Kitchen Cabinet Installation Guide Chapter 2


Step-by-step guide for professional installation of wall cabinets.

Locate and mark studs on all cabinet walls. Use your floor plan to identify where each wall cabinet will be installed. Measure the front frame-width of the cabinet, since the back is narrower. Try to ensure each cabinet will attach to at least one wall stud.

Install the corner cabinet first. This is the keystone for your entire cabinet installation. The kitchen in the video does not have a corner wall cabinet, but the following illustrations detail installation of different types of corner cabinets.

First, mark the backs of the wall cabinets with stud locations: Measure from the corner to the first stud and transfer this measurement, minus 1 inch, to one side of the cabinet back.

Repeat for the next stud location. Now mark points on the stud line 2 inches from the top and bottom of the cabinet. Repeat for the second side of the cabinet back. If your kitchen includes a blind wall cabinet instead of a wall corner cabinet, consult your design to determine the distance the cabinet is to be installed from the wall corner.

At marked points, drill holes using a 3/32 inch drill bit. Rest the cabinet on the ledger rail and fasten to the wall with a number 8 x 2-1/2 inch pan head trim screw, but don’t fully tighten. Check for level and shim where necessary.

Place the next cabinet below where it will be installed and repeat all measuring and pre-drilling. Rest the cabinet on the ledger rail and fasten to the wall but again, don’t fully tighten the screws. Shim to level where necessary.

Securing face frames to each other. Carefully align the face frames of the adjacent cabinets using a “C”-clamp or a “Quick-Grip” type tool. Then drill 3/32 inch pilot holes in three places on the hinge side of the interior of the cabinet face frame. Countersink the screw holes. Coat screw threads with bees wax to limit the hardwood face frames’ resistance to screws. Hide two screws behind hinge plates.

Continue around the room until all wall cabinets have been installed. Return to each cabinet for one last check of level and plumb and then tighten all the screws.

Wall Filler Installation

Use the same method to attach fillers as you did for face frames. You may need to install a filler between cabinets or between a cabinet and a wall. Hold the filler in place where it will be installed. On the back of the filler, mark top and bottom trim widths.

Use a straight edge to connect the marks and create the cut line. Once cut, fasten the filler to adjacent face frame(s).

Installing loose finish end panels. Your design drawing installation notes will identify cabinets to receive end panels, and of course, your designer is always available to answer any questions.

Gently sand the back of the end panel to rough up the surface for best adhesion. Wipe the surface clean after sanding.

Position the end panel over the side of the cabinet to dry fit. If the cabinet is shorter than the end panel, scribe a pencil line on the back of the panel to determine the trim line. If the end panel is being applied to a base or tall cabinet, also scribe a pencil line to determine a toe-kick-notch cut line. Cut the height and toe-kick notch if applicable, using a table saw, circular saw or jig saw. We recommend using a fine-cut/melamine saw blade and cutting finished side face down to prevent. You may also need to trim the wall side of the panel if the wall is not straight. To help prevent chipping by scoring both the face and backside of each panel with a utility knife at cut lines before sawing.

Apply panels with contact cement or panel adhesive, available at most home center or hardware stores. Apply adhesive per manufacturer’s instructions. Some adhesives will bond immediately while others may require brad nails to secure the panel while the adhesive bonds.

Install wall cabinet shelves and doors before installing base cabinets. You can now remove the temporary ledger rails.