How to Install Blocking to Anchor Cabinets Solidly - Fine Homebuilding

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The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix

How to Install Blocking to Anchor Cabinets Solidly

comments (13) April 29th, 2009 in Blogs
MikeGuertin Mike Guertin, editorial advisor

Horizontal blocking installed between studs makes for a more secure cabinet installation.
Horizontal blocking installed between studs makes for a more secure cabinet installation.Click To Enlarge

Horizontal blocking installed between studs makes for a more secure cabinet installation.

by Mike Guertin

You can fasten upper cabinets just to the studs, but horizontal blocking installed between the studs makes for a more secure installation. In new homes or gutted remodels, I install 2x4 or 2x6 blocks between studs. Make sure to locate blocking behind the cabinet’s top mounting rail. When installing cabinets on existing walls (as shown below), I cut through the wallboard where the top mounting rail will land. I remove the wallboard and install 2x4 blocks with 3-in. screws. Then I cover the blocks with drywall and finish the seams with tape and compound.

Install blocking
Install blocking
Install blocking

Read the complete article...
Installing Kitchen Cabinets, Smooth and Solo
With a few special tools, you can preassemble the cabinets and cut a big job down to size
by Mike Guertin
Get the PDF


posted in: Blogs, framing, kitchen, walls, cabinets

Comments (13)

JFink JFink writes: I'm sure Mike could answer the vapor barrier question, but my guess is that because the walls have no insulation in these photos, and that he mentions covering the hole with drywall/joint compound that he is planning to deal with the insulation/moisture issue down the line. I'm also willing to be that Mike doesn't necessarily use vapor barriers - he's a student of building science, so I bet he's begun to move (or already completely switched)to renovating his houses so that they dry to both sides.
Posted: 9:12 am on May 11th

CorvetteC6 CorvetteC6 writes: the leveling legs are usually round and the toekick has plastic devices screwed to the back of the toekick. These plastic devices snap around the leveling legs holding the toekick in place. The toekick is easily removed if you have to get under the cabinet. This of course is a European idea and you can see these things at any any IKEA store.
Posted: 9:25 pm on May 7th

swdstmkr73 swdstmkr73 writes: I can kind of agree with the moisture barrier issue, but it doesn't look like there was any insulation in the wall to begin with in this case. I fasten cabinets to the studs, but I'm interested in the French cleat idea, esp. on a standard cabinet. How do you all who use it make it work on a cabinet that has 1/4" or so between the back panel and the rear of the cabinet?
Posted: 7:58 am on May 6th

MarkNH MarkNH writes: What I would like to know is how he plans to reinstall the insulation and vapor barrier in an instance like this? Seems like a great place for moisture to get in the wall and cause lots of damage.
I installed my cabinets with no blocking in place, the 16" O/C studs were more than sufficient.
Posted: 2:09 pm on May 5th

moorco moorco writes: The tapered European you're referring to is called a "French Cleat".

Posted: 2:08 pm on May 5th

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: I always use hand-cut dovetails and european reverse thread brass screws to attach cabinets to the walls!

Now that I have your attention, Cosmo 99 is the only sane person to comment here. There is usually no need to get fancy....


Unless you get paid by the hour, in which case you should drag it out as long as possible.
Posted: 8:04 am on May 5th

bbartbob50 bbartbob50 writes: I know this looks like it would be more secure but what about the European method where they put a length of board
up on the wall that is tapered with the reverse tapered board on the back of cabinets - pick up and attach - the original anchor board is into the studs
Posted: 7:25 am on May 5th

Cessna Cessna writes: When we were rebuilding our home I added spacing blocks to each cavity between the studs. I also placed these spacers for the bottoms as well. I did not have to worry if a screw would miss a stud.
Posted: 11:33 pm on May 4th

FairFrank FairFrank writes: A carpenter I've worked with for 30 years taught me a different approach. For hanging the wall cabinets, instead of using drywall behind where the cabinets will be, we use 1/2" plywood. We still tape & spackle it, but you wind up with a bigger surface for your fasteners to catch. You could always use the blocking that Mike has described as well, but that seems like overkill.
Posted: 9:51 pm on May 4th

LocalHero LocalHero writes: I dunno, Mike's system seems like an awful lot of unnecessary extra work and mess. I like Semar's hang bar idea but doesnt' it leave the cabs held off the wall? I've used the 45'd 1x ledgers to hang other things that had enough recess built into the back but how do the horizontal strip systems work with standard modern cabinets?

I'm not sure I follow the leveling legs idea...There's no kick? Nothing seals off the space under the cabs? I think of a plinth as the base under a column or other vertical. So you just use a plinth in front of the leg?
Posted: 9:31 pm on May 4th

rk10007 rk10007 writes: French cleat. Easier, quicker, no mess, no surprises. Un, dieux, trois.
Posted: 9:29 pm on May 4th

cosmo99 cosmo99 writes: If the upper cabinets are built correctly, no other blocking should be necessary with a normal wall and 16" on center studs. There have been some rare cases where a very narrow cabinet might fall between studs, but 99% of the time, I have never run into any problems. Semar (see his comment above), has some good ideas for hanging cabinets, especially ones that don't have a proper nailing surface to start with.
Posted: 8:03 pm on May 4th

semar semar writes: I use either a horizontal metal hanging bar like they do in Europe or install a 1 x 4 with two inverted 45 degree edges and simply hang the cabinets on it.
When you install the first strip on the wall you can shim it if necessary; also when hanging it eliminates the temporary support (or helper) and the cabinets will always hang level.

As a footnote: I also use levelling legs instead of the 1x4 toekick. In the void under the cabinets you then can run additional electrical wires or plumbing lines if necessary without having to go into the drywall. The front is covered with a plinth
Posted: 7:30 pm on May 4th

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