"Installer-Friendly" Cabinets

Installers sound off on how cabinet-makers can make their lives easier. August 29, 2005

I have rencently thought about making installer friendly cabinets and I was recommended to try making installer friendly cabinets, which I'd not considered before beyond the ladder base/adjustable feet or built-in trade offs. What design or construction features make a cabinet installer friendly, and why do they make the difference? Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor S:
Have you looked into the modified French cleat system? This would make for a fast, excellent quality install.

From contributor A:
Here's my list:
A tough finish so the occasional dropped tape measure or screwdriver doesn't mar the finish. Leg levelers, by far faster than ladder box, or shimmed sides, or whatever other combo you dream up.

Look into a hanging rail system - a version of the French cleat. This allows one person to install upper cabinets alone. It’s also faster than hold and screw.

Also, check out tool less door and drawer removal. They can be quickly removed for installation of the boxes. Hinges should also have multiple adjustment capability. A copy of the production drawing is helpful. The designer's drawings don't always reflect what actually arrives on site.

From contributor C:
In addition to the above, I would suggest blue tape. Mark the plans with numbers and write corresponding numbers on blue tape on the cabinets.

From contributor J:
To contributor C: The only thing I would change is instead of blue tape on the cabs try using marker pen instead. Blue tape can get pulled off; permanent marker on back of the cabinet won’t come off.

From contributor T:
How about a new take on the size matters debate? Would you rather level and align 4 30" bases or 1 120" base? We build as few cabinets as possible, often 10' or more long. They’re a pain to deliver, but so much nicer to install.

It’s not an option if you're a one-man crew, but with two or three guys it's the way to go. The same goes with uppers. Little Hands or 3rd Hands for the uppers, and you are good to go.

From contributor D:
To contributor T: I keep telling the guys at the shop to make it in as big a chunk as you can handle and as complete as possible. Let me worry about getting it off the truck and moving it around the jobsite. I put the millwork on dollies right on the truck if possible and keep it on dollies until it is installed (you can never have too many dollies).

I give favorable prices to companies that take the time to properly measure and template the job, produce good detailed shop drawings and have a labeling system that corresponds to the shop drawings.

From contributor E:
There is a new gadget available for hanging upper cabinets that’s called the third hand by Fastcap. By using two of them you can adjust your cabinet up to where you want it and screw the cabinet to the wall much easier, and there is no need of a wall cleat or ledger.