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How Are Kitchen Cabinets Attached to the Wall?

Kitchen cabinets are ideal for storing anything, whether hiding frequently used pots and pans behind opaque doors or displaying fine china behind clear glass. Because they come in various styles and materials, you’re guaranteed to find one that suits your needs. But despite the size, shape, or type, you must answer the question, “How are kitchen cabinets attached to the wall?” to reap the benefits of this storage option. 

Dan Kermaier, the founder of Current Cabinetry, had 15 years of industry experience remodeling hundreds of kitchens before putting together his team of cabinet installation experts in Baltimore, MD. Since 2017, his team has manufactured high-quality cabinet doors and drawers with premium finishes. We construct cabinets with solid wood through an intricate process, so you never have to worry about sturdiness. 

Below, you’ll find the step-by-step installation method suggested by our experts. 

1. Remove the Old System

Unless you’ve recently gutted your kitchen, you probably have an old set of cabinets currently installed. Although you won’t need them anymore, you should still be careful when removing them to prevent damaging the wall behind them. 

Begin by removing the cabinet doors, drawers, and any detachable shelves before removing fasteners that hold the boxes in place. Once off, examine the wall for holes, concave surfaces, and other imperfections. Unless you plan to rip into the wall to fix wiring or plumbing issues, putty and caulk for a seamless finish so your new cabinets attach flat and leveled.  

2. Take Measurements 

Now, use a tape measure on your bare wall to find the height and width of each wall you plan to install cabinets on. Since wall cabinets usually hover 18 inches above the base cabinets, use your wall dimensions to determine the appropriate cabinet dimensions. 

According to The Spruce, kitchen base cabinets have a standard height of 34.5 inches and a depth of 24 inches, while their widths vary from 12 to 48 inches. Wall cabinets vary more, with heights between 12 and 42 inches, depths between 12 and 24 inches, and widths from 12 to 36 inches. You can customize your cabinets to fit your space and any empty wall areas you want to fill, like above your fridge or sink. 

Before we answer “How are kitchen cabinets attached to the wall?” use these measurements to sketch a kitchen blueprint and label the cabinet locations on the walls. Use masking tape or draw lines on your walls to show where the tops and bottoms of the wall and base cabinets should go.

3. Understand Wall Stud Type and Location 

Wall studs are usually two-by-four-inch wall beams that attach to make a frame behind your drywall. Since they’re sturdier than drywall or any other material within your wall’s foundation, securing the cabinet back to them ensures your cabinetry won’t weaken or detach with time. 

Once you use a stud finder to locate the beams, mark above and six inches below the line you drew for the upper cabinet’s bottom and connect them with a vertical line. Level the top of a mounting rail against the line drawn for the bottom of the wall cabinet and use four two-inch screws to secure the rail into where this line and the vertical stud line meet. You can also use French cleats as wall anchors. 

Now, rest your cabinets on the rail while you screw them in so they are level and easier to install. While these are the general steps when working with wall studs, certain aspects may vary depending on stud materials.

· For wooden wall studs, use a stud finder and drill a pilot hole into the cabinet back once you locate where to place the hole.

· For metal studs, use a magnet to find the studs and opt for metal screws when securing the cabinets.

· For solid concrete or brick walls, you don’t need to find the studs. Instead, use a pilot hole drill bit to make holes in the wall surface and sturdy screws to hold the cabinets in place. Remember, concrete dust is inevitable, so wear appropriate masks and clean the area thoroughly once the job is complete. 

4. Install Cabinets According to Position

Whether choosing kitchen cabinets with glass doors, a stained mahogany finish, or vibrant painted color, they’re prone to damage with improper care. That’s why correctly installing your new cabinet system in the correct order is crucial for starting on the right foot. So, how are kitchen cabinets attached to the wall to prevent imperfections?

Not only does starting with upper cabinets keep your floor space clear of the obstacles lower cabinets would create, but it also keeps heavy items from banging into or falling on them. So, after putting together your cabinets, remove the doors and start with an upper corner piece. Place it on the ledger mounting rail and create a pilot hole that goes through the cabinet’s back, support rail, and wall stud.

After ensuring the cabinet is level, secure it with two cabinet screws (or however many the manufacturer recommends) before moving on to the next adjacent cabinet. With each new cabinet you place on the ledger, ensure they’re plumb with the others before clamping them to one another. Once you’ve placed all the wall pieces, repeat the process to install the base cabinets, beginning in the corner again. 

Stay Current With Your Cabinetry!

We believe updating your kitchen doesn’t have to be a hassle. That’s why our specialized team with years of experience provides prompt services by cutting out the middleman so you get your quality cabinets sooner. We also have a fully stocked warehouse of high-quality, premium cabinets, so you never have to wait on unnecessary lead times.

For answers to anything, from “How are kitchen cabinets attached to the wall?” to “What is the best wall color for gray kitchen cabinets?” contact our team. Call Current Cabinetry at 410-609-7077 for a free digital design layout that gives you a better sense of what your Baltimore, MD, kitchen will look like!

Daniel Kermaier
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