Any Hints/Tips for Installing Cabinets

Old 09-30-05, 10:48 AM
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Question Any Hints/Tips for Installing Cabinets

I am finally installing my new cherry cabinets. I am just looking for any hints/tips/tricks of the trade that will make the job go easier and look more professional.

Also, I am installing a heated ceramic tile floor in the kitchen. I read that the flooring is usually installed before the cabinets, but that seems counter-intuitive. Can anyone tell me why the floor is to be done first?

Old 09-30-05, 01:18 PM
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For your upper cabinets...

Locate your studs before you start the install... mark them with a pencil on the wall, just above the height of the new cabinets.. Makes drilling the hole to hang the cabinets a lot less risky.

screw a level 1X at the height of the cabinets - running the length of the install.. Not only does it give you something to rest your cabinets on while lining them up.. it keeps them all level and at the same height. Remove and patch the holes when done.

Attach the cabinets to each other as you go, rather than after they're all hung... (long screws through the front face board)

Get help - those things are heavy when you're working one handed (one for the cabinet, one for the drill/screws/screwdriver)

Cabinets first.. then floor
Old 09-30-05, 08:01 PM
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This will emphasize what thezster is describing.

I must recommend that you read the following to understand what you are doing and the reasons why.

Apply only what pertains to your project.

I wrote this and this has saved many a headache!

Kitchen Remodeling - This is pertaining to a complete gut out, to a kitchen layout different than existing and it can be applied to partial remodel as well. If partial, just delete the steps that you don’t find necessary. This will include floor removal.
It should be noted that this is my way but if you are hiring a contractor, they may alter how they do things. The key is to get the desired end result regardless of how they do it but scheduling and ensuring that products arrive on site in “good” condition is critical. Nothing worse than delays in getting products replaced due to damage via shipping or installation.

I will say that in a kitchen remodel, all the designs should have been done and cabinets should be ordered and “on-site” prior to starting the steps below. Now I know that some will say, well I don’t know how much room I have for my countertops, appliances, etc. My answer to that is if you plan ahead and are committed to this project, the homeowner, architect, designer or general contractor will ensure that they have the correct measurements. They will take into account that new drywall is going in and that 1/8” - 1/4” difference will not make the project a disaster. This means that they may make a hole in a wall or two to acquire the necessary measurements. If you are not committed to the project, and don’t want a hole made, don’t do the project. I have witnessed some major delays such as prematurely gutting the kitchen out then get a cabinet rep out to take measurements and wait 4-6 weeks for cabinets to arrive! Does this idea interest you?

1. Once you have plans available, get a Building Permit (allot of folks don’t but it’s your choice) Just don’t call me when a Building Inspector shows up!
2. Rent a trash bin (container) you’re going to need something to place all your trash in! Call for this to be delivered when you are ready to start the demolition.
3. Apply 4 or 6 mil poly to all entries into the kitchen. Use painters tape or duct tape to provide some dust control.
4. Stuff batt insulation or towels into all cold air returns and heat registers within the kitchen. You do not want the dust to travel throughout the home.
5. Now that this is done you can start by;
Shutting off circuit breakers to kitchen - use an outlet tester to ensure that all power is off.
Shut off all water supply lines to kitchen
if you have an ice maker and/or water dispenser on your refrigerator, shut this line off.
6. Move all appliances and plug in refrigerator in a convenient location.
7. Remove all plumbing fixtures, countertops then base and upper cabinets.
8. Remove all existing drywall/plaster down to studs and flooring down to subfloor. Your ceiling may be optional.
9. Clean up time - there is going to be a mess and this will take some time.
10. Now is the time for the getting the ROUGH-IN’S done. It should be done in this order;
Electrician (if additional or relocation's must be made)
Plumber (if relocation's are to be done)
HVAC (if relocation's must be done)
Insulation (if required)
(Don’t forget to have the above inspected)
11. Painting - Don’t forget the ceiling - nothing is in your way to do it right!

12. Flooring - Now here is the part that is always in debate but as I mentioned, this is my way. Underlayment can be installed once the painting is done if installing vinyl sheet flooring but this flooring can be installed near the end of the project. I would say that now is a good time to Paint (Granted, the walls may require touch up but that is minimal) I prefer to get flooring installed now like hardwoods and ceramics.

EXCPETION TO THIS RULE: This does not apply to “floating floors” however. These (floating floors) should be installed AFTER cabinets are installed.

This allows for expansion and contraction and trust me, they do! If cabinets are sitting on top, you will see buckles in some areas that will look terrible and cause problems. Floor replacement will be necessary if it expands too much as the edges can't move. I'm sure your flooring installer has mentioned this. That is why it is called a "floating floor".

Hardwood floors will have to be sanded and finished once cabinets are in.

Ceramics placed on top of cement backer boards or placed on a mortar bed base will be essential. The reason is dishwashers. Dishwashers do not have the ability to be adjusted low enough to a level that would fit under most countertops when properly placed on cabinets. Yes, you can install the dishwasher before installing the countertops, then what? The problem being the placement of the finish floors after the fact make installation, replacement or repair impossible without damaging the finish floor. The point here is to “plan ahead” for the flooring installation and how to protect it during the remaining remodeling process. I have used drop cloths, then placed 1/4” underlayment on top of the cloths. In some cases I have added additional drop cloths over the top of the underlayment. The additional expense doesn’t outweigh the cost to replace flooring. The key is to protect what you have done. The second point here is installing your base trim and casing. If the flooring was installed properly, the application of all your moldings will be easy. True, I have seen the trim installed before final flooring but I have also seen that they are not at the right location and here comes the caulk to “make it look good".

13. Install the cabinets (leave doors off) Wall cabinets first, and then base cabinets.
14. Install the appliances (If you have built-ins double check your measurements)
15. Install the countertops.(depending on what you have done here, time delays will be unavoidable - laminates may take a week or 2, solid surface possible 2 or more weeks and granite can be 2 - 5 weeks.
16. Install the sink/faucets
17. Install all remaining electrical issues light fixtures, including low voltage to cabinets.
18. Install door and base moldings
19. Remove all floor protections and finish if applicable.
19. Install doors, hardware, cabinet trim
20. Apply touch up paint as needed.
21. CLEAN UP TIME! and final inspection.

Hope this helps!
Old 09-30-05, 08:13 PM
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The cabinets first.

For several very important reasons.

Cabinets, both custom as well as bag-n-box have a 4" toekick as a standard configuration. Custom cabinets can be ordered with a 5" toekick.When installing bag-n-box it is customery to raise the cabinets up by first placeing 1x or 3/4" plywood in the "footprint" of the base cabinets, on the floor. This also provides the necessary height as well as a platform for the under counter appliances such as DW and trash compactors.

That being said, and assuming the standard 18" free space above the counter. set the cleat at 55" above the floor.

Hang the uppers first.

Cut a 1x3 cross grain in a slight wedge shape to act as shims.

Make sure that your corners are square, that the cabinets are level and the face frames are alined over their length.
Old 10-02-05, 08:17 PM
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As indicated, installing floors before or after cabinets is an ongoing debate. Most tend to recommend floors first because tile and solid hardwood can lock dishwasher in so that it can not be removed for repair without removing countertop. Some dishwashers have adjustable legs that will allow for removal. Too, if tile or hardwood are beneath cabinets, should the kitchen design ever change you will not be limited to replacing cabinets exactly back in the same place.
Old 10-10-05, 03:18 PM
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We just finished installing our own custom made cherry cabinets. We chose not to put the flooring in first because it is vinyl. The job was much easier than I expected. I did a lot of research on the web and at the library, so I was well prepared for the task. I used cabinet claws to hold the cabinets together and they keep the faces flush while you drill and screw them together.The only cumbersome part was aligning the doors and putting the pulls and knobs on. The only tip I can give you that hasn't been mentioned is have a good plan, layout, take your time and think ahead before you proceed. We installed four base cabinets and seven wall cabinets and did it over a period of two and a half days. The extra time we took to do the task has paid off in quality.

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