How To Fix Cabinet Doors That Overlap? Quick And Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Overlapping




Do your cabinet doors overlap with each other? Is it difficult for you to close the doors completely? Tired of looking for different solutions?

Hey! Seems like you have reached the right place! I know how to fix cabinet door panel with all sorts of overlapping issues. No worries, it isn’t that difficult to do if you do what you are doing.

Before you start, these are some things you need to do;

Fix Cabinet Doors That Overlap

Fix Cabinet Doors That Overlap

  • Assess the cabinet doors to identify the overlaps and the methods you need to fix them. 
  • Detach the cabinet door, sand the overlapping part, and reattach the door. 
  • But, if you think the problem is an uneven or misaligned door, adjust the hinge screws, and it will be fixed.

Where are you going? This is just the outline. I’ll be sharing all the details with you. So, wait a little longer.

Overview of the project-

Estimated CostEstimated DurationSkill Level
$503 hoursBeginners

Some main facts-

  • The standard overlap for cabinet doors is ⅜ to ½ inches.
  • If the door moves side to side, make adjustments to the right screw.
  • If the door moves back and forth, make adjustments to the left screw.

What Is The Overlap For Cabinet Doors?

If your cabinet doors don’t close all the way and bump into each other, it is because your cabinet double doors are overlapping.

Whether you have a face frame or frameless cabinetry, the overlap is important for both of them. It helps with the functionality of the cabinet, not to mention the appearance. But there’s one thing you must know. It is how much should cabinet doors overlap. 

What Is The Overlap For Cabinet Doors

Well, the standard overlap for cabinet doors is ⅜ to ½ inches.

An overlap of this size provides a full cover for the opening. Also, it protects the contents inside the kitchen cabinets. But, if the overlap is more than that, your cabinet doors happen to be uneven, misaligned, or sagging.

The Reasons Why Cabinet Doors Get Overlap

I know you are here to learn how to adjust cabinet doors that overlap. Yet, I’ll take a bit more of your valuable time to discuss the reasons first.

The Reasons Why Cabinet Doors Get Overlap

You must know the reasons why cabinet doors overlap. It will help you understand the problem with your cabinet doors and fix them properly. The reasons are;

  • Improper Hinge Installation
  • Misaligned Or Uneven Doors
  • Warped Doors
  • Damaged Hinges
  • Temperature Fluctuations

Improper Hinge Installation

Do you know what is the most important part of cabinet doors? It is the cabinet hinge. The cabinet hinge should be in the correct position for the cabinet door to function properly. This will also cause chipped melamine cabinets.

Can you guess the outcome of installing cabinet door hinges improperly? Yes. You guessed right. It messes with the functionality of the cabinet door.

So, if you are wondering how to fix cabinet doors that overlap IKEA, check your cabinet hinges first. 

Misaligned Or Uneven Doors

Take a good look at the side of your cabinet doors’ hinges in the closed position. Does the gap between your kitchen cabinets and cabinet doors seem inconsistent?

Also, gently try to shake your cabinet doors in both directions. I mean side to side, and back and forth? Do your cabinet doors move?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, looks like I was right! Your cabinet doors are misaligned or you can also call them uneven. This also can cause a gap between the cabinet and the wall.

This is one of the most common issues of overlapping doors. Loose hinges are the cause of this situation.

Warped Doors

Are concerned about how to fix cabinet doors that overlap but you don’t have the previous two problems? Look for any signs of water damage.

If it is your kitchen cabinet doors that are overlapping, the reason is most likely water damage. Just like water damage causes split wood cabinets, it causes overlapping too.

It can be warping, swelling, or any other water damage. Most water damage causes kitchen cabinets to expand. So, it is normal for the doors to overlap if any of them are water-damaged.

Inspect the cabinet boxes for signs of warping. Yes! You heard right. Look for warping everywhere in the cabinet boxes and follow the proper guidelines to fix the bubbled kitchen cabinets.

Damaged Hinges

As I said earlier, the cabinet hinge is the most important part of cabinet doors. 

So, if there are any signs of wear or damage, especially the overlay hinges, it is normal for the cabinet doors to overlap.

Temperature Fluctuations

Did you know that if the temperature around your cabinets constantly fluctuates, it causes the wood to expand or contract?

Yes! When the temperature gets too humid, the cabinets expand. When the temperature gets cold or dry, the cabinets contract. So, the changes in size or shape of the cabinet cause the doors to get overlapped.

How do I stop my cabinet doors from hitting each other? You will be able to stop this problem if you can prevent these things.

But before that, you need to fix the existing overlapping problems. Let’s find out how.

How To Fix Cabinet Door Panel That Overlap?

I know I have already talked too much. So, I will just skip the initial discussions and move on to fix the cabinet door panel. It goes like this;

How To Fix Cabinet Door Panel That Overlap
  • Step  1: Assess The Overlap
  • Step 2: Remove The Door
  • Step 3: Sand The Overlapping Area
  • Step 4: Reattach The Doors
  • Step 5: Test & Adjust The Screws
  • Step 6: Apply A Finish

Step  1: Assess The Overlap

If you ask me about the most crucial part of the entire process, it is assessing what is the cause of the overlap.

This is why I talked about the causes before the actual process. Now, you can understand why assessing is so important without me telling you.

It gives you a clear idea of what you need to do to fix the overlap. You can also try cleaning the cabinet doors. It will remove any build-up and make it easy for you to make decisions.

Use any mild wood cleaner or mineral spirits to clean the cabinet doors.

Step 2: Remove The Door

You can work on your cabinet doors without removing them. However, it will be quite difficult to work on them if you don’t. Just like do while fixing metal file cabinet drawers.

There’s also a high chance of damaging the cabinet doors while working as you will put extra weight on them while working.

So, I suggest removing the cabinet doors before starting to work.

Unscrew the hinge screws from the cabinet hinge using a Phillips head screwdriver. Lift the door carefully off the cabinet hinges and set it aside.

Keep the hinge screws in a safe place so you don’t lose them. You will need them to reattach the hinge unless you are replacing it.

Step 3: Sand The Overlapping Area

Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand down the overlapping edges of the cabinet doors. Apply light pressure at first and then gradually increase it. Just like repairing a chipped laminate cabinet.

Be careful not to over-sand. This will make things worse rather than fixing them.

If you want to know how do you fix a misaligned cabinet door, you can completely skip this part. You don’t even need to remove the doors.

Step 4: Reattach The Doors

After sanding the overlap, you can reattach the cabinet doors. 

For that, you need to decide whether you want to attach the hinges in the previous cup holes first. You can make new cup holes if you want to make hinge adjustments.

If you make new cup holes, use a wood putty to repair the screw holes in the kitchen cabinet.

Place the base plate of the cabinet hinge on top of the cup holes and settle the hinges with the adjustment screws you took off while removing the doors.

Step 5: Test & Adjust The Screws

How do you fix uneven cabinet doors? This is how;

  • Find out which hinge is the problem.
    • Look for the gap between the cabinet and the cabinet doors at the sides of the hinges.
    • If the gap is getting bigger on the upper side, the upper hinge needs adjustments. Otherwise, the lower one.
  • Find out which screws need adjustments.
    • If the door moves side to side, make adjustments to the right screw.
    • If the door moves back and forth, make adjustments to the left screw.
  • Tighten or loosen the adjustment screw until the door is even. The double doors should perfectly align on the center stile. It will fix the twisted cabinet door.

Step 6: Apply A Finish

If you fix the unevenness of your cabinet doors, you may not need this step. 

But, if you sanded the overlap, apply a similar finish to match the repaired area with the rest of the cabinet. It will also fix the paint chips on the cabinet doors.

Now, your kitchen cabinets are free from any overlapping, misalignment, or unevenness.

Tools And Materials For Fixing Overlapping Cabinet Doors

Now that you know how to fix uneven cabinet doors, you can start fixing your overlapping cabinet doors.

You will need some tools and materials for that. These are; 

Tools & MaterialsWhy Required?
Mild Wood Cleaner/ Mineral SpiritsTo remove build-up from the cabinet doors.
Phillips Head ScrewdriverTo remove and reattach the cabinet doors, and adjust the hinge screws.
Grit SandpaperTo sand down the overlapping area.
Power DrillerTo drill new cup holes.
Wood Stain/ PaintTo refinish the repaired overlapping part.

Make sure to buy all of these necessary tools and materials from your local or online hardware store before you start working.

What Is The Most Common Overlay For Cabinet Doors?

If you are not familiar with overlay sizes, they can be in many different sizes. 

However, the cabinet industry standard size for the overlay is ½ inches (12.7 mm) and ⅜ inches (9.5 mm).

What Is The Most Common Overlay For Cabinet Doors

½ inches (12.7 mm)

Do you know what it means by a ½ inch overlap? It means the cabinet door covers ½ inches of the cabinet frame.

You will be surprised to know that it is an ideal size for cabinet doors. It provides a balanced look to the cabinets.

It covers a moderate amount of the cabinet frame and also ensures functionality.

⅜ inches (9.5 mm)

Similar to ½ inches overlap, it means the cabinet door covers ⅜ inches of the cabinet frame.

It is a simple solution for cabinet doors in modern-day designs. But, the issue with this overlap is that the narrow border provides less coverage.

It doesn’t only offer a sleek, minimalistic design but also adequate coverage which is much needed.

While making the selection of cabinet door overlay, always consider your personal preference and cabinet style. 

Measure Your Cabinet Door Overlay

Though the size of the overlay is mostly mentioned in the hinges, you should know how to measure the overlay.

If you ask why, it is because sometimes the accurate measurements aren’t mentioned on the hinges. At that time, you will need to find it yourself to purchase the right cabinet hinge.

Before you start, gather the tools. All you need is a pencil to mark the cabinet frame and a ruler to measure the overlay.

Close your cabinet door. Now, mark the edges of your cabinet door on the hinge side. You don’t need to mark the entire outline of the door. A 2-inch line will be enough.

Now, open the door and place one side of the ruler on the inside part of the cabinet frame.

The difference between the inside part of the cabinet and the marked line is the size of your cabinet door overlay.

Replacing Hinges – What is Cabinet Overlay and How to Measure It 

What Is The Difference Between Overlay And Inset Cabinet Doors?

If you have tried searching online for cabinet door fixes, you may have come across overlay and inset cabinet doors.

Then, you might be confused about these two cabinet door types too. Don’t worry. Everyone gets confused at first.

Here are some common differences where inset cabinet doors and cabinet door overlay explained properly;

Overlay Cabinet DoorsInset Cabinet Doors
The door panel completely overlays over the face frame.The door is set inside the cabinet frame and sits completely flush with it.
There are 2 types of overlay. 1. Partial Overlay, and 2. Full overlay.There are no options for inset cabinets.
These doors provide an all-rounded, present-day look.These doors provide a classic, timeless look to the cabinets.
These doors tend to reduce interior space because of the overlay.These doors maximize the interior space.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Fixing Overlapping Cabinet Doors

I know I have already mentioned these tips previously. Yet, I am gonna end today’s discussion with some common mistakes. 

You must avoid these things while fixing overlapping cabinet doors. These are;

  • The first mistake would be failing to assess the problem accurately. So, you fail to fix your problem properly too.
  • Over-sanding can ruin your cabinet doors rather than fixing them. It causes uneven doors and affects the functionality of your entire kitchen cabinet.
  • If you remove the cabinet doors while fixing them, make sure to attract them properly. Most people make this mistake which leads to further overlap.
  • If you are sanding your cabinet doors, you should refinish them too. The unmatched finish makes your frameless cabinets look unappealing.
  • Always check for consistent overlap right after the hinge adjustments. Ignoring it can lead to an uneven or misaligned appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

When Is It Advisable To Seek Professional Help For Fixing Cabinet Doors That Overlap?

It is quite easy to fix cabinet doors that overlap. So, you don’t need to seek professional help. However, if you make any mistake and are unsure of what to do, immediately seek professional help.

What Size Is A Cabinet Overlay?

There are different sizes for cabinet door overlays. You can choose according to your preference or the cabinet style.

What Is A Standard Cabinet Overlay?

The standard overlay for cabinet doors is ⅜ to ½ inches.

Why Won’t My Cabinet Doors Close All The Way?

It may be because the doors are overlapping. The reason for this can be uneven or misaligned doors.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to fix cabinet door panel. Are you excited to try the process?

Try it whenever you are ready. As long as you follow all the tips and steps properly, your cabinet door will turn out great.

I am glad you are still with me. Thank you for your patience. I hope it helps you like it helped me and all my other clients.

Good luck!

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.

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