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How to fit kitchen door handles

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 08/05/18


Attach kitchen doors handles yourself and get great results

Preparation

Before proceeding, make sure your doors are already correctly fitted to your kitchen units and have been suitably adjusted so that they sit level and true. Also ensure that the surfaces of the doors are clean and from debris, dirt or dust to prevent any damage or errors during fitting your handles. Door handles are usually fitted when the doors are attached to the units so you can use your eye to get a better idea of where you want your handles to be attached.

Tools Required

As with all DIY projects, you’ll need the right tools to get the best possible finish. For this job, you’ll need:

  • measuring tape
  • pencil (for marking up)
  • small spirit level
  • G-clamp
  • electric drill and drill bits
  • electric or Phillips screwdriver
  • off-cut of wood
  • door handles and screws

Measuring Up

Assuming your kitchen base cabinets are fully assembled with the doors attached, you’re ready to get started.

As there are various types of door handles available, the placement of your handles may differ. As a general rule, handles will sit centrally width-wise on horizontal drawers, pull outs and cupboards, whilst on traditional floor cupboards, the handles will sit vertically and placed closer to the top corner on the side that opens or near the bottom on floor cabinets on the side that opens. If you’re unsure, check the manufacturers instructions that came with your door handles.

In general, the most common type of handle found in kitchens is the “D-handle” type, which consists of two screws placed at either end of the handle. For this exercise, we will show you how to fit this popular handle type.

To measure up on a regular vertically set cupboard door or pullout, firstly find the correct side where you wish to fit your handles. In general, a floor cupboard will have the handle sat close to the top of the door so that it is easily reached when standing. A wall cabinet however will generally have the handle sat close to the bottom of the door so it is easily reached.

Now you need to decide where you want your handles to be placed. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question as different people have different preferences but always ensure you leave adequate space at both edges where the handle will sit. You do not want your handles too close to edges as they may rub against other surfaces or simply look bad. If for example you are fitting handles to a shaker unit, it is generally accepted that your handles should sit exactly in the middle of both the left and right edges of the raised outer frame to give an even, balanced finished. If your kitchen doors are flat with no framed or beveled edges, it is recommended that your handles are no less than 40mm away from each edge. Any close and the finished look may not be very appealing.

To fit your first handle, measure the exact space between each screw hole on your door handles using a tape measure. Note the distance down on paper in millimetres for later use. Now hold the handle on your door where you feel you would like it to sit, baring in mind to allow sufficient space from each door edge. Now with a pencil, clearly mark the position of first hole you wish to drill with a pencil.

Now take a small spirit level and draw a perfectly vertical line from the middle of the hole you just marked, to approximately the same length as your door handle. And then measure the exact distance from the first hole marked to mark the second hole that matches the distance between the holes on your door handle along the line drawn. You should now have two marks ready to drill before attaching your first handle.

Marking up door handles for horizontal drawers and pull-outs uses exactly the same processes except your handles need to sit precisely in the middle of the doors width. So before marking any holes, find the exact centre of your door by measuring from each edge and mark where the middle of your door is. Then use that mark to draw a horizontal line with a spirit level on your door and mark where the holes on your handles should be along the line.

Drilling Holes & Attaching Handles

Before you begin drilling, always place an off-cut of wood at the back of the door, on the opposite face you intend to drill. Hold it tightly to the door using a G-clamp. The block of wood is there to stop the door from splintering or splitting when the drill reaches the other site. This will ensure clean drill holes every time.

Once you have clamped a block of wood to the opposite face, attach a wood drill bit to your drill that is slightly wider than the screws supplied with your door handles. Begin drilling using the marks you created and drill all the way through the doors. Then repeat the above process for each hole until finished.

Now, with a Philips screwdriver, attach the handles by pushing the screws through your newly drilled holes and tighten until snug. Do not over-tighten as you may damage the door surface.

Your first handle should now be attached.

Templating

Assuming you’re happy with the position of your first door handle, you may want to consider creating a template so that you can copy the precise position of the screw holes and carry that through to all your other doors.

There’s various ways to do this. You could use a good quality piece of cardboard and mark the position of the holes by removing the newly fitted handle and then using a pencil to mark the hole positions drilled. Then will a nail, pop two holes through the cardboard so that you can use the holes to mark other doors.

Or if you prefer, you could remove your newly fitted door handle and note down the precise dimensions from the top and side edges where your holes are drilled and copy this across to other units. Just ensure your holes are precise and level and alway double check your measurements agains your door handles and use a spirit level and tape measure every time. Once you’ve fitted a few door handles, the process becomes much easier and quicker.

See It in Action

If you are still unsure how to follow our guidelines, watch the excellent video below created by Wickes, for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen wall cabinets.