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Kitchen Upgrade: Installing Cabinetry

A couple boosts the value of their home by upgrading their cabinets.

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Step 1: Check The Walls for Sloping

Measure the kitchen for the new cabinetry. In your measurements, make sure to accommodate your current appliances and cover as much wall space as possible.

To determine whether the kitchen walls have sloped over the years, use a ledger board and a level (Image 1). While keeping the board level, measure across the wall at designated heights, determining a mild slope of one inch. This is a defect that can later be disguised with a piece of trim.

Cabinetry Tips:
-When installing cabinets, mark studs for easier installation.
-When planning cabinet layout, be sure that all doors will be able to open fully without getting in the way of each other.
-No matter how nice they are, clean installation is key to perceived value of cabinets.

Safety Alert: Always wear protective eyewear when working near power tools.

check walls for sloping

Step 2: Remove All the Doors

Before handling the new cabinetry, remove all of the doors to allow easy access inside the cabinets and to protect them from unnecessary damage (Image 1).

remove doors to allow easy access inside cabinet

Step 3: Secure the Batten Board

To temporarily support the weight of the first overhead cabinet, screw in a board called a batten (Image 1). This batten board helps brace the cabinet during installation and is later removed.

With the batten board in place, position the cabinet and makes sure it sits even and plumb with the wall using a level (Image 2).

Step 4: Attach the Back Panel to the Wall

Next, use a power drill to permanently attach the back panel of the cabinet into an underlying stud in the wall marked earlier (Image 1).

attach back panel of cabinet

Step 5: Secure the Overhead Cabinets

To fit a cabinet over an obstruction, such as an electrical outlet, transfer measurements off the wall to the back of the cabinet, using a tape measure and a speed square to mark for a cutout.

Drill four holes inside the corners and then use a jigsaw to remove the cutout (Image 1). The cutout area fits directly over the obstruction and the cabinet can be attached (Image 2).

To partner two cabinets together, make sure each is flush with the one attached before it. Then, temporarily hold the faces together using quick-action clamps. Pre-drill holes through both faces and use finishing screws to permanently join the cabinets together (Image 3).

Step 6: Secure the Base Cabinets

With the overhead cabinets properly secured, move on to the base cabinetry. With the cabinet in position, wood shims to make sure it is plumb and level (Image 1). To finish the job, secure the base cabinet by screwing the back panel into the underlying studs behind the wall.

secure base cabinets

Step 7: Create the Templates for the Countertops

Having secured and leveled the base cabinets, get started creating templates for new pre-fabricated granite countertops. When finished, these templates serve as instructions for granite fabricators, who customize the countertops at the shop. Cut four thin plywood strips to length matching the top dimensions of the cabinet (Image 1). Then, after applying hot glue to the joints, squeeze the overlapping strips together (Image 2).

Next, by marking the sides of the template he indicates the orientation of the countertop. He also indicates an overhang for the front face of the granite slab. Before moving on to the next stage of the remodel, the templates are submitted to the fabricators.

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