How do I retrofit cabinets with soft-close hardware?
My neighbor just got new kitchen cabinets with doors that don't slam shut. I want the same. Can I retrofit my existing cabinets with this type of hardware?
—Ethan Hamilton, Buffalo, N.Y.
You can, Ethan. Here are two methods to do it.
OPTION 1: Replace the hinges. If you already have European-style concealed hinges on your cabinets, you can probably replace them with soft-close models. Blum's Blumotion, Salice's Silentia, and Grass's TEC may do the trick. Soft-close pistons built into the hinge cup or onto the arm ensure a slam-free closure.
*Some models have on/off switches, letting you disengage the soft-close feature if you wish.
*Depending on the door size, you might need to replace only half or two-thirds of its hinges with soft-close versions. Experiment to find out.
*Soft-close hinges cost more ($4–$10 each, depending on brand) than standard hinges.
*Some models might not fit precisely in the existing mounting holes. For best results, stay with the same manufacturer as your original hinges.
*If you have a less-common hinge style, such as for inset doors, you might not find a replacement version.
OPTION 2: Add a plunger. If you can't find the right hinges, or don't want to swap out the ones you have now, you can always install plunger-style pistons, like the one shown above. Selling for about $10–$15 apiece, these screw onto the face frame or side panel, or into a hole bored into the cabinet, to slow the door as it closes the last inch or so. They work on just about any door with a snap-close hinge.
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