Bathroom & Kitchen Guide

Your complete guide to remodeling, design and new products.


How to install kitchen cabinets.

There are many ways to install kitchen cabinets. You can of course get the supplier to install, buy a flat pack kitchen cabinet kit which comes with instructions or you can buy new or pre-loved cabinets and install it yourself. These basic instructions outline the main things you should know when self installing kitchen cabinets and how to install your new kitchen cabinets.

To begin, make sure the kitchen floor is plumb (flat/level). If it is not level the kitchen cabinets won’t be level and they won’t be able to join together correctly. Find the highest point in the floor (if it gently slopes) and make a little mark then from here measure up the wall the height that the cabinets will be. This will be a reference height to make sure your cabinets are installed to this level height. Once you are sure you have a plumb surface you can begin to piece together your kitchen cabinets.

The cabinets should already be in some form of a solid piece. If they are completely dismantled as they would be in a ‘flat pack’ kit, then piece together the sides and bases so you have 3D form. Have a look at what type of door and drawer fixtures are. Screw the drawer runners to the cabinets as you put them together and before the next step and for the door hinges put this on to if the doors can clip these hinges later. This saves having to deal with awkward spaces later.

When you place the kitchen cabinets against the wall they may not be level to your height reference line you marked on the wall earlier (mark this line in chalk so you can rub it off later). If it is not level you will need to cut some pieces of wood to chock up the base near the front and rear of the cabinet to make it level. This can be quite fiddly to do but it is an important part of the process.

Once you have the cabinet’s level then you need to fix it to the wall. Presuming you have a dry wall/gyprock wall, you will need to fix the cabinets to the studs. Run a stud finder against the wall above the cabinets to help locate the studs. If you don’t have a stud finder you can knock on the wall and the more solid sounding part of the wall is where a stud should be. The hollow sounding part of the wall wouldn’t have a stud behind it. Why is it important to find a stud? The ‘stud’ is the strongest part of a wall. It fixes the cabinets to the wall; it prevents the cabinet later pulling away. Drill a hole slightly smaller than the fixing screws will be through the cabinet back and wall. Do this to all the places you will need to place a screw. Screw the cabinet at the top and base to the wall to ensure its stability. Now you have your pre-drilled holes, drill the screws into the wall and cabinet. The reason why you choose a smaller drill bit then the screws are going to be to make sure the screws fit tightly. When you put your screws in tighten them just enough to hold the cabinet then check the level of the cabinets. If they are in the correct places and the level is perfect then tighten the screws so they are firm and have no chance of loosen.

So now you have your new kitchen cabinets....well not entirely. You now need to fix the doors and counter top. It is best to fix the counter top first, because this will help ensure the cabinets are soundly fitted and it is normally the heaviest part and having to take it off if you make a mistake just creates a lot more work than needed.

Depending on the type of counter top you are placing on your kitchen cabinets depends on how it should be fixed. Counter tops such as marble and granite are best left to the professionals but plastic and laminated tops are easy enough to self install. The counter top should be as simple as placing it on top of the cabinets and it should have a groove underneath to make it fit snugly. A good idea before you pop it on top is to run some heavy duty PVC glue to the top of the cabinets where it will be connecting with the counter top. Don’t put too much otherwise it will ooze out everywhere.
Once you have done this, grab friends to help you lift on the counter top if it is large make sure it sits in the pre-routed grooves. Give it a bit of a shake to make sure it is sturdy. Using a damp cloth wipe up any glue that has oozed out of the joins.

Now we are ready for the doors and drawers. If you fixed the hinges and drawer runners earlier it should be as simple as clipping of sliding in the drawers and doors. If you need to attach handles, pre drill the holes where they are to be placed with a drill bit smaller than the screws. Then screw on the handles so they are nice and tight.

Now you have just installed your new kitchen cabinets! A few tips are to be prepared, attain the right tools first and don’t expect to be able to complete this project in an hour.

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