How to Install Kitchen Cabinets: Detailed Instructions for Doing the Job Yourself


Now that you have your new kitchen cabinets, the next major step is to have them installed. While putting in new kitchen cabinets isn’t very difficult, the first step is to measure and mark off the space accurately. Kitchen cabinet placement and stud locations aren’t only made more accessible by layout lines on walls and floors; shims and other changes can also be easily found this way. There are a few things you need to have on hand before we begin:


Square, or Laser Square


A measuring tape

Finder, Stud


A 1″ x 3″ board or an inverted U-shaped frame (see details) measuring 6′-8′ length.


Long screws (designed to penetrate studs by 1 1/2 inches)

A chisel or a utility knife

A Compass With Marks

A helping hand (maybe one of your pals can be bribed)

You can either use a piece of 1′ x 3′ lumber for the installation, as I described above or construct a frame to hold the cabinets, as seen in the figure below. This can be fashioned from 2 x 4s and needs to be long enough to prop up the base of your wall cabinets. I recommend the frame if you intend to build multiple kitchens simultaneously, although a single piece of timber will do in a pinch. In either scenario, you’ll want to have a helping hand around the installation.

We shopped at RTA Kitchen & Bathroom Cabinet Store for Ready-To-Assemble cabinetry for our kitchen. After putting together the kitchen cabinets, we may begin drawing the blueprints for the room’s layout. We’ll begin with the wall cabinets. However, others like to start at the base. There is no “wrong” way to begin, but I want to start with the upper cabinets.

First, measure 3 inches from the floor and use a pencil to mark a level line across the wall. If the bed has a high point, locate it by measuring down from this line and drawing a line. Mark the top of the base cabinets by measuring up 34 1/2 inches from that point and drawing a level line across the wall.

Now that you’ve marked the upper edge of the base cabinets, you can use a measuring tape and a level to outline the lower edge of the wall cabinets. Make a faint notation of the size and location of each cabinet on the wall to double-check your initial plan.

Find the wall studs with a stud finder. Mark the studs with a pencil, at least 6 inches above and below where you intend to install the base of the cabinets. Connect the dots at the top and bottom to show where the centers of the studs will be.

Here is where you’ll use the 1×3 board you picked out in Step 4 (the U-shaped frame will come into play later after you’ve drawn all your lines). Align the bottom edge of the wall cabinet line with the top edge of the 1′ x 3′ support rail you will be screwing into the wall. Fasten it to the wall studs by drilling pilot holes and inserting three or four two-inch screws through the rail.

The kitchen cabinets may be installed now that all the lines are marked. First, we’ll tackle the corner cabinet (here’s where your assistant’s muscle will come in handy). Have your helper set the corner cabinet on the makeshift rail and keep it there while you do the rest of the installation. Use a pilot hole to secure the cabinet to the wall studs by drilling through the solid cabinet back or rail. Use two screws at least 1 1/2 inches long to secure the cabinet to the wall studs. Double-check that the cabinet’s front is upright and the top is level. To make adjustments, loosen the screws and place shims behind the cabinet on top of the studs. The cabinet should be securely fastened to the wall by driving the screws in and adding several more into each stud if it is level and plumb.

We’ll start with the cabinets on each side of the corner cabinet and work our way in. Use the clamps to attach each new cabinet to the one next to it, then use the level to ensure everything is level. Two 1/8-inch pilot holes through the face frame’s sides are recommended for use with screws while assembling face frame cabinets. To achieve a tight fit and ensure the cabinet faces are upright, we will be screwing through the plywood sides of our frameless, ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets.

Install the end or corner base cabinet once all the wall cabinets are in place. Shim the cabinet up to the line that marks the floor’s highest point and ensure its level. Make sure it is plumb from left to right and top to bottom before screwing it into the wall studs. You can push the adjacent cabinet into place and fasten the two pieces together if you don’t have a diagonal corner cabinet or a blind base cabinet in the corner. Ensure appropriate door and drawer operation, if necessary, by installing a filler strip. Shims may be tapped beneath and behind to ensure the cabinet is flush and level.

8-Insert screws through the studs and the cabinet back. Use a sharp chisel or knife to remove any bulk from the shims. Connect the new cabinets to the existing ones, like in Step 6 with the wall cabinets.

The ninth tip is to keep a filler strip on hand in case your cabinets touch another wall. If your cabinets are custom-made, they should fit snugly without a filler strip, but if you bought them off the shelf or had them assembled for you, you could require one. Leave the final cabinet apart from the others if you need to use a filler strip. To make alignment lines on the end wall, clamp a straightedge to the front of the nearest installed unit. Put a cleat on the wall, offsetting it by 3/4″ from the markings you just made to account for the thickness of the filler piece. Measure the space between the face frame of the last cabinet and the wall after it has been installed and fastened.

It would be best to rip the filler board to size for a level wall before installing it. You’ll need to scribe-fit the filler board to the wall if it’s not a perfect rectangle. To begin, adjust a marking compass to the size of the void, and then tape off a 1-inch-wide section of the filler board with masking tape. The wall’s shape can be traced with a compass once you have clamped the board to the face frame of the end cabinet. Take the board out, use a jig saw to cut along the scribe line, and then put it back in place to see whether it fits. Drill pilot holes through the filler board and into the neighboring face frame. Attach the other end to the cleat using screws or nails.

The assembly of your new kitchen cabinets is finished. Installing any coordinating crown molding or other trim pieces you may have acquired should be a breeze. Whether or not you use shims under the base cabinets will determine whether or not you need to place trim pieces by the toe kicks to hide the shims and fill in the gaps at the base of your kitchen cabinets.

Your kitchen cabinet installation should go more quickly and easily with this information. RTA Kitchen & Bathroom Cabinet Store provides cabinet guidance, kitchen design advice, and cabinet inspiration.

By opting for RTA cabinets instead of custom-built ones, I saved a ton of money on my new kitchen. Go to my HubPages post on Kitchen Cabinets to know my secrets. is where this article was sourced from.

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