Get to grips with the basics
Creating a new look for your kitchen is a great chance to stamp your personality onto the busiest room in your home. Before you start, draw a detailed plan on graph paper and double-check your measurements. Base and wall units come in standard sizes, and will form the basis of your kitchen. But as products can differ, make sure you read the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully.
How to install base cabinets
Once you’ve removed the old units, disconnected your power and water supplies, and put down the first coat of paint on the ceilings and walls, it’s time to install your cabinets. Luckily, base cabinets are relatively straightforward to install.
Tools & materials for the job:
Use a spirit level to mark a horizontal guideline on your wall, where the top of the units will go, allowing for the height of the cabinet with legs. Try to line them up with any existing appliances to create a slick finish.
Starting with the corner units, move the assembled cabinets into place. Rotate the legs of each unit until they align with the guideline on the wall. Use your spirit level to ensure that the cabinets are all level.
Clamp adjoining units together. Then drill a pilot hole between the two hinge holes, through one cabinet wall and into (but not completely through) the next (use masking tape around your drill bit as a guide.) Then, screw the units together. For a more secure fixing you can use cabinet connector bolts (sold separately).
Fit any corner posts required where two cabinets meet in a corner to hide the gap. Follow the cabinet instructions which will show you exactly how to fix the posts.
Once all the cabinets are connected, you need to secure them with brackets on the wall for each unit. Start by marking the drill positions in pencil on the wall. Remember to check for pipes or cables before drilling into the wall. Always use wall fixings that are suitable for the type of wall you have. Try to angle the screws downwards slightly so that they remain easy to access over the back edge of the cabinet.
How to hang wall cabinets
Tools & materials for the job:
Wall units hook onto brackets that are securely fixed onto the wall beforehand. You can install wall cabinets in three easy steps:
First, measure up from the top of the base unit and mark where you want the bottom of the wall unit (making sure to allow space for the thickness of the worktop.) Use a spirit level to create a horizontal guideline that stretches as far round as your wall cabinets will go. Then, measure and draw another line for the top of the wall cabinets. Remember that if you have any tall housing units, the top of the wall cabinets will normally need to align with the top of the tall housing! Finally, consulting your kitchen plan, draw vertical lines where the cabinets will meet and end.
Next, check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the right placement for the wall brackets. Each unit will normally need two – one in each top corner. You can hold the bracket in place and mark the position of the holes, but how you fix them will depend on what type of wall you have. This is very important, as fixing the brackets incorrectly could be unsafe and send your new wall cabinets tumbling to the ground - so if you’re not sure, always consult an expert.
Once your brackets are properly secured, hook the wall cabinets onto them, using the adjustment screws in the top internal corner of the cabinet to align them accurately. Place a spirit level across the top of the cabinet and turn one screw to level it. Then, place the spirit level against the front face, and adjust the other until it’s vertically straight and secured properly against the wall. Check to see that the cabinets are level with one another and adjust again if necessary. It is essential that the wall hangers are properly connected and adjusted so follow the cabinet instructions carefully!
How to fit drawers
Tools & materials for the job:
Drawers are the easiest way to add flexible storage to your kitchen – and they’re easy to install too. Just follow these four simple steps:
Screw the drawer runners to the inside of the cabinet, ensuring each pair are perfectly parallel and so that they slide forwards out of the cabinet. Repeat this at the appropriate heights for as many drawers as you are fitting. The exact position for each runner will depend on the drawer combination you are creating and will be shown in the drawer instructions.
Before you fit the drawers into the cabinet, you’ll need to put together the drawer boxes and fit the drawer fronts. Make sure you assemble all your drawers according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Your drawers should now slide easily into the cabinet. Make sure the drawers are located onto the runners and clicked into place where it’s necessary for soft closers to work (refer to manufacturer’s instructions).
If necessary, for a perfect result fine tune the gaps between the drawer fronts by making adjustments according to the drawer manufacturer’s instructions.
How to install cabinet doors
Something as simple as replacing your cabinet doors can make a huge difference in a kitchen. So, if you’ve found your new kitchen door fronts, we’ll help you install them.
Tools and materials for the job
Cabinet doors have large circular holes for the hinges to fit into, saving you having to cut this out. Insert the hinge into this hole and make sure the arm is at exactly 90° to the door edge using a 90° try square. Fix the hinge to the door using the screws provided. Repeat for any other hinges on the door.
Fix the hinge plates to the cabinet side panel, locating into the pre-drilled holes. Check the hinge instructions to make sure you fit the hinge plate facing the right way, otherwise the hinge arm will not attach properly. If you are replacing the doors and the old hinge holes in the cabinet are damaged, you can fix this using a hinge repair plate (sold separately).
Line the door up to the cabinet and get somebody to help hold it in place whilst you attach the hinge arms to the hinge plate. Some hinges clip onto the plate and some are fixed by a screw so check the instructions to see which type you have and how to secure them properly.
Your door should now be fixed in place. If you need to adjust or level your doors, read below.
How to adjust or level a kitchen cabinet door
Don’t worry if your cabinet doors aren’t closing properly or are sagging when they open. Most issues with your cabinet door can be fixed by using the adjustment screws on the part of the hinge that touches the cabinet itself.
It’s worth spending the time aligning your doors properly as it will make a real difference to how good your kitchen looks! This can be necessary on newly fitted doors and also doors that have been in use for a while.
Adjustments can be made in 3 different directions, side to side, up and down or in and out (closer to or further away from the cabinet). All you’ll need is a pozidriv screwdriver.
Side to side adjustment
Side to side adjustment will move where the door sits on the cabinet when closed from left to right. Remember to adjust the top and bottom hinges equally to keep the door vertical.
Up and down adjustment
Up and down adjustment will move the door up or down slightly on the cabinet. Try to support the door while you do this to prevent any sudden drops. Normally you’ll need to adjust both hinges to keep them properly aligned and opening smoothly. If the door stops closing properly, try tweaking the up/down adjustment on one of the hinges only to release any tension.
In and out adjustment
In and out adjustment will move the door forwards (away from the cabinet) or backwards (closer to the cabinet), helping change the size of the gap between the door and cabinet. Often this is the best way to fix a door that’s not closing fully because it is rubbing on the front edges of the cabinet.
Some hinges can be adjusted without loosening any other fixings, but on some you need to slacken the fixings before making the adjustments. Check the hinge manufacturer’s instructions to see which type you have, and which screws are used to make which adjustments.
Always make sure that the door is supported whilst making adjustments, especially if you need to loosen any fixings.