Complete Guide to Removing Old Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Cabinets San Diego

A kitchen remodel can transform one of the most important spaces in your home, and one of the key aspects of this process is removing old kitchen cabinets. Proper removal makes room for new installations and ensures that the underlying structure remains intact and undamaged. This guide, brought to you by Eco Home Builders, will walk you through safely and efficiently removing your old kitchen cabinets, whether planning a DIY project or preparing for professional installation.

Why Remove Old Kitchen Cabinets?

Removing old kitchen cabinets is essential in any kitchen remodel in San Diego. This process can help you achieve several goals:

Modernize Your Space: Outdated cabinets can make your kitchen look old-fashioned. Replacing them can give your kitchen a fresh, contemporary look.

Improve Functionality: New cabinets often come with better storage solutions and modern features that make your kitchen more efficient.

Increase Home Value: Updated kitchens are a significant selling point for potential buyers, potentially increasing the value of your home.

Preparing for Cabinet Removal

Before you start tearing out your old cabinets, proper preparation is key. Here’s how to get started:

Gather Tools and Materials: You’ll need a few essential tools, including a screwdriver, utility knife, pry bar, hammer, drill, and safety gear like gloves and goggles.

Clear the Area: Remove all items from your cabinets and countertops. Make sure you have a clear workspace.

Turn Off Utilities: If your cabinets house any electrical outlets, appliances, or plumbing, ensure these utilities are turned off before beginning.

Protect Your Kitchen: Use drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect your countertops, floors, and fixtures from dust and debris.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Kitchen Cabinets

1) Remove Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Start by taking off the doors and removing the drawers from your cabinets. This makes the cabinets lighter and easier to handle.

Unscrew the Hinges: Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the screws from the hinges. Carefully set aside the doors and screws for later use or disposal.

Take Out Drawers: Pull out the drawers and set them aside. If they have locking mechanisms, you might need to press tabs or levers to release them.

2) Remove Cabinet Shelves

If your cabinets have adjustable shelves, remove them next. Fixed shelves may require you to unscrew or pry them out.

Adjustable Shelves: Lift and slide out the shelves.

Fixed Shelves: Use a screwdriver to remove any screws or a pry bar to dislodge them gently.

3) Disconnect Electrical and Plumbing Fixtures

If your cabinets have built-in lighting, outlets, or plumbing fixtures, these need to be disconnected.

Electrical Fixtures: Turn off the power and use a voltage tester to ensure it’s off. Disconnect any wiring and cap the wires with wire nuts.

Plumbing Fixtures: Turn off the water supply and disconnect any plumbing lines. Use a bucket to catch any residual water.

4) Remove Base Cabinets

Base cabinets are usually screwed to the wall, floor, or each other. Start by locating and removing these screws.

Locate Screws: Use a flashlight to find screws at the back and sides of the cabinets.

Unscrew and Pry: Remove the screws and use a pry bar to separate the cabinets from the wall and floor carefully.

5) Remove Wall Cabinets

Wall cabinets are typically screwed into wall studs. Ensure you have assistance for this step, as wall cabinets can be heavy and awkward.

Support the Cabinet: Have someone support the cabinet while you remove the screws.

Unscrew from the Studs: Use a drill or screwdriver to remove the screws securing the cabinets to the wall studs.

Carefully Lower the Cabinet: Carefully lower the cabinet and set it aside once unscrewed.

Handling Old Cabinets

After removing your cabinets, you have a few options for handling them:

Repurpose or Recycle: Old cabinets can be repurposed for garage storage or donated to a local charity or recycling center.

Dispose Properly: If the cabinets are not reusable, arrange for proper disposal by local regulations.

Preparing for New Cabinets

With the old cabinets removed, you’re ready to prepare to install new ones. Here’s what to do next:

Inspect Walls and Floors: Check for any damage or necessary repairs to walls and floors where the cabinets were installed.

Measure and Plan: Ensure accurate measurements for new cabinets. Consult professional kitchen remodeling contractors in San Diego, like Eco Home Builders, to ensure a perfect fit.

Install New Cabinets: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or hire professionals to install your new cabinets.

Why Choose Professional Help?

While removing old kitchen cabinets can be a DIY project, there are significant benefits to hiring professionals like Eco Home Builders:

Expertise: Professional contractors have the skills and experience to handle the removal efficiently and safely.

Time-Saving: Professionals can complete the job faster, minimizing disruption to your home.

Damage Prevention: Experienced contractors know how to avoid damage to your home’s structure during removal.


Removing old kitchen cabinets is a crucial step in remodeling that can significantly enhance your kitchen’s look and functionality. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire professionals, proper preparation and careful execution are key to a successful project. For those in the San Diego area, Eco Home Builders offers expert services in kitchen remodels in San Diego, ensuring your project is handled with the utmost care and professionalism.

By following this complete guide, you can ensure a smooth and successful cabinet removal process, paving the way for your beautiful new kitchen. For more information and professional assistance with your kitchen remodeling in San Diego, visit Eco Home Builders. Our team of skilled contractors is ready to help you achieve the kitchen of your dreams.