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If you want to install the base cabinets first, you must take care but it is generally recognised as the best approach. Most unwanted problems, such as uneven walls and floors, usually show up when trying to install the base cabinets. For the kitchen in question, I start with a straightforward corner cabinet. I traced the stud locations on to the back of the units and drilled screw holes through each outlined stud mark. Following this I placed the cabinet in the corner and used shims of wood to make sure it was plumb with the wall. Once I was sure that the cabinet was completely level, I drove 2 Ĺ inch screws through each hole. When it comes to choosing a type of screw to use for this sort of installation, you have many options but I would stay clear of dry-wall screws.
Once the corner cabinet is secure, drill the stud holes for the cabinet to the left and then shim it into place. Next join the two cabinets together using clamps after you have made sure the tops, sides and bottoms of the units line-up with each other. If the units do not line up perfectly use small slithers of wood to leverage the units into place. Once you are satisfied that the cabinets are perfectly level, secure them together by driving 2 Ĺ inch screws through the pre-drilled holes. This particular installation had a full sized oven/cooker as part of the solution which needed to be accounted for when fitting the cabinets. To achieve this I built a frame using two by fours to represent the exact dimensions of the oven and then clamped the other units to the frame.
Assembling the Fridge Cabinet
The fridge cabinet I needed to install had to be built from factory supplied parts. First off I set the overhead cabinet on its side, before I positioned one side panel on the overhead cabinet. Once I had lined up the top and front edges, I drove screws through the panel, into the cabinet. Once this has been complete, I carefully flip the unit over and install the opposite side panel using the same approach. Fridge cabinet units tend to be deeper than other kitchen units, so be careful to allow for this difference during installation. I levelled and plumbed the cabinet in the same way as the other cabinets and then secured the left side of the side into the adjoining cabinets.
More on Cabinet Installation
The kitchen I discussed in the previous article had an additional two cabinet runs, an island and units along an external wall which was to house the kitchen sink and utility appliances. It was essential that the base of the sink fitted over the floor heater, running along the toe-kick. The sink itself was an abnormal shape to what I am used to fitting, so I decided to build the base from the sink manufacturer parts.
To begin with I built the toe-kick using the stock wood supplied by the manufacturer, cutting it to the size that would let it fit over the vent. It was a few millimetres taller than what I am used to but the difference would not be visible when the kitchen is fully fitted. Once I left the appropriate gap for the vent, I made sure the base was level and fitted directly under the window. Next I installed the base unit, followed shortly by the sides which had their front corners cut to match the height of the toe-kick. Due to the fact the sink base is being built from parts, I didnít have to drill any holes for the plumbing or electrical services. When I did need to bore holes, I bore halfway through from the backside before finishing the hole from the front. The last step in the process was to install the finished front, which was then glued to the side pieces. Once the countertop was laid, it was impossible to tell that the cabinet was in fact built on the job.
The sink base was of fixed width, so it was straight forward to mark out the dimensions, centring it on the window. It is important to make sure all the clearance specifications are correct and that there was sufficient room either side of the sink for the appliances. The cabinet that runs a long side the trash compactor had a filter that cut into the unit, so it was necessary to scribe the cabinet so it fit flush.
I canít say this was the easiest set of cabinets I have ever fitted but Iíve always loved a challenge and this was certainly a challenge. This one is maybe not for amateurs, as I had to use all my know how as a kitchen fitter to get the job done. If you find yourself stuck, donít hesitate to e-mail me and I will advise you as best I can.