How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Like a DIY Expert

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How to Install Kitchen Cabinets: Easy Instructions for Beginners

cream kitchen cabinetsIf you have no idea how to install kitchen cabinets, the thought is definitely intimidating. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a carpenter in order to DIY your cabinet installation. The task is basically screwing boxes to your wall in the correct order and ensuring that everything is level.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. The keys to successfully installing kitchen cabinets on your own are careful measurements, secure fastening, and proper shimming. Take your time— this is not a project you can rush, especially in a busy and heavily-used space like the kitchen.

Before you even unwrap your new cabinets, it pays to familiarize yourself with the process. Get it right the first time with this easy guide to installing kitchen cabinets!

How to Install Your Kitchen Cabinets 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the project, remember this fundamental rule: if you get the first element right, the other will fall into position. This is true for installing kitchen cabinets as it is for layering brick.

To make sure that the first cabinet falls into the right position, keep these tips in mind:

Get your materials and tools ready before starting.

Once you begin the installation, you don’t want to risk making a mistake hunting around for tools. Prepare the following before you start:

  • Pry bar
  • Stud finder
  • Laser level or chalk line
  • Framing square
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Ladder
  • Padded clamps
  • Drill bit set
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

These are the basic tools you will need for the installation. Of course, you should check your cabinets, too. Make sure all the pieces and the sets are complete. At Choice Cabinet, we will also provide with a detailed installation guide, and you can check out our Resources Page to learn more.

white kitchen cabinets against brown wallsPrepare your space.

Before installing your cabinets, prepare your space completely. Is there any ongoing demolition? Complete and clean it out. If you are replacing your floors, account for that to figure out the overall height of your cabinets. It’s important to have as much in place as possible.

It’s highly recommended to have appliances onsite, since these measurements will factor into the cabinet installation. If that’s not possible, have the spec sheets for reference.

Find the lines of your cabinet level.

Next, determine where in the kitchen you should begin the installation. To do this, you need to identify your kitchen’s highest point. Note that almost no kitchen floor is perfectly level. Therefore, you want to begin at the highest point, then do the necessary shimming at the low points.

Once you find your floor’s highest point, measure up 34 1/2″ from there. This will be your base cabinet level line. Use a laser level or a chalk line to mark a level line around your kitchen where you plan to install cabinets.

If you’re planning to install upper cabinets too, measure up from that line to the spot where the bottoms of the cabinets will end up, then mark it.

After determining your level lines, ensure that the wall is square so all the cabinet fronts sit flush. If needed, place shims behind your kitchen cabinets so everything is squared up.

Now, somewhere between both level lines, mark where your studs should go. Doing all of these at once will save you a lot of time. Afterward, you may layout your cabinets just to check if everything fits.

Install the First Cabinet

The corner of the kitchen is generally the keystone of the entire design, so it’s best to start with the corner cabinet. Use panhead cabinet screws to attach the corner cabinet to the wall.

However, don’t tighten them fully yet. Determine first if the cabinet is vertically and horizontally level, and shim where necessary. Once you’re confident about the placement, tighten the screws.

If you’re installing both base and upper cabinets, do the latter first for a simple reason— the base cabinets won’t be getting in your way.

black kitchen cabinetsShim the Cabinets as You Go

When you’re satisfied with your first cabinet, keep it in place by using shims. Attach this behind the cabinets and on the floor. Once they’re in place, adjust the level as needed. Now, attach the cabinets to the studs using Panhead cabinet screws.

Install the Rest of Your Cabinets

Now it’s time to install your other kitchen cabinets. Work your way from the first one, and attach the face frames as you go along.

First, doublecheck the level of your first cabinet again. Then, hold the next cabinet in place with the rubber padded clams. Attach the cabinets together by pre-drilling and using your trim head screws. Use the clamps to create a flush and clean line between your cabinets and don’t overtighten the screws. Always check the level as you go.

Add the Toe Kick, Trim, and Other Decorative Hardware

Time to add the “jewelry” of your kitchen cabinets! The installation document that came with your cabinet should also come with instructions on how to install the decorative hardware. Make sure to follow it closely.

Keep in mind that some of these need to go between the cabinets, so carefully go over the design plans before moving into the next step.

Choice Cabinet: The Best Kitchen Cabinets for the Job

With ample preparation and research, anyone can install kitchen cabinets with professional results. Of course, it all begins with having the best kitchen cabinets for the job. Choice Cabinet makes it easy to kickstart your kitchen remodel. Start browsing our Cabinet Products in the comfort of home. Ready to shop? Contact Us, and we’ll take care of the rest. Achieve your dream kitchen today!

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