Plan and Design
Do it yourself design & installation support for our customers
Do you like to be rewarded for your efforts? New Affordable Kitchens offers special purchase incentives for our customers who are brave and willing to take on the following tasks:
- Do your own measuring and room sketch - Save 10% on cabinets
- Create your own layout design and cabinet list - Save the cost of getting us to do it
- Do your own cabinet installation - Save an additional 10% on cabinets
Save up to 20% or more by doing just one or all of the tasks listed above. The more you do yourself, the more you save! We admire that do it yourself spirit and this is our way of saying; “Way to go!”. We want you to succeed and we are here to support and help you in a way big box stores just won’t!
Measuring and creating a sketch: See our Kitchen Design section for tips on what to include on your sketch when measuring a room for new cabinets. When your sketch is ready send it to us via fax or email. Be sure to also submit a shop-at-home or free estimate request so we have something to match your sketch to. Include in the notes that you have sent in your sketch and measurement details. We will use these details to create a layout and design for you as well as a quote. If you would like your quote and design returned to you via email please advise us in the notes, otherwise we will be in contact to set up or confirm an appointment.
Creating a layout design and cabinet list: If you’re comfortable in planning out the layout of your new kitchen thats super! If you prefer, we can create one for you. You can either send us a sketch with measurements or we can measure for you, just request an appointment. If you intend to create your own layout and cabinet list, be sure to consider these money saving tips. Fax or email us your completed design and cabinet list. Be sure to also submit a request for free estimate so that we have something to match your fax or email to. We will use your layout and cabinet list to put together a cabinet estimate. If you would like your cabinet quote returned to you via email please advise us in the notes, otherwise we will be in contact to set up or confirm an appointment.
Installing new cabinets yourself: If you have installed cabinets before that’s excellent! On the other hand if you have never installed cabinets before, no problem! Check out our cabinet installation tutorial and video. Video courtesy of our friends at Ez-level, and of course you can expect our support and help when you purchase your cabinets from New Affordable Kitchens.
Helpful and convenient installation support
At New Affordable Kitchens we offer both free installation support and paid support. What is included with free support? Any basic questions that can be answered in 5 minutes or less over the phone is free. Paid phone and on site installation assistance is available for those bigger more in depth, time consuming issues. Yes we will even come to your house if thats what you want. Be assured that the cost for paid support is minimal in comparison to hiring an installer.
Customer contact for DIY installation questions and support: 416-900-6018
If your support issues require more extensive time or an on site visit by our staff then a fee may be requested, but we will never just surprise you with a bill. We will always advise you in advance when charges become applicable and will request a credit card for payment.
Save money by using common factory dimension when planning
While any cabinet can be customized to meet any required size, where it makes sense we suggest using the standard factory dimensions as listed in the chart below to help save you money. Otherwise we will quote to the exact custom dimensions provided on the cabinet list or on the layout design.
Do it yourself cabinet installation guide
STEP 1 DECIDE WHERE TO START
Should you start with your uppers cabinets or your base cabinets? Some installers say to always start with your uppers because it is easier to lift the cabinet runs on to the wall and there is less chance of damaging any of your base cabinets by dropping something on them. Others say to always start with your base cabinets because it allows you to more easily line up the location of a tall pantry or wall oven cabinet. If installed first, base cabinets can also be used to support your wall cabinets if you don’t have help to lift and hold them in place.
While professional installers tend to have a repetitive system for installing cabinets, a do it yourself homeowner doesn’t always have to be bound by every aspect of a set system, but instead should apply and use what makes best sense for their own design layout and situation. No matter what you decide is best, the most important part of any install is to create an accurate layout of reference marks on the wall before you start. Personally I believe in placing my wall cabinets first whenever possible, unless it does not make sense to do that. From time to time a combination of several factors may change my mind. For example sometimes you may have wall and base cabinets sandwiched between two tall cabinets as seen in the picture to the left. To get the install right you may actually have to break the installation into several sections and focus on completing one wall at a time. In this case we treated this wall as its own installation. In this scenario you may actually have to switch back and forth from installing tall cabinets and panels, then wall cabinets, then base cabinets before you can finally add the last tall cabinet at the end.
For the purpose of this tutorial we will assume that we can start by placing our wall cabinets first.
STEP 2 PREPARE FOR WALL CABINETS
1. Locate the height for your wall cabinets.
In most cases the starting point for this is 54” off the floor because that will give you an 18” space between the countertop and the underside of your wall cabinets. This may need to be adjusted up slightly if there is a higher point in the floor along the wall that will affect the finished height of your base cabinets. If you have a laser level you can use it to locate high points in the floor and make adjustments accordingly. See the installation video for further details.
2. Find and mark all studs along the wall.
This will allow you to locate them when you go to screw the cabinets to the wall.
3. Attach your ledger boards to the wall
to provide a shelf that will hold the weight of your cabinet runs while one person supports them against the wall and another screws them in.
4. Verify the location of your cabinets around the window
If there is a window and there will be cabinets on both sides of it, make sure that the space between the window and cabinets is balanced on both sides of the window.
STEP 3 HANG YOUR WALL CABINETS
1. Connect your cabinet runs and lift into place
While one person holds the cabinets, another can partially set a screw to help hold the run against the wall.
Tip: with frameless cabinets you will have to screws through the backing of the cabinet. Measure and mark the stud location inside
the cabinet box while it is still on the floor. If you are confident that your location is good you can even pre set a screw already.
2. Check for level
Before completely securing the cabinet run to the wall, make sure it’s level so that the doors will work properly and so it will sit flush with any cabinet next to it.
Use shims at the top, bottom or sides to make adjustments.
STEP 4 LAY OUT THE BASE CABINETS
1. Mark the finished height of the bases
At the high point of the floor which you located earlier, measure the height of the base cabinets,
usually 34 ¾ in. and mark the wall. Now adjust your laser line to match that mark or alternately measure from your laser line to your mark.
Now mark off the cabinet height around the room by measuring the same distance from the laser line.
2. Draw a level line across the wall
Follow the marks you made for the base cabinet height. Connect them and draw a line on the wall using a level to establish a fixed mark that will not move.
This is practical just incase your laser moves or if you prefer to turn the laser off in between steps. You will use this level line or mark to set the height of your base cabinet runs.
3. Mark off your cabinet locations
Using your tape measure mark off the location and length of each cabinet in the run by making a mark on the wall
with the end of the tape. Make sure that cabinets such as the sink base align with the centre of the window above. If you prefer you
can also mark a straight vertical line with a level at the end of the cabinet run. This will provide a visual aid to verify the run is level.
STEP 5 CREATE CABINETS RUNS
We suggest setting your cabinets on their backs next to each other. The floor should do most of the work for you. Line up the top and front face of the cabinets using shims if necessary, so that they are flush with each other.. Next, clamp the cabinets together and set at least one or two screws in the front (top) of the cabinet ( locate screws where they will be hidden if possible - behind hinges etc). Leave the clamps on, and stand the cabinet run upright on its toe kicks again. Next clamp the back of the cabinets together and set several more screws in the back. For extra strength you can also flip the run of cabinets upside down and add screws through the bottom base before you start step 6. Hide any visible screws with fastcaps. Fastcaps can be added to your cabinet order by request.
STEP 6 IF YOU ARE USING EZ-LEVEL INSTALL IT NOW
1. Drill the access holes for the adjustment rods
Turn the cabinet run upside down if you have not already done so. Install at least one set of levelers at each joint of your cabinet run. On corner cabinets and sink bases use two sets of levelers. Next mark the toe kick using the jig provided with ez-level to locate your hole location and now drill an access hole for each set of adjustment rods.
2. Install each set of ez-level feet
First assembly each set of levelers by adding the adjustment rods. Place a set of levelers in position so that the adjustment rods sit flush with the front face of the toe kick. Hold one of the feet and mark the location of the vertical screw holes. Next set one vertical screw in each foot to hold it in place, then add the rest to the vertical and horizontal screws to firmly fasten the leveler set to the cabinet. Repeat this for each set of levelers until they are all fastened
STEP 7 INSTALL YOUR BASE CABINET RUNS
The first cabinet or run installed sets the placement for every other cabinet or run that follows. In most kitchens its important to start with the run that includes your corner cabinet(s) as it will become impossible to fit it in later if your other cabinet placements are off even just slightly. Working away from a corner offers much more flexibility. If you do not have a corner to worry about start with the your next most important cabinet, your sink base and make sure it is centred under the window and then install the runs next to it.
1. Modify for services
Measure the distance from your cabinet layout lines on the wall to the services coming through the wall or floor. When the services are coming through the wall mark their vertical and horizontal location on the back of the cabinet. If they come through the floor mark them on the bottom of the cabinet. If it is necessary to locate measurements inside the cabinet - be careful, remember to deduct the wall thicknesses of the cabinet or distance from floor from your transferred measurements. Best to always mark measurements on the outside of the cabinet whenever possible to avoid making errors in math. Using a hole saw, always cut your holes slightly larger than the size of the service you are trying to accommodate.
2. Level each run of cabinets as you install them
Move and flip over each assembled cabinet run, so that it sits on the levelers. Place it against the wall where it belongs. Now level the back of the run first so it sits flush with the level line you drew on the wall earlier. I suggest leveling left side then right, then the middle feet. Use shims to make adjustments against uneven or out of level walls. Use a laser level or long 4 or 6 ft level to monitor the adjustments you make to the front of the run to bring it in to level with the back.
3. Three places to fasten
Each run should be flushed with any adjacent cabinets and clamped. Next shim any gaps along the wall where you will set screws so that you do not pull the run out of level. Set one screw into the wall through the hanging rail. Now screw the ends of the run together with any adjacent cabinets. Then go back and set the rest of your screws in the hanging rail. On end cabinets where screws will not be visible ( such as in a void for the dishwasher or in a toe kick that will be covered up later) toenail a screw into the bottom plate of the wall. Again place a shim in any gap before you do this. Important: we recommend using #8 2 ½ in. screws - never use drywall screws.
STEP 8 SCRIBE AND SECURE TALL CABINETS AND PANELS
As described in step 1 you may need to complete this step out of order or even more than one time depending on the design and layout of your new kitchen. For example you may need to place a tall cabinet or panel earlier in your installation to be able to set a run of wall cabinets against it. Adjust your installation plan based on your own circumstances, but definitely think about it in advance and have a step by step plan. Tall panels and pantry cabinets demand some extra work to install. Their long side panels will expose any unevenness in the wall if not scribed to fit the wall. Generally scribing is only critical where the gap to the wall, floor or ceiling will be exposed and is large enough that it will be ugly if you ignore it or try to hide it any other way.
1. Strengthen attachment to the wall
It is always a good idea to make sure that any cabinet that is carrying something heavy like an oven, is securely fastened to more than one stud in the wall. You will also need to pay extra attention to this if the tall cabinet is staggered away from the wall leaving a gap behind it, where the gap is later covered and hidden by a panel. In such a case you will need to add some reinforced plywood or lumber behind the cabinet to fill the gap and provide something solid to fasten the cabinet to.
2. Scribe fridge panels and end panels
With the panel in place use a compass (recommended) or if you do not have one just take a pencil and place it flat against the surface you want to scribe.
While pressing the writing end against your panel, simply move the pencil along the surface you wish to scribe and it will leave a continous line on the panel that follows the contour.
3. Trim the edge of the panel
The excess material can be removed with a track or edge guided circular saw or with a jigsaw.
Sand the cut and bevel the cut edge towards the inside or away from the outside exposed edge. Be careful not to remove excessive amounts of material.
Done correctly this will ensure that the outside edge will fit tight to the wall. If the panel is an end panel and if you have a matching stain, marker
or lacquer for your new kitchen, its a great idea to just give the outside edge of the cut a quick fresh touch up to hide any small imperfections left behind by the cutting.
4. Optional: Hide any remaining gaps left along exposed edge
If the gaps are minimal (1/8” or less) you can successfully use latex caulking to hide any remaining imperfections or gapping. It is a lot less work and much faster than scribing every detail. A note of caution however. If you decide to use paintable latex caulking to blend your wall or ceiling make sure you actually paint the joint after the latex has dried, otherwise over time the latex will dry out and cracks will form. Before you paint remember to tape off your cabinet with frog tape first to prevent paint from bleeding on to your cabinet. Painting will minimize the risk of any cracking and it helps blend your wall with the edge of the cabinet giving it a seamless look. this is the same technique used to hide gaps along the top of base boards.
Cabinet Installation Video- From our friends at EZ-Level
Features an installation using framed cabinets. The techniques are very similar for frameless cabinet installations (which are more common in Ontario) with some minimal differences. The biggest differences are joining cabinets in runs and screw placement. Joining frameless cabinets in runs is actually easier. Also with frameless cabinets there are going to be some screws that you just will not be able to hide. Any screws that remain visible can easily be cover with Fast Caps. If you can’t find Fast Caps in your area let us know and we can get them for you.
The problem with BIG BOX stores
At a big box store, once your order is delivered thats usually the end of any service support. These pictures sort of poke fun at the issue, but the sad thing is these pictures are based on frustrating realities. If you have ever experienced that frustration, well then you may really enjoy these depictions with a smile or a laugh!
Ask yourself, would a big box store representative come to my home to help me? Hmmm.
What if you need a little extra help or support after the delivery? You pay good money for cabinets, so it stands to reason that you should be able to request some local support from your retailer without first having to chase down someone inside a store for 30 minutes or be guilted or shamed into letting an installer do it for you because they don’t want to make time for you.