Installing New Kitchen Cabinets
Installing New Kitchen Cabinets
If your kitchen cabinets don’t make your kitchen “pop,” or are looking beat up, it may be time to replace them. While you might be thinking, “There’s no way I can install kitchen cabinets,” you’d be surprised just how easy it can be to install them. If you think of it as installing one box against your wall at a time, your most difficult task will most likely be leveling each of the cabinets. While it may seem like a daunting amount of work, if you choose to put in the work and install your cabinets without the help of a professional, you can save yourself a considerable amount of money.
Before we can begin installing our cabinets, we need to make sure we’ve ordered the right cabinets for our home, as well as any necessary tools and materials to successfully install the cabinetry. Ultimately, you can typically get new cabinets installed in one day, and a DIY installation can save you hundreds depending on how large your kitchen is. Luckily, we don’t need many tools to do a professional job for pennies on the dollar. Don’t find yourself stuck with a partially completed project because you aren’t prepared with the right parts and tools. Before you even consider beginning, you’ll want to have the following on hand:
• One 4-foot level
• Screw clamps
• 1/8-inch drill bit for predrilling screw holes
• Power drill
• 1-pound box of 2 ½-inch screws
• Belt sander or block plane
• Stud finder
Preparing for Installation
With all of your necessary tools in hand, you’ll want to take the time to carefully and accurately measure your space for your cabinetry. If you recently removed your old cabinets, you can use them as a guide for installing your new cabinets. However, if you’re installing cabinets for the first time, the kitchen is your oyster; think of fun layouts that would still be functional and map everything out along with your measurements in a rough sketch of your kitchen.
Next, you need to determine which style of cabinet you’re going to purchase. There are three main categories of cabinetry you can invest in, with the cheapest being your standard stock cabinetry. These come equipped with a durable finish, but lack the finishes, hardware, and style some homeowners desire. Next up is your semi-custom cabinetry which is part stock and part custom, providing you with more features than your stock cabinets. Generally built to suit, semi-custom cabinets come in a wide array of finishes and door styling options. Lastly, you can choose to go full custom, letting you choose every last detail of your cabinets. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to avoid custom cabinetry, as the prices can skyrocket quickly.
If you’re not a home improvement wiz, one option to go with that will make your installation process a little easier is to purchase assembled cabinets. These come pre-packaged and assembled, often leaving you with installing doors and their hinges, and the hardware of your choosing. Not only are assembled cabinets cheaper than custom cabinetry, they also provide you with greater options and customization than stock and semi-custom cabinets. No matter your desired look, you’re bound to find the cabinetry that makes your kitchen the center point of your home.
With your measurements taken, cabinets purchased, and tools and materials all on hand, it’s time to do the final prep work before installing your cabinets. Start by painting the walls in your kitchen, and if you’re going to refinish or replace your flooring, now is the time to do it. You don’t have to run your new floor boards beneath the cabinets, but you’ll find it much easier to do the entire floor before your cabinets are installed. If you’re replacing base boards, wait until you’ve installed your cabinets, and if you’re going with tile flooring or hardwoods, make sure you’ve taken the thickness of the materials into consideration; the flooring’s thickness might determine whether or not you’ll install the flooring beneath your cabinetry or not.
Installing the Cabinets
Finally, with everything just as you want it to be, let’s get to the cabinets! You’ll want to start with the upper cabinets that will hang freely along your kitchen walls. Think about it, would you want to try and install a rather large set of cabinets above your lower cabinets? You’re already going to be working hard to get them all installed, so don’t make the job harder than it has to be.
Assemble your cabinetry, but make sure to leave the doors off of the framework. Most cabinets come with detailed instructions and are assembled similarly to a standard bookcase. When you’re putting your cabinets together, make sure they’re secure and square, making them as even as you possibly can. Then, grab your stud finder and then locate and mark where your studs are located in your walls. Most homes have studs spaced out every 16 or 24 inches, so once you find two consecutive studs, simply measure the distance between them, and you can easily mark the rest of them in your kitchen. Then, measure from the ceiling to mark the height where you want your screws to fasten into the wall.
With your studs located and marked, you’ll want to begin installing your cabinets either from a corner or from the end of a row of what will be your new cabinetry. With a jack supporting the cabinet in place, begin to screw your cabinet in place, but don’t go too far on the screw. You need to make sure your cabinet is level, and will most likely check it a few times before screwing it properly into place. With one cabinet in place, you can measure the distance between each stud in your kitchen, and then drill appropriate pilot holes for an easier installation; just make sure you’ve accounted for any ears on the front of your cabinets.
With your upper cabinets in place, it’s time to get to the lower cabinets. Mark the stud locations for the lower cabinets, and set the cabinetry in place. See if any of your cabinets rest higher than the rest. If so, grab the necessary shims and install them to create a level surface. Next, cut any holes you need for plumbing, electrical outlets, and any other needs you have that will fit through the cabinets. With your cabinets leveled, make sure they are all flush with one another. Once you’re ready for your countertop, you’ll want to make sure your cabinets are installed squarely to ensure they won’t move out of place with the weight of your countertop. Then, just screw the lower cabinetry to the wall – screwing through shims is fine, too – and voila! You’ve just completed a successful kitchen cabinet installation! All you have left is to install your choice of countertop, and your kitchen will look better than new.
Rachael Jones is a blogger for DIYMother, where women aren’t afraid to use power tools in a dress.
Article Date: 09-04-2013