How to install Kitchen Cabinets in Kelowna

I found this article a few years ago on the Web, good stuff to follow if you're into installing your own cabinets.

Brian Roth

Hartley Homes & Consulting Ltd.

"Quality Construction built for Life"

The cabinet design is complete, the cabinets have been ordered, now they have arrived on site; it is now time to install the kitchen cabinets. Using the layout plan, match up the cabinets to where they will be positioned in the room and follow these steps:

1. Determine the height of the upper cabinets; the cabinet designer can provide this information. The normal counter height from the floor to the top surface of the base counter top is usually 36". The desired space from the top surface of the counter top to the bottom of the upper cabinets is normally 16". If these are the dimensions you desire, you will begin with an upper corner unit. Measure from the floor and place a mark at 52" near the corner; this will represent the bottom of the upper cabinets. Using a level, continue this line out from the corner for the length of the cabinet run.
Note: If a soffit is present, ensure it is level and plumb throughout; if all is plumb and square, use the soffit as the upper guide. If there is a low spot, strike a mark at that point; this will become the benchmark point for the top edge of the ceiling cabinets. You will then measure down the height of the cabinets and make a mark which will represent the bottom of the upper cabinets. Using a level, strike a level line to the corner to represent the bottom of the upper cabinets.
Major Hint: If there is no one available to assist in the holding of the cabinets, build a support box or install a temporary guide board to support the cabinets as they are lifted into place. If you do not mind putting screw holes in your wall that will be in sight; you can tile over the drill holes or patch and paint them. Place a straight edge 2x4x8' even with and just below the guideline; use two or three screws and attach it to wall studs. Ensure it is level; the cabinets will rest on it; after the cabinets are installed, it will be removed.

2. Always begin from the corner, measure out to one side the distance that will represent the edge of the cabinet and make a mark. Using a level or plumb line, scribe a vertical, straight line from the soffit down or using the 52" mark upward to the height that the upper cabinet will reach.

3. Using a stud finder, locate the studs along one wall from the corner and mark the studs with a pencil below the line representing the bottom of the upper cabinets.

4. Remove the doors and shelves from the corner unit in preparation to lift it into position.

5. Grab the drill with the proper size drill bit and a screw gun with proper screw bit, and the proper screws recommended by the cabinet designer, usually 2 1/4" screws. Have a helper assist with lifting the corner cabinet into place. Use the bottom level line and the side plumb line as guides and lift the corner cabinet into place. Pre-drill three holes evenly spaced through the back of the cabinet into the corner stud.

6. With the corner unit held up with three screws, confirm that it is plumb and square. It is very important that this beginning corner unit is square, level and plumb, use shims if necessary; the straightness of the cabinet runs in both directions will depend on the positioning of this corner unit; check it twice. Using the stud markings below the cabinet as a guide, secure three screws into each stud that is covered by the corner unit; drive all screws in tight.

7. With the corner unit set as the benchmark, all other cabinets will be set from here. With the doors off, lift the next unit into place, and have the helper hold it in place while you clamp it at the front frames; ensure the edge where they meet are even and smooth, no ridge. Using two heavy clamps, draw this new cabinet up tight to the corner unit frame; use rubber pads or other wood strips to prevent damage to the cabinet frames. Using the stud markings, pre-drill and screw this unit into place with three screws into each stud; use shims, if necessary.

8. It is time to connect this new unit to the corner where the frames that are touching, held together with the clamps. Use two screws, one at the top and one at the bottom of the frame. Pre-drill and counter-sink the holes to the proper depth; drill through one frame and 3/4 the way through the corner unit frame; you will use a shorter screw; maybe 2" depending on the thickness of your frames. Draw the two frames tight together with the screws; remove the clamps. Where the frame edges touch, the two surfaces should be exact with no ridges; smooth to the touch.

9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until the one wall run is set in place. Repeat the process for the other walls until all the wall units are hung and the doors replaced.

10. Time to set the base cabinets; begin with the corner unit. Ensure that the floor where the cabinets will be placed is flat and level. If there is a high spot, knock it down or use the high spot as the benchmark point of the cabinet run. It will be necessary to shim all cabinets to meet this height. Set the corner in place, tight into the corner. Using extreme care, ensure that it is level and square; use shims to ensure that it is perfectly level and square. Pre-drill and screw the corner unit into the corner stud. Again, check for level and plumb; use the previous stud markings to connect the base cabinet to the studs using the nailing boards built into the cabinets at the top and bottom of the cabinet frames. Ensure there are no pipes in line with the screws.

11. With the corner in place, set the next base unit in the plan, use two clamps to clamp the front frames together, smooth with no ridges; confirm for level and plumb; use shims where necessary. Screw the unit to the studs. Connect the frames together at the front where the clamps are located; pre-drill and counter-sink the holes and drive the screws into the frame; just as was done for the upper cabinets.

12. Continue to follow the cabinet design, placing the base cabinets in line and securing them to the studs and connecting the front frames. Ensure level, plumb, and no ridges exist for the entire run. Repeat steps 10 and 11 for the adjacent wall.

13. With all the base and upper cabinets set in place, shelves installed, doors replaced, the next step is to install the counter tops. Later, you may want to install crown moulding at the ceiling and the kick plates at the floor. If all is level and square, installing the counter tops will go smoothly.
Have fun., Brian Roth.


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