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DIYer’s Guide: How To Install Frameless Cabinets

Sep 21, 2021
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There are many DIY projects you can do at home if you’re willing to put in the effort. For example, frameless cabinets are a perfect DIY project, though it does require careful preparation. Before embarking on the project, use this DIYer’s guide to learn how to install frameless cabinets successfully.

Old Cabinet Removal & Paint Tips

Thankfully, the first step is as simple as it sounds. To install new cabinets, you’ll have to tear the old ones out. However, if you plan on painting your kitchen walls, you should do so before installing your new cabinets. Understandably, some people might assume painting after the installation makes more sense. After all, the paint might sustain damage during installation, right?

Luckily, unless you recklessly install kitchen cabinets, your walls shouldn’t sustain damage during the process. If anything, the cabinets will boost the kitchen’s appearance exponentially. On the other hand, painting post-cabinet installation raises the chances of accidentally getting paint on your new décor.

Of course, you can use masking tape to protect your new cabinets during post-installation paint jobs. That said, if you can do it beforehand, the whole process can move much smoother. Similarly, if you’re redoing the flooring and plan to install base molding on the cabinets, get your floor project done beforehand.

New Cabinet Inspection

Suffice it to say, installing cabinets and then discovering issues with the product is a stressful, annoying situation. So, conduct a full inspection to ensure your cabinet design is correct and all components are intact. This step also gives you a chance to set components aside, organizing everything to make installation as efficient as possible. In addition, you can remove your old kitchen cabinets before the inspection or after, whichever is more convenient for you.

Kitchen Wall Inspection & Measurements

Before installing your new cabinets, a wall inspection is in order. For this task, you’ll need a level tool and a pencil. Using your tools, check the walls for plumb levels. Next, use your pencil to mark high spots on the wall. If necessary, you can shim cabinets to make them plumb and cozy on the wall space.

Likewise, check your floor for any high points, as these are crucial to kitchen cabinet installation. Surprisingly, installing kitchen cabinets requires more than working with walls. Additionally, grab a stud finder before proceeding. Once you have the device, start searching for studs on your walls, marking them with your pencil along the way.

Then, starting with the designated high spot on your floor, begin measuring the height at which you plan on installing the cabinets. More specifically, mark all the way up to where the top of your cabinets should be. Typically, this mark will be 34 ½ inches above the designated highest mark on the floor.

Mapping Out Your Kitchen

Next, use your pencil to mark the line from the floor to your cabinets. Thus, officially begins your kitchen cabinet outline. Begin by marking the dimensions of your cabinets on the walls, measuring the new cabinets to ensure accuracy. Likewise, mark your walls with outlines of any additional appliances, such as the dishwasher, stove, or fridge. That way, you can accommodate your cabinets comfortably or make any additional changes beforehand. Like your cabinets, make sure you have accurate measurements of all appliances to help with installing the cabinets precisely.

Installing the Lower Corner Cabinets

The first part of the official installation process begins with the corner cabinets. So, bring the cabinets over to the corner you want to start from. Additionally, remove any cabinet doors beforehand to make movement easier. Before grabbing the power tools, set the cabinets up against the walls and ensure they’re level with your previous markings. During this stage, you can conduct any necessary shimming. As long as the cabinets are level with your predetermined measurements, you’re in good hands.

If the levels look good, mark the stud locations on the back panel inside your cabinet so you can properly secure them to the wall. When the stud markings are ready, begin fastening the cabinets to the wall using screws and a drill. To be safe, check that your cabinets are level after drilling them into the wall.

Connecting Your Lower Cabinets

With our first corner cabinet out of the way, let’s move onto the cabinet directly beside it. Whether you want to start working from the left or right is entirely up to you. Either way, set up your next cabinet beside the corner piece, making adjustments until both cabinet faces align perfectly. Once both cabinets align, pull them closer together using suitable clamps.

Next, you can drill evenly spaced holes in the side of the cabinet faces. Typically, you only need a few holes to connect the cabinets, but feel free to ask your manufacturer for their recommendation because their word is invaluable to such projects.

Finally, install the screws in their designated holes and check cabinet levels once more. Conduct this same procedure for all additional lower cabinets. That said, don’t forget to accommodate appliances when necessary.

Hanging Wall Cabinets

Your lower cabinets are officially out of the way, so let’s move onto the upper wall cabinets. Thankfully, this process isn’t too dissimilar from installing the lower cabinets. For instance, you’ll begin by installing the corner cabinet. To prevent misaligning the upper and lower cabinets, be sure to mark wall cabinet dimensions and use them as a guiding light. When the corner cabinets are in place, use the same principle as the lower cabinets to connect the upper set securely, connecting them through holes in the face panel.

The Final Steps

If you want to install molding, screw the support strip into the top of your cabinets. This step is simple and only requires you to nail to screw to the support strip atop your upper cabinets. Then, cut your molding to the proper length so it fits on the support area perfectly. When the molding is ready, attach it to the strip with silicone adhesive and sturdy nails.

After installing the top layer, you can move to the cabinet base molding, which only requires cutting the molding to size, aligning it, and nailing it into the cabinet base. Now, with your moldings out of the way, put the cabinet doors and knobs in place, and you’re ready to go.

Concluding the Research

Now that you know how to install frameless cabinets, you can avoid making annoying, avoidable mistakes during the project. As you can see, a lot goes into this project, but it’s far from an impossible task. So, when you’re ready, find the perfect custom frameless cabinets for your space and start preparing for the project, using the guide above for tips whenever necessary.

DIYer’s Guide: How To Install Frameless Cabinets

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