How to Update Routed Cabinet Doors

Updating routed cabinet doors can be a cost-effective and transformative way to breathe new life into your kitchen or bathroom. Routed cabinet doors, with their intricate designs and patterns, can be updated to match changing design trends or to give a fresh and personalized look to your space.

How to Update Routed Cabinet Doors

Whether you want to change the color, update the hardware, or even replace the routed panels altogether, there are numerous options available to revitalize your cabinet doors. In this article, we will explore a variety of methods and techniques to update routed cabinet doors, offering step-by-step instructions and creative ideas to help you achieve the desired results.

So, if you’re ready to give your cabinets a stylish makeover without the expense of replacing them entirely, read on to discover how to update routed cabinet doors and bring new charm to your living space.

Definition and Characteristics of Routed Cabinet Doors

Routed cabinet doors are a popular style of cabinet door characterized by the use of elegant grooves, which add texture and interest to the design. These doors can be used in a variety of styles, from classic to modern, and are often made from wood or laminate. The routed grooves also provide a great way to personalize your cabinetry, as they can be customized to your exact specifications.

Updating routed cabinet doors is a relatively easy project that can take place in a day or two depending on the size of the job and the materials used. The most important part of updating routed cabinet doors is choosing the proper type of router bit.

This will depend on the material used for the cabinets and the size of the routed grooves that are desired. Furthermore, it is important to have all of the necessary tools on hand before you start, such as a router table, a drill bit for making pilot holes, wood glue, clamps, and sandpaper.

Once the right router bit has been chosen and all of the necessary tools are gathered, the process of updating routed cabinet doors can begin. It is important to use a straight edge and pencil mark to ensure that the routed grooves will be even and level. The router bit should then be attached to the router table and used in accordance with safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Use a Straight Edge and Pencil Mark

Common Materials Used for Routed Cabinet Doors

When it comes to updating the look of your cabinet doors, the possibilities are virtually endless. However, many people prefer to use routed cabinet doors because they are highly customizable and can be altered with relative ease. Depending on the design you’re looking for and your budget, there is a wide range of materials that can be used when constructing routed cabinet doors.

Wood is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its versatility and natural beauty. You can choose from a variety of hardwoods, such as cherry, maple, oak, walnut, and mahogany. While wood is a classic material for making cabinets, it does require regular maintenance to keep it in top condition.

Another option is to use medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or particle board. These materials are much less expensive than wood and come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and finishes.

MDF can be painted or stained with relative ease, making it easy to customize the look of your cabinet doors. The downside is that MDF and particle board are not as durable or long-lasting as wood, so you will need to replace them more often.

Glass is another material often used in routed cabinet doors. It can be decorated with decorative accents or etched designs for an added touch of style. Glass can also be incorporated into a design with other materials, such as wood or metal, for a unique look.

8 Methods How to Update Routed Cabinet Doors

1.  Remove the Doors from the Cabinets.

Doors on routed cabinets are usually attached with screws that go through the door and into the cabinet frame. In most cases, you will be able to remove the doors by unscrewing these screws. If your doors are attached with hinges, you will need to remove the hinges as well.

Doors Are Attached With Hinges

However, if the screws are difficult to remove or the hinges are hard to take off, you may need to use a screwdriver or other tools. Additionally, the door may be secured with a latch or other closure mechanism; if this is the case, you will need to release it before removing the door.

2. Use a Router to Remove the Old Routed Design.

If you want to completely remove the old routed design, you will need to use a router. A router is a power tool that can be used to create various types of designs in wood. To remove the old design, you will need to set the router to a depth that is slightly deeper than the depth of the routed design. Once you have set the depth, simply run the router over the surface of the door until the old design has been removed.

You may want to use a test piece of wood first to make sure you are not removing too much material. Although this process may take a bit of time, it will ensure that the newly routed design is even and clean.

3.  Sand Down the Door to Smooth Out Any Rough Edges.

After you have removed the old routed design, you will likely have some rough edges on the door where the router has removed material. These edges can be smoothed out by sanding them down with sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit until all of the rough edges have been smoothed out.

Start With a Coarse Grit Sandpaper

Be sure to sand in the same direction as the wood grain. To ensure a clean finish, you may want to use mineral spirits and wipe down the door after sanding. However, make the door is completely dry before moving onto the next step.

4.  Apply a New Layer of Paint or Stain to the Door.

Once you have smoothed out all of the rough edges, you may want to apply a new layer of paint or stain to the door. This will help to protect the wood and give it a new look. If you are planning on applying a new layer of stain, be sure to test it on a small area first to make sure that it will look good with the existing finish on your cabinets.

When applying the new layer of paint or stain, start with a light coat and build up to the desired level of coverage. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Once you have finished, use a clear sealer to protect the door and keep it looking great for years to come.

5.  Add a New Routed Design to the Door.

If you want to add a new routed design to your door, you will need to use a router and template guide. A template guide is an attachment for routers that allows you to follow along a template when routing out a design. You can purchase template guides at most hardware stores or online retailers that sell woodworking supplies.

Use a Router and Template Guide

Once you have your router and template guide, place the template on the door where you want to add the design. Attach the template guide to the router and then adjust it so that the bit is slightly below the surface of the template.

6.  Drill New Holes for Attaching Hardware (if Needed).

In some cases, you may need to drill new holes for attaching hardware such as handles or knobs. This is typically only necessary if you are changing the size or location of hardware on your doors. When drilling new holes, be sure to use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screws or hardware that you will be using so that they fit snugly into place without being too loose or too tight.

Be sure to check that the door is still flush and level after drilling any new holes. Though it may be tempting to rush through this step, take your time and make sure all the holes are evenly spaced and lined up correctly.

7.  Re-Attach the Doors to the Cabinet Frames.

Once you have finished making any changes to your routed cabinet doors, it is time to re-attach them to the cabinet frames. Carefully align the doors with the frame and use screws to secure them in place. If you have replaced hinges, make sure they are attached securely and positioned correctly.

Once the routed cabinet doors are re-attached to the frames, your project is complete! Additionally, if you would like to add a finishing touch, consider adding decorative hardware to the cabinet doors. This will help to create a more polished look and give the cabinets a professional finish.

Cabinet Doors Are Re Attached to the Frames

8.  Enjoy Your Newly Updated Cabinet Doors!

Now that your routed cabinet doors are complete, you can sit back and enjoy the results. With a few simple steps, you were able to completely transform the look of your kitchen. Your updated routed cabinet doors will add a unique and stylish touch to any space and can make all the difference in how inviting and comfortable it feels.

Things to Consider When Updating Routed Cabinet Doors

1. Choose a Style:

One of the most important considerations when it comes to updating routed cabinet doors is deciding what style you want to go with. From traditional raised panels to shaker-style recessed panels, there are plenty of options to choose from that can help give your kitchen a fresh new look.

2. Measure the Doors:

It’s important to measure your existing routed cabinet doors before purchasing new ones. This way, you can make sure the replacements fit perfectly in their place. You will also need to take into account any extra space needed for hinges and knobs.

3. Choose Quality Materials:

When it comes to routed cabinet doors, it’s important to choose materials that are of high quality. Opt for solid wood or a durable engineered board with a good finish. This will ensure your new doors last and look great for years to come.

4. Install Properly:

Once you have chosen your replacement routed cabinet doors, make sure they are installed correctly. This includes ensuring the doors fit snugly in their place, as well as making sure all hardware is securely attached.

Make Sure They Are Installed Correctly

Some Common Mistakes When Updating Routed Cabinet Doors

1. Applying Too Much Paint or Primer to the Routed Cabinet Door: 

This can lead to a thicker, uneven coating that is difficult to spread and disrupts the visual appeal of the final product. Instead, apply light coats for better coverage and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before adding more. 

2. Incorrectly Sanding the Door: 

Sanding your routed cabinet door is an important part of the process. However, using too much pressure or inaccurate sandpaper grit can damage the wood and affect the results. Always use light pressure when sanding and match your grit to the surface you’re working on.

3. Forgetting to Clean or Prep the Area: 

Cleaning and prepping the door before beginning your project is essential for optimal results. Make sure to remove all dirt and dust, as well as any oils or other substances that can affect adhesion.

4. Using Cheap or Inferior Materials: 

Using cheap materials will not only reduce the lifespan of your routed cabinet door, but it can also lead to poor results. Invest in quality paints, primers and finishes for best results.


Updating routed cabinet doors is a great way to quickly and easily update the look of your kitchen. If you’re ready to make a change, start with updating your cabinet doors! You can select new metals or different finishes that will give a modern touch, or give them a fresh coat of paint for longevity.

Remember to sand down any laps before painting, then clean and paint your metal accordingly. When finished, you’ll be sure to enjoy the view of your beautiful new routed cabinet doors as they bring some much needed innovation to your kitchen! So what are you waiting for? Get started on how to update routed cabinet doors today!

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Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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