If you’re planning on doing your own kitchen renovation, know it is a big job. You want to make sure you’ve got a properly planned out kitchen with the perfect triangle layout. From there, if you’re adding an island you want to ensure you’ve got more than enough room and have proper lighting placement. Once you’re ready to actually install your cabinets you need to know the proper way to do that as well as how to properly connect the kitchen cabinets. We are here to give you a step by step guide with all the tools you need, and the full process you need to follow to ensure your kitchen cabinets are installed properly.
You will want to install your upper cabinets first. After figuring out your layout and deciding which cabinets go where (both upper and lower cabinets), you will need to measure for the distance between your upper and lower cabinets. Most cabinets run about 36 inches high. So you need to determine how high you want your uppers to be from your finished countertop surface. We recommend you install the uppers no less than 24 inches above your finished countertop. So you will be about 60 inches adding 1 inch of finished countertop. Mark this spot with a horizontal line using your four foot level and pencil.
You will now need to use your stud finder in order to effectively secure your cabinets. Once you have found all studs in the areas where you are mounting cabinets use your four foot level to mark them vertically from floor to ceiling. Start from the top and strike a line, then continue from middle of the wall to the floor
Start with your upper cabinets. To ensure your cabinets are all level and uniform the first thing you will want to do is install a ledger/support board horizontal on your 60 inch mark. This will make things much easier and ensure all of your cabinets are level. You can use a 2 x 4 for this. Next, remove all the cabinet doors from your uppers.
For this step we recommend you have a second pair of hands. To ensure your cabinet face frames are flush together and for extra strength you are going to need to marry at least two cabinets together at a time. You are going to do this by using your squeeze clamps and clamping the two cabinets together making sure the face frames are flush. You will want to be sure the clamps are placed so you can still pre drill and screw your two cabinets together, usually where the hinges are in order to hide the screws.
Once you have your cabinets clamped together use your drill and countersinking drill bit to pre-drill a hole from one face frame into the next (this will ensure you do not split the cabinet face frame when screwing them together). Once you pre drill use a 2 ¼” GRK trim screw to attach the cabinets. Screw them together slowly making sure you do not split the finish.
You are now ready to hang your upper cabinets. Lift your cabinets onto the support board you installed previously. 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 on top and on bottom of your cabinets once you have them in your desired location using 3 inch pan head trim screws. Use your two foot level on the side and the top to confirm that your cabinets are level. You will continue these steps marrying all the cabinets together two at a time until all your upper cabinets are installed.
You are now ready to install your base cabinets. One problem you may run into is uneven floors. But don’t worry! Using shims and your levels you can easily eliminate this problem, and your toe kick will hide the bottom line of your cabinets to ensure they look uniform. We usually will start at a wall cabinet and work our way from there. Sometimes you will need fillers to make sure your cabinets land in the correct location. You will cut your fillers down using a table saw to your desired thickness and marry them to your cabinet just as you did with your uppers.
Once you have your exact layout of your base cabinets take all the doors and drawers out to make installation quicker and easier. As you are installing your base cabinet ensure you are keeping everything level on top and use a level on the front to ensure they are level both ways. You will also want to marry all these cabinets as you go to ensure the face frames are flush and the cabinets are strong.
When you get to your sink base this cabinet is going to be the most difficult one to install because you will have plumbing to place the cabinet over. This is going to take some precise measuring. You will want to measure from two locations to find the center of your hot and cold water lines and the center of your drain. You will then mimic the measurement inside your sink base cabinet. Making sure your measurements are correct you will use a hole dozer about a quarter inch bigger then each pipe. Once you have these holes drilled you are ready to place your sink base over top of your plumbing. Once all cabinets are installed and you have ensured they are level you can use your miter saw to cut your toe kick to the desired lengths, attaching with a pin nailer.
Pro tip: If you are installing an island be sure you have enough space on all four sides. You will want to start the row of cabinets directly across from your perimeter base cabinets to ensure they are the exact distance all the way across from your perimeter cabinets. This will ensure everything stays square. You will install these cabinets the same way as your base perimeter cabinets marrying them together and being sure to keep everything level.