How to Install Base Cabinets in Your Kitchen

Installing base cabinets is a relatively basic process. If you adhere to the fundamental rules of carpentry, you should end up with cabinets that are sturdy and straight. Base cabinets are a kitchen staple and with a little DIY effort, time, and thorough planning, you can install them with little to no hiccups. Your kitchen renovation could prove less costly if you install your own cabinets, and at the end of the day, you can feel proud of a job well done. Follow these simple steps to install your base cabinets in your kitchen.


Step 1

Before beginning the real work installing your base cabinets, identify, and mark the highest area on the floor. Put your marking on the wall employing the use of shims (tapered lengths of wood) and a carpenter’s level. Ensure that both the rear and front of the base cabinets are level. Raise the front of the cabinet with shims if the highest point on the floor is closer to the wall, but if the highest point is farther away from the wall, raise the rear of the cabinet to match the marked height. The goal is to mark the top of the cabinets, ensuring that they are all installed at the same height. This will also allow you to install your countertop on a flat mounting surface. Keep in mind that the U.S standard cabinet height is 34-1/2-inches. 


Step 2

It is a common practice to secure the cabinets to each other before attachment to the wall. Before installing fasteners, secure each cabinet using standard bar clamps. If you have a cabinet claw, which is generally used by professional installers, you can also use that to secure the base cabinets. It may offer greater efficiency, with its jaws pulling the face frames of two of the base cabinets together, and a front clamp aligning them perfectly with each other.


Step 3

Ensure that the cabinets are aligned flush with the line marked on the wall, ideally vertical from top to bottom and entirely level at the top, before securing them to the wall. the installer will check to make sure that the cabinets are perfectly aligned with the line scribed on the wall. For a more simplified process, consider using two levels. If you need to make adjustments, use the shims to add more height if needed or to raise areas of the base cabinets further away from or closer to the wall. Remember to place the shim over a stud when adjusting the cabinets.


Step 4

After confirming that the cabinets are level, you can go ahead and secure them to the wall. It’s good practice to always drive fasteners through the cabinet and into wall studs. If shims are employed in the alignment process, drive a fastener through them to prevent them from slipping out of place, which could cause the cabinets to shift out of alignment. 


Step 5

Lastly, add the finishing touched by installing the drawers, doors, and hardware- pulls, knobs, etc. If your cabinet hinges are not installed on the inside of the frame, you may need to secure them on the cabinets. If the cabinets are not pre-drilled, create a template, ensuring that all the hinges align across the face frames of the base cabinets.


Installing your base cabinets during your kitchen renovation can be a breeze. With a little know-how, careful planning, and some time to spare, you can be the master of your own cabinet installation. In the end, you’ll have high-quality, professional-looking base cabinets that will enhance your kitchen space.


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