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Installing your own cabinets

Installing your own cabinets

When purchasing new cabinetry it is a great cost savings to install your own cabinets. Just remember that it is a risky situation. Most companies will not warranty the cabinets once you take them from their facility. Also, cabinets must be installed solid and level to assure proper counter top installation and risk of falling with the weight of heavy dishes and cookware in them.

Tools and materials

The hardest part of installing cabinets is lack of tools. Some tools you will need are a table saw, miter saw, nail gun (18 gauge), drill and drill bits, level, jig saw, screw driver and other small hand tools. Materials that you will need is some 18 gauge nails, 2 1/2″ screws, raw lumber (2×4) and some shims.


Step 1 – Layout all of your cabinets on the wall to ensure a fit to the kitchen. Mark cabinet edges on wall with a pencil mark. Mark the bottom of all the upper cabinets on wall as well

Step 2 – Find all the studs and mark the uppers just under the line on the wall to be visible after putting the upper up

Step 3 – Always start in the corner and work your way out when installing

Step 4 – Set the upper on some type of cabinet jack or cut some 2×4’s to rest the upper cabinets on while leveling it

Step 5 – After the cabinet is level screw the upper to the studs at the top and the bottom inside

Step 6 – Put the cabinet next to this one up and screw the face frames together. Always pre-drill first.

Step 7 – After they are screwed together repeat step 5 and step 6 again.

Step 8 – Once you get to the end of the run and you have a small gap left it is time to rip down a wood filler to install in the open area. Usually this is less than 3 inches.

Step 9 – After the uppers are done it is time to install your bases. Again starting in the corner and working your way out.

Step 10 – Set all your bases in place and put a level across all your cabinets to find the highest spot.  This highest spot needs to be moved to the corner you are starting with.

Step 11 – Shim your first cabinet a little higher than your highest spot in the room. This will insure you don’t have to redo this later or have to cut the bottom of a cabinet off.

step 12 – Install these just like the uppers level first, screw together than screw to the wall then move to the next one.

Step 13 – Once you get to the end of the run rip down a filler to fill the gap that is left.

Step 14 – Now that all the cabinets are installed you need to trim it out. Cut all the material to length then nail it on with the 18 gauge nail gun

Step 15 – Do the crown molding last. This is tricky to cut and is easiest to cut upside down to get the proper angle and is more accurate.

Step 16 – Last you need to putty in all your seams and nail holes with colored putty. This isn’t required but does look a lot better.

These are the basic steps to install. Please do not attempt this unless you are handy with tools and know all the safety practices. If you have questions during the install your local home improvement store should be glad to help. Remember it must be level!