How To Install Kitchen Cabinets Video Icon

Part 6: Leveling Base Cabinets (If Using Shims)

How To Videos: Install Kitchen Cabinets, Install Wall Cabinets, Install Base Cabinets, Leveling Cabinets

Created by: Brooks Courtney

Part 6: Leveling Base Cabinets (If Using Shims)

Part 6 - Leveling Base Cabinets (If Using Shims)

If You know what you need... click here:
Video Time Stamps:
00:06 Must Install Individually
00:20 Story Stick
00:27 Drawing Base Lines on Wall
00:35 Setting Into Place Starting At Corner
01:00 Uneven Floors and Walls
01:10 Re-leveling
01:36 Expansion and Contraction Issues
02:20 Sink Base Installed With Others
03:00 Cabinet Specific Tools

In this video, we will talk about how to level base cabinets using shims. They are the alternative to using the EZ Level system, and it can be tedious to install your cabinets using them.

Shims are small wedges that are placed underneath a cabinet upon installation to level the cabinet before it is screwed into the wall. While it is important to level cabinets before immobilizing them, shims can cause a lot of problems, as they will not bear a heavy load, and the constant compression and expansion of the shim can cause it to move out of place, leaving the cabinet without the proper support. Although we do not recommend using shims when installing cabinets, there are some tips that you need to know when using them.

Start with a Baseline

Using a story stick, find the highest part of the floor, and draw your base line on the wall. You cannot begin without having a level base line. If any of your cabinets are taller than your baseline, you will have to redraw it so it lines up with the highest cabinet.

Once you have your base line drawn correctly on the wall, you can begin. Put the first cabinet in place. You will need to install each individual cabinet one at a time because you will not be able to reach the back of the cabinet to level it once another one is in place beside it.

Placing the Shims

Use a shim on each corner to raise the back of the cabinet to line up with your base line. You will then use a short level placed from the front to the back of the cabinet as a guide to raise up the front corners of the cabinet with your shims. It might be necessary to adjust the shims once they are all in place to make sure that the cabinet is level after all of them are in place.

Once the cabinet has been leveled, you will need to trim any shims that are protruding from the bottom of the cabinet. Your next cabinet will start much higher than the first if you place the next cabinet on the shim of the adjacent one.

To move on to the next cabinet, you will need to pre-place the shims on the side of the previous cabinet. It is likely that the shim will be the same length as the one in the front and rear of the cabinet on the side, because the corners will likely be on the same floor height. It could take some time to properly level the proceeding cabinets due to this lack of access.

In order to reduce problems with shims, you should glue shims onto the bottom of the cabinet to minimize their movement over time. You should never stack shims. This creates even higher possibility for movement, and will not properly bear weight.

Shims are not strong. Over time, these will compress and leave your cabinet unsupported. This will lead to cracked countertops, sticky drawers, and crooked doors.

A Better Alternative

The EZ Level system is much faster, easier, and stronger than using shims. When using the EZ level system, we start with our cabinet runs all screwed together. This makes it into one piece that needs to be leveled only in the corners. The supports in the middle are then lowered until they touch the floor, and you have a perfectly level countertop that wont budge.

We're glad you've taken the time to watch our videos. If you would like more information about the EZ level system, wed be happy to take any questions you have. Give us a call at 800-726-5550 today!