One of the biggest factors resulting in damage to the cabinetry in your home is a lack of maintenance. Over the years, I have seen everything from the finish peeling off the doors to the upper cabinets nearly falling off the wall. There is a cure for this and believe it or not, it is so simple virtually anyone can do it.
Doors make up the majority of what is seen of your kitchen cabinets. One of the biggest problems with doors tends to be the hinges. Hinges bear the brunt of the motion of the door and the screws that hold them can, over time, work their way loose. Loose hinges screws will soon lead to other problems like a crooked door or marring of the cabinet or the door where the loose hinge is rubbing. If a hinge becomes loose or worn, sometimes it will squeak or click when it is opened and closed. The cure for this may be as simple as tightening some screws. If a squeak continues you may try a shot of lubricant. If the hing is tight and lubricated and you still have a squeak or click, your hinge may need to be replaced.
Another problem I commonly find with doors is that the finish has failed. This may be the result of any multitude of reasons, including but not limited to water damage, children, pets, and old fashioned wear and tear. The three most common places for this type of damage are the doors below the kitchen sink, the area surrounding the knobs or handles on all doors and the lower doors in a high traffic area.
Occasionally, you will have a knob or handle work its way loose which tends to be more annoying than anything. I have seen this happen as a result of the threads on the screw holding the knob/handle in place to be stripped but most of the time it is due to normal wear and tear.
If your cabinets are painted, you may want to keep a jar of matching paint and a touch up brush handy. However, if your cabinets are stained there are a few different options you may choose (each determined by the root problem). First if the door has been scratched or deeply marred to the point of seeing raw wood, you may consider trying to find a stain to match and touch up the door the best you can. If the varnish has been scratched and the color is not compromised, you might try a furniture scratch cover product like “Old English” made by Min-wax. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for major damage like dents and breakage.
Please remember, these are only temporary fixes and you will eventually need to replace or reface your kitchen cabinets. But until then, make your kitchen shine and last longer by first keeping the cabinets clean. (For this I recommend a mild de-greaser like Murphy’s Oil Soap.) Then be sure to stay on top of any minor damage that may occur and don’t forget to keep an eye on the hinges and their screws. Keep a screwdriver handy in a drawer or somewhere near the kitchen to take care of any problems as soon as you see them. A little maintenance goes a long way and can save a lot of money in the long run.