DIY Network

Cabinet Installation (page 1 of 2)

A do-it-yourself cabinet remodel can save lots of money on your kitchen remodel.

More in Kitchen

  • Time


  • Price Range

    $2,500 - $5,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Before You Get Started:
Mark all the wall studs.

Find a helper because this is not a one-person project. Work in pairs as cabinets can be heavy.

It is best to hang the upper cabinets first so the lower ones won't be in the way during installation.

Always wear safety glasses when working with power tools.

Measure and Mark For Position

Measure the height of the base cabinets. Most standard cabinets are 34-1/2” tall. Add 1-1/2” for a standard countertop and 18 inches for a standard backsplash, (though you may want a 20-inch backsplash to make room for small appliances). With an 18-inch backsplash, the total measurement should be 54 inches from the floor to the bottom of the upper cabinets. If your floor is not level, be sure to measure from the highest point along the wall.

Draw a horizontal line across the wall at this 54-inch point which will serve as a guide for hanging the cabinets. Be sure to use a level to assure this line is true horizontal.

Note: Pay careful attention to the position of all electrical wiring and plumbing.

Attach a Ledger Board to the Wall

It is best to hang the upper cabinets first so the lower ones won't be in the way during installation.

Secure a ledger (support) board to the wall at the 54-inch mark, screwing it into the marked studs to temporarily support the weight of the cabinets during the installation. Be sure the doors and hardware are removed from the cabinets to make them lighter and easier to install.

Attach the First Upper Cabinet

Attach as many cabinets together as you can safely lift and install on the ledger board -- usually two. Use clamps to fix the stiles (the vertical pieces on the face of the cabinet frames) of the cabinets together and check for plumb, making sure the fronts of the cabinets are flush.

Predrill and secure the two cabinets together at the stile using screws. (Pre-drilling pilot holes will save the cabinets from splintering or marring.)

Affix one screw on the top and one on the bottom in the front and back where the two cabinets meet.

Lift the cabinets onto the ledger board and check for plumb and level. Shim the cabinets if necessary. Attach the cabinet(s) to the wall with screws directly into the stud.

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