Quick Guide To Installing Kitchen Cabinets

by Editor on May 13, 2013


Most people seem to start at the top and work downwards when fitting new kitchen cabinets. If this is comfortable then carry on that way. However, there is another way (or two) that you can try.

Could There be Another Way?

Have you thought about starting by installing the lower cupboards first?

The single hardest thing about fitting kitchen cabinets is getting the levels right.  Starting from the bottom makes this easier.

You can ensure there is sufficient space for your appliances.

Good Reasons to Do the Top Cabinets First

It will be a little easier to hold the upper cabinets in place

You won’t risk scratching your new worktop

There is no issue if you drop a screw driver or a tool onto the newly installed bottom cabinets.

You can shunt the cupboards upwards if necessary

Why You Shouldn’t Install the Top Ones First

Sometimes you might find that your cabinets are not quite placed right and need to be moved a little.  If you install the top cabinets first, they will already be fixed in place. You won’t know where your base cupboards are going to finish up and your calculations may be off.

If this is the case you will have to remove the upper cabinets again. You must also be careful not to remove a lot  from the bases if you have made a mistake. Large appliances, such as dish washers, need a certain amount of room.  You could cut a little off the top and use edging to hide it or reduce the amount of space that is available between the worktop and the top cabinets.

Do you have storage for your appliances?  These are often installed as the last part and, if your measurements are out they won’t fit. You could end up having to remove the uppers and then reinstall them at the end, wasting time and effort.

How do You Keep Those Base Cupboards and Worktops Safe?

If you are worried about damaging your lower cabinets while fitting the top ones, simply lay a blanket over the top of them. You also gain extra workspace while you are fitting the top ones.

Hire or Buy a T-Jak, Or Similar

It’s worth investing in a T-Jak or something similar.  These are handy to help you hold the top cabinets up. If you not wanting to buy one, see if you can rent one.

Even if you find it hard getting hold of one, you should still consider starting with the base cabinets first.  You could always get someone to help you with the top ones.

These are a few of the essential things you need to think about.

List of Essential Items for Installing Your Cabinets

An accurate level

Pencils, tape measure/measuring device.

Something to cover you floor, worktop and base cabinets

Drill, drill bits

Electric screw driver and bits


Extension leads

Stud finding tool


Sanding tool

Vacuum Cleaner

Wood to fix to the base tops to install the worktop onto.

T-Jak or something similar

Nail and staple guns

Mini air compressor


Tools You Might Want to Have at Hand

Electric saw with blades

Planing machine


Wood putty

Laser level

About the Author

Jay Martins is a Kitchen Cabinet Specialist and a writer that blogs regularly on topics relating to Kitchen Cabinetry New Jersey and Home Remodeling Projects.

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