How To Install Base Cabinets In Your Kitchen

by Dave Logan


Cabinets bring both practical and aesthetic joys to your kitchen. If you’re ready for new cabinets in your kitchen (and find yourself somewhat handy), you can take a crack at installing them yourself. Otherwise, call a pro and get the job done right. Either way, we’re going to discuss a few basic tips on base cabinet installation.

First and foremost, you need to think about the end product: sturdy and square installation. If you live in a new home, you probably have flat, square floor and wall surfaces for your cabinets to rest. In older homes, floor and wall imperfections are more common, so you may have a trickier job ahead of you. A professional contractor will be able to get around these imperfections and get you the end result you want. Afterall, they have the tools and experience for the job.

Base cabinet installation is a pretty straightforward process for the most part. Again, floor and wall imperfections can cause challenges, but they can be overcome with the right steps. First, locate the highest area on your floor and mark it with a pencil on the wall. The back of the base cabinet must be plum with the front. Use a level and shims to accomplish this. If the high point on the floor is close to the wall, shim the front. If the high point on the floor is away from the wall, shim the back. It’s critical to get this right, or your base cabinets will not be level and consequently your counter-top surface will be off as well.

Many professionals will fasten the base cabinets together before attaching them to the wall. Typically, this is simpler and just makes more sense. You can use bar clamps to secure the cabinets prior to installing the cabinet fasteners if you like. Your contractor may have more sophisticated tools, but a standard bar clamp will get the job done if you’re doing the project yourself.

Once you have the base cabinets fastened to one another, you are now ready to secure them to the wall. Make absolutely sure that the cabinets are flawlessly aligned vertically and level across the top for the mounting surface. Again, you can use shims to address any imperfections in the vertical and horizontal alignment. The cabinet fasteners must always be driven through the cabinets and directly into the studs in your wall.

Now you’re ready for hardware! Some cabinetry comes with existing hinges and even pre-drilled holes for installation. Whatever the case with your base cabinets, just make sure you install all drawers and doors so they line up perfectly across the face of the cabinet space.

For more helpful information on these and other home improvement projects, check in often with the TDL Blog. And don’t forget to visit to find a trusted home improvement professional in Denver and Boulder that will help you with your next project!