How to Install Kitchen Cabinets

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Stud finder
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk line
  • Electric drill
  • Carpenter's level
  • Framing square
  • Jigsaw
  • File
Materials Required
  • Base and wall cabinets
  • C-clamps
  • Step ladder
  • Scrap 2x2 and 2x4
  • Shims
  • Flathead wood screws

Before You Begin

Not sure you want to tackle this job? Find a carpenter by clicking Home Advisor and find qualified, prescreened contractors in your area.

To start carefully read the manufacturer's instructions about installing the cabinets. The instructions below are strictly an overview of the installation process. Refer to the cabinet manufacturer's instructions for detailed information.

Use a piece of scrap 2x2 lumber as a ledge to hold the wall cabinets to the wall temporarily while you secure them.

To lighten the weight of the cabinets while installing them, remove any shelving or drawers so they are easier to handle.

  • Step 1 : Lay out wall cabinet placement

    Begin by laying out the location for wall cabinets before the base cabinets. Measure up from the floor to find the height of the bottom of the wall cabinet and mark its location. Use a level to create a line across the wall so you can evenly line up the bottom of the units on the wall. Then use an electronic stud finder to locate the wall studs and mark each of them with a pencil.

  • Step 2 : Fasten the cabinets together

    Fasten the cabinets together Clamp the cabinets together and then joint them with screws driven through the edges of the face. Drill pilot holes first.

  • Step 3 : Secure the units to the wall

    Secure the units to the wall Use the layout line as a guide to position a wood batten on the wall to rest the bottom edge of the cabinet on while you fasten it to the wall. The top of the cabinet. Screw the batten to the wall studs. With a screw gun or electric drill, usel flathead wood screws to fasten the wall cabinets to wall studs. Make sure that the front of the units are plumb and use shims behind them when necessary. For help holding the front of the cabinet, make a brace using 2x4 lumber.

  • Step 4 : Fasten the base unit to the wall

    Fasten the base unit to the wall Align the base units and use shims to adjust them for uneven or irregular floors and walls. The base unit should be leveled from two ways, side to side and front to back, to guarantee it is firmly secured and level. When two units are joined together, make sure shims support where they come together. Secure the base unit to the wall with flathead wood screws driven through corner blocks or the nailing strip at the top of the base and into the wall studs. Secure filler strips from inside the cabinets to conceal where cabinets are connected.

  • Step 5 : Install doors, drawers, hardware and shelves

    When all cabinets are level and securely fastened to the walls, install the cabinet doors, drawers, hardware and shelving according to the manufacturer's directions.