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How to fit kitchen wall cabinets

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 06/03/18


Install kitchen wall units yourself and get professional results every time

Preparation

Before you begin, make sure the wall is appropriately prepared and is smooth, clean and free from imperfections that may hinder the wall cabinets from sitting flush to the wall. Any bumps or lumps could result in poor finishing and difficultly fitting each cabinet accurately and flush to each other.

Also check to see which type of wall you have. A masonry (brick based) wall can be drilled straight into with wall plugs and cabinets hung easily. If you have a stud wall, you may need to locate the position of each of the timber studs to screw in the appropriate fixings directly or alternatively, use drywall anchors designed to take the weight of wall cabinets into the plasterboard.

Finally before starting, it is strongly advised to check your walls in and around your planned fixing points for internal plumbing pipes and electrical wires. By using an electrical cable tracer, you can identify where sources of power are behind your walls and mark them before drilling. If you are unsure, always consult a qualified professional first. Only proceed with this instructional blog until you are fully satisfied you are safe to do so.

Tools Required

As with any DIY project, you will need the appropriate tools to get the best finish possible, For this task, you will need:

  • step ladder
  • spirit level
  • cable and pipe detector
  • electric drill and drill bits
  • electric screwdriver or Phillips screwdriver
  • safety glasses
  • wall plug (or anchors)
  • screws
  • tape measure
  • pencil

Marking Up

Assuming your kitchen cabinets are fully assembled and your base cabinets are already in place, you’re ready to get started. If you haven’t installed your base cabinets yet however, please fit them first.

When hanging wall cabinets, it is advised to start with a corner unit and work you way out. So firstly, using a tape measure and pencil mark, on the wall where you want your first cabinet to hang. Wall units usually hang between 450-500mm from the base cabinet worktop, so ensure you allow for sufficient room when deciding where to hang them.

If however you have any full height larder and tall units already installed, the top of that unit should determine how your remaining wall cabinets must hang as you will want the tops of the wall units to sit precisely flush with the top of the full-height larder unit. If you have a larder unit to install but haven’t already fitted it, you must fit this unit firstly before hanging any wall cabinets.

Once you know precisely where you want your wall cabinets to hang, mark horizontal lines for the top and bottom edges along the wall using a spirit level to ensure the lines are straight and level. Then mark vertical lines to clearly define where each wall cabinet will end. This will give you an accurate outline of where your units will sit and will make fitting far easier.

Fitting the Units

Firstly check the rear of the wall cabinet to see how they will hang onto the walls. Usually, there are hooks at either side at the top of cabinet’s back panel. These hook onto plates that are screwed to the walls.

Now, hold a hanging plate up to the rear hook and measure the distance from the top of the cabinet to the base of the hanging plate using a tape measure. Now do the same from the sides of the cabinet to the near edge of the plate, making a note of the measurements. Then mark these exact measurements on the wall in pencil, so you know exactly where the plates should sit on the wall to hang the cabinet.

Whilst holding the plate on the wall where you marked it’s position, mark the screw holes with a pencil. Now before you drill the marked holes, double check there’s no electrical cables or pipes behind the wall using your cable detector. Once you’re satisfied it’s safe to do so, put on your safety glasses and drill appropriate holes using an electric drill and correctly sized drill bit to suit the wall plugs.

Masonry walls will require a masonry drill bit whilst stud walls will require a wood drill bit.

Once drilled, pop appropriate wall plugs into the holes and screw the wall plates into place.

Attaching Cabinets

To attach the wall cabinets, simply lift into place ensuring the rear hooks sit onto the wall plates you just fitted. Start by lifting the unit above the hooks and slowly lower it until the hooks meet. If the cabinet is particularly big or heavy, ask a friend for help.

Now make sure the cabinet sits level by placing a small spirit level on the top of the unit. If your wall cabinet is slightly out, don’t worry. The adjuster blocks inside the back at the top of your cabinets allow you to adjust the cabinet using a Philips screwdriver. Just a few turns and you should be able to get the unit perfectly level!

Once your unit is level, it’s fitted and ready for use. Simply repeat the above instructions to fit the remaining wall cabinets.

Finishing Up

Once all of your wall units are in place, it may be a good idea to screw them to each other to ensure they sit tight and flush to each other. This will also add strength and make them more rigid.

To avoid showing exposed screw heads however, you will want to screw them together underneath the hinge plates. To do so, remove any existing hinge-plates from one of the adjacent wall cabinet. Then drill pilot holes at the top and bottom through to the adjacent cabinet and screw together using appropriately sized screws. Then reattach the hinge plates to conceal the screws you just used to attach the units together.

Repeat for all of the wall cabinets, ensuring their top and bottom edges all sit flush before screwing together.

Your kitchen wall cabinets are now fully installed and ready for use!

See It in Action

If you are still unsure how to follow these instructions, then watch the excellent video below created by Wickes for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen wall cabinets.