Replacement kitchen doors: the cost-effective way to refresh dated units

Instead of buying a whole kitchen, replacing existing doors can work wonders for half the cost
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  • Getting a new-look designer-style kitchen needn’t cost the earth, if you fit new doors and fascias to existing carcasses. Replacement kitchen doors are the hero of any kitchen makeover, especially those on a budget.

    Replacing doors and fascias can provide a quick and affordable kitchen refresh. Achieving a seriously impressive kitchen that punches above its price tag, with minimal cost and work involved.

    There’s no need to rip out a perfectly good kitchen just because the doors are dated or you want a new colour or finish. If you’re happy with your existing kitchen layout and the carcasses are in good order, replacement doors not only make an easy and affordable option, they can also be a creative one too.

    Visit our kitchen channel to inspire all aspects of your makeover

    In the past changing doors on units would have been considered purely a budget approach, but with a definite move towards adding individuality to a room it’s now a great way to refresh a kitchen. Even if it’s only a matter of replacing one or two a little can go a long way. It’s also a greener, less wasteful option. Plus it’s satisfyingly simple – it’s just a matter of unscrewing the old door and putting on the new one.

    ‘Upgrading with replacement door fronts creates a fresh new look – without having to renovate or spend excessive amounts of money,’ explains Jayne Everett, Creative Director at Naked Doors.

    Replacement Kitchen doors – everything you need to know


    Image credit: Naked Doors, Walnut slab doors, starting from £171, Naked Doors

    Can I just replace kitchen cabinet doors?

    The short answer is yes, of course you can. However, before you buy new kitchen cabinet doors, it is worth checking that the bones of your existing cabinet carcasses are in good condition. ‘A good-quality kitchen, even if it’s five to 10 years old, is likely to have plenty of life still in its units. They are generally fixed to the wall and have no moving parts,’ says Robert Clark, MD at Kitchen Door Workshop.

    ‘It’s the doors that get the wear and tear, as they are constantly being opened, are subject to damage caused by sunlight, cleaning, and general use.’ He says that the carcases most likely, if any, to be damaged are those under the sink because of water leakage, or sometimes the end of a run of cabinets which take most of the knocks.

    Are all kitchens suitable for replacement doors?

    Check that cupboards are in good condition. Anything under eight years old should be fine but look for structural damage, particularly near the sink or sources of heat.

    Do it all on a better budget: Second hand kitchens: How to buy good quality, cheap kitchen units and worktops

    How to replace kitchen cabinet doors – Troubleshooting

    Sage green Shaker kitchen cabinets

    Image credit: Matt Antrobus

    How do I get the right size?

    Doors come in standard and made-to-measure sizes. You’ll pay more for made-to-measure, and delivery will take longer, too. Measure the doors in situ.  Start from the back, as this is the squarest part,’ advises Steve Larkin, director at Lark & Larks.

    ‘Measure height, then width, in millimetres. Generally a door is 5mm shorter than a cabinet and 4mm narrower, so if a cabinet is H720 x W500mm the door would be H715 x W496mm.’

    Will the hinges line up?

    Whether you’re drilling the holes or ordering pre-drilled doors, measure carefully. With doors still on, measure from the top edge to centre of the top hinge hole for the top hinge position. Repeat from bottom edge to bottom hinge hole. Measure each door, and note which side the hinges are on!

    Replacement kitchen doors

    Image credit: IKEA

    What about all the extras?

    Plinths, cornices, fillers and end panels are usually available in the same finish as the doors. Measure as before, but go bigger if anything needs to be scribed to fit a wonky wall or floor.

    What are the best replacement kitchen cabinet doors?

    1. Best replacements doors for IKEA carcasses

    Of course if you’re doing it yourself, you head to straight to IKEA to buy the doors. but there are company’s who can offer a more bespoke look using the existing IKEA cabinets. Custom Fronts supply handmade wood doors to fit to the units in place, they can work to plans from IKEA’s online kitchen planner.

    2. Best kitchen doors for all-inclusive service

    For a company that does all the hard work for your try Kitchen Magic. For over 30 years the company has been transforming kitchens at a fraction of the price of starting from scratch with buying a new kitchen. From fitting new worktops to removing and replacing old doors and fascias, or improving an existing layout – no job is too big or too small.

    3. Best cabinet doors for a classic look

    Don’t think replacing doors means you have to go for a more contemporary finish. Foxstow Shaker Doors offers more traditional options, in standard Howdens, B&Q and IKEA sizes, or bespoke sizes. The company can handle details like cornicing or island units, and scribe end panels for a perfect fit.

    Replacement kitchen doors

    Image credit: Richard Gadsby

    Can I replace my kitchen cabinet doors myself?

    If you can handle an electric screwdriver and tape measure, the answer is yes you can. ‘Ask your supplier for advice. We are here to help and will guide you,’ says Rachel Thurlby, co-director at Custom Fronts.

    If the thought of replacing the doors yourself is too daunting, you can find a local carpenter who is willing to do everything for you. Or find a supplier that installs, too. Carpenters will also fit bespoke doors to off-the-shelf carcasses if you want a custom-made look. This is worth considering if you want a new layout. As a bespoke service, prices are likely to be considerably higher than an off-the-peg set of doors.

    To find

    Can I reface kitchen cabinets myself?

    Refacing your cabinets is less expensive than replacing your kitchen cabinet doors. If you choose to go down this root rather than replacing your doors, refacing a cabinet with a new veneer yourself will take about a week to do the work. However, if you don’t feel up to the challenge you can call in a professional who will take about three-days to complete the work.

    Before refacing any cabinets check to see if your cabinets are suitable for the process. This means they will need sturdy box construction made of plywood or MDF panels that are ideally smooth. Solid face frames are essential for accepting new veneers and also check that all the internal hardware such as the drawer tracks are working smoothly.

    Replacement kitchen doors

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    How much does it cost to replace kitchen cabinet doors?

    You can buy new doors from DIY and furniture stores, such as B&Q and IKEA. Price are competitive and there’s plenty of choice, but they will be in the store’s chosen standard sizes and limited colour combinations. Another option is to take a look at the increasing number of companies offering made-to-measure doors.

    The typical cost of a set of replacement doors is about £250, which of course that will vary according to the size of your kitchen. But remember that’s for a set of doors of the same quality and finish as a £10,000 to £15,000 kitchen.

    More for your money: Budget kitchen ideas – spend less without compromising on style

    Is it time to replace the doors to create a whole new look for your kitchen?

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