How do I securely anchor kitchen cabinets to the wall?

Answered by Brett ~ May 6, 2010 ~ Comments

Here in Southern California, rocking and rolling in an earthquake is not uncommon. My husband is very handy and is taking it upon himself to install our new kitchen cabinets. What is the best way to anchor them to the wall so they stay as secure as possible?

Noreen C. ~ Los Angeles, California

Brett Kulina

When installing kitchen cabinets, I like to use star-drive cabinet hanging screws or square drive decking screws. These types of screw heads are strong and are less likely to "strip-out" than standard phillips-head screws. When hanging cabinets, I never use sheet rock screws, as they are brittle and tend to break when set. Of course the quality of the screws won't make much of a difference unless you have adequate wall framing to support the weight of the kitchen cabinets. Ideally, there should be wood backing between the framing studs, which the wall cabinets will attach to. If there is no backing, you may want to consider installing some, or you will have to mount the wall cabinets to the studs only. It is okay to attach the base cabinets to the studs only, as their weight is supported by the kitchen floor.

When attaching the wall cabinets to the kitchen wall, you will need a helper, or some jacks, to hold the cabinets in place while you set the cabinet hanging screws. I normally use 4 screws per cabinet, and I attach multiple cabinets together, before hanging the group. I prefer to hang the wall cabinets first, because this way I do not have to reach over the base units to work. Kitchen cabinets are expensive and beautiful, so I work carefully and measure twice to avoid mistakes. Good luck and enjoy the new cabinets.

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