of Home Improvements
*Installation of Kitchen Cabinets*
A successful Kitchen Cabinet installation begins with the prep work. The more exact your prep work is the easier your installation will be.
Shut off the
water lines to the sink.
Using a straight length of 2x4 and a carpenter's level, check the floor for "high" spots. Check all around the room within 22" of the walls where base cabinets will be installed. Once the highest point on the floor is located, strike a level line on the wall all around the room from this point of the floor, using your level and chalk line (see illustration). We will call this the "Base Level Line."
Check for unevenness in walls
Mark the outlines of all wall cabinets on the wall to check actual cabinet dimensions against your layout. Using a straight 2x4, check the walls for uneven spots. Wall unevenness can cause cabinets to be misaligned resulting in "racking" or misalignment of the doors and drawer fronts. Where these uneven spots interfere, high spots can be removed by scraping or sanding off excess plaster. Low spots can be shimmed with thin pieces of wood or shingles.
Tap on wall to locate a "solid" sound. This generally will tell you where the wall framing members are located. You can verify this location by driving a small finishing nail into the wall. Make sure this is an area that will be covered by the wall cabinets. Mark location of all studs on wall surface. Check for receptacle outlets. Studs will be located near outlets. Studs should measure 16" on center (for most homes).
If soffits are to be built, they should be constructed and installed before installing the cabinets. Soffits in a room with eight-foot ceilings are normally twelve inches high and fourteen inches deep. The bottom of the soffit should be a minimum of 84" from the floor in order to allow the use of tall cabinets. Make sure there is at least 84" clearance between the highest point in your floor and any existing soffit. If there is not, it may be necessary to start from a point in the floor that will accept this height or cut your tall cabinet down. Consideration should also be given for cabinets greater in depth than 12". Tall cabinets or increased depth cabinets will require a soffit depth greater than 14".
Note: When cutting down tall cabinets from bottom, the toekick will not align with cabinets on either side. In some cases, ½ inch be cut from top. Full overlay styles cannot be trimmed at top of frame.
Installation with an existing soffit
If the wall cabinets are to be against a ceiling soffit, the soffit should be examined to determine if it is level. This can be done with a straight edge and level (much the same as finding the high spot on the floor). This time you are looking for the lowest spot (closest to the floor). Corner cabinets should be shimmed down to this "lowest" height (closest to the floor).
Installing wall cabinets without a soffit
Measure up from the base-level-reference line 54 inches. Place a mark on the wall and with a level and straight edge continue around the room, drawing a line parallel to the base-level line (previously found by locating the high spot on the floor). This 54" line will be the bottom line for 30" standard wall cabinets. As an option, using a 1x2 piece of furring, nail this piece on the 54" bottom line to help support the wall cabinets until they are securely fastened to the wall, using the screws. After you remove the temporary 1x2 brace, repair the small holes with patching plaster.
Install Wall Cabinets First
Note: It is usually desirable to install wall cabinets first. If you are unable to use the 1x2 brace, then use the 54" above finished floor line as a visual reference point, to raise the cabinets to, and use a floor "T" brace made from scrap lumber.
in a corner
If you are installing a wall blind corner cabinet (WBC), make sure the cabinet is pulled out from the corner the appropriate distance as called for in your kitchen plan.
When measuring the wall space, be sure to consider cabinets with front frames. The front frame of the cabinet overhangs the "box" by 3/16" on each end. Therefore, any measurements on the wall must coincide with the front frame measurements of each cabinet.
handles are to be used, it may be necessary to add a filler to the wall
blind corner cabinet on the adjacent cabinet and "pull" the
WBC cabinet further out of the corner. This will provide 90° opening
capacity for the adjacent cabinet doors.
Once the two cabinets are mounted to the wall, use your clamps, clamping the vertical frame members (stiles) tightly together, being careful to line up the bottom horizontal edges. Now drill a pilot hole through the stile of the first cabinet into the stile of the second cabinet. Use the screws supplied in the inside of each cabinet. A little wax on the screws will help you to seat them easily. Draw the two stiles or end panels tightly together then remove the clamps. Continue installing the wall cabinets next to each other in a similar manner. When several cabinets in the line have been fastened together and checks for levelness are complete, the screws holding the cabinets to the wall may be thoroughly tightened.
When installing wall cabinets, it is important to secure all cabinets together. On any wall cabinet that is hung on the wall where both ends are open, it is extremely important to secure this cabinet to the ceiling or soffit studs with lag bolts through the front frame and top panel on both sides.
If there is no soffit or ceiling above the cabinets, a support or decorative leg must be installed through the bottom of the cabinet to the countertop on both open ends for support. If this is secured to studs properly at top and bottom, the cabinet will be completely supported.
Installing Peninsula Wall Cabinets
Installing peninsula wall cabinetry involves many of the same steps used when installing standard wall cabinetry. However, in addition to attaching each cabinet together, peninsula wall cabinets must also be attached to the ceiling through the top frame rails and into a ceiling joist. This will ensure optimum stability. If a ceiling joist is not available, you must use lag bolts (not supplied) to anchor the cabinetry. Be sure to predrill the top frame rails to prevent splitting. As mentioned earlier in these instructions, you must locate the lowest point of the ceiling and shim accordingly before installing peninsula cabinets.
Fillers or cabinets with extended stiles
If it is necessary to use a filler, it is preferred to place the filler or fillers at the ends of the cabinet runs or next to the blind corner cabinets rather than between cabinets in the middle of the run. Fillers or extended stiles should be cut to fit the space required. Valances must be cut to fit the space left between the cabinets. If you have a scalloped valance, find the center and mark ½ of the space required between the cabinets and cut from both ends to maintain the same measurement on each side of the center lien. Attach valances by drilling and screwing through the stiles or end panels of the adjacent cabinets.
Installing Base Cabinets
First, put the base cabinets in place starting with the corner cabinets. If a base blind corner cabinet is used, pull it out of the corner to the proper dimension, as shown on your kitchen layout. Shim this cabinet up to the high spot line previously located.
frame style construction blind corner cabinets with decorative hardware
applied must be pulled out 3" from the corner to provide a 90°
door opening. If no decorative hardware is to be applied, then you only
need to pull a full overlay frame style cabinet 1-1/2" from the corner
to provide a 90° door opening. In both situations, the cabinet adjacent
to the blind corner must also have a 3" or 1-1/2" filler applied.
If using a base
lazy susan cabinet, apply a 1x2 strip to both walls at the proper height
to support the countertop. These strips should be screwed to the studs
and will provide support for the countertop once it is installed into
the corner. It is usually better to fasten at least one cabinet in both
directions to the LS and be sure they are shimmed properly, attaching
the countertop brace described above.
After the base cabinets are securely fastened to the wall, reinstall doors and drawers, and check each door and drawer for proper alignment. If a drawer front does not lie flush against the front frame, re-check each cabinet, assuring they are both vertically and horizontally level.
Common service problems you can handle.
As a do-it-yourselfer, you have assumed the role of the contractor. In assuming this role, there are certain responsibilities that at times become necessary to "tune-up" the job once installed. After all cabinets have been installed plumb and level, place doors and drawers back on cabinets. Install doors making sure hinge adjustments are made so reveals between doors and drawers are equal. Make sure these adjustments are made before installing pulls or knobs.