How to Install Base Cabinets
Time Required: Over 1 day
Base kitchen cabinets are a storage staple in every home, and something you can install on your own with some time and plenty of careful planning.
Get your kitchen started with wall cabinets (if applicable), before installing base cabinets. Just like with wall kitchen cabinets, start in a corner, mark your reference lines and then work your way around the room. This guide will teach you how to install base cabinets following these steps.
- Leave a space between the cabinet and wall as recommended by the cabinet manufacturer. Shim beneath the cabinet to align it with the top-of-cabinet line you drew on the wall.
- Check for level and plumb, and add additional shims as necessary. The corner cabinet sets the trend for all of your other base cabinets, so take the time to this step well.
Tip: The toe-kick, other cabinets, and counter top that you'll install later will hide your shims, so it's OK to leave them sticking out for now.
- Drill one hole at each stud, through any shims.
- Drive screws partway into the wall. Check for level again, shim as necessary, and drive the screws home.
- Install doors and drawers, verifying that they'll open.
- If necessary, attach a filler strip between the cabinets. You can usually order the fillers at the same time as your cabinets.
- Clamp the filler flush with the front of the cabinet.
- Drill and countersink pilot holes into the edge of the filler and screw the filler to the cabinet.
- Subtract the thickness of the side of the sink cabinet, and mark the pipe locations on the cabinets.
- Drill at the marks with a spade bit or hole saw to cut holes for the pipes.
- Check for level and plumb, shimming as you go.
- When all cabinets are in position, step back and check the entire set for alignment, level and plumb before proceeding.
- Attach the cabinets to the studs with at least two screws in each mounting rail, while attaching the cabinets to each other with at least four drywall screws.
- Once all cabinets are securely in place, trim off the exposed shims with a utility knife.
- Nail a plain 3/4-inch filler strip in place, then attach a thinner piece that is finished to match the cabinet.
- Use a pneumatic brad nailer, or drill pilot holes and drive 4d finishing nails through the toe-kick into the cabinets.
- Now you're ready to install your doors, drawers, appliances and countertops.