Refrigerator Cabinet Installation Details

Pros share tips and tricks. May 4, 2005

I've always had trouble coming up with a set procedure for hanging a 24" deep fridge cabinet and fridge panel. When there are two panels, should you build it ahead of time and then install the whole unit? What about when the cabinet goes against a wall with the panel on the other side? Should I attach a cleat to help support the cabinet before I lock it down to the wall?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor T:
SubZero, KitchenAid, GE, etc. all have websites with detailed instructions and installation procedures that will answer most of your questions. I make a master folder and I download the instructions, so when I get the next one it is much faster to include the info in my specs.

From contributor C:
I think a lot depends on how the cabinets are fabricated. The end panels I installed were for a custom shop, and they sent the fridge cabinet and two floor to top-of-cab end panels. The end panels were long at the bottom so I could scribe to the floor, and wide at the wall edge so I could scribe to the wall.

I always figured the solid end panels would support the cabinet after everything's in place, so as long as I could get a couple of good screws through the hanging rail of the cabinet, I felt there was adequate support.

There's a really detailed article in WOODWEB's Knowledge Base that I think this will help you visualize the process:

Installing refrigerator end panels

While many of the manufacturers do offer detailed specs on clearances, etc., I have yet to see any that offer nuts and bolts installation help. My experience has been that the manufacturers can be very good at telling you *what is needed*, but most of the time are very bad at telling you *how to do it*. From an installer's perspective, the two items are a world apart.

From contributor J:
For what it is worth, I always assemble on the floor and then stand 'em up and scribe. If you're going to, slide 'em in place and screw them home. On single panels, same deal - just put temp ledger strip to hold cab where panel is not. It is a zillion times easier to clamp pieces on floor and screw tight together, then stand them high.

From contributor M:
For single floor to ceiling finished end panels attached to refrigerator cabinets, I just stand them up in the kitchen, making sure I've made the cabinet a tad shorter than the ceiling height. A prop stick will hold the other side till the cabinet can be screwed to the wall. Left and right attached finished ends can be trouble standing up in a kitchen if the cabinets are meant to be floor to ceiling. I leave one finished end attached and the other finished end and stile is removable. The open side of the fridge cabinet has a wall end to keep the box together and once the cabinet is stood up, the free finished end is put in place, covering the wall end and screwed through the wall end into the finished end panel. The stile on the free finished end covers the raw edge on the wall end and butts into the top and bottom rail. I have predrilled pocket holes towards the ends of the two rails to cinch up the stile tight. It looks perfect when done and the beauty of it is that everything is fabricated, sanded and finished in shop, partially disassembled and installed in the field with a minimum of time and tools.