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How to fix holes in cabinet doors

Written by David | July 15, 2020

If you have holes in your cabinet doors from old hardware that you want filled- then today you will will learn How to fix holes in cabinet doors!

When we are painting cabinets in kitchen and vanities, 75% of the time we are either replacing or installing new hardware.  Installing hardware in your kitchen is one of the best things you can do to improve your kitchen. (read the other top 5 ways to remodel your kitchen)

Some times we have to fill in holes in the cabinet doors. Why?

How to fix holes in cabinet doors
this is an example of a cabinet door that had a hole too large for the new hardware being used
  • the new hardware doesn’t fit in the old hardware holes
  • there was a hole drilled wrong
  • damaged wood
  • broken or damaged screws in the door

Where to start fixing your door

You should have the door or drawer removed from your cabinet box.  Remove the hardware that is there, if there is some there.

The hole that is there will need to be filled with a combination of methods

  • a dowel rod to fill in the drilled section of the hole
dowel rod for the initial cabinet hole repair
here is a dowel rod to use for the initial repair
  • wood filler to fill in the larger gaps
a great wood filler for repairs to wood
a great wood filler for repairs to wood
  • auto body filler to touch up the final coats
  • sanding in between each step
sand between each step
sand between each step is a must

Take your door to a local home improvement store and buy a dowel rod that fits-snug into the hole you are repairing. You will neeed the above suppliesa s well as primer, glue and light tac masking tape.

Begin fixing your cabinet doors!

Begin by taking the dowel rod and putting into the hole you want to fix. Use a knife or hand saw to cut the dowel rod off flush with the door. Remove the wood plug you made, then add glue to the hole- re insert the wood plug. I used instant glue- if you use wood glue you will have to let the glue dry before doing anything else.

Once the glue is dry, you can sand the area smooth and flush. Dust off any dust. Take the wood filler (if needed) to fill in the gaps if you have any. Again allow to dry.

Next take the auto body filler to fill in any other gaps- the goal to to create a perfect smooth surface to work with. allow to dry

Now you need to sand with a 320 or 400 grit sand paper- you need smooth non scratched surface to work with. If you use a 80 or 100 grit sandpaper, you will leave gouges and deep scratches that you will have to again fill with body filler to eliminate the marks from sanding.

Make sure all is smooth and dust free!

Once the repair is made you can then use a primer to prime the repaired area.

spot primer for how to fix holes in cabinet doors
here is a spot primer we use

The primer must dry according to directions, before you can sand it smooth. Once sanded, examine the surface to make sure that there are no marks, divets, etc that need to be filled . If you need to do more work, take the time to do it now. You can’t paint until you do.

front door cabinet repaired
here is the front of a cabinet door all repaired

Your door is fixed! Now you can install new hardware!

At this point you have made the repairs, the primer is dry, you have repainted the door, and is it dry (overnight dry). We use a light tac masking tape, to mask the front of the door/drawer and then use a pencil to mark where the new holes need to be.

cabinet door with light masking tape
here is the door with light masking tape

Drill your new holes and DONE!

If you have new or different holes in a drawer front, then you may have an issue with the drawer front having different holes than the drawer box. That is a hole different issue where you may need all new hardware to reinstall (too much for this article). But, you can always send an email to ask us about it.

Would you like to see how we repaired the holes?

Check out the video here.

Do you have questions on repairing cabinets before painting? Have more questions for how to fix holes in cabinet doors? Let us know how we can help!

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