Installing base cabinets

1 PUT THE CORNER CABINET—IN THIS CASE, A BLIND CORNER CABINET—IN PUCE. (Leave a space between the cabinet and wall as required by the manufacturer.) Shim to align it with the top-of-cabinet line you drew on the wall. Check for level and plumb, and shim as necessary. You'll install a toe-kick later, which will cover the shims. The counter and cabinets will hide the other shims.

2 DRILL AND COUNTERSINK PILOT HOLES INTO THE BACK OF THE CORNER CABINET. Drill one hole at each stud, through any shims. Drive screws partway into the wall. Check for level again, shim as necessary, and drive the screws home.

LEAVE EXTRA ROOM FOR BLIND CABINETS - Don't be blindsided by blind corner cabinets. All are designed to sit away from the wall in order to keep the doors and drawers from hitting neighboring doors and drawers. Most require mounting some kind of spacer on the side. Read the manufacturer’s installation directions carefully. Because you removed the doors and drawers during installation, you usually don't realize you've made a mistake until you hang the doors. By then, you've usually installed the entire kitchen, and fixing the problem will require taking apart about half of it.

3 SET THE NEIGHBORING CABINET IN PLACE, install doors or drawers, and verify that they'll open. If necessary, attach a filler strip between the cabinets. You can usually order the fillers at the same time as your cabinets. Clamp the filler flush with the front of the cabinet. Drill and countersink pilot holes into the edge of the filler and screw the filler to the cabinet.

4 CHECK THE SECOND CABINET FOR LEVEL AND PLUMB, and shim at the floor or wall if necessary. You will now begin assembling the row of base cabinets, making any cutouts for plumbing or wiring, as in Step 5.

5 BEFORE YOU INSTALL THE SINK CABINET, DRILL AND CUT HOLES FOR ANY WIRING AND THE PIPES. Measure how far they are from the adjoining cabinet. Subtract the thickness of the side of the sink cabinet, and mark the pipe locations on the cabinets. Drill at the marks with a spade bit or hole saw to cut holes for the pipes.

6 INSTALL THE REST OF THE CABINETS, CHECKING FOR LEVEL AND PLUMB; SHIM AS YOU GO. When all the remaining cabinets are in position, step back and check for level and plumb before you screw any in place.

7 WHEN ALL CABINETS ARE IN THE PROPER PUCE, DRILL AND COUNTERSINK PILOT HOLES. Attach the cabinets to the studs with at least two screws in each mounting rail. Attach them to each other with at least four drywall screws.

8 ONCE ALL THE CABINETS ARE SCREWED IN PLACE, INSTALL A TOE-KICKTO COVER THE GAP ALONG THE BOTTOM. This is often a two-step process: First nail a plain 3/4-inch filler strip in place; then attach a thinner piece that is finished to match the cabinet. Drill pilot holes and drive 4d finishing nails through the toe-kick into the cabinets.

Installing a kitchen island

1 BEGIN BY MARKING WHERE THE INSIDE EDGES OF THE CABINET WILL BE ON THE FLOOR. To do this, put the island in position and trace around it, marking the outside corners on the floor. Remove the island. Measure in from the lines by the thickness of the island's sides, and draw lines marking the inside edges of the cabinet.

2 CUT SHORT PIECES OF 2x4 TO USE AS CLEATS. Screw these to the floor at the edge of each individual cabinet.

3 WITH A HELPER, LIFT THE ISLAND OVER THE CLEATS AND SET IT IN POSITION. Check for level and shim as necessary. Nail it in place with a power nailer, or drill pilot holes and drive finishing nails through the base and into the cleats.

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