Advise needed! Missing cabinet doors, what to do!

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Forum topic by ScottKaye posted 12-09-2018 10:11 PM 1519 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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782 posts in 2731 days

12-09-2018 10:11 PM

A good friend of mine is suffering from Dementia and has been declining in mental faculty for the past several years. He gets easily confused and thus becomes frustrated. Case in point, he accidentally? broke off a couple cabinet doors from their downstairs mother in law suite kitchen. Instead of admitting what he did, he tried to hide it from his wife by throwing away the evidence. By the time his wife finally noticed they were missing, they were long gone to the county dump. Anyway, fast forward to this weekend. They are selling their house as it is too much to keep up with. My friends’ wife asked me how I would go about fixing the doors. As you can see from the photo they are from the ‘80s and it would be almost impossible to make an accurate reproduction.

Anyway, I thought about taking the other bottom door off the cabinet for symmetry purposes and then having her install a curtain rod and curtains cut to fit in both openings. For the upper cabinet, Id again take the other opposing door off and this time Id build a couple door frames with pocket screws and place a piece of glass or plexiglass inside the door frame. I really don’t want to invest much time in the project so it would have to be really easy. I’m still not convinced its worth fixing. Would love to hear your ideas. Ps, I don’t think the bottom door is tall enough to cut down to size to use for the top cabinet.. at least judging from the photo it isn’t.!

Another option I just thought of for the bottom cabinet is to have custom shutter doors built. I’m not sure of the exact dimensions, but I just priced out an 18” x 28” size door at about $77 each. which isn’t half bad



-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

15 replies so far

View MikeDilday's profile


285 posts in 1237 days

#1 posted 12-09-2018 10:44 PM

A little more detail about the doors would help. They look like they are some sort of smooth panel with a piece of wood on one edge? Is the piece of wood shaped to be used to open and close the door/drawer? Your options are replace all the doors, make a replacement or just let them deal with it.

-- Michael Dilday, Suffolk, Va.

View LesB's profile


2559 posts in 4221 days

#2 posted 12-09-2018 11:06 PM

It will be hard to match the color on the door panels.
So I would consider making glass paneled doors (clear glass or maybe opaque (frosted), colored, or patterned glass) using a frame that matches the cabinet bases. If necessary or if it is possible switch some of the existing doors around so you can locate the replacement in a visibly better spot. Or even replace some of the other doors to create what would look like a designed pattern of glass panel doors.

-- Les B, Oregon

View MikeDilday's profile


285 posts in 1237 days

#3 posted 12-09-2018 11:22 PM

What material is the cream colored panel?

-- Michael Dilday, Suffolk, Va.

View ScottKaye's profile


782 posts in 2731 days

#4 posted 12-09-2018 11:44 PM

I haven’t seen them in person in years as I never go down to their basement. So I’m in the same boat as you guys trying to figure things out from a photo! However, inferencing from the pictures, they are most definitely covered in Formica, an ugly tan color at that. They appear to have a solid strip of wood (dark oak stained) at the top/bottom that also doubles as hand pulls that runs the width of the door tops/bottom depending on which door you are looking at.

Hope this helps

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Rayne's profile


1312 posts in 2318 days

#5 posted 12-09-2018 11:48 PM

How about keeping it simple and turning that cabinet into an open shelf system. It looks good from here, so just remove / repair the hinge holes, tidy it up, and leave it open as a feature.

View SMP's profile


2133 posts in 684 days

#6 posted 12-09-2018 11:48 PM

To be honest i would take them off and give them a “credit” in the price negotiations.

View Rayne's profile


1312 posts in 2318 days

#7 posted 12-09-2018 11:49 PM

As I post this, I completely did not see the bottom door missing. I got fixated to the upper cabinets. I’ll have to think about the bottom one.

View Jeff's profile


524 posts in 3973 days

#8 posted 12-09-2018 11:58 PM

I can’t imagine that would make any significant difference to a potential buyer. Tidy it up, maybe fill any screw holes left by the hinges.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7579 posts in 1491 days

#9 posted 12-10-2018 12:01 AM

maybe new owners might just rip it out anyways but if has to be fixed I would get MDF for base throw away the right one let the top open as display or put wine bottle racks in it with stem ware holders :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


777 posts in 4051 days

#10 posted 12-10-2018 12:25 AM

Simplest thing, if you do not want to give buyers credit or go the open shelf route, would be to replace all the doors. Let the buyers decide.

Since this is the mother-in-law suite, it doesn’t need to be fancy. Make slab doors out of MDF and edge and cover the faces with laminate. You can match the two false drawer fronts, or even replace them as well.

Rather than trying to replicate the wooden pulls, you could add simple pulls.

Good luck! Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1677 days

#11 posted 12-10-2018 02:00 AM

Looks like a typical Almond melamine door with taped edges with a
continuous door pull.

Some examples of door pulls: (scroll down)

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3209 posts in 2273 days

#12 posted 12-10-2018 05:01 AM

IMHO – Want to replace the missing doors, or at least make it look uniform and remove complimentary doors to what is already missing and call it a feature. It is never a good idea to allow a required major repair like this to be part of price negotiations. ALLOWS have repairs done before showing/selling house.

One option is replace all cabinet doors with new ones. Ikea sells full overlay cabinet doors separately in standard sizes. Find new complimentary color, double check dimensions, buy doors and drawer fronts, and install. Cost ~$30-$50 per door panel.

If time is more important than money due impending sale, and you want max sale price; just hire a cabinet make over company to make all new doors. Might spend $100 cabinet, but if done right – remodeled cabinet fronts can add sell price .vs ugly cabinet doors.

If if were me and I was making passable replacement doors on budget:
1) I would take an existing door to home depot and look for spray can enamel that matched. If none can be found, have them mix a quart of outdoor gloss front door enamel paint with matching color. Laminate is expensive, and matching aged laminate is impossible.
2) Use some 3/4 MDF and cut new doors to size, minus the finger molding. fill imperfections with dry wall repair compound, sand smooth, then spray 2 coats of paint. Made many a garage cabinet door this way.
3) Find a stain/varnish combo that is close original wood trim color, cut some similar molding, finish, and attach to door.
4) Hang new doors and sell house as is with no discussion about door repairs needed.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View robscastle's profile


7201 posts in 2982 days

#13 posted 12-10-2018 05:45 AM

I would be tempted to leave them “as is” ... mainly due to their age and matching diffculties along with the possibility (as other LJs have said) the new owners may want to change them anyway.

-- Regards Rob

View Woodknack's profile


13399 posts in 3158 days

#14 posted 12-10-2018 06:58 AM

Around here they would be ripped out first thing anyway. Unless you plan on remodeling the kitchen and putting in granite + new appliances, don’t bother.

-- Rick M,

View Robert's profile


3750 posts in 2259 days

#15 posted 12-10-2018 02:38 PM

I would talk to him some and explain whoever buys the house will most likely rip it all out anyway and fixing won’t add any value.

If it were me, I would replace the cabs, the flooring and consider the appliances. Its one of the best returns you can get on selling a house.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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