How to take kitchen cabinets down

How to Remove Upper Kitchen Cabinets

Removing your kitchen cabinets can either be the first step in a whole kitchen renovation or simply a way to give your kitchen a new look. It gives you a chance to restyle your kitchen or even dabble with modern open shelving.

Whichever direction you go in, this step-by-step guide will show you how to remove your kitchen cabinets, both with and without damaging them.

What to Know About Your Kitchen Cabinets Before Removal

If you want to remove your kitchen cabinets, you need to figure out what type of cabinets you have, especially if you are planning to reuse them for any purpose.

Type of Cabinet Description How are they attached? Good to reuse?
Unitized Unitized cabinets are built in place using the wall as the back, a style commonly found in homes more than 25 years old. Either nails or glue. Not usually.


Newer cabinets complete with their own back. Usually, individual units are screwed together to create a whole cabinet set, but can be separated and used individually. Usually screwed into the wall via screws through the back of the unit or around the edges. Yes.

To identify which type of cabinets you have, open your cabinet and look at the back. If it is the same type of material as the sides of the cabinets, you have prefabricated cabinets that you should be able to reuse if you remove carefully. If the back of the cabinet is your wall, they are not ideal for repurposing.

Once you know what type of cabinets you have, follow these steps for removal.

How to Remove Upper Kitchen Cabinets

Step 1: Gather Supplies

The tools and materials you’ll need to safely remove your upper kitchen cabinets include:

Also, if you’re disposing of your cabinets or planning a larger kitchen renovation, you should consider renting a 10 yard dumpster to get rid of your debris without having to wait for your city’s bulk waste collection day.

Step 2: Prep Your Kitchen

Before you begin removing cabinets, follow these steps to prepare your kitchen:

  1. Shut off the electricity in the kitchen at the breaker box.
  2. After ensuring the power is off, remove the range hood and any inset lighting in your cabinetry.
  3. Cover your countertops and lower cabinets with furniture pads or blankets to prevent scratches and other damage.

If you plan to remove all kitchen cabinets and countertops as well, you will need to take additional steps to prep your kitchen, such as taking out your appliances. However, you can use these steps below to start removing your upper kitchen cabinets.

Step 3: Prepare Your Kitchen Cabinets for Removal

Before you remove your kitchen cabinets:

  1. Empty your cabinets completely.
  2. Check your cabinets for any hidden electrical connections and make sure they are disconnected.
  3. Remove cabinet doors, using the drill to unscrew the hinges from the cabinet so the hinge remains with the door. If you aren’t trying to reuse or donate your old cabinets, you can speed up the process by using a crowbar to remove the doors, but you’ll want to wear gloves and goggles.
  4. Remove shelves if possible.

If you are removing your kitchen cabinets to reuse, take these additional steps:

  1. Gather loose screws or hinges from each cabinet in a plastic bag or container. Once you’ve removed the cabinets from the walls, attach the container to the cupboard to keep materials together.
  2. If you plan to reinstall them in the same space, take the time to label the location or number the cabinets with tape before removing them. This will help you keep them in order and avoid confusion later.

Once your cabinets are emptied and prepped you are ready for removal.

Step 4: Remove Exterior Elements

Exterior elements include:

If you’re trying to remove the cabinets without damage and want to save the molding as well, use at least one putty knife along with the pry bar. Find a nail and slide a putty knife between the trim and cabinet close to the nail and then pull out slightly, then insert the pry bar on top of the putty knife and continue to pull the trim.

If it seems like the trim is about to crack, insert a second putty knife between the pry bar and the trim. Move to the next nail and repeat. Continue until it is loose enough to remove in one piece.

Step 5: Separate Cabinets From Each Other

If you have older cabinets that were built as one unit, you can skip this step.

If removing prefabricated cabinets, they are probably connected to each other through screws in the sides. Using a drill, remove all the screws to disconnect the group of cabinets from each other. This should loosen them, but they will still be attached to the wall and will not need to be supported.

Step 6: Remove Cabinets From Wall

To Remove Kitchen Cabinets That Are Attached With Screws:

  1. Make sure the cabinets are supported by having someone assist you or by placing pieces of wood beneath the cabinet to support the weight as you remove the screws. This is important if you want to remove the cabinets without damaging them.
  2. Start by removing the screws closest to the bottom, and then work your way up, removing all screws. Be prepared to lift the cabinet away from the wall as you remove the final screws at the top.
  3. Repeat until all units are removed.

If your cabinets are unitized or were installed with nails and glue instead of screws, you’ll need to use the hammer and pry bar to separate the cabinets from the wall.

To Remove Glued Kitchen Cabinets:

  1. Put on gloves and goggles to protect yourself.
  2. Make sure the cabinet is supported by a helper or support system, otherwise it will drop onto the counter below as you remove it.
  3. Start on the sides of the cabinet, using the hammer to wedge the pry bar or crowbar between cabinet and wall. Pry directly over a stud where possible to limit the damage to the drywall. You can also use a wooden block between the lever of the crowbar and the wall to prevent damage.
  4. Next, move to the top, bottom, then back through the front of the cabinet if still attached and continue to pry cabinet from wall until the entire unit is loose enough to be removed.

Step 7: Congratulate Yourself!

Now that you have removed your kitchen cabinets, you can move on to the rest of your project whether that’s painting your old cabinets or installing new ones.

Completing a whole kitchen renovation? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget or share your experience with us in the comments.

with tips from professionals |

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Removing kitchen cabinets can largely be done as a DIY job, and could save you money, and the time that you have contractors in your home. 

Whether you are installing a new kitchen or are getting it professionally fitted, you may want to remove the majority of the current configuration yourself. And this majority doesn’t require too much skill to tackle. Or perhaps you want to paint kitchen cabinets and just want to discover how to remove doors and drawer fronts?

The first thing to do is get the room ready by emptying all the cabinets. This means taking out all your crockery, pots, pans, cooking equipment, utensils, cutlery, glassware and food items from all the cabinets, both base and wall units, pantries, larders and any pull-outs. Removing kitchen cabinets is usually pretty straightforward and you can usually take them off the wall without damaging the surface underneath.

‘Removing kitchen cabinets isn’t too difficult,’ confirms Ryan McDonough, interior design expert at My Job Quote , ‘but there are some areas that will need a bit of skill. Doors should simply unscrew at the hinges and internal shelves are usually resting on pegs, so they should easily lift off. For drawers, you may need to negotiate the drawer-stop mechanism but otherwise they will come straight out of the unit. Metal and plastic brackets commonly hold units together and worktops in place. So these will also unscrew with the right size screwdriver. 

'However, built-in appliances are a bit more difficult. Cabinets where the sink is plumbed in and electric or gas appliances are installed need safely disconnecting first. You may be able to turn the water supply off yourself and isolate or cap the water pipes but call in a gas engineer or qualified electrician to remove ovens and hobs.’

Below, we take you through the basics of removing kitchen cabinets.

How to remove kitchen cabinets and drawers

If you’re going to install kitchen cabinets, the current ones need to be removed first. After you’ve taken everything out of the cabinets and drawers, you are ready to start.

1. Unscrew kitchen cabinet door hinges

When taking on a project such as this, it’s important to always protect your eyes, nose, mouth and hands. Wear protective goggles, mask and gloves as well as old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

The first step is to unscrew the door hinges. There may be a release clip that will make this easier but if not, you just need to unscrew them while someone else holds the weight of the cabinet door. 

2. Remove drawer fronts

Drawers can be lifted up from their runners; you should check first if there is a securing clip that needs to be undone.

3. Remove base units

Base units tend to have fixings at the back as well as screws holding cabinets together to their adjacent unit. Once you’ve removed these, the cabinets should be pulled out slowly.

4. Remove all cabinets

Wall cabinets take a bit more effort to remove. This is because the brackets are designed to take a lot of weight. Loosen the screws on the brackets at each side as well as removing screws that connect the cabinets in the middle. Next, lift it up and out of the bracket. Getting someone else to help makes a big difference. Some cabinets are screwed onto the wall rather than a bracket. In which case, one of you should hold the cabinet’s weight while the other unscrews. 

‘Consider what’s on top of the cabinet before you start the general removal process,’ adds Scott Peterson, director of HKUK . ‘Any countertops should be supported with cabinets or end support panels either side of the cabinet that you are removing. Cabinets are usually screwed together and generally, there are four screws on each side. Check any hidden areas such as behind hinge plates and shelves. Base cabinets will usually be screwed to the wall and wall units will often be hooked on to hanging brackets, so once unscrewed from other units these will lift off the hanging brackets.’

5. How to remove appliances

Some cabinets may have appliances hard-wired into fixed connections. In this instance, always get a professional electrician or gas engineer to disconnect and make safe.  

Once this is done, you can remove the appliances then tackle the cabinet it was housed in. 

6. How to remove the kitchen sink

The same goes for sinks: ask a plumber to help if you’re unsure how to tackle water outlets. Turn the water supply off, keep pipes and outlets upright so waste water doesn’t spill out and dissemble any fixings underneath the sink before cutting the sealant that attaches it to the countertop above.

7. How to remove countertops

Countertops are usually fitted from underneath. Look for screws or bolts that are holding them in place and remove these, slowly, with the help of a friend. Some areas may have glue or sealant to secure in place so these will need to be prised away with a scraper. Prise the countertop up and away from the cabinets.

‘When moving heavy items such as countertops,’ adds Looeeze, ‘use the correct removal products for the job, work slowly and carefully and seek help if needed. Countertops have been sealed and the sealant is made to last. Work on the joins and loosening off the silicon first, then gather some extra manpower to help move the countertops, as they are extremely heavy and very delicate. The areas to take particular care is around any cut-outs, as these points have been weakened. Never attempt to lift a countertop just with two people with one person at either end – it’s a recipe for disaster.’

8. How to remove backsplash tiles

If you have tiles on the wall above the countertop, you may need to remove the bottom row before tackling the worksurface. Use a hammer and bolster if you don’t need to keep the tiles afterwards and always wear protective goggles and gloves.

Can I remove kitchen cabinets myself?

Yes, you can remove kitchen cabinets yourself but it is better done with a friend and it's always worth checking the installation to see how hard a job it might be. For example, if the cabinets were fitted with glue and nails rather than screws, it will be much more difficult to pry apart and out, and you will certainly damage the cabinetry as you do so.

‘Most people are unaware there is an art to removing a kitchen,’ says Looeeze Grossman, founder of The Used Kitchen Company . ‘It is only when they attempt it that they realize it’s not as easy as it seems. Kitchen cabinets will need to be unscrewed from their hinges, using a drill for speed. Make sure you keep the screws and always label which ones came from which cupboard or drawer. If you can, tape them to the back of each cabinet.

How long does it take to remove kitchen cabinets?

Allow yourself at a minimum two days to remove kitchen cabinets; this is for two people in an average-sized kitchen. A larger space will take longer. The type of installation will also affect how long it takes to remove kitchen cabinets: glued and nailed cabinetry will be harder to remove than a kitchen neatly screwed together.

What should I do with kitchen cabinets I've removed?

Removing kitchen cabinets not only makes the space ready for the new versions but it also enables you to sell them and make a bit of money at the same time. You could sell privately or use a company that specializes in this sort of thing. 

Alternatively, think of using the cabinets for a mudroom or laundry room design. Refinishing kitchen cabinets or staining kitchen cabinets could give wooden versions a new look for the room, or they could be painted.

Hayley is an interiors journalist, content provider and copywriter with 26 years experience who has contributed to a wide range of consumer magazines, trade titles, newspapers, blogs and online content. Specialising in kitchens and bathrooms, she has twice won the CEDIA Award for Best Technology feature. Hayley writes for H&G about kitchens, bathrooms, cleaning, DIY and organizing.

Dismantling and dismantling of kitchen furniture

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Disassembly of the kitchen set

Are you renovating or moving and need to dismantle the kitchen? Our masters will competently and accurately dismantle the kitchen of any manufacturer.

Moving, changing kitchen furniture or redecorating the apartment naturally puts us in front of the fact that the kitchen furniture needs to be dismantled and dismantled. It is important to dismantle the kitchen in stages and competently. Our craftsmen have extensive experience in assembling kitchen furniture in Italy, Finland and Russia, so they will cope with the dismantling of the kitchen quickly and efficiently. Professional dismantling of the kitchen by our craftsmen includes:

1) disconnection of all communications:

2) Dismantling and disconnection:

Further, in the reverse order of the kitchen installation, the operations of dismantling the modules and elements of the kitchen set are carried out. First, all the decorative elements of the kitchen are disassembled and disconnected, these are cornices, visors, intersection shelves, a roof, etc. Then boxes and glass shelves are removed from the modules. First, the upper modules of the kitchen are dismantled, the wall panel (apron) is removed, the plinth and countertop are removed. Next, the lower modules are disconnected. In the kitchen shown in the pictures, there were problems with the dismantling of the countertop and wall panel. Since it is not clear why the kitchen installers glued the heavy countertop to the lower modules, and instead of grabbing the wall panel with dots to the wall, they also glued it almost all over the plane. In order to complete the work faster, in agreement with the customer, it was necessary to use mounts, since it was not possible to peel off the wall panel without damage.

Cost of kitchen assembly >>>

Answers to frequently asked questions

one In what cases is it necessary to dismantle furniture or dismantle it?

Careful dismantling and dismantling of furniture is necessary to preserve your furniture, when repairing or moving. Disassembly is required in the presence of expensive, for example, Italian cuisine, a massive bedroom set, wardrobes, bulky shelving, wide three-leaf wardrobes, high cabinet construction or built-in furniture. Dismantling of such furniture as built-in wardrobes and non-standard designs of sliding partitions and compartment doors is always carried out. The limited stairwells often do not make it possible to load large-sized furniture until it is disassembled.

The cost of assembling and dismantling furniture also depends on such parameters as the number of storeys of the building, the equipment with an elevator (freight or passenger), the number of furniture structures to be dismantled and time constraints. It is mandatory to disassemble and assemble furniture with specified dimensions, and storage of which is carried out in a certain position. First of all, this applies to rare, antique furniture and especially valuable items for which dismantling and dismantling of furniture is irrational. This work is extremely necessary, without it it is impossible to carry out a full-fledged repair in the apartment and loading and unloading operations when moving, and only professionals should be trusted with dismantling. With unprofessional disassembly, the process is much more complicated, or the impossibility of assembling furniture.

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Dismantling, dismantling and disposal of the old kitchen

Nothing lasts forever in our world of material values, and the kitchen, which has pleased for many years, has turned into a faded, worn pile of old-fashioned cabinets in ten years. The first thoughts that are born upon a cursory examination of such an obviously not elegant element of the interior are to quickly get rid of, dismantle and dispose of the old kitchen, and then order kitchen furniture in harmony with all fashion trends in the field of design and functionality. It’s good when there is an opportunity to attach an old kitchen somewhere - for example, take it to the country house, sell it to tenants through free classifieds sites, just drag a couple of cabinets into the garage and make a junk storage rack out of them. But what if all conceivable and unimaginable options for moving large enough furniture have disappeared at once? Let's try to help you in this matter.
If you are accustomed to the old kitchen, if you are satisfied with the arrangement of cabinets and the style of storing food and kitchen utensils that has developed over the years, and if the body (frame) of the kitchen made of chipboard has been preserved in a fairly decent form, we recommend that you use the service of replacing the facade and kitchen countertops. Having spent an amount of approximately four hundred dollars. you get a radically updated set of furniture with a modern and practical facade and save quite a lot of money, even compared to ordering a quality kitchen at a low price. As a rule, such replacement options are very reasonable if you have a kitchen made of film MDF (you can read about this problem in the article on the fragility of film MDF). In this case, the film on the facade peels off, and the kitchen cabinet, often pasted over with a durable PVC edge, is almost in its original state.
Tips for dismantling and disposing of the kitchen are given by us in accordance with the order of each type of work:

  1. Free up enough space in the kitchen and in the hallway that leads to the stairwell. Cover the floor in the kitchen with cardboard or old wallpaper. Free the old kitchen from the contents.
  2. Wear old clothes and be sure to wear construction gloves. Provide sufficient lighting in the room and open a window for ventilation.
  3. Shut off the gas, electricity and water supply, if the communications affect the kitchen cabinets. Block access to the premises for small children and pets.
  4. Arm yourself with a Phillips screwdriver, drill or screwdriver, and remove all doors from the kitchen furniture. This can be done by unscrewing the central bolt fixing the furniture hinge (if it is without a latch) or by unscrewing the self-tapping screws that fix the hinges to the cabinet walls.
  5. Remove kitchen drawers. Remove all shelves from kitchen cabinets.
  6. Remove the sink. If it is a consignment note, just pull it out of the fasteners. It can also be fixed with metal corners and self-tapping screws - unscrew them. If the sink is mortise - unscrew the metal clips ("crocodiles") that press the sink to the countertop.
  7. Remove the wall plinth and then remove the worktop. It can be connected to the cabinet bodies with wooden dowels and glue, but most often with 30 self-tapping screws. Remove the kitchen roof and removable plinth, if any.
  8. Examine the cabinets of the kitchen for the presence of connecting screws (pull the cabinets together). Often, good craftsmen hide connecting screws out of sight behind shelves. Unscrew the screws.
  9. Pull the bottom cabinets out towards you one by one. Using a hammer and a cobbler's knife, remove the back wall and then dismantle the kitchen cabinets using a Euro coupler nozzle. Immediately sort the walls by similar size and stack them on the floor or lean against the wall.
  10. Once the bottom cabinets are finished, remove and disassemble the upper cabinet frames.
  11. Legislation prohibits unloading garbage and any waste near garbage containers in yards in Minsk. You can call the garbage collection service, to save money by lowering your own disassembled kitchen to the entrance. Or, for greater savings, you can take out the kitchen in stages, folding the walls a little bit into the garbage containers.

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