How to Remove Kitchen Cabinets: Easy Steps for a Kitchen Makeover

Last updated on April 1, 2024

Understanding how to safely remove kitchen cabinets yourself can save you a significant amount of money and this article will precisely guide you through the whole process, step by step.

Key takeaways:

  • Gather Cabinet Removal Supplies: Screwdrivers, hammer, pry bar, utility knife, marker, drop cloth.
  • Prepare Cabinets for Removal: Empty, remove doors and drawers, take out trim.
  • Remove Cabinets From Wall: Safety gear, inspect for fasteners, unscrew, steady lowering.
  • Can I Remove Cabinets Myself?: Assess skills, safety first, proper tools, get help, time commitment.
  • Three Common Ways to Get Rid of Cabinets: Donate, sell/give away online, recycle.

What's Inside

Gather Cabinet Removal Supplies

gather cabinet removal supplies

Before diving into the task at hand, make sure you have all the necessary tools within arm’s reach. A basic toolkit should include:

  • Screwdriver set: Most cabinets are attached with screws, so have both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers or a bit driver with interchangeable heads.
  • Hammer: Sometimes you’ll need a little persuasion to remove panels or pry apart joined pieces.
  • Pry bar: Great for gently lifting the cabinets from the wall without causing damage to the drywall.
  • Utility knife: Cutting through caulking or paint seals is easier with a sharp blade.
  • Marker or masking tape: Labeling cabinets and hardware as you go simplifies reinstallation or donation.
  • Drop cloth: Protect your countertops and floors from debris and dust.
  • Safety gear: Gloves to protect your hands from splinters and goggles to shield your eyes from dust are must-haves.

Consider the inclusion of a drill – it’s faster and requires less elbow grease for removing screws, especially if your cabinets are fastened with long screws that can be tedious to remove by hand. Remember, being well-prepared with the right tools will streamline your cabinet removal process.

Prepare Your Kitchen Cabinets for Removal

Before you dive into the physical task of removing your kitchen cabinets, it pays to do some prep work to ensure a smooth process. Start by emptying all cabinet contents, from dishes to cutlery; this step is pivotal for safety and efficiency.

Next, detach the doors by loosening the hinges with a screwdriver — an electric one will speed things up. Label each door and corresponding cabinet with pieces of tape for easier reinstallation if you plan to reuse them.

Proceed by unscrewing and removing drawers; this not only makes the cabinet lighter but also prevents drawers from sliding out unexpectedly. Don’t forget to take out any removable shelves, too.

If your cabinets have any trim, crown molding, or valances, remove these as they can be attached to walls or neighboring cabinets and could hinder removal.

Finally, assess the stability of your cabinets before proceeding with the actual detachment. If they’re independent units, steady as you go; if they are interconnected, you’ll need a strategy to separate them without causing damage.

Once all these steps have been taken care of, you’re ready to move on to the actual removal from the wall.

Remove Cabinets From Wall

Once your workspace is prepped and the cabinets are emptied and cleaned out, it’s time to detach them from the wall. This process is critical and requires careful attention to avoid damaging the wall or the cabinets if you plan on reusing or donating them.

1. Safety First – Put on your safety gear, including gloves and eye protection, because as you remove screws and nails, small particles can fly off.

2. Inspect for Fasteners – Open the doors and look inside the cabinets to locate screws or nails that are holding them to the wall. Often, these will be along the back rail and sometimes underneath.

3. Unscrew Cautiously – Use a drill or screwdriver to remove the screws. If you encounter nails, gently pry them out with a claw hammer or nail puller. Start with the upper cabinets to prevent the bottom ones from being in the way or getting damaged.

4. Extra Hands – Large wall cabinets can be heavy and awkward to handle alone. Make sure you have assistance to steady the cabinet as it comes loose.

5. Double-Check Connections – Before completely detaching the cabinet, ensure all screws and any plumbing or electrical connections running through the cabinet have been disconnected.

6. Steady Lowering – Once loose, carefully lower the cabinet. Protect your floors by placing a drop cloth or padding where you will set down the heavy cabinetry.

7. Repeat for Each Cabinet – Move systematically, working one cabinet at a time, to maintain organization and safety throughout the process.

By adhering to these steps, you can ensure a smoother removal of your kitchen cabinets without unnecessary damage to your home.

Can I Remove Kitchen Cabinets Myself?

Certainly, taking on the project of removing kitchen cabinets is within the wheelhouse for many DIY enthusiasts. It’s a task that requires a moderate level of skill, some basic tools, and a careful approach to avoid damage to your walls or floors.

Here’s what you should consider:

1. Assess Your Skills: Evaluate your comfort with tools like screwdrivers, hammers, and possibly a crowbar. If you’ve tackled home projects before, this might just be another feather in your DIY cap.

2. Safety First: Don’t underestimate the importance of safety glasses and gloves. Cabinets can harbor hidden nails or sharp edges that could be hazardous.

3. Proper Tools: A cordless drill, a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a utility knife, and potentially a pry bar are essentials. They facilitate a smooth removal process.

4. Get a Helping Hand: Cabinets can be heavy and awkward to handle alone. Having a friend or family member to assist can prevent injury and make the process more manageable.

5. Time Commitment: This isn’t a rush job. Allocate sufficient time to detach each cabinet carefully to minimize damage to the wall behind it.

6. Plan for Disposal: Before starting, know how you’ll dispose of or donate the old cabinets. Some organizations will pick them up for free, saving you a trip to the dump.

In essence, if you’re comfortable with basic tools and can recruit an extra set of hands, self-removal is a viable option. It’s about taking the process step by step with the right mindset and preparation.

Three Common Ways to Get Rid of Cabinets

Once you’ve successfully dismantled your kitchen cabinets, you might wonder what to do with them next. Disposing of large items can be daunting, but you have several practical options at your disposal:

1. Donate to Charity: Many charitable organizations accept kitchen cabinets in good condition. Donating not only supports those in need but may also provide you with a tax deduction.

2. Sell or Give Away Online: Platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Freecycle are excellent for selling or giving away your old cabinets. There’s often a high demand for home improvement fixtures, making this a win-win solution.

3. Recycle: Wood cabinets can often be recycled. Check with your local waste management services to understand their recycling program. Remember, recycling is an environmentally-friendly alternative to sending your old cabinets to the landfill.

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