Advice for a ‘DIY’ kitchen installation
Now you have measured, planned, ordered and received your kitchen or laundry cabinets, the next step to install your cabinets to your planned design.
There are some tools you will need for your installation, they are as follows,
- Power Drill and Impact Driver. Ideally, it makes it easier to have both, so you can drill and drive in screws, in two easy steps, without changing bits. Power tools with 18V or higher batteries work best.
- Square Drive #2 is easier to use with Impact Drivers as they provide more positive engagement. You will need 28mm and 50mm at a minimum in 8-gauge thread. Try also to get the self-sinking ones, shown generally on the packing as “CSK”
- Holesaw set, 35mm and 50mm at a minimum. The sharper, the cleaner the cut.
- You will need a level. If possible, have a 600mm and 1200mm (or close to) length, one can check your front to back level, while the other can span a few cabinets at once, making the process easier.
- You will likely need a Jigsaw and Planner. We recommend wood blades for the Jigsaw, check the direction as well, as you can cut up and down. With the Planner, generally, a power cord version is better, some 18V battery versions are ok for a few planned panels.
- A Circular Saw is also very helpful; however, a Jigsaw is fine.
- Various hand tools, like a Tape Measure, Square, Pencil,Screwdriver (Pozi #2) for hardware adjustments, don’t use your Impact Driver. A Hammer and Clamps can also be useful. A cutting bench is also very handy, on top of the cabinets works fine, just don’t cut through them!
The first thing to do is unwrap your cabinets and panels. Be sure to notify us of any damage within 24-48 hours, so we can work with the relevant parties to ensure your claim is processed quickly.
The next step is to find the floors low point. From here, on the wall, we need to mark the cabinets finished height, typically 880mm. From this mark take your long level and mark a level straight line around the room where the cabinets will sit. Now we have a guide for cabinet height setup. Now if you are using Laminate flooring that will go around the kitchen, not under, you can add the height of this finished flooring to the height of the cabinets. If the floor is 12mm, then the cabinet height will be 892mm. If you fit your panels after, this makes for a neater install as there are no floor expansion gaps to hide. This is the same process for all flooring going around the kitchen. If the floor goes all the way under, then you are already working on the finished floor, so there is no need to add height.
If your layout has a corner, we start here for the first cabinet. Starting in the corner makes it easier, as you get to work outwards, following your plan. Take time to ensure your first cabinet in step up well, nice and square and level to your marks. If you need to pull the cabinet slightly from the wall as the wall is not square, you can plane the 10mm void in the rear of the cabinet. This will ensure your panels are still the right depth when you come to fit them. Tip, each full revolution of the adjustable leg is 5mm in height, so it is very easy to get the cabinet millimetre perfect.
Check your front to back levels as well, you don’t want water sitting in one spot in your sink, as it’s not level. You can cut the filler panels later for blind corners, this gives you the chance to slightly move cabinets if you need to along the way, without having to replace your already cut panel if it is too short.
Once the first cabinet is in, from here it really is only a matter of repeating the same process for each remaining cabinet. Remembering to leave gaps where required for your appliances (including panels) if free-standing and considering things like benchtop overhangs if marking out a free-standing Stove. You will also need to add in the Tall Panels when required, these are against visible Tall Cabinet sides. Tip cut the panels that sit along the toe kick line to the cabinet height so that the toe kick can run all the way through uninterrupted. It makes for a nicer looking, more professional finished installation.
You will need to screw with your 28mm screws, each cabinet together. Tips like screwing behind hinge mounts and in the top corners of the cabinets, make for a cleaner looking cabinet inside. Remember you only need to screw cabinets together from one side, not from both, so chose the less visible side. Cover your self- sunk screw heads with “White Stick-On Cover Caps”.
You will at some stage with your Holesaw, cut the penetrations for waste pipes, water pipes and power points. A tip here, mark the centres on the back of the cabinet with the legs on, at a level height. This ensures what you see on the wall, is being repeated exactly on the back of your cabinet. Cut half-way through from the back, then finished off from the inside of your cabinet. This gives you a nice clean cut.
Continually check your levels in all directions, it is easier to fix a few cabinets than a lot of cabinets. Two minutes spent here will save you hours of frustration if you need to adjust.
Now you have a fully installed base/tall kitchen cabinet area. From here we need to screw the area of cabinets back to the wall. Using your 50mm screws, pre-drill a hole in the cabinet back, in line with the fixing found in your walls. This is in most cases is 800mm in height up from the ground. A stud finder is a handy tool for this. Screw the cabinet back, you only need to tack it in place, as it really isn’t going anywhere. Repeat this process for each cabinet. If you can only find a few fixings throughout the entire kitchen, this should be ok. Tip if you have a packer (likely 10mm), place it behind the cabinet back when screwing it to the wall, it will stop the back pulling into the wall.
Next step, if you can finish off any panels along the base/tall cabinet install do so now. If not, you can move to the Wall Cabinets if you have them.
Fitting panels is easy. Panels fit generally only on the outsides of exposed cabinet sides, like the ends of a cabinet run. They form dishwasher and Stove gaps and help to create fridge spaces. They are also used as “Under Panels” and backs of Islands. To fit a panel, you will need to drill a pilot hole (3mm) through your cabinet. Then taking your 28mm Woodscrews, screw the panel to the cabinet. You ideally need 4 screws per panel.
Wall Cabinets, marking on the wall, the height you have designed them to sit at from the top of your base cabinet install. Remember to add in your benchtop thickness and if you are using under panels this thickness as well. You will also need to add in the height of any door overhang you have as well. Generally, the Wall Cabinets will sit at the same height the Tall Cabinets have been installed to. In short, the top of the cabinets will align.
Once you have worked out the height the cabinets will sit at, take your long level and mark a straight level line along the wall where the cabinets will sit. Now we have a height install line. Locate your fixings in the wall and as we did with the waste pipes, water pipes and power points, we need to transfer these markings to the cabinet back. Once the markings have been transferred, drill your 3mm pilot hole all the way through the back.
Now you are ready to hang the cabinet and it will be made easier as we have the located fixings, already set to screw into. You will likely need a second person to hold the cabinet whilst you screw it to the wall. Take your 50mm Woodscrews and screw the cabinet to the wall. Then with your 28mm Woodscrews, the same as we did with the base/tall cabinets, we need to screw these together as well. Repeat the process for all wall cabinets, making sure to checks your levels as you go.
Once all the cabinets and panels have been installed, you will have the toe kicks only to finish off. The toe kicks may need to be “scribed” to the floor line. Scribing means replicating the flow of the floor line to the toe kick panel and with your Planner, you plane the line you created. This then shapes the toe kick to the floor and makes for a perfect fit.
After you have scribed the toe kick, you need to fix it in position. Take the provided toe kick clip, and lining up the legs on your cabinets, mark the centres of the legs on the back of your toe kick panel. You don’t need to fit clips to every leg, just a few along the full length of the panel. Fasten the clip to the panel with the screws provided. Now clip the toe kick in position.
The last step is to seal the cabinet panels and toe kicks to the floor. You are creating a moisture seal along the panels to stop water penetrating. For this, you will need a Tube of Silicon (determine the colour), a Corking Gun and to help get a perfect finish, we recommend a Silicone Tool.