How to Install Kitchen Cabinets - Lily Ann Cabinets

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets - Lily Ann Cabinets

One of the most popular ways to give your kitchen a boost is adding new cabinets to your kitchen. There are many reasons why homeowners decide to install kitchen cabinets. Some are looking to add more storage space in their kitchen; others are looking to add a new color accent to their kitchen, like shaker espresso or York antique white. Whatever your reason might be for updating your kitchen, here’s what you need to know about installing your new kitchen cabinets.

Step 1: Order Cabinets and Gather Tools and Materials

Kitchen Cabinet Planning toolThe first step in learning how to install cabinets is to order the right ones and gather the necessary tools and materials. Make sure you have the measurements of your kitchen ready before ordering the cabinets to ensure a perfect fit. Once the cabinets arrive, inspect them thoroughly to ensure they are the correct size and style.

To install the cabinets, you will need a few basic tools such as a screw gun, level, screw clamps, drill/countersink bit, block plane, belt sander, screws, and shims. These tools will help you to accurately install the cabinets and ensure they are level and secure.

Gathering all the tools and materials ahead of time will help to prevent any delays or missteps during the installation process. By being fully prepared, you can focus on completing each step with confidence and ease, resulting in a beautiful and functional new kitchen.


Step 2: Base Cabinets: Determine the Cabinet Height and Cabinet Order

Base Cabinet DimensionOnce you have determined the level line for the base cabinets, you can start to set the cabinet height and order. First, arrange your base cabinets in the desired order, making sure to leave space for appliances or other features.

Next, place shims on the floor where each cabinet will sit to ensure a level base. Then, set the first cabinet on the shims, making sure it is flush against the wall and the level line.

Repeat this process for all the base cabinets, checking each one for level and ensuring that they are in the correct order. Use clamps to secure the cabinets together and to the wall, and screw them in place through the back support rail.

If you encounter an uneven wall, you may need to scribe the cabinet to fit properly. To do this, place the cabinet in position and use a compass to trace the contour of the wall onto the cabinet. Cut along the traced line using a jigsaw, then reposition the cabinet and check for fit again.

Setting the cabinet height and order is a crucial step in ensuring a seamless installation. Taking the time to do this correctly will save you time and headaches down the road.


Step 3: Kitchen Base Cabinets: Level and Set the Boxes

Kitchen Base CabinetsNow that you have determined the cabinet height and order, it's time to level and set the boxes in place. Start by positioning the corner cabinets 1/4 inch away from the vertical positioning lines. Use shims to ensure the cabinet top is even with the horizontal leveling line. Next, level and shim the cabinet front to back. If there's a gap between the wall and the cabinet back, add shims and run screws into the studs through the cabinet back about 1 inch down from the top.

Once all the base cabinets are set, score the shims with a utility knife and snap them off even with the cabinet top. Position, level, and shim the next cabinet, and then clamp it to the first cabinet. Check the joint alignment by running your fingers over the joint. If it's misaligned, loosen each clamp one at a time and adjust the frames until they're perfectly flush.

Sometimes, you may have to loosen the screws holding the previous cabinet against the wall and pull it away slightly to get the frames aligned. When you're satisfied with the alignment, drill pilot holes through the frames 1 to 2 inches from the top and bottom of the cabinet interior.

Leveling and setting the boxes can be time-consuming and challenging, but it's a critical step to ensure that your kitchen cabinets are sturdy and properly aligned. Taking the time to get it right will make the rest of the installation process much smoother.


Step 4: Base Cabinets: Add Filler Strips

Filler StripsNow that the base cabinets have been leveled and set, it's time to add filler strips. These strips are important in closing up any odd gaps that may be present. You'll want to add filler strips wherever the cabinets come up short of walls, or wherever the plan calls for them. It's important to leave the correct gaps for appliances, especially if you have built-in appliances like dishwashers, which require very exact openings.

All manufacturers should offer filler strips that match the wood type and finish of their cabinets. These strips generally come in widths of about 3, 6, and 8 inches and are cut to the same length as the height of the cabinet face frames. They fill spaces between end cabinets and walls and create additional spaces between cabinets or between cabinets and appliances for drawers and doors.

To add the filler strips, simply measure the space that needs to be filled and cut the filler strip to the correct length. Use a finish nailer or brads to attach the strip to the cabinet frame. Make sure to pre-drill the holes to avoid splitting the wood.

By adding filler strips, your cabinets will have a clean and polished look, with no odd gaps or spaces between them. Plus, they'll create more space for drawers and doors to open and close properly, making your kitchen more functional and user-friendly.


Step 5: Base Cabinets: Make Plumbing and Electrical Cutouts

Measurement TapeBefore you begin installing your base cabinets, it's essential to make sure you have the correct openings for your plumbing and electrical lines. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

1. Lay out the openings by measuring from the layout lines at the top and side of the cabinet, and transfer those numbers to the back of the cabinet.

2. To avoid confusion, do the layout work with the cabinet near its position and in the right orientation.

3. Once you have your measurements, use a 1-in. spade bit to drill holes for water supply lines and starter holes for square openings.

4. Stop drilling when the tip just penetrates the back, and finish the holes from the inside of the cabinet to prevent splintering the cabinet interior.

5. After drilling the starter holes, use a jigsaw to cut square openings for the plumbing lines. If your drain line projects from the wall at an angle cut a rectangular hole around it.

6. Once you've made your cutouts, carefully inspect them to ensure they're the correct size and properly aligned. You don't want to install your cabinets only to realize the cutouts aren't in the right place!


Step 6: Install the Upper Cabinets

White Shaker Upper CabinetsNow that you’ve got your base cabinets installed and secured, it’s time to move on to the upper cabinets. Upper cabinets can be a bit trickier than base cabinets, but with the right tools and instructions, it can be a breeze.

Before you begin installing your upper cabinets, make sure to have someone there to help you hoist the cabinets into place. The last thing you want is for the cabinet to fall and break during the installation process. Once you have someone to help, follow these steps:

1. Start the screws and hoist the next cabinet into place. Position the cabinet, making sure that it is flush with the top of the adjacent base cabinet.

2. Next, screw the upper cabinet to the wall, making sure that it is level.

3. Align the frames and clamp them together. Using the same process as the base cabinets, align the frames and clamp them together to ensure a tight fit.

4. You might have to back out the stud screws slightly in one or both cabinets to get the frames to line up perfectly. That’s fine—leave the screws backed out while you clamp, drill and screw the frames together.

5. Once the frames are clamped together, drill pilot holes and screw the frames together using wood screws. Repeat this process until all the upper cabinets are installed.

6. Finally, attach the doors and hardware. Double-check that everything is level and plumb before moving on to the finishing touches.


Step 7: Finish With Doors and Trim

Two Door Kitchen CabinetNow that your cabinets are in place and secure, it's time to add the finishing touches. Follow these steps on how to install cabinets properly and complete your kitchen renovation:

1. Cut and fit toe-kick boards: Use a saw to cut the toe-kick boards to fit the bases of your cabinets. If your floor is uneven, you may need to rip them narrower to ensure a perfect fit.

2. Add base shoe: For any gaps between the floor and the toe-kicks, consider adding a base shoe contoured to fit the floor. This will create a seamless look and prevent any dust or debris from getting trapped underneath.

3. Extend toe-kick boards: If your cabinets have finished ends, extend the toe-kick boards 1/4 inch past the cabinet for a more polished look.

4. Install drawers and doors: Put the drawers onto the slides and reattach the doors. Adjust the hinges until the doors are perfectly aligned.

5. Add pulls: Finish off by installing the door and drawer pulls. Measure and mark where you want each pull to go, then use a drill to create the necessary holes.

With these simple steps on how to install cabinets, your kitchen renovation will be complete in no time.


Finishing Touches

Modern Kitchen with White shaker Cabinets, matt black hardware, SPC flooring and stainless steel appliances Consider adding crown molding to the top of your cabinets. This can help give your cabinets a more custom look and tie the entire kitchen together. When installing crown molding, make sure to use a coping saw to get clean, precise cuts.

Lastly, consider adding under-cabinet lighting. This can brighten up your kitchen and make it feel more inviting. When installing under-cabinet lighting, make sure to use a good quality LED strip and place it where it will shine the brightest.

By adding these finishing touches, your cabinets will look professionally installed and give your kitchen the perfect finishing touch. Remember to always take your time and follow the steps on how to install cabinets properly. Happy renovating!

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