Installing cabinets whether in a kitchen, laundry or utility cabinets in a garage, they all have the same basic set of installation requirements. Some simple tools are required and are in most handyman’s tool pails. Pencils, good carpenters four-foot level, tape measure, screw gun, several Quick type C clamps and a chalk line is a great start. If you have the use of a tripod with a builders level (or can rent one for a day), this will speed the work along significantly. Starting at either end of the cabinet set, make a pencil mark four feet above the floor. Now using the four-foot level, transfer that mark along the wall to the other end of the cabinet run and make another pencil mark. Measure down to the floor to see if it is four feet above the floor. If it is exactly four feet, then your floor is level. If it is more than four feet, then you know the floor slopes down towards that end. If you start the cabinets at that low end, you will not be able to keep the cabinets level before you run “into ” the floor. If you start at the four-foot end that you started with, you will be able to shim the cabinets up, so they all remain the same level height above the floor.
Below is a summarized procedure on how to do it.
- What is the key to getting the cabinet doors as level as possible? The key is leveling and plumbing the cabinets during installation. Be sure to take your time during this process. But, no matter how careful and precise you are, there will still be a need to make final adjustments with the door hinges.
- The most valuable tool. To hang your cabinets properly, you need a high-quality level or leveling laser. No matter how accurate you think you are, you simply can’t “eyeball” this project.
- Checking your level. You can’t buy the cheapest level and expect it to do the job. The more affordable the level, the less accurate it might be. Make sure that the level you choose is a high-quality level. Take good care of your level. A level’s alignment can be damaged if it is dropped or bumped. Make sure that the screws on your level (if you have chosen an adjustable one) are tight. A good rule of thumb to follow is that the liquid tube should move. If it doesn’t, your level’s alignment may be off.
- Accuracy. Be sure to have your level checked. To check your level’s accuracy:
- Place the level on a flat surface (wall, table, countertop or the floor)
- Check the horizontal level alignment
- Check the vertical level alignment
- To test the alignment, take note of the exact location of the leveling bubble
- Turn the level to the other direction to see if the bubble is in the same spot
- For the level to be accurate, the leveling bubble needs to be in the same spot
- Height. To hang cabinets that are level, you need to decide on a height ahead of time. Place a line where the cabinets are to be hung. This is the leveling line. Obviously, you need to make sure that this line is completely level.
- Find those studs. Before you start hanging your cabinets, you need to pre-drill the holes. First of all, you need to locate each wall stud. A good-quality stud-finding tool will help you in this process. You need to pre-drill the holes through the hanging rail of the cabinet. These holes should line up directly with the wall studs.
- Placing the cabinet. Next, you need to position the cabinet in its position on the wall. For your cabinets to be level, you will need to place support sticks with the cabinets. These sticks will ensure that the cabinets stay level while you finish up the pre-installation process. Once all the cabinets have been put in place, double check to see if they are level and plumb. You can also put a temporary screw within the cabinet to hold it in place.
- Double check the level. It is now time to double check the levelness and plumbness of the cabinet. Put the level on the edge of the cabinet. Is it completely level? You will also need to place the level in several positions on the face of the cabinet. Are all of these vertical positions level? You may want to use wooden shims. Wooden shims can hold the cabinet in place to make sure that it is level and plumb.
- Secure the cabinet. After you have checked the levelness and plumbness of the cabinet, it is time to secure it to the wall. Use screws or other securing devices. You will not want to complete this step until you are confident that the cabinet is completely level and plumb.
- Repeat this entire process for all wall cabinets. Remember that when placing base cabinets, you will put wooden shims along the wall and floor to ensure that the cabinet is level and plumb. Shims need to be put in any gaps between the wall and the back of the cabinet. A good rule of thumb is to put shims on every screw. This will ensure that the cabinet is not twisted.
- Fine-tuning. Once all of the cabinets have been secured, it is time to fine-tune the entire project. Use the door adjustment screw to line up the doors as best as possible. The door hinge screws will help prevent your doors from warping.
You can hang cabinets by yourself. The key is to take your time and double check all of your work. Your best friend throughout this process is a good-quality level. Follow the steps of this tutorial to make sure that your cabinets are hung correctly by you.