How To Install Kitchen Cabinets? Top Full Guide 2022

  • Peels NYC

If you are thinking of installing kitchen cabinets, there are a few things you need to do in advance. Measure the space where the cabinets will go and get the right size. You will also need to decide on the style and color of the cabinets.

Installing kitchen cabinets can be a daunting task, but it can be a breeze with the proper instructions. This article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to install kitchen cabinets like a pro. By following the steps, you will create the perfect look for your kitchen in no time.

How To Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 1: Order The Cabinets And Assemble The Essential Tools And Materials

Although it may seem daunting to learn how to install kitchen cabinets, the process is relatively straightforward. It’s as simple as attaching boxes to the wall in the correct order. Your main task is to ensure that your cabinet plan is accurate. This story will show you how to install kitchen cabinetry and teach you the essential steps.

We’ll show you how to plan the cabinet positions to avoid any missteps. Next, we will show you how to align the base cabinets and measure them for your new countertop. We’ll also show you how to install the upper wall cabinet.

How to install kitchen cabinets project usually takes less than one day. Depending on the size and complexity of your kitchen, you can save as much as $500 or more in installation fees.

How To Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 1 Order The Cabinets And Assemble The Essential Tools And Materials

You only need to have a few tools to do a great job. A 4-ft. accurate level and a screw gun strong enough to drive 2-1/2 in. Screws and suitable quality screw clamps that open up to 8 in. A 1/8-in.

For predrilling the screws, you will need a combination drill/countersink tool. A block plane or belt grinder is also necessary to fine-tune the fit. 1 lb. Box of 2-1/2 in. Three bundles of shims and screws will suffice for almost any kitchen with cabinets.

Make Sure That You Have The Correct Cabinets

The cabinets shown here are face-frame cabinets. This means that they have a 3/4 inch thick frame around the front of each cabinet box. The European or frameless cabinets are boxes that have no face frame and require some special kitchen cabinet installation steps.

We don’t offer any assistance with ordering or planning your cabinets. Any home center or lumberyard that stocks factory-built cabinets can help you design your kitchen cabinet layout. The staff will only need a drawing of your kitchen floor plan, including exact dimensions and appliance locations. Before you place your order, carefully examine the printout and computer screen.

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 1 Mark the cabinet height

End cabinets come with finished panels and a toe-kick board (1/4 inch thick strips of deadwood to trim cabinet bases). Filler strips are also included. For any miscuts, we recommend ordering at least two additional filler strips. You will need a printout of this document to help you install it.

Immediately after your cabinets arrive, you should inspect them and make sure they match the plan. One mistake can cause delays in the entire project. One cabinet measured 6 inches in our order. The cabinets were too small, and the toe-kick trim board was missing. Two cabinets also suffered severe damage. It happens, I promise!

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 2: Base cabinets: Determine The Cabinet Height And Order

Find The Highest Spot On The Floor

Most kitchen floors are flat, especially for less than 40 years old homes. It is essential to verify that the cabinet location will be in the best spot before installing them. Measure up from this spot and draw a line for the top of each base cabinet (Photo 1).

Locate the spot and use a straight 8-ft. long 2×4 (or shorter if you need to fit between the walls) and a 4-ft. height. Place the 2×4 on the level with the top 1 ft away from the wall. Then, shim the 2×4 until the class is achieved. Mark the highest point on the floor, and repeat the process near any walls with cabinets.

Continue to find the highest spot. You can have more than one high spot. Rest the board on each and then find the most elevated. The wall behind the site should be measured at 34-1/2 inches. Mark the wall at this point (standard cabinet height). As a guide, mark the wall at that point.

Test-fit Base Cabinets

In most cases, the corner cabinets will determine the location of the other cabinets. This is especially true for the lazy Susan corner cabinet. They have two-sided face frames and must meet adjacent cabinets perfectly. Our kitchen’s blind-corner cabinets (Photo 2) are more flexible. You can check your cabinet layout by dry fitting all base cabinets.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 2 Base cabinets Determine The Cabinet Height And Order

Start with the corners and then place all cabinets as tight as possible. You should also leave space for filler strips if the layout requires them. After the cabinets are in place, make sure that drawers and doors meet and that the openings for appliances and sink bases are at the proper heights.

If your adjacent cabinet plan is not correct, you can rip filler strips to make them narrower or use wider ones. To save time and avoid confusion, take out the cabinet doors, drawers, and shelves and mark them with numbered tape. Move the cabinets out of your room.

Please start with the corner cabinets and carefully measure and draw each appliance and place it on the wall. A 4-foot level and a pencil are required (Photo 1). These marks should be made to reflect the width of your face frame and not the cabinet back.

The cabinet around actually measures 1/2 in. The cabinet back is 1/4 inch narrower than its front counterpart, and the width of the drawers is 1/2 in—each side. To locate and mark the stud locations, use a stud finder.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets. Step 3: Kitchen base cabinets. Level The Boxes And Place Them.

Place the corner cabinets 1/4 inch from the vertical positioning lines. Keep the cabinets at a quarter inch from the vertical positioning lines. Turn the base so that the cabinet top aligns with the horizontal leveling line. Next, level the cabinet front and back (Photo 2).

Slip in shims to fill the gap between the wall studs and cabinet back. Photo 8 shows how to lower the top. Once all base cabinets have been set, score the shims using a utility knife. Snap them off with the cabinet top.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets. Step 3 Kitchen base cabinets. Level The Boxes And Place Them.

Place, level, and shim your next cabinet. Then clamp it to the original cabinet (Photo 3). You can feel any misalignment by running your fingers across the joint. You can loosen each clamp individually and adjust the cabinet frames until the joints are flush. Then tighten the clamp.

Don’t be too fussy! Sometimes, you need to remove the screws that hold the cabinet against the wall. Once you are satisfied with the alignment, drill pilot holes in the frames 1 to 2 inches from the top and bottom sides of the cabinet interior.

Be sure to drill straight. It is a standard error to drive the bit through the cabinet frame front. Once the face-frame screws are in place, take the clamps off and screw the cabinet to your wall. For each cabinet, repeat the process.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets. Step 4: Base cabinets. Add Filler Strips

Photos 4-6 show that add filler strips where the cabinets meet the walls. Allow appliances to move freely. For some built-in appliances, such as dishwashers, you will need to ensure that the openings are perfect.

How to Install Kitchen Wall Cabinets. Step 4 Base cabinets. Add Filler Strips

Filler strips can be purchased from all manufacturers to match the finish and wood type of cabinets. They will generally offer widths of around 3, 6, and 8 inches. Cut in the same lengths and heights as the cabinet faces frames. They can fill in gaps between walls and cabinets or create extra spaces between cabinets and appliances for drawers, doors, and other items (Photo 4).

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 5 Cut the filler strip

You will need to taper filler strips as the spaces between cabinets and walls can be irregular. It is best to cut slightly (1/16 inch) when installing cabinets. Then, sand or plane the edges back. This process is simplified by the 10-degree angle (Photos 5 & 6).

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 6 Fit and install the filler

As shown in the photos, you can save any excess material by covering it with masking tape. Filler strips that are too close to walls won’t fit snugly, so make sure to secure them—fillers less than 6 inches in.

Fillers less than 6 in. wide can float against a wall without support. Fillers greater than 6 inches should be supported. Support should be provided for fillers that are more than 6 in. Attach them to a 1×2 backing board glued to the drywall behind the fill.

How To Install Kitchen Cabinets. Step 5: Base Cabinets. Make Plumbing And Electrical Cutouts

Most likely, you will need to cut openings for water supply and drain lines as well as outlets (Photo 7). Measure from the layout lines on the top and sides and mark the spaces. Then, transfer the numbers to the back. Avoid confusion by placing the cabinet in the correct orientation and at the proper position for the layout.

How To Install Kitchen Cabinets. Step 5 Base Cabinets. Make plumbing and electrical cutouts

Drill holes with a 1-in. drill bit for water supply lines. Spade bit. To prevent damage to the cabinet interior, stop drilling at the point where the tip penetrates the back. Use a jigsaw to cut square openings. You can make a rectangular cut around your drain line if it projects at an angle from the wall.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 6: Set The Peninsula Cabinets.

Screw the first peninsula cabinet to its standard base cabinet by leveling and screwing it into place. Fill a 1/4-inch gap. Fill any void with shims before screwing the cabinet to the wall studs (Photo 8).

You may need to screw filler strips to the frame if the peninsula cabinet is less than 2 feet wide. This will allow doors and drawers to have sufficient operating clearance at the corner. This should be noted on the plan.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 6 Set The Peninsula Cabinets.

Once the first peninsula cabinet has been installed, anchor the following cabinets to the floor with permanent blocks. Next, place the peninsula cabinet on the floor and draw its base with a pencil (Photo 9). After allowing for the cabinet’s thickness, screw 2-by blocking to the bottom (Photo 10). Do not try to cut or place the blocks perfectly.

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 9 Mark the position of the second cabinet

They may be a few inches shorter than the cabinet’s end. Or so. This will make installing the cabinet on top of the blocks easier. The blocks should be screwed into the subfloor using 2-1/2-in. There are screws at every foot. Place the cabinet in its place and level it using shims. Then clamp it and screw it into the blocking.

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 10 cabinet installation 2 x 2 support

Use the same blocking and positioning techniques for the peninsula cabinets to make anchor island cabinets. To keep the work area clear in the middle of your kitchen, you should install your upper cabinets before installing the island cabinets.

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 11 Set the cabinet

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 7: Install The Upper Cabinets

Hanging upper corner cabinet can be tricky because you need to support them while attaching them. This is a complex and awkward task, especially if you are the only person to do it. This is where the ledger method comes in handy (Photo 12). This is a reliable method, but it will require some patching and paint retouching to fix the screw holes left behind by the ledger.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 7 Install The Upper Cabinets

Begin by marking 19-1/2 inches with a pencil. It will be 18 inches up from the lower cabinets. After the countertop has been installed, mark the stud locations below. Next, trace the cabinet positioning lines (Photo 12) and screw a 1×2 ledger to the studs. Before lifting the cabinets onto the roster, it is an excellent idea to pre-start the cabinet screws.

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 13 Mark stud locations

Photo 13 shows a simple method of getting the screws in the correct place by using the cabinet positioning lines and the stud locations on a wall. Then, transfer them to the cabinet. A cabinet with only one stud behind will often be narrower than a standard one. You don’t have to worry; the other cabinets can support it.

Begin corner cabinets first. Place the first end cabinet approximately 1/4 inch from the layout line. Screw the first end cabinet to the wall at 1/4 inch from the layout line. Please make sure you are exact with the first cabinet, as it will determine the location of the rest of your cabinets.

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 14 Screw the cabinets to the wall

Next, use the screws to hoist the cabinet onto the wall. Secure the frame against the frame of the neighboring one and then screw it in place. Align the edges and secure them as the base cabinets (Photo 15).

Kitchen Floor Cabinets Photo 15 Hang additional cabinets

To get the frames aligned perfectly, you may need to slightly back out the stud screw heads in either one or both cabinets. It’s okay to back out the stud screws somewhat in one or both cabinets. Then clamp drill, and screw the frames together.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 8: Finish With Doors Or Trim

Attach the toe-kick board to the base of the cabinets. They will measure 4 inches. They will be 4 in comprehensive. However, if you have uneven floors, it may be necessary to cut them shorter to make them fit. You can add a base shoe to fill in the gaps between the floor surface and the toe-kicks if you have poor flooring.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets Step 8 Finish With Doors Or Trim

Run the toe-kick board 1/4 inch past cabinets with finished ends. For a beautiful appearance, run the toe-kick boards 1/4 in. Slide the drawers into the slides, and then reattach the doors (Photo 16). Install the drawer pulls and door hinges by aligning the hinges to line up perfectly.

Editor’s note: Before starting how to install kitchen cabinets, complete repairs, and painting

This is the best time to make any kitchen upgrades after removing your cabinets and before you learn how to install them. These are some ideas for promotions:

  • Upgrades to electrical. Electrical upgrades. It would help if you considered adding a task, indirect, or undercabinet lighting to your kitchen and upgrading the outlets to GFCI protected ones. Because you can work behind cabinets, it’s simple to open drywall and fish new wires. Because they are invisible, repairs won’t need to be perfect.
  • Drywall repair. Repair any holes or other damage to drywall.
  • Painting. Paint all walls and ceilings. This will save you the time and effort of cutting around new cabinets. It will also make the job look neater. You can always touch up any nicks or bumps later.
  • If possible, install new flooring. Many finished flooring materials can be installed before the cabinets. This is possible because the flooring can be projected under the cabinets, avoiding cutting around them later. Cabinets can be placed on most flooring types, including hardwood, tile, vinyl, and laminate floors. Be careful. Perimeter-glued vinyl floors and floating wood laminate floors must expand and contract as needed. You may experience cracking, splitting, or buckling if you place cabinets on top of them.

Required Tools to Install Kitchen Cabinets

You’ll save time, frustration, and money by having all the tools you need to install kitchen cabinets, DIY, and other kitchen cabinet projects in one place.

  • 4 ft. level
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Belt sander
  • Block plane
  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Bit for countersink drilling
  • Set of drill bits
  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Jigsaw
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure

Required Materials to Install Kitchen Cabinets

You can avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all the materials you need to install kitchen cabinet projects prepared ahead of time. Here is a list.

  • 2-1/2-in. screws
  • Shims


Do you prefer to install lower or upper cabinets first?

Always place the upper wall cabinets first. You won’t have the awkward task of putting the upper cabinets over the lower cabinets and risking damage. Set them aside after you have assembled the cabinets as per the manufacturer’s instructions and removed any doors.

how to install kitchen base cabinets

Do you think it is challenging to install cabinets yourself?

Although it may seem daunting to learn how to install kitchen cabinets, the process is relatively straightforward. It’s as simple as attaching boxes to the wall in the correct order. Your main task is to ensure that your cabinet plan is accurate.

What size are screws used to hang kitchen cabinets?

Two holes should be drilled and countersunk in the cabinet’s mounting rails. Then drive two 1/2-inch cabinet screws through these holes. Ensure that the cabinet is level from front to back and side to side.



As you can see, it is straightforward to add style and versatility to your home. If you have ever wanted to know how to do this, this article will give you just the right tools to get the job done. Not only that, but it will also make you look like a professional, so you don’t have to worry about creating the perfect look.

This article of Peelsnyc will give you enough information to carry out the tasks on your own, which is better than hiring a professional.