How to Install Cabinets

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How to Install Cabinets

Cabinets are, of course, vital pieces of furniture in several rooms of the house – most specifically the kitchen and bathroom. Cabinets can be bought relatively cheaply, or at great expense, and finding a professional to install them can raise the cost beyond either what was expected or what can be afforded. Cabinets of some kind are essential in a bathroom. They can be used for storing bathroom equipment, such toiletries or cleaning products, keeping them out of sight so the room stays tidy. They can come in many different sizes, shapes and finishes according to the design of the room. Nothing will affect the functionality of a bathroom more than the cabinet. Installing a cabinet in a bathroom does not necessarily require a professional, but it does require a good eye for good measurements and a skill for precision. In order to safely install cabinets in a bathroom, follow the steps below.

How to Find the Right Bathroom Cabinet

Bathroom cabinets can come in several different types. They can be ‘base’ units, which mean they stand on the floor, usually against a wall, sometimes with a sink built in or a flat surface to be used as a vanity cabinet. Upper cabinets, or wall units, are so named because they hang on the wall. This frees up floor space but also provides necessary vanity and drawer space. They can also be very decorative and used to show individuality in a bathroom space. They can be installed over toilets (beyond head space to avoid accidents), above sinks or anywhere else in the room where a wall is visible. Most cabinets are square shaped, but they can also be curved, rectangular or even oval. Usually the doors are wooden, but some cabinets have mirrors fixed to the front to act as a bathroom mirror as well as storage. Bathroom cabinets can either be prefabricated or complete, which makes DIY installation easier for a beginner, or they can come as part of a kit. This type of cabinet will take longer to assemble, but is still achievable by someone who has a little more experience (or is very adept at following instructions).

Top Cabinet Tips

When making a purchase of a cabinet, make sure all parts match and are included as part of the set. Always follow any manufacturer’s instructions, as they may contain something specific to the individual cabinet set. Firstly, the wall where the cabinet is to be installed needs to be prepared. The wall must be smooth, clean and level. If installing more than one base unit cabinet, care will need to be taken to ensure the units and level, with no gaps between so the units look right next to each other like a continuous unit. The corner unit should be installed first. If any wiring or plumbing is required (for example if a built-in sink is desired or a light unit), this should be done before the cabinet is put in. The flooring should be done after the cabinets are fully installed. If the cabinet(s) have any slight irregularities in the wood, it can be useful to have small pieces of wood handy, as these can be used beneath or behind the cabinet to compensate. Always be careful not to make any damage to the cabinet itself when installing, particularly to the doors of the cabinet since these will be most on show.

Safety Tips

Always follow safe procedures when making any DIY installation. Wear appropriate protective gear, gloves are especially useful. Be careful when using a hammer to attach any nails, make sure to hit the correct mark and not hands or pipe work. Never stand on cabinets, toilets, edges of bathtubs or any other precarious positions. Make sure to use a proper step or stool, as injury to the installer or damage to fixtures and fittings in the room may be a result.

Installing Upper Cabinets

When installing upper cabinets, fasten them securely to wall studs. This is particularly important if heavy items are intended to be stored in them, as without proper support, heavy items will cause the cabinet to collapse. Many cabinets have a support rail across the back – screw through this. Alternatively screw through a strong section of the cabinet. Use at least 3 screws per cabinet that are capable of penetrating the wall studs by a minimum of 1.5 inches.

Tools Required for This Job

To do this job, following tools are required: a Stud Finder, a Spirit Level, Shims – Small pieces of wood, a Chisel/knife, the Cabinet Unit and a Drill.

Step by Step Instructions

It is entirely possible to fully install a freestanding bathroom cabinet in a weekend if done using the right tools correctly.

  1. If installing a base cabinet, firstly measure the available floor space. This is an essential part of the project, and should be done before making any purchase of a unit. If several cabinets are to be installed in a small fixed space, it is even more important to get the correct measurements. Make sure these measurements are recorded.
  2. If the cabinet is to contain a sink or taps, make sure the water connection to the area is shut off. This will avoid unnecessary water leakages during the project.
  3. Using a stud finder, locate the studs in the wall to which the cabinet will be attached. If a stud finder is not available, use a hammer to tap the walls very lightly. The space between the studs should sound hollow. Bathroom cabinets need to be fastened to studs in order to be mounted securely. Then mark those stud locations on the wall with a pencil, using straight vertical lines to indicate the centre of the stud.
  4. Check that the cabinet is level from front to back and from one side to the other using a spirit level. If necessary, use small pieces of wood (called shims) to adjust the cabinet so it is totally level. Some cabinets will have adjustable shims already built into the legs so extra wood will not be required.
  5. Drive screws through the back rail of the cabinet (and the shims if used) into the wall studs. Once this is done, ensure the shims will not be visible once the countertop is placed by trimming them with a chisel or knife. If the cabinet is to contain a sink or taps, position that section and attach it to the cabinet from underneath.
  6. Install the cabinet doors. Firstly fix the sections of the hinges that are to go inside the cabinet into their correct spots, and fasten them securely. Attach the other hinge parts to the door and attach the hinge pin. Then check that the doors are correctly fitted (and do not slope or hang incorrectly) and make any adjustments if necessary.

How to Find Bathroom Cabinets on eBay

In order to make a purchase of bathroom cabinets on eBay, first head to the homepage. From here, go to the links on the left hand side of the page, and select Home & Garden, and then Home & Garden again from the drop down options. This is the home and garden section of eBay. From here, go to the left hand side of the page again, select Furniture & Living and then Furniture again. This opens up the Furniture page of eBay. Then select the Cabinets & Cupboards option from the left hand side of the page. This will then raise the listings on the site that fall under the Cabinets and cupboards pages. Listings of bathroom cabinets of various types will then be available on the page.


Installing bathroom cabinets can be a relatively easy job to do at home without employing a professional. The ease of the job depends on the installer, but by following the steps above and any instructions that come with the unit; it should be a fairly simple project that can transform a bathroom space. When making a purchase on eBay, always use a reputable seller, and make sure to ask lots of questions if unsure about the product. If necessary, consult a professional before making a purchase or attempting installation.

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