Tips on Hanging Upper Cabinets

Here are a couple of useful ideas to making hanging upper cabinets easier. August 13, 2007

In the past, I've simply screwed upper cabinets to walls. Lately, I've been experimenting with using a modified French cleat hanger. I use rabbets in the two parts of the hanger that give me about 1/8" wiggle room.

As I get older, I find I like holding up heavy objects less and less. Using a wall hanger like a French cleat appears, so far, to make the job of hanging wall cabinets easier. Am I missing any drawbacks or tradeoffs? I've been fabricating the hangers out of oak or ash - whichever I can get cheaper. Is this overkill - will poplar do? What do most of you folks do?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor J:
Poplar will do fine. Are you hanging top cabs first or after bases? For years I always did uppers first and you really need a helper/holder. Last few kitchens I set bases without tops and I made stands, 19 1/2" high, that set on bases. Just pop 'em on, they sit and wait for you! Still need help, at least I do, to get them on stand, but after that you can move them wherever, screw them alone and the helper can be setting up the next one. I pre-drill my cabs first also.

From contributor B:
We use 3/4" plywood for the hangers - you never see it after installation. We also allow 1/4" wiggle room rather than 1/8" because some walls bow that much.

From contributor R:
Try a Gillift. We've used one for years. Replaces two men on the job site. Wouldn't install without one now.

From contributor A:
I made a couple of stands a few years ago. I stuck a Blum leg leveler in each to adjust the height. They work well.