DIY Guide to Building Kitchen Cabinets

Build-Your-Own-Kitchen-CabinetsSomebody lately asked to get a easy do-it-yourself guide to building kitchen cabinets. Bearing in thoughts that most DIYers aren’t expert tradesmen, this question seems to me a contradiction in terms. I’m a tradesman. I’ve expertise in each residential construction trade and also the family members company just occurs to become residential remodeling, handed down to my brother and me by our father. So I might know a bit bit about that which I speak.

The very first factor you’ll need to complete when contemplating kitchen cabinets is whether or not it is truly gonna be less expensive for you to build them your self versus purchasing them from either a large box house improvement shop or perhaps a custom cabinet store. Let’s discover these choices rapidly, or the entire shebang is pointless for you.

DIY cabinets. This really is cost-effective when you have gobs of spare time (which implies that you are independently wealthy) in addition to your personal wood store. You will require a minimum of a portable table saw, chop saw, along with a hand held scroll saw if you are going to prevent pulling the hair out of the head and quitting halfway via the project. You will also require a fairly great operating understanding of woodworking and residential construction to obtain these babies built and installed properly.

Store-bought cabinets. Your nearby hardware shop, you realize the 1, using the large orange sign, has a number of designs of cabinets in stock from which you are able to select which are currently built and prepared to install. I extremely suggest going this route, particularly if your main motivation would be to merely do issues on the inexpensive. Stock cabinets, for the majority of people, will probably be the very best choice. Once more, probably the most essential question is, how useful is your time? In the event you do not know a lot concerning the stuff in item 1 above, you need to most likely be selecting choice two. For DIYers, this choice nonetheless provides you a lot of function to complete, in addition to a lot of satisfaction when the job is carried out.

Custom cabinets. This really is costly but stunning, and all of the function will probably be carried out by qualified experts (supplied you choose the proper store!) You are able to have them produced of whatever you would like, to whatever dimension you would like. Speak and it shall be carried out for you. Just have your checkbook prepared.
Now hopefully you’ve a much better understanding of what you’re searching for and what your choices are. In the event you decide to build your cabinets from scratch, make sure to purchase a lot of store grade plywood for the face frames and doors, as well as the cabinet bodies (if you would like to go all out). Most occasions the cabinets are produced from MDF, that is Medium Density Fiberboard. This stuff is a lot less expensive than plywood, that is produced from plies, or layers, of wood that are glued together to form a solid sheet. MDF is just sawdust and formaldehyde and adhesive, and you need to most likely put on a minimum of a dust mask when working with it.

Custom-building your personal cabinets will need an intimate understanding of developing codes (for issues like regular counter leading heights, cabinet depths, appliance widths, depths, and heights, as well as stud spacing inside your kitchen, for when the cabinets are mounted). You will also have to know what wood you would like to make use of for the faces–the fairly component that everybody sees. Usually 1 would use either oak or maple, but alder and knotty pine are exceptionally fairly if completed nicely, and are most likely much more well-liked than the very first two. Among the much more striking looks is quarter-sawn oak having a extremely dark finish–it’s extremely contemporary and chic, taking on a type of tiger-stripe character. Option of wood is mainly irrelevant if you are going to become painting the cabinets. You are able to purchase as inexpensive as you would like; even utilizing MDF for the faces (although you will most likely wish to throw on a fancy edge having a router–which is an additional tool you might require if you are going this route).

You will require a lot of sandpaper and elbow grease, or perhaps a random orbital sander when you have one. Begin with 120 grit after which finish with 320 grit, sanding using the grain. If you are going to stain the cabinets (to ensure that you are able to see the wood grain), I suggest a 3 stage procedure: Begin having a high quality stain conditioner, then brush on the stain utilizing a clean cotton rag to wipe off the excess, and finish it with a minimum of 3 coats of a high quality sealer like Sikkens. Keep in mind to usually brush from the inside out and leading to bottom when you are operating on doors. Usually put on a respirator when operating with these sorts of goods, whether your workspace is nicely ventilated or not, and usually make sure to follow the directions towards the letter. At any rate, if you are going to become developing your personal cabinets, get prepared for tons of function and expense, purchasing all of the raw supplies (wood, fasteners, adhesives) and tools (or rented tools) and spending all that time on the project. Bear in thoughts that occasionally the distance in between step 1 and step two is an whole day due to the glue or the clamps or the finish–which tends to inflate the schedule alarmingly.

Bear in thoughts that experts usually get expert outcomes, but amateurs hardly ever do. Bankers do not do cabinets, and cabinet makers do not do P&L statements. There’s a natural order towards the world. In the event you build your personal cabinets, you might hate ’em–I’m just saying. It is hard enough to install them properly.

Which brings me to an additional recommendation: Do not tear out your old cabinets until the new ones are on site and prepared to be installed. I cannot stress the importance of this point enough. Do all you’ll need to complete in regard to taking measurements and preparation without doing the demolition, if at all possible. Demo is fun, but even it has rights and wrongs. In the event you are prepared to demo your old cabinets, bear in thoughts that they were installed in a certain order and that they were assembled in a certain way. The easiest way to take them out would be to do it the opposite way of how they went in. With this in thoughts, and knowing that there are immutable laws in the remodeling and construction industries, let me give you a few pointers.

The very first factor you’ll need to uninstall from the kitchen is all of the crap that is filling the cabinets and countertops. Next you will want, at a minimum, to tape, tack, or nail up some type of plastic from floor to ceiling in between the kitchen and also the rest from the house, unless you would like to become dusting the candies in the candy dish in the living room and picking bits of fiberglass insulation out from in between the keys of that old piano that hasn’t been played in years.

Now that your workspace is reasonably prepped, the very first factor you’ll need to take out is the counter tops. If you are going to become re-installing the tops onto the new cabinets you will have to be extremely judicious and careful as to how you take them out. When you have those old fashioned laminate style tops and you are crazy enough or inexpensive enough to wish to reuse them, be extremely careful to look underneath for screws, nails, staples, glue, or whatever might be holding them on towards the cabinets. Do what you must to loose the tops from the base cabinets (base cabinets are those which are sitting on the floor). It is truly greatest to take issues apart in as large a piece as you possibly can–it makes cleanup a lot easier. If the tops are granite or solid surface material they are most likely just held in place by a few blobs of silicone caulk–no kidding–and they will probably be extremely heavy and extremely difficult to remove without a minimum of partially destroying the base cabinets.

After the tops are out, you will have to remove the bases. These are usually just sitting on the floor and are screwed towards the wall along the leading rear edge. Back the screws out and also the cabinets ought to be free. If you are dealing using the kitchen sink, be careful not to destroy any of the plumbing. the water ought to be turned off, faucet risers removed, drain pipes unscrewed and removed (as a lot as possible), disposal removed, and sink removed (if it is a top-mount self-rimming type) to ensure that you are able to easily get towards the sink base cabinet. The interior of it will possess a bottom that might have to be cut considerably in order to clear the drain pipes for the sink as you take the cabinet out.

Once the bases are all out, you are able to uninstall the uppers. Get a ladder and climb up to ensure that you are able to see the tops from the cabinets. There ought to be screw heads along the leading edge of these cabinets holding them towards the walls. Climb down and look underneath the cabinets for much more from the same along the bottom back edge. Begin removing screws from the bottom of each cabinet after which remove them from the leading, having a helper support the cabinet from underneath–this is the safest way to complete this–otherwise you might end up having a cabinet landing on your head. Use this method and go slow, 1 cabinet at a time.

Now that your kitchen is completely empty you are able to begin prepping for the installation from the new cabinets. You will require a level of some type and perhaps a chalk line, if you would like to make issues easy. You will wish to set the corner upper cabinets initial, simply because all of the other upper cabinets function off the corners to find their alignments. The corner(s) must be perfectly level in each direction. To find out where they go, you’ll need to understand:

How tall your base cabinets are (usually 34″)

How thick your tops will probably be (usually 1.5″)
How a lot room you would like in between the completed height from the tops and also the bottom edge of the upper cabinets (usually 14-16″)
Add these numbers together.
This really is the dimension you will probably be operating with. Go towards the corner where you will set your initial cabinet. Measure up from the floor this distance and make a mark on the wall. Utilizing your level, make a level line on the wall wherever your uppers will probably be installed. You will also have to use a hammer or stud sensor to ascertain the location from the studs in the wall, simply because your cabinets will probably be screwed towards the studs (not just empty sheetrock!). When you find the studs, use your level as a straight edge and mark a plumb (perfectly vertical) line on the wall along the centerline from the stud from about 7′ to 3′ above the floor. Studs ought to be spaced at 16″ on center.

Hold the very first corner cabinet up towards the wall to ensure that its bottom edge rests on the level (perfectly horizontal) line you produced earlier. Be careful to only screw the cabinet towards the wall where your studs are, which you marked earlier. Once this cabinet is set, double check to become certain it is level and plumb both towards the left and towards the correct. You are able to set all remaining upper cabinets by referencing this 1 and also the chalk line. Face frames ought to be given priority as far as alignment is concerned, simply because that is the component from the cabinet you will see when everything is completed. You will have to have some cedar shims on hand to facilitate this alignment (1 cabinet might lean toward or away from the wall in comparison to its neighbor). Shims can be inserted in between the cabinet and also the wall, after which a screw run via the cabinet and shim together, keeping everything in place. Walls are never perfectly straight.

The corner base cabinet ought to be set initial, just as the upper corner cabinet was set, simply because it is like the premise of the layout–everything depends upon it. Check the floor with your level to find out which way it tilts in addition to the location of any high spots, if any. In the event you encounter a high spot, place one end from the level on it against the wall after which hold the other end from the level up until the bubble is perfectly centered in the glass. Measure the height from the level on that end to determine the height from the shim you will require in that location. Repeat this accordingly around the room wherever you will probably be setting base cabinets. Shim the base cabinets up from the floor as needed to ensure they will form a straight line when mounted, perfectly level and plumb at the the face frames (the fairly component from the cabinets that you will see for years to come). Screw them towards the walls, noting the location of studs and ensuring they are screwed to them. The sink base will need coordination having a plumber and electrician for the sink and disposal, but the carpentry is the same as it is with other cabinets. The plumber will drill holes in this cabinet for your dishwasher drain hose and so on. If you are unsure, coordinate the installation of this cabinet with him.

The base cabinets are particularly essential to obtain correct simply because the countertops sit directly on them. I’ve seen some installations that were so bad (performed by novices) that the countertop installers had to leave and wait for the cabinet installer to come back and fix them simply because each single box was misaligned, out of level and not plumb. Be careful to set them as perfectly as you are able to; it will save much more function as well as much more money later.

Doors and toekicks are fairly self-evident, but here are a few tips: If a door appears to open the wrong direction, you are able to remove the hinges and mount them towards the opposite side. Most cabinets are pre-drilled for just this sort of factor. The rule of thumb is, a door ought to open away from the center of the layout. A cabinet mounted towards the left from the stove, for instance, ought to hinge on its left side, and so on around the layout. The far correct side of the layout ought to hinge on the proper, and upper cabinet doors ought to swing the same way as base cabinet doors. If it doesn’t feel intuitive you’ll need to change it.

Jigs can be purchased or produced from scratch to simplify the mounting of hardware. The easiest hardware to mount is the type for which you only have to drill 1 hole. Be precise. My kitchen has white cabinets with costly oil-rubbed bronze pulls that contrast dramatically. If they were not mounted precisely they would drive me crazy.

Cabinets are slightly intimidating the very first time, but like anything worth learning, once you wrap your head around it, it appears easy. Once more, I suggest for most people, purchasing stock cabinets at a large box shop, limiting your self to those 3 or four color choices, adding individuality with your option of hardware (pulls and handles), and having them professionally installed. The potential for mayhem is great using the inexperienced installer, but the potential for adding value to your house is even greater having a stunning, expert, clean, and quick installation. I hope this article helps, if not inside your understanding of cabinet particulars, then a minimum of in a few moments’ entertainment value. Please comment on specific questions and I will respond as greatest as I can.