How to Install Kitchen Cabinets

Are you considering installing your own kitchen cabinets? The following information will help you do the job correctly. You’ll need some tools and a bit of know-how to get the job done.


  • A stud finder
  • A level
  • Block plane or belt sander
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Clamps
  • Jigsaw
  • Shims
  • Screws

Mark the layout for base and upper cabinets

  • Draw a level line along the wall to coincide with the height of your lower cabinets. Make sure you measure from the highest spot on the floor.
  • Use shims and a 2×4 to even out the lower level so that low spots match up with the higher spots.
  • Use a stud finder to mark the wall where studs are located for the lower and upper cabinets.
  • Use a pencil and make vertical lines to show where the lower cabinets will be located; begin with the corner cabinets and work your way inward.

Attach a support board

A support board helps support the weight of the upper cabinets while you’re installing them. Attach the support board by screwing it into the studs under where the upper cabinets are being installed.

Hang wall cabinets

  • Attach two of the cabinets to each other if you can lift them together. If not, do one at a time.
  • Hold them together with clamps to make sure they are level and plumb.
  • Lift the cabinets to the support board.
  • Check that they are still level and plumb.
  • Use shims to fix any plumb or level issues.
  • Predrill the holes for the cabinets.
  • Secure the cabinets to the wall.
  • Attach the doors and hardware.
  • Repeat for all of the upper cabinets.
  • Remove the support board.

Base cabinets

  • Put your first base corner cabinet in place.
  • Check to see that it’s level.
  • Use shims to level the cabinet if necessary.
  • Pre-drill the holes for securing the cabinets to the wall.
  • Secure the cabinet to the wall.
  • Continue attaching all of the base cabinets.

If you end up with a gap once you’ve finished, contact the cabinet manufacturer and ask about a filler bar. The filler bar fills in the gap. This project normally takes two or three days to complete.