Monday, September 21, 2015

Hanging Kitchen (or any) Cabinets

One of the biggest problems that I see on those DIY shows is people working in kitchens, and other areas, is that they struggle to find the stud when hanging cabinets.  This results in hilarity on the part of the viewer, and frustration of the DiY'er.

If you are doing a complete renovation, including taking the walls down to the studs, the EASIEST way to hang cabinets is to install cleats on the top and bottom of where the cabinets are going to be hung.  Cleats also work for base cabinets as well.

The cleats should be flush with the studs, installed face side out.  This allows for approximately 3.5" of wood to install your cabinets to.   Before installation, make sure you measure the total height of your cabinets, with the top and bottom of the cleat to extend slightly above and below the height of the cabinet.  This will allow for multiple installation options for your cabinets. Be sure to allow 18" between the top your chosen countertop and the bottom of the upper cabinet.





When installing cleats, be sure to use the proper tool: either a pneumatic nailer (2.5" rimshank nails preferred), or a impact driver with 2.5" drywall screws.

Do NOT use a regular screw/drill gun.  This will not drive the screw through the last 1/4", and likely cause you to strip out the screw.

With our kitchen we didn't know if we wanted to extend the cabinetry to the left wall, or to use open shelving.  So, we put the cleats on as a future item in case we wanted cabinets.

It took an additional hour to install the upper cleats, mainly because the distance between the studs varied by about 3/4".  All were between 14" and 15", but made it difficult to bulk cut the cleats. each one had to be measured and cut separately.



We chose to hang the cabinets with the screws on the outside of the cabinet.  That allowed for near-invisible screws from a normal sight line. The screws are only visible looking underneath and above the cabinets.



After the cleats were installed and the drywall was hung and finished, installation of the cabinets were easy.  While shimming and leveling was still required, actual hanging was straightforward, leveraging upgraded cabinet screws (not included with the order), and just running them into the wall. No need to measure and guess where the stud was!