Here are the basics:
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Marking Walls For Cabinet Layout
A poor job of installation will make great cabinets look bad. If you aren’t comfortable consult a professional.
Before starting the installation, 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″). 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 counter top height and 18″ for the typical spacing between counter top and wall cabinets. 18″ is the “standard”, but anywhere from 16 to 20″ will work fine). Draw a level line through that point corner to corner to represent the bottom of the wall cabinets. Make sure the upper cabinet will fit by measuring up from the line in numerous places. You need 30 inches to the ceiling. If you need to adjust the height do so now with another line.
Due to walls not being plumb and square you may need to use a filler strip to fill in gaps between walls and cabinet or cabinet to cabinet. You will need these to get the correct spacing against a wall for the door to open fully. (See our tips page)
Cabinets must be securely fastened to the wall framing, so lightly mark the positions of the wall studs before starting just to the top of the base cabinet line. You counter top will cover those marks.
Measure where they fall along reference lines and transfer those measurements to the cabinet backs. Pre-drill holes at those points in the cabinet backs before putting them up.
It’s a good idea to start installation with the wall cabinets, so you don’t have to work over the base cabinets.
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.
Before starting the wall cabinets, 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.
As you place your next cabinet, screw the two cabinets together through the face frame making sure that the faces are flush. Shim as necessary to maintain level and flat across the front.
Now come the base cabinets. Set your corner bases and shim up to the line drawn earlier. Screw the cabinet to the wall. Proceed as you did with the wall cabinets when adding cabinets to the run.
I don’t endorse this company nor am I associated with it in anyway. They demonstrate how to install cabinets and it’s the best and most complete that I have found. They use a laser level which is nice – they have them for sale if you want one.