Installing Kitchen Cabinets

Save yourself plenty of money on labor costs by installing kitchen cabinets yourself. It is a job that can be done fairly simply as long as there are two people. Speaking simplistically, you will need a drill, a spirit level, a pencil and a ruler; plus some muscle to lift the wall-mounted cabinets into place.

Although it is not a complicated job, installing kitchen cabinets requires a certain amount of carpentry know-how because you'll be levelling, filling gaps, measuring, screwing cabinets to the wall, and possibly planing.

Establish the Layout

Whether you are dealing with a new installation or remodelling an old kitchen, installing kitchen cabinets has to be done accurately or you'll have doors and drawers that won't open or close properly, and liquid and food rolling off countertops that are not level. Mark out the footprint of the cabinets you've ordered by measuring up and pencilling the layout on the floor and walls.

Use a spirit level to accurately draw lines. For corners, check with a framing square and if any corner is out-of-square, you'll need to compensate when installing the cabinets. This could be a matter of deliberately misaligning the cabinets slightly, instead of trying to correct the walls themselves. Remove doors and drawers for easier installation.

Taking Delivery

Once your kitchen cabinets are delivered, you will need to arrange them so that you will know which to install where. They should be marked according to their position to make it easier for you. Make sure everything you ordered has arrived and that it is all intact. If anything is awry, make contact with the manufacturer or retailer immediately.

Locate the Wall Studs

To ensure that the cabinets are solidly installed, they will need to be screwed into the wall studs. Using a stud finder, mark out their position with vertical lines halfway across the width of the stud. This is particularly important for the upper cabinets, but the base cabinets will also be screwed to the studs in order to keep them anchored firmly.

Corner Units First

Always start with the corner units and proceed to install the kitchen cabinets that attach from that point.

Install Upper Cabinets

To install the upper cabinets, you first need to determine where they will be positioned. Using your spirit level, pencil an accurate horizontal line on the wall at the bottom of where each cabinet will be installed.

A 1" x 3" support rail can then be screwed into the wall studs, aligning its top edge with the line you drew for the bottom edge of the cabinets. Next, drill some pilot holes into the rigid part of the back of the cabinet. Screw the cabinet to the wall, ensuring that the screws are sufficiently long to penetrate studs by a minimum of 1 inch.

Protect Finishes

When installing kitchen cabinets, make every attempt to protect the finishes or else the money you save on installation will go towards refinishing. A good idea when installing the upper cabinets is to use some plywood on top of the base units so that tools can be set upon that instead of the countertops or inside the cabinets themselves.

Installing kitchen cabinets as a DIY project can be ambitious if you are not used to working with carpentry components or if you lack ample physical strength to hold heavy items in place while screwing to the wall. Consider the project carefully before taking it on and enlist the help of some trusty assistants to make the job run more smoothly.

See Also:

Kitchen Cabinet Designs
Do It Yourself Cabinet Refinishing