How to Put up or Mount Kitchen Cabinets on a Wall

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Today I’m headed over the Throgs Neck Bridge and out to the eastern end of Long Island.  There, in the small town of East Hampton, I’m going to visit my friend Norm Stavin.

[SOUND CUT]
RON HAZELTON:
So what's the project for today?
NORM:
I've got a little cottage up the road. It started in the kitchen, renovating. Got the floor in and I'd love your help with the cabinets.
RON HAZELTON:
How many days you think?
NORM:
I think two of us could do it in one day.
RON HAZELTON:
Really? Okay, I'm game. Let's take a drive over and look at it.
NORM:
Well here you go, Ron, this is it.
RON HAZELTON:
You have stripped this down, haven't you?
NORM:
Yeah, yes, sir.
RON HAZELTON:
So what's the plan?
NORM:
Well I took everything out, repainted and put a new floor  in. We've got the white melamine cabinets with --
RON HAZELTON:
When Norm went to a local home improvement center to purchase his cabinets, they provided him with a scale drawing showing the style, size and location of each cabinet. From this, we can easily visualize the finished project.

Now while Norm is outside unpacking the cabinets, I've been laying out the position for the upper wall cabinets which we'll be putting up first. Let me kind of reconstruct it for you. The base cabinet will sit on the floor and come up to about here.

Typically, that's about 34 and a half inches. On top of that goes a countertop, an inch and a half. And then 18 inches from the top of the countertop to the bottom of the wall cabinet. That's 54 inches total. I made a mark there. So we'll draw a level line now right on top of that.

Thanks Norm. Now we're going to tack this piece of one by four on the wall here, right along that level line. It's going to give us some temporary support for these wall cabinets as we put them up.

We leave the nail heads slightly extended so they'll be easier to pull out when we remove the ledger. Good, okay, let's put the cabinets together for this.

The cabinets Norm has purchased are in kit form which means we'll have to assemble them ourselves. Each cabinet comes with detailed instructions and even though Norm and I attempted to ignore them, good sense prevails and we start reading.

Step one is to install wooden dowels which will both strengthen the cabinet and help us position the parts for assembly. Glue is applied to predrilled holes and spread around with a nail to thoroughly coat the surfaces. Then we insert the dowels and tap them into place.

The heart of a knockdown fastening system is this cam and this post. This is the way it works. The post goes inside the cam and as the cam is rotated, the post is pulled up tight holding the two pieces snugly together.

It's a snug fit between post and hole. So I put my hammer to use, pressing the post down firmly, then tapping it once for good measure. As we insert the cams, we make sure the opening on the side of the cam is lined up with the predrilled hole on the edge of the panel.

Now that the hardware is in place, we can start putting the cabinet pieces together. We fit the cams directly over the posts, then gently turn to lock the pieces together. Once we have three sides constructed, we slip the cabinet back into grooves cut in the sides and bottom.

Now we're ready for the top. The pieces fit snugly, so a plastic mallet is used to gently tap things into place. A quarter turn of the cams will pull the panels tightly together and hold everything in place.

We attach the hinges next. There are predrilled holes for each piece, which makes measuring unnecessary. And assembly is as easy as turning a few screws. What we'll do is start  hanging these cabinets on the wall. We're going to begin with these three right here which are going over in that corner.

And instead of putting these up individually, we're going to attach them together into a sort of a sub assembly. The easiest way to do this is to lay the cabinets on their backs on a flat surface, then check to make sure the cabinet faces are flush with each other.

As you can see, this cabinet's a little bit lower right here. It creates a ridge. We want to bring this up. So one way to do that is to take a putty knife, use it like a shim, slip it underneath the cabinet here. The further we push it in, the higher it's going to raise this until both of these surfaces are flush.

The even surfaces are held together with clamps. Now that everything's clamped into position, we're going to attach these permanently using wood screws. Before anything can be hung, the wall studs need to be located and marked.

An electronic stud finder simplifies the job. I want to show you something on the backside right here. This is called a hanging strip. It's a three quarter inch piece of wood. The screws have to go through here and not here, because this is way too thin.

So through here and into the wall studs which we marked earlier right here. We're going to set the bottom edge of the cabinet on the top of the ledger strip. Hey, down to you, there you go. Now all Norm has to do is push in. [    ?     ] hold the weight of it up. You got it?

NORM:
I got it.
RON HAZELTON:
I'm going to let go. And grab some screws. We've already transferred the wall stud locations to the inside of the cabinet so we know exactly where to drill.

Well that's good and strong. Now we can take off this ledger strip and use it on the other side. Well, we're assembling the base cabinets right now. They go together the same way as the wall cabinets using the dowels and this post and cam system.

But some of these have drawers and that means that we'll have to install these drawer glides on the sides before the cabinets are put together. The glide system for these cabinets has two components. The second is mounted on the bottom edge of the drawers. Next, we remove the baseboard so the new cabinets can be positioned right up against the wall.

Okay, Norm, to me just a little bit.
NORM:
Okay, okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Good, good. This is our first base cabinet. This will be the sink base and we're centering this underneath this window right here. And down here on the deck, we've cut holes for the water supply line and the drain. Looks good. Okay Norm, check her if you would, from front to back.
NORM:
Looks good, Ron.
RON HAZELTON:
Once we know we're level, we attach the cabinet to the wall stud. Then we're ready for the next one. Set her right in there. Okay, we're a little low on this side right here.

To raise the cabinet on the low side, we slide tapered shims underneath. We remove the excess by first scoring the shim with a utility knife and then breaking away the part we don't need. Once leveled, we attach the cabinets to each other with wood screws.

Norm then attaches short pieces of wood known as cleats. This will give us a way to attach the countertop to the base cabinets. Well, this is our countertop and as you can see, we've already put the sink and the plumbing hardware in.

It's so much easier to do it when the countertop is out, than afterwards. So Norm, let's just drop this down. Back first, okay. There you go, you clear? And the drop the --
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
NORM:
-- in like that, yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
Excellent. Then from underneath, I screw through the cleats and into the bottom of the countertop. Now for the finishing touches. We attach the doors, Norm nails the toe kick onto the front of the cabinets. Then we replace the baseboards, slide in the appliances, taking care not to scratch the floor or  pull our backs.

And -- you know, Norman, I don't usually do curtains but I'm making an exception in your case because this kitchen merits it.
NORM:
Thanks. Look, it's a nice touch.
RON HAZELTON:
Stand back. I just want you to remember what this looked like this morning.
[SOUND CUT]
And what a transformation.
NORM:
Like night and day.
RON HAZELTON:
Wow.  Listen my good friend, it was good seeing you again, being here in Easthampton.
NORM:
I appreciate it, Ron.
RON HAZELTON:
Hope you enjoy the cottage. Oh thank you. All the best.
NORM:
Cheers.

Assembling Kit Cabinets Makes Kitchen Remodeling Easier and Cheaper with the Same Clean Updated Look as Custom Cabinetry

Install do-it-yourself kit cabinets for kitchen remodeling on a budget. The white melamine finish of this cabinetry is clean and versatile and its knock-down fastening construction eliminates most drilling and cutting. The home improvement center even provided a scale drawing showing the cabinets in place. Just assemble the units and floor- or wall-mount each. New cabinets don't get much easier!

Measure for a Temporary Ledger to Hold the Wall-mounted Cabinets
Step 1

Measure for a Temporary Ledger to Hold the Wall-mounted Cabinets

Measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the wall-mounted kitchen cabinet units, allowing for the height of the base cabinet, the countertop, and 18 inches of clearance. Level and secure a ledger at the mark.

Glue Wooden Dowels in Pre-drilled Holes for Cabinet Assembly
Step 2

Glue Wooden Dowels in Pre-drilled Holes for Cabinet Assembly

Read instructions to identify holes for wooden dowels and spread glue thoroughly in each hole with a nail head. Insert dowels and gently tap them into place with a hammer.

Assemble Cabinet Units with the Knock-down Fastening System
Step 3

Assemble Cabinet Units with the Knock-down Fastening System

Tap posts into holes beside the dowels and insert cams so their openings align with the pre-drilled holes on panel edges. Fit cams directly over the posts and turn gently to lock them together. Slip backs and tops into place.

Attach Hinges in Pre-drilled Holes in Cabinet Doors
Step 4

Attach Hinges in Pre-drilled Holes in Cabinet Doors

Position and attach hinges in pre-drilled holes in each cabinet door. Insert screws and secure with a power driver.

Sub-assemble Adjacent Cabinet Units into Modules and Install
Step 5

Sub-assemble Adjacent Cabinet Units into Modules and Install

Attach adjacent cabinet units into single modules. Ensure the cabinet faces are flush with each other and clamp them together prior to securing them permanently with wood screws.

Mount the Module through the Hanging Strip and Studs
Step 6

Mount the Module through the Hanging Strip and Studs

Position the module on the upper edge of the ledger to bear its weight and drive screws through the hanging strip and into the wall studs behind. On completion, remove the ledge for use with the next wall-mounted module.

Mount Drawer Glides before Completing Base Cabinet Assembly
Step 7

Mount Drawer Glides before Completing Base Cabinet Assembly

Use the same method to assemble the base cabinet modules but mount the drawer glides first, per kit instructions. Mount the second drawer glide component on the bottom of the drawer.

Position Base Cabinet Modules against the Wall
Step 8

Position Base Cabinet Modules against the Wall

Pre-drill cabinet deck for water supply and drain and position the sink cabinet centered under the window. Level the module with shims if necessary and attach to the wall and each other with wood screws.

Position Cleats and Install the Countertop/Sink Assembly
Step 9

Position Cleats and Install the Countertop/Sink Assembly

Attach wooden cleats to provide a strong surface to attach the countertop to the base kitchen cabinets. From beneath, drive screws through the cleats and into the countertop.

Attach Cabinet Doors, Nail Toe-kick, and Replace Baseboard
Step 10

Attach Cabinet Doors, Nail Toe-kick, and Replace Baseboard

Complete the installation by installing the cabinet doors, nailing up a toe-kick, and replacing any baseboard removed for the cabinet installation. Slide in the appliances, being careful not to scratch the new floor.