Materia Millwork

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An Inside Look at How We Install Kitchen Cabinets

November 7, 2023

In this episode of Revealed, I’m going to give you an inside look at how we install kitchen cabinets at our Beacon Hill project.    


The first step is to set our control point—the height of the top of our countertops. In this kitchen, we are working around a steel column that will dictate our countertop height. The countertop wraps around the column. Therefore, I need to ensure that the countertop height falls between two rivets.

Typically, we target for a 36-inch finished height. However, that would fall right on top of one of the rivets. Rather than drop our countertop height down where it would be too low to work at, we’re going to raise it up a little bit—about 1 inch. Our target finish height is now 37 inches. We shoot a laser at our target height across the entire unit and mark out stud locations to carry our line across. Previously during framing, we added additional blocking so we would be able to secure all the cabinetry to the walls.  


Once the height is set, we can then go back and measure down to the top of where our ledger will be. The back of the cabinet will sit on a 2-inch x 3-inch ledger fastened to the wall. The front side has adjustable feet—we can make any micro adjustments as needed.  

When installing the ledgers, we consider things like the dishwasher or refrigerator—the ledger can’t run past them. Next, we install the cabinets onto the ledgers and fasten them to the walls/studs. The hardware on the doors is attached, and the doors are hung.  



Every kitchen install is unique—this one has some areas where the sides of the cabinets will sit on the countertop. We completely edge band and seal the bottom edges to prevent moisture or damage from spills—nothing can soak up into the open end grain of the plywood, compromising the structure.

And when installing the cabinets in the island, we have to allow for extra space in the back—this will accommodate the fittings and connections on the backside of a washer/dryer unit that will be tucked away under the island.  

— Ken DeCost

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