Installing kitchen cabinets is usually a job reserved for a contracting professional, but if you are looking to save money on your next kitchen remodel, homeowners can easily turn this update into a DIY project.
Given that kitchen cabinets are such a focal point for the entire home, as we discussed in Kitchen Cabinet Options: Install, Reface or Refinish, homeowners tend to shy away from installing their own kitchen cabinets. Nonetheless, just like any home remodeling project, practice makes perfect and our step-by-step guide will make sure your kitchen cabinets have that professional look and feel we all desire.
Step 1: Measure and Find Studs
Homeowners will want to install the upper cabinets first. After deciding where you want to install your kitchen cabinets (both upper and lower cabinets), you need to measure. Most cabinets hover around 35 inches high. With a backsplash or space to work on the counter, we recommend adding another 20 inches. Adding an inch for the counters and you have a total of 56 inches from the ground to the bottom of the upper cabinets. Mark this spot with a horizontal line and then find the nearest stud(s). Mark the studs with a vertical line all the way from the ceiling to the ground.
Step 2: Hang a Support Board and Remove Cabinet Doors
Hanging the upper cabinets can get heavy. To ease the stress, you should hang a ledger or support board below your desired cabinet location. This will make everything much easier and ensure all the cabinets are level.
We also recommend working with a partner,as most cabinets can get heavy. Even after hanging a support board, a partner holding the cabinet in place will ensure they stay level and straight.
Next, remove the cabinet doors to make them lighter and easier to lift. If you are ready to install your own cabinets, you should be equipped to remove and add cabinet doors.
Step 3: Attach Cabinets Together
Oftentimes, homeowners are able to lift two cabinets at once. To save time and energy, before you hang the cabinets, attach two cabinets with a screw. You can use clamps to make sure they are straight and right next to each other. If you don’t have access to a pair of clamps, just have your partner hold them together as you drill in the screws. You should drill one screw at the bottom and one screw at the top. Make sure the cabinets are straight and level before moving onto the next step.
Step 4: Hanging Kitchen Cabinets
Lift your cabinets onto the support board. Since you marked the studs with a vertical line, you should know where the studs are even with the cabinets in the way. Screw the cabinets into the studs. We recommend two screws per stud.
Oftentimes, homeowners will see a space between the cabinet and wall. This is because not all walls are perfectly straight from top to bottom. To ensure the cabinet is straight, many contractors add in a shim, or small piece of wood, to level it out. You should be able to nudge it in there and then detach the excess that is showing below the cabinet.
Step 5: Installing Base Kitchen Cabinets
Now that you have hung kitchen cabinets, installing base cabinets will be a walk in the park. Just like the walls, some floors will not be straight either. This will be the biggest strain on installing base cabinets.
Find the highest point on the floor in the general area you want to install the cabinets. Measure the height of your cabinets. From that tall point on the floor, take your cabinet measurement and mark it on the wall. Draw a horizontal line across this mark. After you find the studs, mark these points on your line.
Then, put your cabinets into place. Like the upper ones, they may not be leveled with the wall. Once again, add a shim and detach the excess. Don’t worry if some of the shim is still showing, as this will be covered by the countertop.
Drill in your screws. Once again, we recommend two screws per stud, one at the bottom and one at the top.
Homeowners can install their own kitchen cabinets. Like many other DIY projects, all you need are the right tools, a step-by-guide and the confidence to complete the job. Now that you have all three, you are ready to install your own kitchen cabinets.
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