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How-To Kitchens
Hometime Logo Dean Johnson
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Trans 1) Getting Started Trans
2) Demolition
3) Removing Windows & Doors
4) Framing
5) Plumbing
6) Electrical
7) Drywall
8) Soffits
9) Cabinet Prep
10) Cabinet Installation
11) Laminate Counters
12) Countertop Options
13) Flooring
14) Electrical Fixtures
15) Plumbing Fixtures and Appliances

Remodeling Kitchens: Cabinet Prep

Dean Johnson describes cabinets

Once the walls are primed in a new kitchen, the next step is installing the cabinets. It's usually not that difficult, but cabinet installation does require some basic finish carpentry skills.

Hanging cabinets takes a little ingenuity to handle minor discrepancies such as walls, corners and floors that aren't plumb, square or level. And the whole process goes much easier when you have a layout plan to follow.


Marking Walls For Cabinet Layout

Dean Johnson displaying reference linesBefore starting any installation, it's a good idea to mark some level and plumb reference lines on the walls so everything lines up properly.

Determine the highest spot on the floor with a level and measure up the height of the cabinets (34-1/2" in our case). Draw a level line through that point corner to corner to represent the top of the base cabinets.

From that line measure up another 19-1/2" (1-1/2" for the countertop height and 18" for the typical spacing between countertop and wall cabinets). Draw a level line through that point corner to corner to represent the bottom of the wall cabinets.

Now transfer the cabinet dimensions from your plan to the lines for both the base and wall cabinets to make sure the layout will work.

NOTE: Most stock cabinet layouts won't fit perfectly within a given wall space, but cabinetmakers provide narrow filler pieces to literally fill in the gaps between cabinets. Arrange your layout so any gaps fall in the least conspicuous areas.


Cabinet Installation Tips

Dean Johnson holding cupboard doorIt's easy to "ding up" new cabinet doors or drawers while installing them. So, remove the doors and drawers beforehand and store them in a safe place till you're done.

Use masking tape to label and number each cabinet with corresponding labels and numbers on each door and drawer so you can match them up later.


Hanging CabinetsCabinets must be securely fastened to the wall framing, so lightly mark the positions of the wall studs before starting.

Measure where they fall along reference lines and transfer those measurements to the cabinet backs. Pre-drill holes at those points in the nailing strips before putting them up.

It's most efficient to start installation with the wall cabinets, since the base cabinets would get in your way if they were already in.

It's also a good idea to put the corner units in first, squaring them up and moving toward the center of the wall where you have more leeway for making adjustments. The same goes for base cabinet installation, too.

TIP: Before starting the wall cabinets, it's helpful to screw a ledger board into the wall along the line representing the bottom of the cabinets. Then set the cabinets on the board to line them up and hold them as you screw them in place.

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