Step By Step Guide On How To Install Kitchen Cabinets

Installing kitchen cabinets can be an intimidating task but with proper guidance, it is quite simple. It is like screwing a series of boxes to a wall and on one another in sequence. If the cabinet plan is correct, you just need to find the starting point and install everything else in level.


When installing new kitchen cabinets, do the job after completing the wiring and plumbing job but just before the flooring is complete. When you install the flooring after installing the kitchen cabinets, you will not risk damaging the floor during the installation or using more flooring that you actually need.

The wall where the kitchen cabinets will be installed should be clean and level. Ensure that you check them for flatness by placing a long straight edge against it, mark any voids or bumps so that you can adjust them during the installation.

Now unpack the cabinets and ensure that all the components are included. If the cabinet components are disabled, follow the manufacturer’s manual to assemble them and wait until the cabinets are installed to add the shelves, doors and drawers. In case you remove any part ensure that it is clearly labeled so that you return it to its right place.

The base cabinets and the wall you start with is key when installing kitchen cabinets. If you install them properly and in level from the front to the back as well as the sides, then it will be easy to install the other cabinets in line. Begin with the wall mounted cabinets instead of the base cabinets so that you are not obstructed when installing.


Installing wall cabinets

As stated above, when installing kitchen cabinets, first install the upper walls cabinets so that the lower cabinets do not obstruct you when fastening and lifting them. When carrying the cabinets around, you will realize that they are quite heavy; then you can also imaging how heavy they are when they are loaded with foodstuff or dinnerware. Due to this, the cabinets should be properly fastened to the wall framing so that they do not fall off when loaded. Also, ensure that the screws you use pass through a strong part of the cabinet like a support rail which runs along the back of the cabinet. Each cabinet should be fastened with not less than 3 screws which should penetrate to the wall frame by not less than one and a half inches.

How to install the wall cabinets

Using a pencil and a level draw perfectly parallel lines about three inches above the floor across the wall. From the line, measure down to floor to find its highest point and mark a line at the point you get. Now measure 34.5 inches then draw a level line across the wall to indicate the top of the base cabinets.

Create a line to indicate the bottom of the wall cabinet

From the line that you have drawn of 34.5 inches, measure another 19.5 inches up and mark a level line on the wall to designate the bottom of the wall cabinets. Now mark the dimensions of the cabinets and place them on the wall to confirm the layout.

Locate the studs on the wall

Using a pencil and fish finder, mark the location of the wall studs and also 6 inches below them to indicate the bottom of the wall cabinets. Now draw a straight line vertically between the bottom and the top of the marks to show the centre of the studs.

Screw a one by three support rail temporary to the wall ensuring that the top edge of the rail is aligned with the bottom edge of the top cabinets. Drive 3 or 4 2-inches screws into the wall studs through the rail to attach the cabinets.

If the setup of your cabinet has a corner wall cabinet, seek help from someone and install it first. Drill holes through the back of the cabinet into the wall studs and screw the cabinets into position using 2 screws long enough to enter the wall studs by not less than 1.5 inches then check the front edge for plumb and the top for level. In case you want to correct the position of the cabinet, remove the screws, tap the shims behind the cabinet at the location of the studs and fasten the screws into position. Add several more screws in each stud to fully secure the attachment.

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Install adjacent cabinets

As you install the adjacent cabinets, fix it to the neighbor using a clamp and use a plumb to check it. On the face frame cabinets, it is easier to drill about 2, an eight pilot holes on the sides of the face frame then screw the cabinets in position.

If the cabinets are frameless, drill bold holes on the shelf peg holes and bold them together. Be careful not to fasten the shelf peg holes that you will use for the shelves.

Installing Base Cabinets

After installing all the upper cabinets, you should install the end base as well as the corner cabinet.

Shim and level the corner cabinets

If need be, you can use shims to raise and level it to a high point on the floors that the upper edges align with the wall line. You should ensure that it is level from side to side, front to back and fasten it using screws to the studs on the wall.

Install the first adjoining cabinet

After aligning the first cabinet it becomes easy to align the adjacent ones. If you need to you can use shims behind and under the cabinet to adjust it for level and plumb. Clamp the face frames together then screw the face frames together to fasten them permanently. To turn a corner that has base cabinets, push the attached cabinets together and clamp them. You can add filler strip to allow the drawers and doors clearance.

Drive screw into the back of the cabinet and shims through the wall studs

Using a sharp knife and chisel, trim the excess materials from the shim and continue installing adjacent cabinets and fastening them together like you did with the wall cabinets. Ensure that the base cabinets are in line with the wall cabinets.

After all the cabinets are in place attach the doors, drawers and any other hardware.
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