The Art and Science of Construction

What Skills Do You Need To Install Your Own Kitchen Cabinets?

While some companies insist on installing custom cabinetry orders themselves, homeowners can order preassembled cabinets that they're free to install themselves instead. Handling this labor yourself can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the amount of cabinetry you want to add to your kitchen. While these cabinets are relatively straightforward to install compared to buying cabinetry from scratch, they still require some basic carpentry skills you can practice before you start the installation.

Finding Wall Studs

The best hanging cabinet installation requires locating at least one stud in the wall, which is the solid wood framing supporting the drywall covering. While there are kits for hanging cabinets in drywall alone, there are strict weight limits for the cabinets and what they can hold after installation. For the best durability, it's better to locate one or more studs to add strength to each block of wall-mounted cabinets. There are many methods for finding studs, but using a handheld stud finder is generally the easiest way to learn.

Taking Accurate Measurements

No matter the kind of preassembled cabinets you choose, you'll need to cut something or trim some part of the material during installation. At the very least, you'll have to cut the lumber used to support the hanging cabinets and aligned the floor-mounted cabinets with the wall. Practice using a tape measure the correct way to get accurate measurements. As the old adage says, you need to measure at least twice before making a cut. If your two measurements are close together but just a smidge off, cut right between both of them to get the most accurate cut.

Making Smooth Cuts

After working out the precise measurements for the cabinetry, there's a good chance some part of the cabinet will need trimming. Smooth, splinter-free cuts that aren't skewed or off from your measured markings are trickier than they appear. Practice on scrap lumber when you prefer to use a fine-toothed hacksaw, a circular saw with a wood blade, or another cutting tool like a reciprocating saw. If you're removing old cabinetry you can try cutting it accurately as you remove it to build your skills before installation beings.

Drilling Without Splitting

To mount the cabinets you'll need to screw them into the bases or rails on the walls that support them. This can split both the lumber supports and the wood of the cabinetry. Drilling pilot holes that are slightly smaller than the screws is the key to preventing this. Take your time preparing the pilot holes so you don't damage anything in the process.

Contact a cabinetry supplier about how to buy ready-to-install cabinets