Installing Vanity Cabinets

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Vanity cabinets are generally open in back to accommodate plumbing. The installation of a vanity cabinet is a relatively simple job. Instructions for installing a countertop follow below.

Tools: level; screwdriver; drill; C-clamps if joining two or more cabinets.

Supplies: screws; toggle bolts; shims; sandpaper.

1. Be sure your floor is level. If it is not, add shims beneath the cabinet, wherever necessary, so that water does not pool at one end of your counter top or run off onto the floor. Use a level to check it. The walls behind and beside the cabinet ought to be smooth as well. Bulges will prevent the cabinet from setting flush. Most irregularities can simply be sanded down. If sanding will not suffice, you may need to add shims at the wall to make the cabinet level.

3. Attach your cabinet to the walls. Measure the height the cabinet should reach, and draw a line on the wall the length or depth of the cabinet to gauge your level and accuracy as you work. Screw through the cabinet’s hanging strip into every stud, not simply into the wall’s face; the weight of the cabinet should rest on the floor, not the screws.

2. Vanity cabinets are made to a standard height of 30 inches. For most people this is a satisfactory height, but it can be surprisingly irritating for people who are much taller than average. You can raise the height of your vanity cabinet in one of four ways: (a) Use modular kitchen cabinets, which are 34½ inches high and 24 inches deep; (b) Build a plywood base for your cabinet with 2 by 4s; (c) Raise the

77a Raising the Toe-Kick: Shim to compensate for uneven walls; Open back for plumbing; Raising the Counter Top


Bottom of toe-kick; (d) Raise the counter top. To raise the toe-kick, place the cabinet upside down, and screw precisely measured strips of wood to the bottom of its base. To raise the counter top, install similar strips of wood to the top of the cabinet’s base before you install the counter top. Finish the faces of the wood strips to match the rest of the cabinet, or add an extra-wide band of vinyl molding at the base.

4. If you are installing a series of adjacent units to make one long cabinet, clamp the units together with C clamps. Then drill pilot holes, and attach the units together with wood screws through adjoining stiles. Check the cabinet’s level periodically: Tightening screws will often pull a unit out of line. If this happens you may have to readjust, add, or subtract some shims.

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Updated: Monday, 2011-07-11 5:30