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HOW TO INSTALL PREFAB CABINETS



Pictures of stock prefab kitchen cabinet installation.  It is truly an art watching a Master cabinet installer like Mr. Matuse install stock prefab kitchen cabinets.  He makes it look so simple, but of coarse he has been doing this for quite some time!

Basic step by step pictures with instructions on how to install stock prefab cabinets.  Ever wonder how hard it was to install stock prefab cabinets?  When you have been installing for 10 years like Mr. Brian Matuse it becomes second nature.  Pictured below you will see how easy … or hard it is to install stock factory cabinets in a small kitchen.  Starting with the stock prefab base cabinets and ending with the stock prefab top kitchen cabinets.
Not only does Mr. Matuse install stock prefab cabinets, he installs the laminate that goes on the countertop, so you will also see how he installs the base cabinet decking, (partial board for the laminate) on this webpage.  If you would like to see his process of applying the laminate just click HERE.

Rule number one; clean the floor you are installing the stock prefab cabinets on.  Rule number two; layout the stock prefab cabinets and determine where the high point is on the floor.  That is where you start.  You can go up with stock prefab cabinets, you can not go down!  Mr. Matuse and I have had cabinets that had to be raised over three inches off the floor to make them level.  O yes, you can do very little to cover anything like that.  Stock prefab cabinets?  Make sure the floors are level and the walls are plumb!  OR call my company to custom build your cabinets into whatever your problem area may be.

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CLICK ON ANY OF THE PREFAB CABINETS - STOCK CABINETS PICTURED BELOW TO ENLARGE
Time to check the layout of the kitchen to the diagram of the cabinets to be installed to make sure everything is there.  Then sweep the floor and unbox the prefab kitchen cabinets and click go!
When Mr. Mathus shows up on the job site you can bet it is all business.  No break until every one of the stock prefab cabinets and countertop decking is installed and he is waiting for the contact cement to dry before installing the laminate!  He is a strict working machine.
Normally Mr. Matuse installs the stock prefab top kitchen cabinets first, the prefab base cabinets of the kitchen second. But in this case he was waiting on the top cabinets to be delivered.
Pictures one and two show the stock kitchen base cabinets laid out on the inside corners where they go.  In picture three you see the forty fived kitchen corner face that goes between the stock base cabinets of picture two.  None of the base cabinets come with finished tow kicks.  That is installed after the cabinets are securely fastened to the walls.
Picture one you can see the angle on the side of the forty fived face of the kitchen sink area in the base cabinet.  Picture two you see the real wood back face. Picture three you see what I call a leg panel.  This end piece will go on the right side of the forty fived stock kitchen base cabinets separating the cabinet from the dishwasher.  The next three pictures below give more detail to the cabinet leg.
Picture one shows the front of the stock cabinet leg.  Picture two shows how the wooden face has been fastened to the side panel. Now here is the down and dirty. Look closely at picture three. You can see the pressed paper with the fake paper thin veneer on the outside of the panel of the leg.  The panel is only an inch thick.  Are these stock cabinets cheap?  Not if you're buying them.  Are they made of real wood?  Some parts are.  Mainly the faces, doors, and drawer fronts are real honest to goodness wood.  The filler you will use is wood, (I'll show you what filler is below).  Everything else is pressed paper with a veneer.
Now you're ready to install the framing that the stock base cabinets and bottom shelf will be attached to.  The forty fived cabinet is a 42 inch wide design.  So at the height of the stock base cabinet install some framing 42 inches out from the inside corner on both sides.  Install the same on the bottom but Mr. Mathus has to raise it up to 5 3/16 from the floor.  Why does he need to raise it up off the floor?  You are going to find out right now.
Look closely at picture one.  You can just make out a small x inch slat on the top of the one x four.  Do you see how thin the toe kick is?  It’s only 1/4 of an inch.  Now zooming into the second picture you can really get a close look at the slat I was talking about.  You measure from the bottom of the toe kick up to the top of the inch slat and you come up with 5 3/16 of an inch.  That is why you install the bottom framing to that number off the floor.  The bottom shelf will soon rest on top of the framing.  When you get a cabinet leg you have to cut out for the toe kick.  It is marked in picture three.
Mr. Mathus is finishing laying out for the toe kick of the stock cabinet leg panel.  Use a sharp pencil to mark the wood and panel with, then go back with a razor knife and scar the wood where you marked.  Sometimes you do not have to mark it with a pencil, use the razor knife instead.  Doing this prevents the wood from chipping and paper from tearing.  Also use a fine jigsaw blade that cuts on the down stroke.  Bosh is the very best jigsaw I have ever owned and I have had many over the years.  If you plan on doing this for a living, get a Bosh!
After Mr. Mathus has fastened the stock side cabinets to the framing, he drills three holes in the angled side of the forty fived corner face.  Pay close attention of the angle and where he is drilling the holes.  In picture two you can see where he fastened the face to one of the stock kitchen base cabinets using 2 inch screws.  If you zoom in on pictures two and three you will see the gap between the toe kick and the sides of the base cabinet on the left and the panel leg on the right.  After the bottom is installed Mr. Mathus installs scribe moulding down both sides to hide the gap on the ends.
Now you see much better how the stock kitchen corner cabinet looks installed.  Wait a minute;  the toe kick is missing on the dishwasher panel leg…  Not to fear. Look what’s next …
Picture one you see a short two x four cut to the same length as the panel face is wide.  This will be fastened to where the toe kick will be installed.  Picture two; this is the filler for the sides of the prefab cabinets.  Drill three holes using a 3/16 inch wood bit drill all the way through the inside stile of the prefab stock kitchen base cabinet where the filler goes.  One screw on top, middle, and bottom.  Install the filler wood on the side of the stock base cabinet using 2 inch screws, screwing from inside of the stock cabinet out into the filler.  You can take the doors off and use clamps to hold everything in place
This is where the stock kitchen base cabinets come together in 90 degree inside corner.  What kind of drawer pulls will tell you if your filler is wide enough between the prefab stock cabinets.  Middle picture you will see what is called scribe moulding 3/16 x 3/4.  It covers up the gap you will have using prefab stock cabinets on bowed walls.  Third picture you see the toe kick.  The two x lying on the floor is cut twenty inches long.  The length of how far out from the wall the toe kick is.  This is where you nail your 1/8 inch thick finished pressed paper toe board.  Now you know why you need the two x.  See the shim under the cabinets?
When you have walls and floors off on a home this is the best thing to do. Start with installing the stock prefab cabinet that is the highest one off the floor.  Put a level on the back of the cabinet and use shims to level it across.  When you screw the stock base cabinet to the wall studs have a two foot level on one side of the cabinet.  Use the screw to get the bubble right.  Do not worry if there is a gap behind the screw rail OK?  Tidbit, when you put the shims under the stock cabinet put a dab of liquid nails on both sides, one touching the floor the other the cabinet.  Leave a note for the vinyl man to pop them off with his chisel to give them time to harden, thank me later.
You can see the 5/8 x 25 inch particle board for the countertops.  The boards under the 5/8 are ripped to 1 5/8.  Make sure the end boards are touching the front board.  There can be a small gap in the back.  The decking is precut 25 inches wide.  The cleanest and straightest boards need to be on the outside.  The seam between the two countertops is 5/8 x 4 x 20.  Use 1 1/4 inch screws to fasten the two countertops together.  Overhang should be flush with the outside wall scribe where the refrigerator goes, and extend pass the front of the prefab cabinets 3/4 of an inch.
Do not worry about any gap between the two sections of countertop.  The laminate will not be affected.  You can see how the seam has been screwed under the two sections using 1 inch screws, and how the angled countertop has been laid out for the angled stock base cabinet in the kitchen.  I must stress that with walls there are few that are truly straight.  The front edge of the countertop can vary a little, but the ends can not.  You do want your free standing stove to fit right?  Make sure you know the measurement needed, and then add a to that for clearance.
Install a four inch strip on the angled sink area as shown.  Make sure the margin is the same in the front on all of the overhangs, the front overhang can very a bit.  The sides can not.  Nail with 18 gauge trim nails, or something that will not go all the way through the countertop.  The open inside you see is the start of the cutout of the kitchen sink, measure center of the sink and mark.  The opening for a standard sink is 21 inches deep by 32 inch wide.  Use a 3 inch radius for the corners, or a scrap cutout from around the plumbing.  You attach the finished toe kicks with staples, it"’"s too thin to nail, and nails will go right through them.
The same procedure is used with installing the stock top cabinets.  Start with the cabinet that has a blank side to it.  If you have any other corners start there and work out.  Install the filler between the cabinet corners so the doors will work.  Then make a support like what you see laying next to the stock base cabinets measuring 18 inch high to sit the top cabinets on as you screw them to the wall studs.  You can see from the last picture how the blank cabinet is pulled away from the wall to fit, and the gap between the filler on the inside corner.

48 Cabinets Decked.JPG - 121500 Bytes Mr. Matuse is by far the best stock prefab cabinet installer I have met.  The stock prefab cabinets on this page are what I would call inexpensive cabinets, with only the faces, doors and drawer fronts being made of real wood.  Don't get me wrong, these cabinets will last for quite awhile, but you have only seen a very small section of what is out there.  These stock cabinets are being installed into spec homes, so inexpensive is the work to use.  If you have a home you bought to remodel and put on the market, these stock cabinets would be what you would want to finish off a kitchen within budget.

For the do it your selfer, to the weekend warrior these stock cabinets can be installed in one day with a laminated countertop!  In a weekend your kitchen will be complete with vinyl floor, cabinets, and countertop.  Simple to install, efficient, and inexpensive.

Custom prefab cabinets are a whole different ball game, and with custom you receive a manual for installation.  Custom, all options are open from pocket doors, wine racks, ornate crown moulding, pantries, oven-microwave cabinets, islands, no pressed paper construction, and much, much more!


I would like to personally thank Mr. Matuse for allowing me to photograph his installation technique for stock prefab cabinetry.














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