Looking for a meaningful Christmas present for a special friend or family member? Fixing up the house of someone who needs a helping hand makes a terrific gift. It doesn’t cost much, but your generosity will have a lasting impact.
Few home improvements have as much bang for the buck as new cabinet hardware. For a few dollars worth of handles and knobs, you can give a bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets a whole new outlook on life.
Changing out hardware is a simple job you can complete in a couple of hours or less, using only basic tools — a screwdriver and a cordless drill/driver.
Do you measure up?
If you’re helping out with the hardware purchase, note that there’s a number of standard sizes for cabinet hardware. Carefully measure the space between the screws of the existing hardware so you won’t have to drill any new holes.
Measure from the center of one screw or screw post to the center of the other. Measuring this way is called “on-center,” and it’s the most accurate way to figure out what you’ll need.
Installing the new hardware is simply a matter of screwing on the new pulls, handles, and knobs. If you have hardware pieces that require two screws, get both screws started before tightening. That way, you’ll have a little wiggle room so both screws are seated properly.
If you’re installing new hardware that doesn’t match the existing holes, fill the old holes with wood putty and disguise the repair with fresh paint or stain. (Note: Some types of hardware have back plates that will completely cover old mounting holes.)
This video has step-by-step instructions on mounting new kitchen cabinet knobs.
When drilling new holes, make sure your holes are parallel to the top drawer edge so the hardware won’t look crooked. Keep things parallel (and speed up the whole process) by using a drilling jig. You can make one from scrap plywood, or buy one at a hardware store of home improvement center for about $7.
You can also keep holes nice and straight by having a partner off to the side who can eyeball the angle of your drill bit and let you know if you’re tilting too far up or down.
When your low-cost facelift project is done, stand back and admire your happy holiday efforts!