Secret Tools of The Trade: Your Next Project Work Smarter Not Harder…
If your cabinets are already assembled, remove the doors for easier handling.
If your wall is really bowed, it helps to glue shims over the stud lines where you’ll secure the mounting screws. This will prevent the cabinet backs from bowing when you drive in the screws.
Start by attaching a straight 1-by-4 ledger level on the wall at the 54-inch line. A ledger is a board that helps support the cabinetry as you work.
Begin your installation with a corner cabinet, or from the far left if you don’t have a corner unit. Using the outline you created on the wall, measure the distance from the cabinet edge to the stud and transfer this to the cabinet. Remember to account for the face frame.
Drill holes through the cabinet backs at the top, middle and bottom rails. Your top and bottom holes should be about 3/4 inch from the cabinet’s edge. Do this step for each unit.
Set the cabinet in place and drive the mounting screws into the wall. Don’t over-tighten the screws. Tighten just enough to hold the cabinet in place.
Check that the cabinet is level and plumb. Shim behind the cabinet if needed.
Set the second cabinet into position and line up the faces so that they’re even at the bottom and across the front. Clamp the cabinets together and drive screws into the back – again, just tight enough to hold the cabinet in place for now. Use shims in the back to make it plumb.
Keep the faces even and use a countersink / taper bit to drill through the face frames and connect with the cabinet screws.
Continue the process until you reach the end of the row, continually checking that the faces and edges are even and level.
When you get to the end of the row, you may have a space between the cabinet and the wall. Use filler strips to fill the gap.
Measure the gap at the top and the bottom and cut your filler strip to fit. For uneven walls, clamp the filler strip to the outside of the cabinet face. Use a compass to scribe a line that follows the contours of the wall. Cut the piece along the line at a 7- to 10-degree bevel to help fit it against the wall.
Once all the cabinets are connected, drive in the rear screws and remove the clamps.
Remove the ledger board and touch up any wall damage.
If you’re installing crown moulding, attach it with a pneumatic pin nailer, then hang the doors, adjusting the hinges according to the manufacturer’s instructions for keeping the doors even.