How to Install Overhead Kitchen Cabinets


Installing overhead kitchen cabinets is a task that an experienced do-it-yourselfer can perform. It takes careful planning and measuring to ensure that the cabinets fit the wall space and align properly over space allotted for refrigerators and stoves. They are easier to install if someone can help you hang them, due to their weight and size. Whether you hang cabinets overhead before installing the base cabinets is primarily a matter of preference.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Chalk line
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver
  • 2-1/2-inch drywall screws
  • Washers
  • Wood clamps
  • Doorknobs or pulls
  • Measure from the corner where you plan to start to the end of the cabinet run. Use a level to mark the plumb line for the outside edge of the cabinets.

  • Use a chalk line to mark where the bottom of the row of cabinets should hang.

  • Locate each wall stud along the wall with a stud finder. Mark each stud.

  • Mark where the studs are going to be on the back of the corner cabinet. Drill four holes through the back of the cabinet that correspond to the stud locations. Repeat this process for the other side of the cabinet so you can attach to both walls.

  • Hold the corner cabinet in position. With a partner's help, level the cabinet and secure it to both walls with 2-1/2-inch drywall screws and washers.

  • Mark where to drill the holes for screws on the next cabinet in the run and drill the holes. Hold that cabinet level and with the chalk line at the base of the cabinet. Place a level across the front. If not plumb, add wood shims to the back.. Secure the cabinet to the wall studs.

  • Use wood clamps to hold the two cabinets together. Drill two pilot holes in the face frame of the overhead kitchen cabinets. Connect the two cabinets with 2-1/2-inch screws. Remove the clamps.

  • Continue adding cabinets until you finish the row. The outside edge of the last cabinet should rest along the line you made in the first step. Return to the corner and add cabinets to complete that row.

  • Measure where you want to place the doorknob or pull for each cabinet. Drill a hole through the cabinet doors. Attach the doorknobs and pulls with the screws that came with the hardware.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have plenty of helpers, you can connect several cabinets together on the floor and then hang them as one unit.
  • Remove the doors from the cabinets to make them lighter to handle.
  • Drill a hole in the lower back facing of the cabinet for the electrical wiring to operate under-cabinet lighting before you hang the cabinet. Simply pull the wiring through the hole when it's time to wire the light fixtures.

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