Replacing kitchen cabinets and doors – a DIY success story

Blog entry by chrissavage posted 06-01-2013 12:34 PM 10543 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

We are an old retired couple from the East Coast who have just completed replacing the doors, cabinets and blinds in our kitchen by ourselves. Our house had last been renovated in 2000 and over the years some rooms in our house, our kitchen in particular, had started giving us grief so we decided to replace the offending bits.

The wife and I spent a lot of time deliberating whether to hire professional help or to do the remodeling (as we call it) ourselves. After weeks of swinging between hiring and doing it ourselves and numerous fights on the matter, we finally settled on the latter option, which was my idea to begin with.

And luckily it worked. By my estimate we saved more than $3,000 by doing the replacement ourselves. I learned a lot of things along the way. This post is not a how-to guide but a way to encourage those on the fence regarding little DIY jobs around the house. I hope others can learn something from my experience as I have from that of numerous others. Here goes:

Keep the remodeling need-specific

There’s absolutely no need to touch anything that is serving you alright. All our kitchen cabinets and doors were screaming for change. The wood used the first time did not have a long life in it. There were numerous chips on the doors, the lamination had come off in many places, a couple of cabinet doors were not closing properly and others made annoying creaking noises. Though a lot of other remodeling was considered, we ultimately decided to only change the items that were literally screaming for help.

DIY is not easy unless attempted after proper research

I spent a lot of time reading blogs about people’s DIY experiences. I read a lot of horror stories as well but at the end of all that I was convinced that I could pull this off. I searched for different types of interior doors, cabinet doors, window coverings and blinds online. I had thought this would be the easiest part but turned out to be the hardest. It took us more than two months to find the right company for our budget and specific needs but once that was done the replacement story was well on its way to a happy ending.

Even after proper research you need to remain super alert

The cabinet doors were not difficult to screw on. By the time I got to them I had already seen numerous how-to videos on the topic so knew well what was expected of me. Remove the existing doors with the good ole screwdriver, using the hammer too at times to make the hinges come undone, and replace them with the new custom-built doors. Even so I had to unscrew a few of them and screw them back again because they did not look “professional” while hanging. The process was the same for the doors but replacing them turned out to be trickier. For one, they were heavy and even though it was only a matter of placing them into the existing jamb, we had to be constantly on our toes to keep them aligned against the door frames. I was drenched in sweat by the end of it all. In comparison, installing the window blinds was a breeze.

Make DIY a practice

That’s the only way you will get better at it. We are both glad we decided to do this ourselves. At the time of writing we are thinking of redoing the kitchen flooring. Will it be another DIY project? We haven’t thought that far yet, but I’m inclined to say yes.

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View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5648 days

posted 06-01-2013 11:36 PM

Congrats on the DIY bug! I ended up re-building a set of kitchen cabinets when I built the doors the wrong size, and decided it was easier to make new cabinets than doors.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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