How to install kitchen cabinets

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Installing kitchen cabinets might seems tricky at the start, but if you plan well then this could be done right as per your expectations. A lot of professionals offer installation services, which can be a costly job. However, if you have successfully accomplished similar other Do-It-Yourself projects then installing your kitchen cabinets would be much easier and can save you a fortune. You need to get the right equipment, measurements and of course the cabinets that you wish to install. This is not a one-man job. You will surely need a helper to get this job done.
  • Cabinets (in ready to assemble state)
  • Measuring tape
  • Stud finder
  • 4’ level
  • Screws
  • Wood shims
  • Pencil/ wall marker


For new cabinets, make sure to begin installation once all the plumb and rough wiring work are done. The cabinet installation should be done before the new floor is installed as the cabinet installation may cause some damage to your floor.
On the hand, for replacing outdated cabinets, remove the old cabinets with utmost care so that they don’t damage the wall. This care is also required to take the required readings and to do the marking on the wall with ease.

Marking the Wall

The success of cabinet installation depends upon how good you are in marking the layout. First, measure the kitchen base cabinet’s height. Then start measuring wall from the highest point by the floor and mark a level line pointing to the top side of the base cabinets. From that line, draw another one by measuring up 19-1/2 inches (standard cabinet size) from the bottom of the upper cabinets. Mark the position of the wall cabinets and other kitchen appliances on the wall. A vertical line should then be drawn in order to set up the edge of the 1st kitchen cabinet to be installed. The next required marking would be to draw the stud locations and this concludes all the required marking to be done.

Securing the Ledger Board

A ledger board is for support to the kitchen cabinets. This ledger board needs to be secured, which is done by screwing it into the already pointed studs on the wall as mentioned in the above section. Remember, that this ledger is required to provide temporary support to sustain the weight of the cabinets, while they are being installed. It should be ensured that the hardware and doors of the cabinets are removed so that they are much lighter and convenient to install.

Connecting Cabinets to Install on the Ledger Board

With the support of your helper, connect as many cabinets as you and your helper could loft safety and subsequently install over the pre-installed ledger board. Most of the times, two cabinets are attached, which is also advised for safety and convenience. Stiles, which are the vertical parts seen in the front of the cabinet frames should be fixed by employing the clamps. Check for plumb and also ensure that the face of the subject cabinets is flush.

Predrilling for Securing Cabinets

Now, predrill and secure both the cabinets with the screws at the stile. One screw should be used at the top and the bottom, alternating between the front and back, where actually both the cabinets meet.

Installing the Wall Cabinets

After ensuring the above, lift up the kitchen cabinets to be installed on the ledger board and check for level and plumb. If required, shim the cabinets. Then, secure the cabinets onto the wall as pointed by the studs there.

Predrilling for Wall Cabinets Installation

Predrilling is again required here for affixing the screws that go right through the framing piece. Again, you should check for plumb and level, while the cabinets are being secured. This key process should be iterated for all the cabinets to be installed. In order to treat any gap between the last cabinet and the wall, make sure to employ a filler bar. The last cabinet installation is much tricky and before securing that, you need to measure, point and cut this section to the lateral part of the last remaining cabinet.
Installing the Kitchen Base Cabinets

Installing Hardware and Doors of the Wall Cabinet

At this point with all the cabinets installed in their required place, you can now attach the earlier removed hardware and doors of the cabinets. The ledger board should then be removed once you are securely done till this point.

Installing the Kitchen Base Cabinets

The main challenge here is to find the highest point if the floor isn’t at a level. The best practice is to start installing base cabinets from the highest point on the floor. It is much convenient to shim right under the base cabinets in order to get them at level with the first on the lower spots. Take measurements of the base cabinets and mark a level line over the wall starting from the highest point and reaching to the height of the cabinet. A level should be used to ensure that the line is true to be horizontal. The stud finder should be employed then to find out and point the studs along the marked line. The first cabinet should be dry fitted right into its place and then check level till the top. Shim, if required.

Predrilling for Base Cabinets

Predrilling is required to be done through all the cabinet’s framing pieces and secures the base cabinets into their desirable place by using the screws. The level should be checked again after you secure the base cabinet. Repeat this process until you are done with securing all the base cabinets.
Installing the Wall Cabinets

Installing Hardware and Doors of the Wall Cabinet

Once all the base cabinets are secured properly to the wall, then the doors and hardware of the base cabinets should be re-attached.

Kitchen Cabinet Installation - How To - Menards

Video Credit: Menards


The entire idea about kitchen cabinets installation is about planning. You need to mark your installation points for installing both the wall/ hanging cabinets and also the base cabinets. The ledger board installation provides great ease and supports the in-wall installation of the cabinets. For base cabinets, find the right level of the floor is essential to begin the installation. Finally, you can re-attach any removed hardware and doors of the cabinets once the cabinets are firmly secured.


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