If you’re replacing your kitchen or installing a new one the first time, installing kitchen cabinets is a big part of the process. Luckily, most cabinets go in quickly and your kitchen will be finished before you know it.
The time to install kitchen cabinets depends on what type of cabinets you’re installing and how big the space is. In a 10’x10’ kitchen installing ready-made cabinets, you could expect to be done in a day. If you’re installing custom cabinets, it could take 4-8 days on average.
Installing new kitchen cabinets is a great way to remodel your kitchen, but how long does it take? While a full kitchen remodel is likely to take 4-8 weeks, installing kitchen cabinets is much faster. However, the total duration depends on factors like where and how cabinets are being built. For example, if you have ready-made or ready-to-assemble cabinets you can put them together and install them fairly quickly. On the other hand, if you’re having a carpenter build your cabinets off-site and install them on location, you can expect the timeline to extend 2-3 days. But, if you’re having a craftsman build and install new cabinets on site, you likely need at least a week from start to finish.
So, if you’re wondering “How long does it take to install kitchen cabinets”, the answer is “It varies a lot”. The good news is you can roughly predict how long installation will take based on your cabinet type, removal, restructuring the kitchen, etc.
5 Factors that Will Affect Installation Time of New Kitchen Cabinets
Installing kitchen cabinets heavily depends on what you have in place, what’s underneath, and what you’re putting in. There are dozens of factors that might affect installation timelines, but these 5 points are the most important.
Removing Old Kitchen Cabinets
Removing your old kitchen cabinets is the first step to installing new ones. You’ll likely have to do it before having new ones made as well – because the craftsman will want to see what’s underneath. This means you can normally expect to be without a functional kitchen for at least two weeks, unless you’re using ready-to-assemble cabinets.
Removing kitchen cabinets can also take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This depends on the original material, how the cabinets were placed, and how fitted the cabinets were to begin with. If you’re doing it yourself, it also depends on how physically capable you are. For example, if you have old cabinets built into the wall, removing them can take some time. Most kitchen cabinets are freestanding and secured to the wall by means of screws, nails, or adhesive such as glue or silicone. This means they are relatively easy to pull away and take apart.
On average, you should estimate at least one day for removing your old kitchen cabinets. However, you also have to keep the plumbing in mind. For example, you’ll have to turn the kitchen water supply off. You’ll also have to drain the kitchen plumbing and disassemble the sink. In most cases, this process will go fairly quickly, but it does complicate issues. That’s also true if you have built-in refrigerators with water supplies, dishwashers, etc.
Utility and Outlet Placement
If you’re reorganizing your kitchen, you’ll have to make sure that water and drainage is in the right place for new utilities. That may mean moving the drain and water outlets to another part of the kitchen. It might mean installing power lines for a new electric stove. Or, it might mean moving or adding new gas lines. In each case, you’ll likely have to rely on licensed electricians, plumbers, and gas technicians for this work – as most city regulations prevent you from doing it yourself. That means making appointments, waiting for the expert to show up, and allowing them to do the work. If you do have to move gas or electric lines, you can expect the full process to add 1-4 days to your total cabinet installation time.
Your Kitchen Floor and Wall Condition
In most cases, your kitchen floor and wall have to be in good condition to properly support new cabinets. That’s especially true if you’re hanging wall cupboards. If you remove your existing cabinets and find water damage and weak wood, you’ll want to take the extra time to replace that so your new cabinets will last for years.
You’ll want to check for things like sturdiness, suitability for the new cabinet mounts you’ve chosen, and that the floor is level. For example, if you’re using a popular cabinet rack installation – you’ll need solid baseboards across the full distance of the cabinet. This ensures the cabinet can be mounted securely and that it will stay flush to the wall. If the baseboards aren’t there or are in bad condition, you’ll have to take time to install a solid mounting board in the wall before you can proceed. Depending on your wall and tools, that may take a few hours to a few days.
Cabinet Type / Model
Freestanding and ready-to-install cabinets will always install the fastest. But, there are plenty of other cabinet models that might come into play. For example, if you’re having custom cabinets built for you, timeline will depend on the craftsman.
Secondhand Cabinets – Secondhand cabinets are normally pre-assembled and can simply be slid into place and secured. In most cases, you can expect to spend a few hours doing so once the old ones are out.
Ready-to-Assemble – Ready-to-Assemble furniture, like you’d buy from Ikea or its many competitors, must be assembled by you, on site, and then put into place. In most cases, you should plan to spend about 1-3 hours per cabinet you’re assembling, per person doing the assembling. This heavily depends on your experience with assembling ready-to-assemble furniture and the complexity of the cabinet. For example, a simple under-sink cabinet with one shelf is easier to install than a corner cabinet with a carousel or a cabinet of drawers. Plan timelines based on which types of cabinets you’ve chosen.
Assembled Off-Site – In some cases, you can have a craftsman come in, measure your space, build kitchen cabinets off-site, and then install them for you. In this case, you may have to remove your old cabinets before they measure. This means you won’t likely have a functioning kitchen for up to 2 weeks while the craftsman builds and then installs the cabinets.
However, if you’re paying someone to install ready-to-assemble cabinets for you, the full process will likely take 1-2 days, depending on how big your kitchen is.
Assembled On-Site – If you’re paying a craftsman to build new cabinetry for your kitchen on-site, you can expect the full process to take at least 2 weeks. Again, this heavily depends on factors like materials, kitchen size, etc. For example, the average kitchen is 10’ x 10’, but your kitchen cabinetry will vary in length, height, material, and complexity. The smaller your cabinets, the faster they will install. And, if you want something like stone, custom wood staining, or veneers, the process will take much longer than simple wood or laminate cabinets.
Tools and Labor
Tool and labor availability will always impact how long it takes to install cabinets. For example, if you purchase a new countertop, you need it cut to size. You also likely need cutouts for the stove and the kitchen sink. That means having tools on hand or buying from a store that will cut things to measure for you. Similarly, if you’re hanging your cabinets, you need access to a drill to properly put up the hanging rail or hanging posts. And, you’ll obviously rely on other people to have help putting cabinets up on walls. This means timelines will vary significantly depending on the resources available to you.
Doing It Yourself: How Long Will It Take You to Install Kitchen Cabinets?
The duration of installing kitchen cabinets yourself will depend on what type of cabinets you install. But, if you don’t have complications like having to move the drain, handing the installation yourself is feasible and likely cost-effective.
How hard is it to install kitchen cabinets?
Most kitchen cabinets are relatively easy to install. If you have to lift cabinets to hang them on the wall, it can be more difficult. However, chances are, you can easily replace your cabinets with ready-to-assemble cabinets in a matter of a few days.
For example, the most difficult parts of installing kitchen cabinets are:
- Removing old countertops can mean running into problems you didn’t know were there. For example, you might rip out a section of wall paneling while removing countertops. You might find wood has rotted under the sink. Or, you might find that the floor isn’t properly levelled. This can greatly increase the complexity of installing new cabinets.
- Cutting countertops to size. However, many hardware stores will do this for you as a free service or at a slight premium. Even Ikea will cut your countertops to size for a fee. In addition, if you have a stone or quartz countertop, you’ll have to have it custom cut by a manufacturer. That means waiting for them to finish work and aligning schedules with them.
- Adjusting plumbing, gas lines, or electrical lines. However, most states and individual city districts don’t allow you to manage this yourself. If you’re inside of city lines or are in a state that doesn’t allow you to work on plumbing without a license, you’ll have to contact a professional to handle it for you. Always check with local regulations before proceeding. However, you can normally uninstall and reinstall a sink without contacting a plumber. Just make sure you have replacement fittings on hand. You’ll also want the right sets of tools, such as a set of two adjustable wrenches for the faucet fittings.
- Installing wall-mounted cabinets. You’ll have to level the wall mounts and then lift the cabinet to rest on them. Most empty cabinets are fairly light and this can be achieved by one or two adults. OSHA recommends at least two. However, if you’re using hardwood or another heavy material, getting cabinets onto a wall can require significant upper body strength. Therefore, you should make sure you have people on hand to help you out.
Cutting, trimming, and properly fitting cabinets requires some proficiency with tools, the ability to use a level, etc. However, if you have basic experience with doing renovations yourself, installing cabinets is easy.
Timeframes for uninstalling and replacing kitchen cabinets can vary a lot. But, for simplicities, sake, let’s say you’re replacing a kitchen in a 10’ x 10’ room. If you have a standalone countertop and cabinets, a wall-mounted set of cabinets, and a center aisle – with spaces for your stove and refrigerator – you can likely remove everything in a day. With that in mind, you can project the following timeframe:
- Removing the old kitchen – 6-12 hours
- Cleaning the kitchen – 4-8 hours
- Leveling and removing cosmetic problems such as broken tiles – 4-8 hours
- Putting together a ready-to-assemble kitchen – 1-3 hours per cabinet
- Cutting countertop –1-6 hours depending on whether you have a built-in stove, etc.
- Installing floor-mounted cabinets – 3-6 hours
- Putting in wall mounted cabinets – 2-3 hours
- Installing countertops and fixing everything to the wall – 2-3 hours
- Time to dry – 24-48 hours
- Sink installation – 1-3 hours
- Adjusting outlets – 20 minutes to 4 hours
If you’re installing cabinets yourself, you also want to choose either ready-to-assemble or to ensure you have the tools and skill to build your own. In most cases, cabinet joining requires significant skill – which means you shouldn’t attempt it without practice. If you’ve opted for pre-built cabinets, installation is very achievable, even with no prior experience.
Installing your own kitchen cabinets can cut thousands off of remodeling your kitchen. At the same time, it’s important to ensure you have licensed contractors in to do work such as moving plumbing or fixtures – because you aren’t legally allowed to do so yourself in most areas. Otherwise, installing kitchen cabinets should take a few days at most – for a remodeling project that lasts a few weeks.