Do manufacturers have installation instructions for cabinets?

frontFebruary 24, 2014

I'm going with Schuler.

Do they have recommended installation literature?

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I don't know about Schuler, but my Kraftmaid cabinets came with installation instructions.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:24AM
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It's NOT something you can "figure out" with instructions. The instructions are there for those who don't need them, really. You have to have the right tools, and a good deal of DIY experience. If that's not you, hire a professional cabinet installer. They can take 6K worth of cabinets and make them look like 60K. Whereas a bad install can take 60K worth of cabinets and make it look worse than 6K worth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinet Installation Guide

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 12:09PM
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Can you give me some examples of what you are referring to? Are you referring to the trim work?

What type of specialty tools are you referring to?


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Tools for cabinet installation:
2 levels- 6ft minimum and a 2 ft (a third short 18" is nice) should be top quality levels- if I had to have only one it would be a 6 ft.- chalk line is nice to have- laser even better :)
Battery powered drill and set of drills and driver bits -extra battery (two drills are nice- one big one and one 12v lithium)
Extra driver bits

Screwdrivers- good ones- add in a "posi-drive" screwdriver to adjust doors etc (looks like phillips but is not.
Clamps- minimum of four 6-8" deep, nice to have another four quick grip clamps which are shallower.
Circular saw, table saw, sliding compound miter saw (for moldings a chop saw just doesn't do it), belt sander, nail guns (1-18ga, 1-15 or 16, ) , compressor and hose(s) saber saw (AKA jig saw)
Combination square- One good one will do. Just make sure it is actually square. I bring 4 of these two 12" starrets, one 4" starret and an old stanley
Tape measure (only one do NOT use a second tape), a folding rule is occasionally handy. Utility knife and extra blades (band aids:), pencils (bunch- for kitchens use real ones not carpenters pencils), broom, dust pan, shop vac, saw horses (two sets if you can) , extra sheet of ply, something to protect floor and cabinets (ram board is nice but cardboard works.

Adequate amount of all the proper screws (do not use drywall screws), shims (not cedar), some extra 1 x 4", painters tape, may need a forstner bit to recess hardware screws.

Nice to have but non essential -(though if you need one of these they are impossible to do without) An angle drill attachement (Milwaukee) , an offset ratcheting screwdriver, a Kreg Jig and bits, an angle drill, a dead blow hammer, two 5 ft K-Body clamps, , block plane, low angle block plane, japanese hand saw, 23 ga pin nailer.

Seperately- tools for electric, plumbing, tile, drywall...

I've advised lots of DIYers over the years, quite doable. The hardest part is moldings- scribing is an art. Out of level ceilings start to be a very big deal for DIY if molding goes to ceiling.

With care and patience tools can be minimized- so long as skill level is there to make up for it. Possible to do with a level, square, drill, saw, 18 ga pin gun , few clamps, and get someone else to do the moldings (may be a better bet than buying a $500 saw) I reiterate- if the skill level is there to make up for the missing tools.

Look into books from "fine home building" magazine.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Great post, jakuval.

I had a very experienced, highly recommended, professional cabinet installer tell me that he didn't use the screws provided by the cabinet manufactures as he always uses drywall screws. My cabinet instructions stated very specifically to NOT use drywall screws.

live_wire_oak, while it's probably good advice to hire a professional if you have no experience, it might not be a bad idea to look over the directions that come with your cabinets anyway, just so you have an idea if things are being done as recommended.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:19PM
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True, it's always best to know what the professionals should be doing!

The one thing that Jakuvall missed mentioning is the extra month of time to do the job DIY vs. a pro taking maybe 2 days.

I'll just echo what he said again, it takes more skill than the tool list. A skilled person can do it with a minimum of tools. The tools just make his job easier and faster. Without the tools, a hard job for an inexperienced DIYer is virtually impossible to get the details correct. There is NO substitute for the right kind of experience. None. IF you do have a good amount of DIY experience, the tools, and the TIME, then yes, you can do it if the design isn't too complicated. If you don't know how to scribe to a wall, then you don't know enough to do the job though.

I even had a "professional" who I was trying out as a cabinet installer ruin an 8' stick of crown that he only needed about half of for on top of a linen cabinet. He botched every cut. Every. Single. Cut. That was a $150 piece of molding, and he supposedly knew what he was doing. He did not make my cut for my list of cabinet installers. I ordered another piece of molding and had my best guy swing by and get it done the day before grand opening. But, I already knew I was going to use him on my list. He's been installing for me for over 10 years at one place or another. I can design something that he understands how to execute. And that's priceless.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:32PM
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I have been watching some youtube videos on it. Do you guys have any recommendations on videos or books to purchase?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:34PM
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No books. No videos. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. You're not listening. That's not going to help you. Hands on is what will help you.

Go and buy crown molding and practice cutting it. Correctly. Take a straight edge and find the highs and lows in your floor. Do the same to your wall. Your ceiling. Go to the Habitat ReStore and buy a couple of cabinets and practice installing them. Shimming them for level in all directions. Do it when it doesn't count. Drywall holes are easy to patch compared to ruining a $1600 pantry.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:57PM
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I forgot to add
-well detailed plans-(really important for the newbie and not all that common), a cooperative KD who knows how to install themselves, a phone to call before you muck something up, the good sense to use the phone.
And predrill EVERYTHING.

I mentioned fine homebuilding for books, it's where I'd look. Videos- I've got nothing, not my area.
I know how to do a few things (hence the name). I learned hands on, there is no substitute. Sure I read, I love directions but doing takes doing.

For many years my job was make things, out of anything, that we had never done (and maybe should not be done)..perfectly... motto was "they built the pyramids didn't they"
One approach I took was "muck it up fast". Do it once to find where the problems are, then do it for real, perfectly. Now you can't do that but you can....

Practice the skills- :
miter cuts on cheap molding (hardwood handles differently so get unfinished hardwood not MDF), then pinning without sending a nail into your finger, drilling and screwing into hardwood without busting a screw, scribe some material to a wall and see that it is plumb, shim a 3ft 1 x4 board, screw to the wall then lay a level across the face to see how much it is torqued, take two 1 x 1-1/2" pieces of hardwood (stiles) that are slightly bowed and screw them together so they are flush...look at the tear out on your cuts, the fit on your joints, check them for square. Unfortunately there is no way to practice "touch up" a skill set of it's own that is difficult to master.

In the end-
1-If you love doing it fine,
2-it's a middling kitchen and you like doing it and won't be fussy and really have more time than money and at least some of the tools-fine
3-will be fussy and will invest whatever it takes to get it right (time, tools, practice, extra material)-maybe- if yes you'll already know the answer
4-if it is a "nice" kitchen, and you care, then if you have to ask- don't.
5-If you have almost none of the tools, don't.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:26PM
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I'm the wife of an advanced DIY'r.

Ask yourself these questions.... How much experience/skill do you have with power tools? wood working tools? Assembling things? working with drywall? general construction knowledge? Do you have a knack for such things? What types of projects have you done before?

I understand saving money (one of the reason we diy everything) but you need to have the skill to do it.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:36PM
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I agree, debrak, but you get the skill by doing. I'm not sure if a big kitchen remodel is the place to start learning, but hey, you gotta get those skills somewhere! If it were me, I'd want to do my learning on a smaller project.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 7:04PM
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I got a call from a local Kitchen and Bath shop looking for a cabinet installer who had placed a Craiglist ad. The owner said he wanted a first rate installer and judging by his showroom, he was used to first class. We agreed I'd go out with his lead installer with whom he was very pleased.

Following his lead, we cranked out a 19 box framless kitchen in a day with a helper, including bailing the electrician out of his ceiling can light installation problem. I hate claustrophobic attics, but toughed it out.

I got a call to go back to do a solid surface sill repair in the bathroom, which turned out flawlessly. The helper called me into the master bathroom because he couldn't get the cabinet door to shut even though he'd maxed the adjustments. I told him the lead had racked the cabinet when he screwed it into the wall. Rookie mistake.

The customers weren't happy that they had to have fillers on their frameless kitchen cabinets; completely avoidable had the lead not scribed so much off a lower end cabinet. He had to lower the uppers because the doors scraped the ceiling. He never checked the floors or ceiling for level. Rookie mistakes again.

Since I didn't think I was going to get any more work from the owner anyway, in my email with my invoice attached, I told him how much the lead he loved was costing him. They finally paid half my invoice.

Getting K&B shop owners (and their customers) to pay for experienced talent is the problem.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:02PM
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I've had bad luck with contractors and service customers. I think I do a superior job in certain cases. I did my own roof. I just learned from books, videos, and forums. The inspector was even impressed. My neighbor had a professional company do his roof around the same time. I looked at his roof during installation. The guys weren't hitting the nail lines properly, and it looked like a very sloppy job. I had another issue with a professional pest control company not applying termidor to spec.

I've done framing, siding, carpentry, etc. and have most of the tools. The only tool I don't have is a self leveling laser level. I do a lot of DIY type things (timing belt for my truck, water heater, toilets, electrical, 10ft header, etc. I also do wood projects when I have time (boxes, pedestals, canopies, etc.).

I'm not the type of person to do something without extensive research. I know that there is no replacement for hands on work, but I still need to learn before I do it. It does me no good to practice hanging cabinets over and over, if I am doing it the wrong way.

I will definitely practice on cheap wood trim. If you guys have any suggestions for DIY, please let me know where to look. I have already learned a great deal from watching some videos. The problem is I don't know if they are doing it correctly or not.

My other option is to go with the Lowes installer. For some reason, I think that will be a bad idea and a waste of 2k.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:05PM
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So you're a candidate. It's closer to cabinetmaking than framing, or trim carpentry. Dead level, not in the lines; 1/32" not 1/8, square, not "almost", finished material is unforgiving. 2k sounds to be a simple kitchen, Lowes says not inset or frameless, helps.
Last time, "Fine Homebuilding".

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 6:17AM
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Watch the videos and read up. You'll be fine.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:04AM
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