How to Install Kitchen Cabinets. Whether you hire a contractor or do the job yourself, installing kitchen cabinets can be easier than you think. Just follow these steps.
Install wall cabinets
Examine your cabinets. Be sure your order is complete and the cabinets are the proper size, color and design.
Determine position. Mark the cabinet positions on the wall with a pencil, a level and measuring tape. Indicate dimensions.
Install wall cabinets first. Locate the proper position by measuring from the floor. Take into account the space for base cabinets, the countertop and the splash. Total up those measurements and with a level line indicate where the bottom of the cabinet should be. Now mark the top of the cabinets. A 1 by 4-inch board tacked at the level line will offer temporary support. For easy removal leave nails out a little.
Find the wall studs. Once you have located these with a stud finder, mark their positions above and a minimum of six inches below where the cabinet bottom will be. Straight vertical lines between both sets of marks will define the studs' center.
Attach a temporary support rail. Align the rail's top edge with the cabinet's bottom edge and screw a 1 by 3-inch support to the wall. Secure it with 2-inch screws.
Make a sub-assembly. Attach each single cabinet together by placing them backside up on a flat surface. Flush the cabinet faces to one another. Be aware of any height discrepancy because it creates a ridge between the cabinets. Even things up by slipping a putty knife underneath (similar to a shim); the further in it goes, the higher the cabinets are raised.
Secure overhead cabinets. Once the cabinets are flush, clamp the even surfaces together and use wood screws to permanently attach. A hanging strip (a ¾-inch piece of wood) is located on the back of the cabinet. Be sure the screws penetrate the strip otherwise the back is too thin. Transfer the stud locations to the cabinet's inside along the hanging strip. Drill pilot holes and attach the screws. With the cabinet(s) bottom set on top of the ledger strip, attach the cabinet to the wall.
Install base cabinets
Install base cabinets. The corner or end cabinet goes in first. Level it by using shims and raising it to the floor's highest point. Align the upper edge with the line on the wall. When level front to back and side to side it can be screwed into the wall studs.
Turn a corner. Clamp cabinets together. A filler strip can be added to allow clearance for doors and drawers. Adjust for plumb and level by tapping shims under and behind cabinets.
Drill screws into the studs. Be sure to bore through the back of the cabinet and the shims. Trim excess material with a chisel or putty knife.
Add finishing touches. Affix short pieces of wood-or cleats-to the cabinet tops. They will be used to connect the countertop to the base cabinets.