Remodel for less with modular cabinets

Installation tips for a perfect fit

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Oct. 21, 2011

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The lower cabinets are installed in much the same manner. Begin with a corner cabinet, especially if you have a Lazy Susan. Make sure the corner cabinet is shimmed so that it's plumb and level in both directions. Next, set the first cabinets in place that are immediately adjacent to the left and right of the corner cabinet.

Clamp and then screw the face frames together. This will give you a long corner assembly to work from in the corner, which will help you align the corner accurately.

From there, work out in each direction to complete the runs. As with the upper cabinets, calculate the overall length of the run, and make up any odd inches with fillers, dividing them up so that they give the best overall appearance.

At the sink, you have two choices. You can carefully measure for each one of the pipes, and drill the necessary holes to accommodate the plumbing. Or you can cut a large, square hole in the back of the cabinet that will accommodate all of the plumbing at once, which makes installation easier; keep the hole symmetrical to the overall size of the cabinet for best appearance.

As you install the lower cabinets, constantly check and adjust them for plumb along the faces and level along the tops by adding shims under and behind the cabinets. Screw the cabinets loosely to the wall studs as you go, and use the screws and the shims to make final adjustments to the run before tightening everything down.

Complete the installation

The last step in the installation is to install any accessory items, such as roll-out drawers, wine racks and the like. Install crown moldings, toe kick covers and other trim, and then remount the doors. Most modular cabinets have hinge systems that adjust in three planes -- vertically, diagonally, and in and out -- so your very last step will be to carefully adjust all the doors for even alignment and smooth operation.

Remodeling and repair questions? Email Paul at All product reviews are based on the author's actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers.

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