How to Install Kitchen Cupboards

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How to Install Kitchen Cupboards

Remodelling a kitchen is an excellent way for a homeowner to increase the equity in their home while dramatically improving the appearance of one of the most used rooms in the house. There are several different elements of a kitchen that can be changed in order to enhance it, but installing new kitchen cupboards is perhaps the most effective method of giving a kitchen a fresh new look. Cupboards are the most prevalent element of a kitchen and usually the first thing that is noticed, so replacing them is a great place to begin a kitchen makeover. Rather than hire a professional to install cupboards, many people opt to install them themselves and save a considerable amount of money. Installing kitchen cupboards does not require a great knowledge of carpentry, and as long as people understand the various steps that are involved in the process, and they acquire the proper tools required to perform those steps, they can easily install kitchen cupboards on their own.


There are several steps to installing new kitchen cupboards. The most important step is to plan and prepare for the job properly. Taking time to plan carefully at this stage will make the entire process of installing new kitchen cupboards much easier and trouble free.

Selecting Cupboards

The first step in installing new kitchen cupboards is to determine if the same cupboard pattern will be kept or if a new layout will be chosen. A good deal of time should be put into this stage because the success of the process depends on being happy with the finished result. Homeowners should begin by drawing various cupboard layouts and making sure each layout suits their needs. After that, they should take some time to explore different cupboard styles, wood finishes, and hardware selections in order to find cupboards that will achieve their desired look.

Measure Carefully

Measuring the kitchen space prior to installing the cupboards is the most critical step in the actual installation process. Assuming that the floor is level and has no high spots, the first step is to measure up 137 cm from the floor at both ends of the wall and strike a chalk line across the two points. This is the standard height of wall cupboards. The next step is to find all the wall studs with a stud finder and strike those locations with chalk line or designate them with a marking pencil. Check the chalk line to make sure it is level and then nail up a temporary straight ledger board on the line that will act as a guide and support for the upper cupboards. The ledger board should run the full length of the area in which the cupboards will be installed.

Hang the Upper Cupboards

Once all the measurements have been completed and the ledger board is in place, the next step is to place the first cupboard in position onto the ledger board and mark where the studs will be located on the inside of the cupboard with a marking pencil. It is best to start with a corner cupboard and work outward basing all the other cupboards on the initial one. After securing the first cupboard, it must be checked to make sure it is level and plumb, which means straight up and down. If the cabinet is out of position, shims can be used behind it to bring it off the wall and make it plumb. This cupboard is the most critical because all the other cupboards will be hung according to this cupboard, so if it is even a tiny bit unlevel or not plumb, this will carry over and be magnified by the time the last cupboard is installed.

The second cupboard is placed off the first one and screwed into the studs. The two cupboards are clamped together at the face frame while trim screws holes are made with a drill from one cabinet to the next to permanently join the two. Plumb and level are again checked to ensure a straight line and then the next cupboard is installed using the same method as the second. This process is repeated until all the upper cupboards are installed.

Install the Lower Cupboards

The lower cupboards are installed in a similar manner to the upper cupboards except a straight ledger board is not used. Instead, a chalk line is snapped in its place to act as a level reference point to which the tops of the cupboards will be aligned. The first lower cupboard is installed in the corner and it will be raised on one side or the other with shims in order to be completely level with the chalk line. Shims will also be used to move the cupboard away from the wall as necessary to make it plum. The same principles apply to the lower cupboards as the upper ones when it comes to ensuring near perfection with the first cupboard, otherwise the remaining cupboards will be off.

The second cupboard is attached to the first one with trim screws after clamping the two together and making sure the second one is level and plumb. It’s important to measure plumb and square from the top units down to the lower ones to ensure a uniform appearance. This is particularly important when installing a stove that requires a hood or light fixture be attached to the cupboards above it. Ensuring plumb, level, and square will also guarantee that appliances like dishwashers will fit perfectly.

Install the Countertops

Once the base cupboards are installed, it is time to attach the countertops. Many people will have their countertop pre-cut to length as well as cut for the sink opening. The countertop is simply maneuvered into place onto the base unit and once positioned, it is screwed into place from below. It is important to ensure that the screws used to secure the countertop are long enough to get a solid purchase on the top, but not long enough to pass through the surface and damage it. Once the countertop is in position, the sink can be installed as well as any trim items such as decorative tile, splash guards, and cupboard doors and hardware. The edges of the countertop are then caulked to seal it to the wall and the appliances are installed and checked to make sure the fit and function are correct.

Tools Needed

Installing cupboards is not a difficult process as long as the right tools are on hand. Below are the most frequently used items needed as well as a brief description of their use.


  What it Does


Used to verify that the cupboard is hung straight and parallel to the floor


Used to pound in trim nails


Small wedges used to reposition cupboards higher off the ground or farther off the wall on one side or another to ensure they are plumb


Used to hand drive screws into wall or to secure cabinets together


Used to make pilot holes; can also be used to drive screws if proper bit is used

Hole Saw

Used to cut holes in walls and cupboards for electrical wiring of piping

Finish Nails

Small nails that install trim pieces to front of cupboards

Chalk Line

Snapped against the wall to leave a chalked line to mark level as well as stud locations for hanging the cupboards

Stud Finder

Helps to locate and mark internal studs in the wall


Used to hold cupboards together temporarily until they can be screwed together

Measuring Tape

Used to measure width and height of cupboards

Marking Pencil

Used to mark locations for screw holes or stud locations

Make sure to have all the above items on hand prior to starting the install. There is nothing more frustrating than beginning an involved project only to have to stop and make a run for a tool that should have already been on hand.

How to Buy Kitchen Cupboard Installation Items on eBay

Once you have made the decision to upgrade your kitchen by installing a new set of kitchen cupboards, the next step is to find and purchase the specific items you will need using the powerful search tools available on eBay. Go to the eBay homepage and enter a keyword such as "kitchen cupboards" into the search box. A number of different auctions will be displayed that contain references to that particular keyword. You can search through each auction until you find the specific product you are looking for, or you can select one or more of the various categories, which will refine the search and narrow the results down to only auctions that relate to that keyword. To be even more direct, you can enter a very specific keyword such as "kitchen cupboard hinges", which will return a much narrower list of items related to the original keyword.

After you have found the items you will need to install your cupboards, make sure to verify the seller’s feedback rating. The eBay community rates sellers on their performance using feedback provided by people who buy from them. Sellers who maintain consistently good feedback can be trusted to conduct their transactions with honesty and professionalism.


While installing new kitchen cupboards might not be a task that everyone will be comfortable trying, there are many homeowners who are willing to try it for themselves in order to save a considerable amount of money over having a professional do it for them. As long as homeowners take their time throughout the process and make sure that they plan each step out prior to moving forward, they can usually achieve their desired results. Selecting the proper cupboards to install is the first step, and getting this part right will set the tone for the rest of the install. If changes to the layout are to be made, make them well in advance of selecting the cupboards.

The next vital step in having all the proper tools and items on hand to complete the job so it can accomplished without having to stop and go get a tool that was forgotten. Measuring and then re-measuring prior to beginning the install is crucial to making sure everything is level, plumb, and square. This will ensure that all the cupboards fit together properly and the end result will be a kitchen that is both functional and an inviting place to be in.

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