Created by Cabinets On Demand -Jan 2008


How to Install Cabinets

With our ‘custom-sized’ cabinets now available for purchase from our web site , "Do-It-Yourself" installation is now easier than ever. This can still be a big job, depending on how many cabinets are required and the complexity of your individual job. Allow enough time to do it to get it right, don’t try to rush through it! You may also want to get help from a friend with the bigger cabinets or wall cabinets. I you take extra care to line things up correctly, you can proceed with confidence and your final result will look and work much better.



  1. Make your decision to replace the entire cabinets, replace some, add new cabinets or just replace the doors & panels.
      1. If your existing cabinets fit your space well enough and you just want to freshen up the look of your kitchen, don't rule out refacing. This option is likely to be less costly than replacing the entire cabinetry, but won’t ever look or perform as well as new cabinets (as the existing cabinets may have been installed incorrectly or may have sagged or bowed). Refacing is replacing just the fronts of your cabinets, the doors and, if necessary, the fascias just behind or beside them. The cabinet itself stays where it is. We recommend that you replace the cabinetry, as the fit & final result will be much better, however if you do decide to just replaced the doors and panels, you will have to carefully measure each and every part you need and make sure that you can remove the fascias and/or panels that you want to replace. You will also usually have to replace the door hardware which can be trickier than installing the average Flat-pack cabinet.
      2. Should you want to keep some cabinets and replace others, this needs special care and attention, as to try and match any existing cabinet is much harder than starting the whole process from scratch. Very careful attention to detail is required with this approach. It can be done, but is typically handled by a Trade Professional.
      3. Adding additional cabinets, for example, adding a row of wall cabinets above an existing set of base cabinets is possible, but again extra attention to detail is required, as to try and match an existing colour can be a difficult process. Sometimes it’s easier and better to select a completely different colour.
  2. Carefully measure and plan your space. If you just want to replace your existing cabinets with new ones, you can use the existing cabinets as a ‘pattern’ to duplicate, or as is normal, you may prefer to create an entire new layout to better suit your purposes. Because our Flat-pack cabinetry is ‘custom sized’ creating a new layout has never been easier, as you can specify the exact size (to the ‘mm) that you need. Don’t think that buying a ‘modular set-size’ is cheaper than our ‘Customised size’, because with the introduction of parametric computer software, this is no longer a problem. Instead of having to rent out a huge warehouse to store all the modular sizes (and having hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in stock), our factories need only be small in comparison and with the new computer software, or run-to-order system is very efficient, takes up less space and doesn’t need to hold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock. Our website also has a ‘standard’ sizing guide to assist you.


  1. Draw a layout of your cabinet plans. It doesn't need to look like something an architect would draw, but it should be enough to give you an idea of how everything will line up and fit together.
      1. Check the cabinet heights, especially for upper wall cabinets. If you are especially tall or short, check how far up you can comfortably reach and design your cabinets around this. Upper cabinets should be designed to have an empty space between the top of the cabinet and the underside of your ceiling then filled with a headboard, cut to suit the variations in your ceiling, or alternatively, leave the top open. If you want to leave the top open, we suggest leaving an open space of about 300mm.
      2. If some of your cabinets will go over a sink or stove top, make sure to allow space underneath it for working, an idea might be to attach a light here. If you are installing Rangehood, then typically this will have a light already in it.
      3. Check how your range hood will fit with the upper cabinets above the stove. There are hundreds of Rangehoods out there and not all of them will suit your purpose.
      4. Most systems have special cabinets to go under the sink, in corners, and in other special locations. Learn how these work and incorporate them into your layout. For example, if you want a sink cabinet, then just use the ‘Special requests’ section on that individual product to say “This cabinet is a Sink Cabinet”. Keep any messages short and to the point, as this will aid us in understanding what you need better.
      5. Check that upper cabinets line up appropriately with lower cabinets, and allow for windows, door jambs, exposed roof beams, air conditioners, or any other features you may have in yours walls.
      6. Consider how you wish to use your cabinetry. Does your layout make sense for you?
  2. Obtain all your materials and supplies for the project. Make a list. Don't forget that you need to provide the screws/fixtures to mount the cabinets to the walls.
  3. Remove the old cabinets, if there were any. At the back of the old cabinets, you will generally find screws or nails holding them into the walls, these all need to be removed from the wall.
      1. Empty the cabinets completely first. It is much easier to work inside them and remove them without loose stuff rattling around inside.
      2. Remove the doors and shelves before unscrewing the cabinets from the walls. Most shelves simply lift off of pegs; some may need to be unscrewed or pried off their supports. In either case, it will help to have them out of your way.
      3. Make certain that you support the upper cabinets somehow as you remove the screws that support them. If the upper cabinets are a one-piece unit, you may have to separate them to avoid damaging adjacent walls, since there will be no room to turn them as you bring them down.
      4. Safety first! Avoid accidents by removing things carefully; don’t rush into it, as you can have parts and pieces coming off every which way! A good tip is to use a pair of safety glasses, to avoid anything damaging your eyes when you remove your cabinetry.


  1. Don’t Paint the room or replace the flooring until after the cabinetry is installed! You may think that it’s easier to do this what the cabinets are not there, but you may risk damaging the walls or floor in the installation process. Paint is easy enough to repair, but in some cases flooring isn’t! If you will install solid wood, floating floor, tiled, cork or slate floors, consider the thickness of the floor material when you are working out the height of your cabinets. For example, if you wanted a bench top height of 915mm and your flooring was 15mm thick, then you would be ordering your cabinetry at 930mm high (to give you a finished height of 915mm). NOTE: As your floor will not be level, at least at one point in your kitchen, laundry or what ever will be the height you want, the rest will be a gradual decrease in this height, depending upon the level of your floor.
  2. Assemble the cabinets, but do not put the doors on yet. Our Flat-pack cabinets do come with a set of general instructions and mostly go together just like a kit bookcase, some cabinets (like a Wall Oven Tower), are a bit more involved. Take the time to make sure that the cabinets are assembled as securely, squarely and evenly as you can. If the cabinets are out of alignment, the door adjustment will not work correctly.
  3. Install any base corner cabinets first, then any adjoining base cabinetry and so on. Leave all the Upper Wall cabinetry until last. Typically in the Design process, as you are working out which cabinet go where, there will be a logical ‘start’ point –It can be helpful to note this on your plan.
  4. Use a stud finder to locate and mark the locations of the studs in your walls. Since the new cabinets will conceal the wall after they are installed (i.e.: Have solid backs), you can simply tap a small nail through the plasterboard it to locate the centre of the studs. When you have found one, measure either 450 or 600mm’s to find other studs in your wall, since these are typical stud spacing. Check each ‘assumed’ stud location to ensure there is actually one there. Once you have the studs located, you can use a level to draw a line up the wall to use these locations for any upper cabinets that you may need.
  5. For the Base cabinets bring in the cabinets, put the plastic adjustable legs on adjust them to the height of the kickboard that you have ordered, then set them into place, typically starting from a corner (if any) and working out form there.
      1. If you have any sink pipes, electrical wires or the like coming through the wall or floor where the cabinet is to go, you need to carefully mark out the position of these and cut them in ether the back of the cabinet or the base.
      2. You can start the leveling process. As you have already pre-set the adjustable legs at the desired height, you need to find the lowest point and this is your starting point. This can be found using a sprit level or a laser level. You simply work around the cabinets, adjusting the legs until they are level both in the length and depth of the cabinet. Spend so time here getting it right and also do a final check, as if you have this part very level, the rest of the process will flow much more smoothly for you.
      3. Now measure and mark the locations of your studs on the backs of the cabinet in pencil, drill them and fix them to the wall. If you have any tall base cabinets at the end (example would be a Pantry or Wall Oven Tower), then you would put this in place and adjust the legs to suit its adjoining cabinet.

  1. Test fit the bench top. Cut it to length if required -You may need to cut the bench top slightly shorter than the distance between two walls to get the Benchtop in. It’s better to try to cut a little more off and test it, rather than cutting too much off. Then carefully mark out the location of the sink, cook top, vanity basin or what ever. If a template is supplied then use that. You can then caulk the ends after it is installed to seal off any small gap.
      1. For Postformed (laminate on particle board) bench top, you will get a better result cutting it to length with a "finish", or "plywood" jig saw blade, then using a planer finish off, rather than using a circular saw.
      2. A good idea is to masking tape where the jig saw is going, so that the jig saw won’t ‘scratch’ the laminated surface.
      3. Cutting with the countertop upside down will reduce chipping and spalling, but make sure you support the piece until the cut is complete.
      4. For cutting out a hole in the bench top, you will need to drill a starting holes (or holes) big enough that the jig saw blade fits easily into it, before you can start cutting.
      5. A tip is to seal all cut surfaces of postformed countertops before installing to prevent moisture from swelling the material later if your caulking fails to seal.
      6. Place the counter top on top of the lower cabinets. Screw it in from underneath, making sure that the screws you use are not so long that they will break through the material to the top!
      7. Apply clear (or white) mould resistant silicone around the sink/vanity basin cutout and then lower into place. Adjust the final fit and location, and then secure it into place (if brackets are supplied). Apply a final neat bead of silicone around the rim of the sink/vanity to finish. Stove tops are typically not required to be siliconed. Please refer to the appliance suppliers suggested installation procedure.
      8. Apply clear (or white) mould resistant silicone around the edges of the counter top and between the backsplash and the wall or the adjoining tall cabinet (ie: Pantry or Wall Oven Tower).


  1. Upper (Wall) cabinets are then installed. You would measure & mark up from the top base cabinets the underside of where you would like the upper cabinets to start. Then you would draw a level line (using your long level). This is the height location for the position of the upper cabinets. You can now cut a couple of props that will sit between the base & upper cabinets. Measure and mark the location of the studs on the back of the cabinet. Pre-drill these and have the screws and battery drill ready –Now you are ready to go. With the help of a friend, you can now lift the upper cabinet into position, using the props to stop it from falling down. Once the cabinet is level you are ready to fix it to the wall. We suggest using 2x 50mm screws (top & bottom) for each stud.
  2. To install the kickboards, you may need to plane them down to suit your floor. First you will need to roughly put them into there positions, then measure the heights and trim off what you don’t need. The kickboards are mitered together, so you will need a drop saw to cut these. The adjustable legs have plastic clips that are screwed to the kickboards; these in turn are clipped on the legs. Where any miters are these needs to be glued together –Tip: use masking tape to hold them together whilst the glue dries.
  3. To install the headboard (if one is required) you will need to roughly set the headboards out where they are to go. Measure and plane them down to suit the available space. Note: If cornice is to be applied later, you can leave the headboard 20mm lower. You are now ready to fit the headboards.
  4. Now that your cabinets are installed, you can now install the supplied cabinet hardware to the doors and drawer fronts and clip these on to the cabinets. Once you have these on, you are then ready to adjust the hinges and drawer fronts so that the doors hang properly.
  5. Bring in and reinstall any other appliances you removed during your remodeling project


1. Measure the space multiple times to make sure your layout is correct. Otherwise, you may find yourself installing cabinets that don't fit your kitchen.

2. Plan on having your kitchen out of service during a remodel such as this. You can cook on a camp stove (outdoors) or with a crock pot in another room or go out to eat for a while

3. Make sure that they are level

4. Secure them well to the wall and to each other

5. Get several quality levels of different lengths. As you are installing, check the level on as many axes as possible: along a run of cabinets, corner to corner, across appliance openings. Measuring the level during and after installation avoids starting over or problems after you start using the kitchen again. It's a good idea to check the level of the floor as well, especially for long cabinet runs. If the floor is uneven, draw a horizontal level line on the wall, and level your wall cabinets from this line.


1. Top cabinets need to be secured to studs so that they don't fall on people when fully loaded

2. Always lift safely and make sure the cabinets are supported as you work

3. Some stud finders locate such items as electrical conduits and piping behind walls, as well as studs. If this is a concern, get the sort of electronic stud finder that can distinguish

Things You'll Need

1. Several carpenters’ levels (of different lengths) or a laser level.

2. Clamps to hold cabinets together, before you screw them together). C-clamps will do the job, but there are many different types of clamps that will also work. Remember, the clamp is the only thing holding two cabinets together until you secure them to the wall and to each other

3. Stud finder

4. Door & drawer handles.

5. Any sinks, vanity basins, cook tops or other fixtures you will replace at the same time

6. Caulking (can usually be color-matched for the product you choose)

7. Clear, mould resistant silicone

8. Basic power & hand tools (battery drill, drill with a 5mm drill bit, hammer, jigsaw, electric planer).

9. Fixing hardware (screws or wall plugs or dyna-bolts – whatever you plan to fix the cabinets to the wall).








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