How to Install Base Cabinets

How to Install Base Cabinets

In this video we’ll show you how to install
base cabinets. If you haven’t already watched the measure and prep video, do that first. And remember – if you plan on installing a
floating floor as part of your kitchen project, the cabinets go in first but must be raised
to a height just above the flooring. Otherwise you might have trouble installing under countertop
appliances. You can cut plywood strips that are the thickness of the floor and underlayment. Here’s a trick. Before you screw down the
strips, level them with shims. This will make the install much easier. It’s also easier
if you remove the doors and drawers. Then just like installing the wall cabinets,
start at a corner. Use the guides on the walls to transfer the stud locations to the cabinets,
accounting for the face frame. Drill the holes, and set the corner cab in place. The horizontal
line is your main guide. Line up the top—shim underneath the base and at the back to get
it level and plumb. If the wall is extremely bowed, shims can help keep the cabinet square
and fill the space between the base and wall. When it looks good, drive in the screws at
the back—just enough to hold it for now. You’ll tighten them later. For the next cabinet, drill the pilot holes
through the back, and position the cabinet next to the first. Even up the faces— shimming
where needed—and clamp the faces together. Drive screws in the back just to hold it for
now. Next, drill pilot holes with a countersink/taper bit through the face frames, and connect the
cabinets with #8 screws. And that’s the gist of it.
Here’s a tip if your wall is bowed. Glue shims over the stud lines where you’ll secure
the mounting screws. This will prevent the cabinet backs from bowing when you drive in
the screws. To even up the cabinet tops near the wall,
you’ll need to shim under the cabinet base against the wall. You can use the shim under
the adjacent cabinet as a guide. When you cut that shim, cut another for the next cabinet
and leave it in place. Where you have plumbing or gas, cut the holes
in the back and install like the rest. Continue installing the cabinets but don’t
tighten the rear screws yet. Remember to keep the faces even and the tops lined up with
your reference line. All right, so what about that space at the
end? Easy fix with a filler strip. Mark and cut the filler strip.
For uneven walls, clamp the filler piece to the frame, use a compass to scribe a line
following the contours of the wall. And it helps to cut at a 7- to 10-degree bevel
to help fit the piece against the wall. Mark the width of the piece, and cut the cabinet
side. Use a plane for minor adjustments. Place the piece, drill holes through the frame,
and attach with screws. Once you have all of the cabinets in, tighten
the rear screws and remove the clamps. Any places where you don’t have a cabinet
frame to support the countertop, like end walls and corners, attach 1x2s with screws. After your cabinets are secured, cut toekicks
to fit and attach with finish nails. For floating floors do this after they’re installed. Don’t add the doors and drawers just yet.
You still have to attach the countertops. Want more great ideas and how-to’s? Go to or just click to subscribe. Next up, installing laminate countertops.

14 thoughts on “How to Install Base Cabinets

  1. Very well made video showing step by step procedure to install base cabinets. At 0:40, some tips such as considering flooring options and removing doors and drawers while installing base cabinets are helpful. Appreciate your DIY videos on home improvement.

  2. I have concrete as my wall in my kitchen where my base cabinets will be…would it be better to knock out the concrete and put up drywall to install my base cabinets or should i use concrete scews to install my base cabinets?

  3. Thanks for adding the tip about clamping the cabinets together to get a tight fit. The rest of the process is fairly intuitive, but I would not have thought of that.

  4. Good tips, many thanks!
    FYI… Please no music in background! Hard to hear with noise in background. Music interferes in any DIY video. Only the voice please.

  5. If you have wavy walls, how do you measure/mark so the base cabinets will be in line with the top cabinets. If you start at the top left for the tops and then put in the bases from left as well, how do make sure that the right edges line up for the fridge or stove say three cabinets over…if the left hand wall is not plumb. Would you drop a plumb line (or something easier) to have a line to start from….?

  6. Thank you for not taking 48 minutes to get to the point. Kudos to whomever scripted/edited these videos.

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