There was a time when getting quality cabinets meant having them custom made. Today, most Auckland home centers and specialty home building stores offer several cabinet lines with quality that rivals that of custom cabinetry. The huge variety of styles, sizes, options and accessories let you achieve a custom made look for less. Even better, most cabinet retailers provide free computerized layout and design assistance that helps you experiment with and visualize your dream kitchen before you lift a hammer. As you shop, think carefully about the options. Slide out shelving and full-extension drawer slides dramatically improve base cabinet and drawer accessibility. Base cabinets can be composed of door-drawer combinations or entirely of drawers. Consider cabinet door swings and how they affect function and hardware location. Full-height pantry cabinets accommodate a variety of swing-out doors that greatly expand storage capacity.
Most cabinet widths change in increments of 3 in., allowing you to fully utilize wall space. Narrow filler strips can he used to fill spaces between two cabinets or between cabinet and wall.
- Snap two level chalk lines to mark the top of the base cabinets and the bottom of the upper cabinets. Measure up from the high spot in the floor. These measurements allow for standard counter thickness.
- Clamp together corner base cabinet and adjacent base cabinets. Line up cabinet face frames at top and bottom; then push assembled unit into corner. Realign face frames, if necessary.
- Level the clamped-together three-unit cabinet using shims. Make sure cabi-nets are level in all directions and that top edges of cabinet backs are on the chalk line. You may need to shim behind some cabinets to align across face frames.
- Screw leveled cabinets together near top, bottom and midpoint of Face frame stiles with 2-1/4-in. screws. Predrill holes with countersink bit. Lubricate screws for easier installation by pulling the threaded part across bar soap.
- cut out back of sink base cabinet for sink plumbing with jigsaw or rotary tool. Drill holes in cabinet bot-tom for supply lines that come up through floor.
- Secure assembled and level base cabinets to wall studs with 2-1/2-in. screws through the nailing cleat on top of cabinet back. Predrill holes through cleat to avoid splitting.
- Allow required appliance openings for dishwashers and ovens between face frames. Make sure cabinet tops are level across the span. Screw 1×2 cleats to wall, even with chalk line, to sup-port counters in open areas between base cabinets.
- Pre assemble banks of upper cabinets before installation. Use clamps to pull cabinets tightly together.
- Where necessary, install temporary support cleats. Position upper cabinets. Pre drill top and bottom nailing cleats and screw cabinets to wall studs.
- After aligning them carefully, glue and clamp decorative end panels in place. Thicker decorative panels need screws, from inside the cabinet for support.
- Reattach cabinet doors and adjust hinges. Quality hinges will allow door adjustment in at least two directions; up and down, and left to right. Most can also be adjusted in and out.
Frame-less or Face Frame?
The differences between frameless (Euro-style) cabinets and traditional face-frame cabinets go beyond appearance. Here’s what you need to know about frameless Cabinets:
- Essentially are boxes with front edges that are completely covered by doors and drawer faces, making the panels look continuous.
- Have a modern, clean-line appearance.
- Are a bit tougher to install because there is little margin for hiding errors and making adjustments. Plus they can be considerably heavier than face-frame cabinets.
- Are joined to one another through their side panels.
- Generally cost more than a comparable face-frame cabinet. Face-Frame Cabinets
- Have a hardwood frame attached to the cabinet box that creates a lip on the sides.
- Door styles are either full overlay, some face frame shows or partial overlay, more face frame shows
- Tend to look more traditional.
- Have spaces between doors and drawers that make small deviations less noticeable.
- Are joined through their hardwood face frames.
Countersink bits. To join the cabinets’ face frames, you can use a three-stage drill bit to predrill holes for screws.The drill cuts the pilot hole, the clearance hole and the countersink. Your cabinet-to-cabinet joints will be tighter and the screw heads will disappear.