Kitchen Cabinet Installation Overview
Check your installer's work with these guidelines.
After a shipment of kitchen cabinets has arrived and everything's been checked to make sure it matches your order, the next step is a critical one: Have the installer mark all the cabinet locations on the walls, along with marking the studs where the cabinets will be attached.
Measurements come first. The installer should find the "high spot" on the floor where the kitchen cabinets will be installed. Most floors in older homes aren't level, and cabinet installation must work with the reality of a home's condition. Similarly, walls often aren't plumb or square, even in relatively new construction, so the installer must check them before any cabinets can be installed. Doors to wall cabinets should be removed before installation.
The base kitchen cabinets set the standard for the rest of the installation. Before installation, they should be lined up and connected to one another. They should first be clamped together for perfect alignment and then connected through the sides by screws. This method is far more precise than attaching components to the wall separately, one after another.
Once the base kitchen cabinets are lined up and connected, your contractor will be able to tell what kind of "shimming" may be needed on the walls and the floor. A shim is a narrow wedge of wood that works much like a matchbook placed under the leg of a wobbly table in a restaurant. If your floors or walls are at all "wavy," as is the case in many older homes, shimming will be necessary.
Most frameless cabinets are screwed directly to a wall. If hanging rails are to be used, however, they should be cut and screwed to the studs, usually about 2 1/2 inches below the soffit. This space will allow the cabinet to be lifted above the rail before being lowered onto it. Molding is then used to cover the gap between the top of the cabinet and the bottom of the soffit.
Wall kitchen cabinets should be installed starting in a corner and working outward. In a U-shaped kitchen, the two corner cabinets should be installed first. As each cabinet is hung, it should be fastened to the preceding one so they're perfectly aligned. When all the wall cabinets have been installed, they should be checked to make sure they're level, plumb and square.
Most base cabinets require leveling legs, which should be attached to their bottom corners. In standard installations, the installer makes a mark 34 inches above the high point of the floor along the walls where the base cabinet will be placed. This assumes that the height of your countertop is going to be the standard 36 inches.
Toe-kick moldings are an aesthetic feature that screens the leg levelers from view and provides a floating look to the base cabinets. Some can be snapped into place. Finally, doors and drawer fronts are attached, using adjustable hardware to align them and make the opening between the doors even from top to bottom.
Face-frame kitchen cabinet installation doesn't differ greatly from that of frameless kitchen cabinets except that face-frame cabinets usually are screwed to the wall through a mounting strip. Because they have more inner construction, face-frame cabinets don't rack as easily as frameless cabinets. Since the door can be adjusted on the frame, face-frame cabinets also offer some flexibility in door placement, provided that the doors haven't been predrilled.
Reprinted with permission from the National Kitchen & Bath Association
How to Choose a Cabinet Installer
It's best to use the same company to measure, build and install your kitchen cabinetry
Updating Kitchen Cabinets
Updating kitchen cabinets transforms your kitchen into a gathering place for the whole family.
Installing Kitchen Cabinets
Learn how install your own kitchen cabinets, a money saving step in your kitchen renovation.
Installing Kitchen Cabinets
Installing kitchen cabinets can be a relatively challenging DIY project. Find the info you need to make the process a little easier.
Stock Kitchen Cabinets
Consider stock kitchen cabinets as an option for an economical kitchen design.
Kitchen Catch-Up: How to Install Cabinets
Installing kitchen cabinets is a great way to save money on a kitchen renovation.
Two-Toned Kitchen Cabinets
Browse your options for two-toned kitchen cabinets, and prepare to add an eye-catching design touch to your kitchen.
Choosing Kitchen Cabinets
Get tips on how to find the right cabinetry for your remodel.
Kitchen Cabinet Prices
Get all the info you'll need on common kitchen cabinet pricing tiers.
Kitchen Cabinet Door Accessories and Components
Dive into the range of available kitchen cabinet door accessories and components, and create a kitchen with style to spare.
Test Your Skills With HGTV Magazine’s High/Low Challenge
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Sep 2, 2015 by Alyssa Sparacino
Photo Friday: Cooking and Dining in the Great Outdoors
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 28, 2015 by Beth Rucker
This or That: Pick Your Favorite Vintage Find From Fixer Upper
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 27, 2015 by Farima Alavi
6 Essentials for the Perfect Tailgate Party + Win the 1 Thing You Really Need
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 25, 2015 by Farima Alavi
Discover the Winning Hue in Our Color Vs. Color Competition!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 24, 2015 by Kayla Kitts
Copy This Room: Get Beach Flip Style in Your Living Room
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 24, 2015 by Shannon Petrie
4 Ways to Personalize Your Dorm Desk + College Goodie Giveaway!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Aug 21, 2015 by Farima Alavi