How to Replace Kitchen Cabinets

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Most homeowners look forward to the day when they can replace the kitchen cabinets. With all of the beautiful colors, shapes, and designs available today, replacing the kitchen cabinets is certainly a homeowners dream. Following some simple guidelines you too can experience the joy of having brand new kitchen cabinets.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer, Nails, Screw Driver, Shims, Flatbar, Level, Stud Finder

Replace Kitchen Cabinets

  • Replacing kitchen cabinets without doing a full remodel is really quite simple. The first thing to take into consideration when replacing your kitchen cabinets is that any house that is old enough to need cabinet replacements probably does not have a level floor. You must use a level to find the high spot on the floor so when you set your cabinets in place, they are level.

  • After finding your high spot, use a level and make a line around your kitchen walls at the height of your base cabinets, about 34-1/2 in. After the rough top plywood is placed, the cabinet will measure 35 in. high. After placing tile or granite on your rough top the height of your cabinet will then be the standard cabinet height of 36 in.

  • When placing your new base kitchen cabinets, use shims to build up the height of the cabinets to the level line. If you do not shim up the cabinets to the desired level, you will have to cut out the toe-kick or bottom of the cabinets, after they are installed, in order to raise them up.

  • Once your kitchen cabinets are in place use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall behind the cabinets. You will use these studs to anchor the cabinets to the wall. After locating the studs and nailing the cabinets to them, use a plumb line to make a level line around the wall about 2 to 3 inches below the line and above the line. This will give you a proper height line for installing your rough top; use 1/2 in. plywood if putting down plastic laminate or tile. Use 3/4 in. ply wood for granite.

Tips & Warnings

  • You must place a long screw through the rough top into the wall stud to hold the cabinet in place. If you only screw the rough top to the cabinet and not the wall, if there is an earthquake, the cabinet can move causing your counter top tile and back-splash to crack.
  • Remember to make your cabinets level, all the way around the walls. If your base cabinets are not level, your counter top won't be either.

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