How To Fix Sagging Cabinets Quickly And Easily

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Sagging cabinets are a common problem in homes.

Cabinets sag for many reasons, but the most common is that they're not properly supported or that they’ve been damaged due to water. This means that when opening them up to get something out, they might fall down, make a loud noise or even worse injure the person opening them. It's embarrassing, frustrating and potentially harmful.

Luckily there's an easy fix to this problem. All it takes is a few minutes and then your kitchen will be looking great again. You can also read more about how you can waterproof your kitchen cabinets and scratches kitchen cabinets have and keep them from further damage.

Let's get into this topic and explain how to fix sagging cabinets.

Why are my kitchen cabinets pulling away from the wall?

The most common reason why cabinets are sagging is that they're not properly supported. If you look at how the cabinets are attached to the walls, you'll see how this happens.

When attaching a cabinet to a wall, there are two main methods – the toe kick method and the French cleat method. 

The toe kick method uses a piece of wood that sticks out from under your cabinets and attaches to the floor underneath using brackets and screws. This supports the bottom of your cabinet so it won't fall when opened. 

Unfortunately, many people don't do this well enough for it to support their cabinets properly. 

Perhaps over time, either due to their weight or just normal wear and tear, the cabinets sag down. It’s a fact that cabinets do have a lifespan of being in optimal shape

The French cleat method, on the other hand, involves using a thin piece of wood (called a “cleat”) to support the bottom of your cabinets off of the wall. This means that you have to make sure it's screwed in firmly and not going anywhere.

Failure to do this will also result in sagging cabinets.

The second reason why any cabinet might be pulling away from the wall is how they're installed into the wall. Maybe they weren't properly fastened or were done with small nails that just aren't up for the job. If this is how your cabinets are sagging then you'll need to take them off and reinstall them correctly so that they won't sag anymore.

There are also other reasons why cabinets might be sagging, including if the wall they're attached to isn't straight or how it's not properly finished (such as how it has gaps around pipes and other things). 

In cases like these, you'll need someone who knows how to fix that problem specifically. If you can't fix this yourself then a good idea is to hire a contractor, especially if you're planning on selling your home soon anyway.

kitchen cabinet putting away from wall
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

How do you reinforce cabinets?

There are two ways to go about this – place a shim next to the hinge or place a few in the back of the cabinet.

The second option is more effective, but it's also harder to pull off. Let's look at how both methods work.

Option 1: Place a single shim beside each hinge

This method only works if you've got one or two cabinets with sagging hinges that just need a little bit of help. The idea here is that when you open up your cabinet door, there will be enough resistance against the wall so that it doesn't sag down again.  

The problem with this method is that most of the weight and force from opening your cabinet doors ends up being put on those small pieces of shim.

If you're lucky, the plastic will hold up – but if not, you'll start seeing cracks and other signs of wear on your cabinets.

kitchen cabinet worn out
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Option 2: Place a few shims between the back wall and the cabinet doors

This option is much more effective but also takes a little bit more work to pull off. Here, we're going to place some 3/8″ thick by 1″ wide (or thereabouts) shims behind each hinge. This gives enough support so that when the door pushes against it with all its weight and force while opening, it won't sag down again.

The number of sheets you should use depends on how badly your cabinets are sagging – how far they have dropped compared to how tall they should be.

If your cabinets are down about half an inch or more, then you'll probably want to add at least two sheets of shim behind each hinge. If they're sagging a little bit less than this, place one sheet between the door and the wall. Keep adding them until it's fixed.


What is the best glue for kitchen cabinets?

For a lot of people, fixing sagging cabinets involves glues. You can use them as a way to reinforce how your cabinet doors are attached so that they won't sag or fall anymore. The problem with this is that there are a lot of different types of glue out there and it's hard to know which ones work the best for how you're fixing how to fix sagging cabinets.

One example is superglue – in theory, this might seem like an ok option since it sticks well and dries fast (if applied correctly). But do you want all those chemicals sticking around and being close to plates that will contain foods that will be digested when you eat? 

There are much better options out there.

The second one is wood glue; if you've got sagging cabinets that involve wood, this might be the option that you're looking for. But there are also plenty of other alternatives out there including polyurethane glue and epoxy resin.

The third one is fabric glue, which can be used when it comes to how to fix sagging cabinets – but it's not recommended. Fabric glues will start sticking almost immediately so you need to get all your pieces aligned and secured as quickly as possible. 

If not, you could very easily end up with fix sagging cabinets that are even worse off than before.

That said, if you don't have enough time to properly fix sagging cabinets involving any type of glue then you might want to just throw out and buy a brand new cabinet set instead.

Closing thoughts on how to fix sagging cabinets

To conclude, sagging cabinets are a common problem that can happen no matter how much you take care of them or how well built they initially were. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fix sagging cabinets – just make sure you know how severe the problems are and pick one (or more) methods that will be the most practical solution for your current situation.

Jim Spencer

Jim Spencer

Jim has been in the construction business for over 12 years with plenty of experience working on client projects, from start to finish. From kitchens to bathrooms and backyard spaces, he writes on a wide variety of topics surrounding home improvement.

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