How to Install Kitchen Cabinets – You Can Do That

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house. Not only do you rely on it to cook, you do most of your socializing and entertaining in there as well. And one of the first things people notice about a nice kitchen is the cabinets. Not only is it important to have cabinets that are functional and that provide adequate space, they tend to be compared to as a nice peace of furniture. Below I will step you through the steps necessary to install your own cabinets enabling you to feel proud of your accomplishment and saving you a ton of money.

1. First you must remove your old cabinets. Be sure to turn off all electrical breakers and shut off all water valves in the kitchen. Once that is done start removing the old cabinets and cap off water pipes and electrical wires.

2. Remember to always keep your work space clean to prevent accidents. Once the area is clear of all unwanted items use a level and draw a line across the wall parallel to the floor about 3 inches up from the floor. At this point you want to find the high point in the floor and from there measure 34 1/2 inches and draw a level line across the wall to determine where the top of the cabinet base will be.

3. From your 34 1/2-inch line, measure up another 19 1/2 inches and mark a level line across the wall to determine the bottom of the wall cabinets.

4. At this point locate the wall studs, then, mark their locations above and at least 5-6 inches below the mark you’ve made for the bottom of the wall cabinets. Draw some vertical guide lines on the wall between the two horizontal lines to give you guidance when attaching the cabinets. Be sure to place those vertical lines in the center of each stud.

5. To provide a ledge to support your cabinets fasten a temporary 2-by-4 support rail to the wall, aligning the top edge of the 2-by-4 with the line for the bottom edge of the wall cabinets.

6. Install the corner wall cabinet first. Always drill pilot holes to prevent splitting through the cabinet framing support rail and into the wall studs. Do not use nails but instead screw the cabinet to the wall using two to three screws that are long enough to penetrate the studs by at least 1 1/2 inches. During this phase make sure that the cabinet is level and plumb and to adjust the position, back off the screws, and add shims behind the cabinet at stud locations as needed.

7. Next install the adjacent cabinets. Secure each cabinet to its neighbor with a clamp and check it for plumb. Once you have the cabinets aligned properly use screws to attach them together, be sure not to use the shelf-peg holes that you will need for shelves later.

8. Once all the wall cabinets are in place, install the corner and/or end base cabinet. When necessary, use shims to level it and raise it up to the high point of the floor. Once level from front to back and from side to side screw it to the wall studs.

9. Finally place screws through the cabinet back and shims where used into the wall studs. Always trim all excess material from the shims with a sharp utility knife.

That’s it, I know it sounds easy but don’t be fooled it will take some detailed planning on your part and most likely a helping hand from a friend. Good luck with your project.

Dennis Watson
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