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Hanging a four foot cabinet, solo

I have hung several laundry cabinets over the years.  This time I tried something so simple that I feel stupid for not trying it before. It is always a struggle holding a cabinet in place and keeping it level while trying to screw into the studs. By taking an extra step before finishing the assembly of the cabinet I was able to hang it easily,.  And I did it without messing up the paint on the wall. To quote Homer Simpson, “I am so smart, s-m-r-t,….”

Prefab cabinets have a strip of wood (well, particle board) on back of the cabinet for securing it to the wall. I took this piece, and before screwing it to the cabinet, I determined its location on the wall. I marked the locations of the studs and then drilled a small pilot hole through the mid point of the board and into the wall.  You might get lucky and have the mid point of the cabinet land on a stud.

I drilled the hole in the wall for a wall anchor and inserted a screw so it was sticking out about an inch. I then enlarged the corresponding hole in the board so it would easily fit over the screw. After, I attached the board to the cabinet, completing its assembly and started the screws in the board.  I then hung the cabinet on the screw in the wall. The screw was strong enough to hold the cabinet up while I leveled it and drove the screws into the studs.

Other methods

A ledger board (usually a 2×4) is attached to the wall for bottom the cabinet to rest on during installation.  This is the usual method of installation, but that leaves holes to patch and paint to touch up. With my method, I didn’t have to worry about that step.

Since the back is open, a similar ledger board could have been attached to the wall inside the cabinet for the backing strip of the cabinet to rest on. Because the resulting holes are inside the cabinet, the quality of the finish doesn’t matter as much.

Even better,  I could have done a French cleat (see right). The cleat and the back piece are cut at matching angles so they interlock (right).

The key is to first determine the stud locations and start the screws in the backing board before attempting to hang the cabinet. I did it alone, I did it relatively quickly, and I didn’t damage the wall paint at all.

The laundry room.

We bought a Whirlpool work surface that fits directly on the washer and dryer.  (Update 2016: no longer available)  Above is the cabinet, which I installed yesterday.


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