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Home Makeover 101: Part 2 – Repairing Broken & Old Kitchen Cabinet

Kitchen Cabinet Renovation Interior Design

One of the must-have items when one moves into a new house is getting kitchen cabinets installed for the kitchen which will make the kitchen look more organised. The expensive ones are made from a special alloy which is resistant to rust, water & tear and more importantly terminates. Image source: Pexel / Diego

Read these first:-

Why Kitchen Cabinets?

I have been holding back from blogging rather lately because I have been setting aside all my free time on the weekends for DIY projects at home especially my long-planned house makeover projects, resting and finishing up any office-related project works.

When it comes to the house makeover, the obvious area would be the living room as this is where we will have our guests and where we will hold private functions. However, we decided to start with the master bedroom as we needed to address the urgent issue of storage but that is a post for another time.

Kitchen Cabinet Interior Design Rust

(The floor and the wall of the kitchen cabinet are tiled and are in good condition but before it was cleaned with a strong detergent & a fresh coat of paint, it looked ugly with stains & rust and smelled too. Some of the rust was so bad that I had to break the hinges from the base with the rusted screws still intact)Β 

The other area of the house that required a serious makeover or rather repairs is the kitchen and in particular the kitchen cabinet. When we first moved in, we got the contractor handling grilles installation to install a cheap set of kitchen cabinets. This is due to the small budget we had back then, otherwise, we would have gotten more expensive alloy-based kitchen cabinets. Then we had one massive termites attack which required us to fully dismantle the old kitchen cabinet & put it in a quality cabinet that sits on reinforced concrete.

However, due to leaks in the past, pests and unorganised kitchen items, the interior of the kitchen cabinet has become dirty & smelly and it has been on the top list of things to repair for some time now. The top board and even the kitchen cabinet doors are still in prime condition so there was little repair to be done.

Repair Options

Because of the water leaks on several occasions in the past, all the screws and hinges have rusted and were in serious condition. Initially, we were considering hiring a contractor that we found online to break up the kitchen cabinet and redo fresh costing us a few hundred ringgit for a simple repair to perhaps thousands if the contractor decided to break the table top & redo with fresh tiles.

After further inspection of the damage, noticed there the damage was mainly to the wood inside the cabinet and this is due to termites although it is not massive like the old kitchen cabinet and leaks which turned all the screws & hinges to be heavily rusted.

Then there was a strong smell of cockroaches & mould all mixed into one. Clearly, we needed to address this as well and the way to do it was to dismantle all the doors so that the interior is exposed & any water still inside gets dry. And then using a strong detergent mixed with baking soda to soak the interiors before giving a good scrub improved the smell.

Removing all the doors and exposing them also has the advantage of driving any insects namely cockroaches hiding inside the kitchen cabinet to come out in the open which it did and we managed to kill 3 of them on the spot.

Tools & Parts

Obviously, I needed to get ready the relevant tools & parts before I started on this makeover project. Battery-powered screwdrivers & drills are already in my toolbox. So to start off, I unscrewed all the hinges and screws that were holding the kitchen cabinet doors. It was not easy as some of it has been so rusted it cannot be unscrewed with just power tools. In most cases, I had to break a small part of the wood holding the screws to loosen it. Some I had to use the pliers to break the old screws off and create new holes for the new screws.

Kitchen Cabinet Hinges Interior Design

(Not all hinges are the same as I later found out when I was shopping for the replacement hinges – I noticed that there are several designs on sale online. So I took a photo of the hinges that were installed in my kitchen cabinet to compare with the ones sold online.)

Obviously, I needed to buy new hinges & screws but since some part of the kitchen cabinet is weak to hold the new hinges, I also had to place metal plates to ensure the hinges have a more secure place to be firmly fixed.

Kitchen Cabinet Hinges

(Hinges of different designs and shapes so you need to make sure that you are purchasing the correct design when buying online. Image source: Wikimedia)

I decided to replace all the hinges irrespective it is rusted or not so to avoid needing them to be replaced in future. It was being sold for RM1.25 for each hinge over at Shopee and it came with 6 screws for ease of installation so I had to buy in bulk to reduce the delivery cost & also to have spares for future fixes if required.

Hinge Plate Kitchen Cabinet

(Frankly speaking, this was something new that went on sale online as I could not get this in the earlier time when I had to replace the hinges but the base was broken so it could not hold the new hinges. Image source: Amazon UK)

As for the plates, I initially did not plan to buy any but when I tried to replace the hinges, the spot for the screws was not strong enough to hold the hinges so much so the hinges moves as I open & close the kitchen cabinet doors. Each plate was sold for almost RM2 online which seems rather expensive but the quality seems to be good and is made of stainless steel.


Cleaning the interior with detergents and baking soda cleared the strong mouldy smell but despite knowing that the interior is much cleaner, it still β€œlooked” dirty and broken wood due to the rusted screws looked ugly. So since I am repairing the hinges, I decided to also paint the interior – the floor & wall tiles and the wooden planks with bright white paint and brown varnish for the kitchen cabinet doors.

Kitchen Cabinet Paint

Although this is not the right type of paint for tiles as advised by the shop assistant where I bought the paint, I decided to use this type for painting the tiles and the wooden interior structures. I wanted something basic first to paint and cover all the holes & stains as I don’t plan to move things too much inside the kitchen cabinet except inside the drawers which are made wholly from wood.

To be continued in Part 3

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