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Installing new cabinets in your kitchen can greatly enhance the look and functionality of your kitchen - plus, updated kitchens are a major selling point for homebuyers. All you need to do is select the prefabricated cabinet style that you like and spend a weekend installing your new cabinets.

Buying ready-made cabinets makes this project that much easier. The cabinetmaker has done all the hard work by providing you with modular cabinets that are usually prefinished and ready for installation. In this tutorial we will cover the installation of the hanging cabinets. Check out our tutorial on Installing Base Cabinets if your project includes base cabinets.



Skill Level & Time to Complete

  • Beginner - 2 to 3 days 
  • Intermediate - 1 to 2 days
  • Advanced - about 1 day
  - Do not screw the cabinets together through the thin walls or backs. Only screw through the framing or ledger boards. They are much stronger.
  - Install hanging cabinets first. It will easier to work on the hanging cabinets without the base cabinets in the way.
  - You should recruit a helper to hold the hanging cabinets in place while you screw them in.
  - Use a scroll saw or jigsaw to cut out plumbing and other fixtures that protrude into the new cabinets.


Materials List
   Prefabricated hanging cabinets
   2-1/2" wood screws
   1" x 3" wood strips
   Wood shims
Tools List
   Carpenter's level
   Screw drivers
   Screw gun


1. Hanging cabinets, as well as base cabinets, must be anchored to the studs in the kitchen walls. For this reason, your first step is to determine where all the studs are in the walls. Use a stud finder or small drill bit to locate the studs. Once you find the first one, the others should be spaced 16" apart. Make sure you mark both edges of the stud.
2. Next you need to determine the bottom reference line for the hanging cabinets. Generally you will want at least 18" to 20" in between the bottom of the hanging cabinets and the countertop below. This provides adequate room for cooking and appliances. Based on this dimension, determine the height of the bottom reference line and use a level to mark it along the wall.
3. Take the 1" x 3" strips of wood and line up the top of the board with the reference line. Screw the strips into the wall studs with 2-1/2" screws. This will serve as a ledge for resting the cabinets on while you install them. You will remove these boards once the cabinets are secured to the walls.
4. Install the first cabinet section in a corner by resting it on the 1"x 3" strip of wood. Drill pilot holes in the back frame and ledger of the cabinet. Make sure the pilot holes line up with the studs in the wall. Using 2-1/2" screws, secure the cabinet to the wall with a top and bottom screw for each stud that the cabinet spans. Do not completely tighten the cabinet in place. You still need to shim it into position.
5. Using wood shims, make sure the face and side of the cabinet are plumb. Once it is in the proper position, tighten all the screws.


6. Using a chisel or utility knife, cut off any protruding shims.
7. Put the next cabinet in place. Again, you need to shim it into position and make sure it is plumb. Also, make sure the faces of the two cabinets are flush with each other. Using clamps, pull the two adjacent cabinet frames together. Using long screws, secure the cabinets together.
8. In some cases, you may need to install a filler strip in between a cabinet and a wall. Use the same technique you used to secure two cabinet sections together. Clamp the filler strip in place and use long screws to fasten it in place.
9. To hide gaps in between the cabinets and the walls, tack a piece of molding in place. Finish it to match the cabinets.
10. If not installed already, the final step is to install the cabinet doors and the pulls (knobs and handles). Usually the holes are pre-drilled and ready to go.

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