you. Round Table Restoration By restoring…

  • Cost To Refinish Wood Table| Real Costing Guide To Tips To Reduce Cost

    Cost To Refinish Wood Table| Real Costing Guide To Tips To Reduce Cost

    Giving your wood table a new finish is like giving it a new lease on life. It not only makes your table look great again but also keeps its story going. This is why refinishing your wood table matters a lot. But if you wanna learn about the cost to refinish wood table, then there…