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Are DIY Cabinets The Right Choice For You?

Posted by Dave McIntosh on June 11th, 2011

Nobody likes to spend money that they don’t have to especially these days. However, unless you are friends with a cabinet maker, purchasing kitchen cabinets can get terribly expensive. In fact in 2008, the average kitchen remodel cost in the US was about $50,000.There is another way however. DIY cabinets can save you a lot of money and they aren’t that hard to do with a little knowledge and some basic carpentry skills.

Let me assure you, you can do-it-yourself but you need to know yourself and accept your true limits.

To work with DIY cabinets you first need to measure your kitchen accurately. This is so you know what you have to work with. This could be a two-person job, one on each end of the rule. Now draw out your kitchen on a piece of paper along with the exact measurements including fractions of an inch. You will want the room measurements as well as the present cabinet measurements.

 Diy cabinetsMaybe you just want the same layout as you presently have and then again maybe you want a whole new layout. In either case the layout of the present kitchen will come in handy. Now go to a place where they sell diy cabinets and they will help you layout and order/buy the cabinets you need.

DIY cabinets come either already assembled or flat in a box that you have to assemble and of course there is a price difference depending on which you choose. Though either one is a lot cheaper that buying them from a custom cabinet shop.

Obviously you will need to get the old cabinets out of the house first which will include disconnecting the sink. If you are changing the layout you may have to adjust the plumbing or some electrical in order to accommodate the new layout and this should be done before you start installing the new cabinets.

If you bought the flat in-a-box cabinets you will have to assemble them before you can install them. This is a relatively easy process by just following the instruction that come in the box along with all the parts to the cabinet.

Once you have the cabinets all together you are ready to complete the installation. The top of the upper cabinets is usually set at 84” today. So where the upper cabinets are going you should draw a level line on the wall at 84”. Installing the upper cabinets is a two person job. Normally I install the upper cabinets first as one person can get under the cabinet and hold it up while the other person screws it into the wall. After the first cabinet is installed you should align the second cabinet with the first and screw them to each other and then screw it to the wall. The screws holding the cabinets up should be into the wall studs for strength so locating them is important. I start in a corner and work away from it as that works best.

Once the upper cabinets are up you can install the lower cabinets, again starting in a corner and working out. They too need to be screwed to the wall studs and need to be level so you may have to shim them to achieve that. These cabinets should be screwed to each other first and then to the wall.

Now that they are all installed all you need to do is install the countertop and reinstall the sink and your new kitchen is ready to use.

Yes I know I have made it sound pretty easy and it really is a significant job so don’t take it lightly and take your time. Really for those who have some basic carpentry skills it really isn’t that difficult. Depending on how big the kitchen is it could be a one to three day job installing the new cabinets but the rewards will be great. Your kitchen will have a fresh new look and you will enjoy showing your handy work off to your friends.