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Cabinet Repairs You Should Never Do Yourself

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

A handyman repairing a kitchen cabinet door
Repairing Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinet Repair

Some home renovations, like painting walls, are relatively inexpensive and easy. Others, like moving walls, are best left to the experts. Many homeowners attempt cabinet repairs to save money, but these DIY jobs can end up looking funky or damaging your home. Here are four cabinet repairs you should never try yourself.


It might seem reasonable to install your own cabinets, but unfortunately, cabinets are a lot more challenging to work with than they appear. Inexperienced installers can run into serious problems, especially if you are trying to do it by yourself.

Bulky, heavy cabinets are hard to work with, even with assistance. Heavy cabinets must be bolted into studs and may need reinforcement after that. Contractors use a team of guys, not one or two people, to lift and position them.

Cabinet installation requires accurate measurements. A slight mistake in measuring can cause significant problems. Mistakes with cabinet installation can damage the walls and the cabinets, leading to expensive repairs.


A handyman painting a kitchen cabinet door.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Home improvement shows make painting cabinets look cheap and easy, but they gloss over the challenges and missteps that come with the job. The wood must be properly cleaned and prepped, which may require sanding. Improper prep work can cause the paint to go on unevenly or not adequately stick to the surface.

Also, choosing the right paint is critical when painting cabinets. Standard wall paint is meant for drywall, not finished wood, and can peel over time. Lacquer paint can become brittle and crack as it ages.

Cabinet paint is very thick and can be tricky to use. A cabinet professional knows how to select the proper paint and adequately apply it for a smooth, even finish.


Like painting cabinets, staining cabinets seems like an easy solution for resurfacing cabinets, but it is deceiving. Applying stain is filled with opportunities for mistakes that can ruin the look of your finished pieces.

Choosing the right stain is challenging because it does not look the same in the can as it will on the cabinets. An experienced professional knows how to select the right stain to get the color you want. The room’s lighting, the type of cabinet wood, and the treatment and preparation all affect the final color.

Prepping the wood and applying the stain is just as challenging. Refaced cabinets must be cleaned and sanded before staining, then comes the messy and time-consuming staining process. Many homeowners realize partway through that it’s much more complicated than they expected.

Disconnecting Plumbing

Dealing with plumbing without experience is a recipe for disaster. Do not move plumbing under cabinets without a plumber, or you could face water damage.

Many municipalities require a permit for plumbing work and may not allow homeowners to request a permit themselves. Multi-unit buildings with plumbing problems often require residents to bring in a plumber because it is easy to damage more than one unit.

When it comes to cabinet repairs, you are better off leaving the work to professionals. Your seemingly quick and easy repairs can become expensive problems in no time at all.

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