As part of a kitchen or other remodeling project, many homeowners decide to remove existing wall cabinets. Very often, old cabinets are removed because they are out of date or the style no longer fits the room. Old wall cabinets can be reused if they are resurfaced or refinished. However, if you are entirely replacing the cabinets you may decide that you want to sell them to a salvage yard, recycle them in a community project, or use them in another part of your house, like a workshop or office.
Before removing wall cabinets, remove any base cabinet first. This will provide you will additional space to work. Plus, base cabinets are easier to remove. When you detach wall cabinets, you will need assistance to pull the cabinet free and lower it to the floor.
Step 1 - Remove Trim and Ceiling Molding
Remove any ceiling molding or trim that is located near the cabinets. If you plan on reusing the trim, then carefully detach it from the wall with the flat side of a screwdriver. Set the trim aside. Remove any remaining nails from the wall.
Step 2 - Remove Doors
Remove the doors from the cabinets by unscrewing the hinges from the doors. Removing the doors will not only make the cabinets lighter in weight, but will also make them easier to maneuver since otherwise the doors will need to be taped closed.
Step 3 - Collect Hardware
Collect all of the screws and hardware in a plastic bag. You can later tape this bag to the inside of the cabinets if you decide you want to reuse the cabinets, sell them to a salvage yard, or otherwise recycle them.
Step 4 - Measure Distance to Floor
Measure the distance from the bottom of the wall cabinet and the floor. Add ½ inch to this measurement. Mark one of the 2x4s to this measurement and cut the lumber to length with the circular saw.
Step 5 - Affix Brace/Cabinet Jack
Fit the 2x4 under the front edge of the wall cabinet. Use the hammer to wedge it completely under the cabinet. The 2x4 creates a cabinet jack that will hold the cabinet in place once you release it from the wall and are ready to begin removing it from the wall.
Step 6 - Remove Wall Fasteners
Remove the fasteners that hold the cabinet to the wall. If the cabinet is screwed to the wall from inside the cabinet, then use a screwdriver to unscrew it from the wall. If the cabinet is nailed or otherwise attached to the wall, then you will need to use a pry bar to pull it free of the wall.
Step 7 - Pull Cabinet from Wall
With an assistant, pull the last fastener free from the wall and then pull the cabinet free from the wall.
Step 8 - Lower Cabinet to Floor
Slowly lower the cabinet to the floor and set it aside out of the way.
Step 9 - Remove Remaining Screws/Nails
Once you have the cabinet on the floor, remove any remaining screws or nails from the wall.