Cabinet installation is a job often left up to the professionals, particularly in the case of custom cabinets; often, the master carpenter who built the custom cabinets will also include installation as part of the total build fee. However, home remodeling is usually quite expensive, and homeowners looking to cut costs and save on renovations can join the DIY movement and install their own cabinets, particularly if they are stock cabinets or semi-custom cabinets that do not necessarily require the services of a master carpenter. This DIY guide will cover all the basic steps of wall cabinet installation from the very beginning.
You will need a sturdy measuring tape, an accurate level, cabinet stands, small drop cloths, clamps, a strong power drill, screws, and a manual screwdriver.
Professional carpenters adhere to a standard rule of thumb: measure twice, cut once. The same goes for drilling, caulking, and every other method used in various aspects of construction – so measure the exact dimensions of the cabinets that you are installing and mark exactly where they will end up being mounted on your wall. The standard height of most wall cabinets sitting above a kitchen counter is 600mm, or 24 inches. Find the studs in the walls that will be holding the cabinets, and mark their position on the cabinets themselves.
This is where the cabinet stands will come in handy. Set drop cloths of some kind down to protect the surface of your kitchen counter and put the cabinet stands into place. Set the cabinets that you are installing onto the cabinet stands and position them accordingly. You may need to get someone to help you lift the cabinets and get the positioning just right. Clamps can also be useful in setting and holding the correct position for the cabinets.
Once you are completely sure that the cabinets are in place, pre-drill holes through the back of the cabinets into the studs, and attach the cabinet to the wall with large, durable screws. Because cabinets are heavy on their own, even without the dishes, cookbooks, or other things they will eventually be holding, it is essential to drill into the studs – drywall and plaster will not hold cabinets on their own, and the last thing you need if you are trying to save money on renovations is the added expense of repairing a wall that has given way to the weight of the cabinets.
The hardest part is over, but you are not quite finished yet. The final step in cabinet installation is to attach the doors to the cabinets, which can be tricky, depending on the style of hinge that you are using for your cabinets. Some cabinets come with plates already attached to the doors and the inside of the cabinet, making installing the doors a simple matter of clicking the hinges together and adjusting the height, depth, and angle with a manual screwdriver. Others will require even more measuring and marking to ensure that the doors function properly and can swing open and closed without obstruction.