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How to Replace a Drawer Front

How to Replace a Drawer Front

Posted by John C. on 2021-10-05

While replacing your cabinet doors can be a simple enough process, remove the door from the hinges and hang the new one, but how about replacing the drawer fronts? Replacing these smaller fronts can feel more overwhelming than their larger counterparts. This could be because the hardware is more difficult to access, or it could be due to simply not knowing how the hardware, drawer box, and drawer front all fit together. A DIY refacing project can be a great way to save big during a kitchen remodel, and so this blog will give you a step-by-step guide to replacing your drawer fronts.


Required Tools:

A bathroom vanity with two open drawers.

  • Drill or Screw Driver
  • Wood Screws
  • Hand Saw (For 3-Sided Boxes)
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Blanket or Soft Surface

Drawer Fronts and Drawer Boxes

Before you can get started, you to first inspect your cabinets. Likely, you will either be dealing with a 3-sided or 4-sided drawer box. While the main difference between the two is, of course, the 4th wall, what it translates to is whether your drawer is a front and box combo (3-sided) or a separate drawer front and box (4-sided).

If you aren’t sure which you have, head over to your cabinets and pull open a drawer. When you look down at the back of the drawer front, you should be able to see whether the sides of the drawer box connect to the front or if there is a 4th wall to the box. Whether or not your drawer box has a 4th wall, the first step is to take the drawer box out of the cabinet and remove the old hardware.


Drawer Box with 3 Walls

If your drawer box has 3 walls, that means that your drawer front acts as the 4th wall. In addition to the materials listed above, you may also want to have a pair of small clamps handy to hold the drawer steady while you work. With the hardware removed, use your hand saw to trim the drawer front so that it is flush with the sides of the box. Do the same for the top and bottom of the drawer front as well.

With the drawer front trimmed down to the same size as the back wall, it is time to attach your new drawer hardware. When attaching your slides or glides, be sure to mount them so that the trimmed drawer front will be the back wall. This way, the rough edges from your cuts will be hidden from view. Insert the box into the cabinet to ensure that the slides or glides are properly attached.

A person pulling open a utensils drawer.

Next, place your new drawer front face down on a blanket or other soft surface. The blanket or soft surface will help prevent damage to your draw front (and possibly to your tabletop) during installation. Carefully center the drawer box on the back of the drawer front. Use your tape measure or another measuring device to ensure that there is even spacing all the way around. Then, use wood screws to loosely attach the front to the box. If your drawer fronts have a recessed center panel, then you will need to make sure you drill into the frame.

With the front loosely attached, place the box back into the cabinet to double-check the fit. Make adjustments as needed, and when you are satisfied, secure the front by tightening the screws and adding additional ones where necessary.


Drawer Box with 4 Walls

If your drawer is already constructed from a separate front and box, then this process will be even easier. Since you already have the old hardware off, the next step is to carefully remove the old drawer front. Then, place the new drawer front face down on the blanket or soft surface. Using the measuring tape or another measuring device, ensure that the drawer box is centered on the drawer front.

Next, loosely secure the drawer front with wood screws. Insert the drawer box into the cabinet in order to check the fit. Adjust the front until you are completely satisfied with the fit. Finally, tighten the screws to firmly secure the drawer front to the box and add additional screws where needed. Again, be extra cautious when drilling into recessed panel drawer fronts, as the screws could go through the panel.


Finishing Up

When you are replacing your drawer fronts, it can also be a great time to upgrade your hardware if that is on your to-do list. Things like soft close hinges and drawer slides can make a huge difference, especially in homes with small children. You can also take advantage of this time by updating your knobs and drawer pulls to go with your new fronts.

Naturally finished, slab style drawer fronts.

If you are ready to start ordering or if you need assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-855-669-5222 or send us an email at info@cabinetnow.com. Our team of cabinet experts is here to help with everything from measuring to ordering.

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