What are the Best Tips for Kitchen Cabinet Installation?

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  • Written By: Licia Morrow
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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Kitchen cabinet installation requires average plumbing and carpentry skills and will take approximately ten to 20 hours. The materials required are as follows: cabinets purchased from a home improvement store or cabinet maker, 1 x 4 foot (30.5 cm x 122 cm) ledger, shims, drywall screws, trim molding, and finishing nails. Additionally, it is necessary to have the following tools on hand: large level, stud finder, tape measure, electric drill with drill and screwdriver bits, saber saw, clamps, utility knife, hole saw, hammer, and a nail set. The first step is to remove all appliances and old cabinets from the kitchen area.

To begin kitchen cabinet installation, find the studs in the wall using the stud locator and mark the center of the studs with a pencil. Draw an extension of the line up and down the walls, making sure they remain plumb. Mark out the areas, measuring carefully, where each cabinet will be hung. Make sure to take into account electrical switches and outlet, plumbing, and traffic patterns before completing kitchen cabinet installation plan.


It is easier to begin kitchen cabinet installation with the wall cabinets. Start with corner cabinets first, attaching the ledger along the bottom of cabinet line, to help hold cabinets up during installation. Drill and countersink two holes in each mounting rail inside the cabinet and drive drywall screws through the holes. Rest the neighboring cabinet on the ledger and clamp to first cabinet. Screw cabinets together and to the wall, using shims throughout this process to maintain plumb lines.

Hang the remaining cabinets in the same manner. Remove all ledgers and shims. If there are gaps between a cabinet and wall, fill with strip of molding, stain, and finish to match cabinets. If there is a gap between the side of the cabinet and the end of a wall or appliance, cut a filler strip to close it. Filler strips can be purchased from the cabinet manufacturer and attached with drywall screws.

To begin base kitchen cabinet installation, install corner cabinets first. Into the back of the cabinet, drill and countersink pilot holes. Set the neighboring cabinet into place, checking that doors and drawers will function properly. Clamp cabinets together, using shims to maintain plumb lines, until a row of cabinets is complete. Cut holes for plumbing and electrical lines as necessary, before clamping and screwing; check level carefully before screwing cabinets into place. When all cabinets are screwed into place, complete kitchen cabinet installation by installing a toe-kick to cover bottom gap.


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