You probably will not know how contoured a wall is until you try to fit a cabinet against it. At first, a wall may appear to be straight, but it's nearly impossible for even the best drywall expert to get a wall completely straight. For that reason, most cabinets come with an extra filler piece, designed to fit between the cabinet and wall where necessary. This piece also allows the extra space you need to open drawers and doors without hitting the wall. But you may not realize just how easy it is to install these fillers.
What You’ll Need
Before you get started, you'll first need to determine exactly how much space you need to fill. Push the cabinet into the corner where it will reside. Measure the gap between the edge of the cabinet and the wall and check to make sure your filler is at least that width. You can also buy fillers at your local hardware store in a variety of finishes if the ones included with your cabinetry aren't large enough.
The reason your filler should be at least the width you need is because you're going to cut it to fit. You'll also need a scriber to trace the line where you need to cut the filler and a saw to cut the strip of wood to the exact measurement you need. If the filler piece isn't stained to match your cabinets, you'll need to prepare for that process, as well.
Once you have the cabinet installed, measure the gap between the front of the cabinet and the wall. The gap may differ from the top to the bottom, so make sure you measure at both ends. Choose a filler strip that is at least the width of the widest part of the gap and tape it to the cabinet, allowing any excess to overlap the cabinet.
Using a scriber, mark a line down the filler where you need to cut. Remove the filler and take it to a worktable to cut. You'll likely need to clamp it to the table, then use a circular saw to cut off the excess, staying just past the line. You'll use a planer to file down the rest to create a smooth edge. Once you have your filler the right size, tap it in place by placing a protective block of wood at the top of the filler and lightly hitting it with a hammer. You can then sand it to create a smooth finish.
Installing kitchen cabinets is a fun do-it-yourself project that you can complete in a weekend. Make sure you have the tools you need before you get started, and you'll likely find you can tackle any challenge that comes up during the installation.
Stephanie Faris is a novelist and freelance writer whose work has appeared on the websites of Pacific Standard, the New York Post, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of eight children’s novels, including the Piper Morgan series.