How to Measure Kitchen Cabinets for Refacing

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Refacing cabinets is one of the cheapest options for revamping your entire kitchen. You save up a lot of money instead of buying new ones or hiring contractors to make you some custom cabinets. A kitchen cabinet refacing project may look easy; however, it’s more complicated than meets the eye, just like most DIY ideas for remodeling. Even the first step of the refacing process is more complicated than it looks: measuring your cabinets.

So how should you measure cabinets in your kitchen when refacing? The first thing you need to do is plan the structure of your cabinet. Measure each part, such as the opening, door, interior, inner corners, overlay, and details one by one by getting the width first and then the height. Follow an order to avoid overlooking a cabinet when measuring. 

How to Measure Your Kitchen Cabinet for Refacing

When refacing kitchen cabinets, you will replace the "skin" of the cabinet with a new one. It will ultimately look like new ones again. Here are simple steps to keep you on track when getting the dimensions of your kitchen cabinet:

1) Sketch A Simple Drawing of Your Kitchen Cabinet

Creating a simple sketch of your kitchen cabinet will help keep you on track. It also provides you with a clear cabinet structure. Make sure that your drawing is big enough for you to label the parts of your kitchen cabinet with their proper dimensions.

Don’t miss extra details about your kitchen cabinet, like breadboards, moldings, and others. Draw the details, too, like the cabinet handles, hinges, and if you have double cabinet doors with no divider in the middle or just a single door. You can draw X and dotted lines between two-door cabinets, which would mean that they come together. Any sign would do as long as you understand it.

2) Decide How to Measure Your Kitchen Cabinet

You may become confused and miss a few dimensions with all those doors, drawers, and openings. An organized order of measuring your kitchen cabinet will keep you on track. Most people start at the left side of the kitchen cabinets, going to the left and at the top to the bottom. With that order, you’ll start at the upper left part of your cabinet.

3) Measure the Width, Height, and Length

Measure the width first or how wide the cabinet will go, instead of the height. Measuring first the width provides you with an image of how your kitchen cabinet will go as per factory standards.

4) Measure the Elements

In a kitchen remodel, there are other things to keep in mind: your kitchen cabinet has other elements. Here are the things you should measure in your kitchen cabinet.


Take the measurements of your kitchen cabinet opening first. This size is the space you get when you open your kitchen cabinet door. Measure the width first or how it goes from left to right before the height or the size from the floor up.


Determine what kind of cabinet doors you have. The most common ones are double cabinet doors and single cabinet doors. There are three kinds of doors depending on how they are laid to close the opening:

  • Overlay doors – these types of doors have spaces of it resting at the sides past your cabinet opening or staying “on top” of the cabinet frame. The most common is the inch door overlay.
  • Inset – this door’s perimeter meets with the frame opening, and no part of the cabinet stays raised or protruded.
  • 3/8 inches – this door has spaces that are overlaid on the frame and some parts fitting the opening.

Measure your kitchen cabinet door to the nearest 1/16 inches. You may run into problems with the extra width of the door as you measure the door overlay. Measure the inside corners and the gaps between the doors carefully. The size of the overlay is usually the size of the openings, plus an inch.

Cabinet Drawers

Measure your cabinet drawers the same thing as stated above—measure the width and the height of the inner edges for the opening. You may want to start with the drawer fronts before doing the drawer box. Measure the inner corners for the overlay.

If you want to change the style of your kitchen drawers, measure your drawer’s backside the closest to 1/16 inches.

Knobs or Handles

Factor in with your measurements where your knobs or handles will go, whatever the style is. Don’t forget your cabinet knob sizes and the knob hole as well.


Plot where the hinges are to make sure that your new wood veneer or any other resurfacing material does not affect it.

Cabinet Frame

The frame is the skeleton of your cabinet. Measure the following from width, height, and length:

  • Face frame rail
  • End panel width
  • Cabinet face frame style
  • Toe-kick
  • Cabinet rail/stile

5) Factor in Obstructions

Don’t forget to measure the obstructions that you may meet as you stick your refacing material, like the sink, windows, appliances, and more.

6) Measure the Cabinet Interior

Measure the interior of your kitchen cabinet interior by width, length, and height. These are the spaces inside your cabinet boxes where you put your stuff in.

7) Double-check Your Measurements

Failing to get accurate dimensions of your kitchen cabinets results in a waste of time, money, and effort. You can never be too sure with your kitchen cabinet measurements, so double check to see if the sizes you got are accurate. Having someone write down the sizes you dictate while you take measurements makes the job easier.

Tools You Need to Prepare

note pad model houese and pencil

Prepare the things you need right away, so you won’t be interrupted while taking measurements:

  • Tape measure
  • Paper
  • Pencil

Common Mistakes When Measuring Kitchen Cabinets

Some mistakes include falling to double-check measurements, forgetting the overlay, and overlooking measurement dimensions. It’s important to take note of these things so as to avoid unnecessary repeats of modifications on your kitchen cabinets.  

1) Failing to Double-check Measurements

Imagine cutting your wood veneers with the wrong measurements and finding it out soon enough. It sounds like a problem, right? Double-checking your measurements allows you to correct the sizes you have in case you have overlooked something.

2) Forgetting The Overlay

You may have oversimplified the look of your kitchen cabinet drawers and forgotten the overlay. Either you cut the wood veneers too short or you cut them too long so your kitchen cabinet doors no longer shut.

3) Overlooking Measurement Dimensions

Be mindful of the units of measurement you’re using. Avoid mixing them up by taking them down either digitally or on paper.

Check Out Refacing Materials and Cabinet Style Ideas at Zothex Flooring

Measuring your kitchen cabinet for refacing requires a lot of work, so it’s important to call for help. Remember to plan it out and get to the bottom of its structures. Measure the dimensions and elements one by one and piece them all together.

Zothex Flooring has different styles of refacing materials that can make dramatic overhauls to your kitchen. It has a variety of models that appeal to your taste. We also offer sturdy and quality materials that are sure to last a lifetime. Get in touch with us today.

Learn More: How to Clean Your Kitchen Cabinet After Pest Control

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