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Keeping cabinet against the wall during instillation

How do I keep the upper cabinet against the wall while I screw them in. As soon as I hit the studs the cabinet comes out from the wall and off the 1x2 ledge. I have it propped on a board with car jacks underneath at the same level as the 1x2. I pre drilled pilot holes through the cabinets and am using 2 1/2 " cabinet screws. Does it take a lot of strength or am I doing something wrong? 

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Posted 2013-12-27T21:31:03+0000  by mattsmom mattsmom

This may be a dump question, but what kind of screws are you using to fasten the cabinet to the wall with?

Most people would use drywall screws or deck screws, rather than the old fashioned wood screws.


I prefer to drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the thread diameter of the screw, that way it's easier to

screw into the hole in the cabinet but yet will help you drive the screw into the wall, at least it works for me.


Is there any chance your screw is hitting the top of a nail head or an existing screw in the wall?


You could put the cabinet up against the wall on your ledger board, mark the wall left and right sides

with a pencil, pull the cabinet down and look for the witness marks on the wall your screws made.

You could then drive some screws in a bit past the sheet rock, creating a threaded pilot hole, or

at least you would be able to see why your screws are not threading into the wall.


Jim  (Empirical Technology)



Best Answer

Posted 2013-12-28T02:18:20+0000  by emptech

They shouldn't be pulling off the wall.  Is you pilot hole at least as large as the outside diameter of the screw you're using?



Posted 2013-12-27T22:57:43+0000  by Adam444


A true cabinet screw does not have threads all the way up to the head This allows the cabinet to snug up to the wall. Also, a cabinet screw has a flat washer type head so that the the screw does not bury into the wood as a bugle head screw might do.

Posted 2013-12-28T05:47:31+0000  by ordjen

Thank you. That is a good idea. 

Posted 2013-12-28T20:42:44+0000  by mattsmom

Yes they are true cabinet screws.

Posted 2013-12-28T20:43:59+0000  by mattsmom

Thank you.

I did as you suggested and found a metal plate running across two studs spaced 3" apart at the height  that corresponds to the hanging strip on the back of the cabinet.  

I could add another 22 1/2 X 1/2 strip right below the present one and drill into the stud through the cabinet, however I would like to do something easier if it will be strong enough. If I support that side of the cabinet through both studs at the bottom, can I just go through the sheetrock at the top using an expansion bolt or something like that? This cabinet is by itself and cannot rely on another cabinet for help. What do you suggest?

Oh, the cabinet screws are just like drywall screws, but have the appearance of brass, so they can be seen.

Posted 2013-12-28T22:41:05+0000  by mattsmom

There's no way the driving the screw can push the cabinet off the wall unless it's threads can bite into the cabinet itself, even if you happen to hit a nail, screw, or other obstruction.


Cabinet screws have larger "wafer" heads so the head of the screw can't pull through the back of the cabinet.  They're available in colored heads (like white for melamine) and some are even have little caps to help "hide" them.



Yes, you can use expansion anchors if you need to.


Posted 2013-12-29T03:14:38+0000  by Adam444

Didn't you read the previous post from the original poster?


"I did as you suggested and found a metal plate running across two studs spaced 3" apart at the height  that corresponds to the hanging strip on the back of the cabinet."


The problem had nothing to do with the screws or types of screws, he hit a metal plate, that's what I suggested

he do and he found the obstruction.


Funny, I was in the hardware store business for almost 50 years and never sold "cabinet screws."

Might be an east coast thing.



Posted 2013-12-29T19:26:12+0000  by emptech




Not "an East coast" thing at all. They are sold all over the country and used commonly. Their wide flat head, lack of threads close to the head and self-threading/tapping design  help prevent the problems encountered by the original poster. Maybe just a case of old dogs and new tricks :)

Posted 2013-12-29T20:36:50+0000  by ordjen

I will remember that about the screws.  I closed my business in '92, went broke with it after

many years.  Couldn't compete with the HD stores, but I don't hold that against them.


Since then, lots of things have changed in construction.  For example, I helped out on a

construction job in Oklamoma, found this strange plastic water tubing.  Found it was PEX.


Kalifornia was about the last state to accept PEX in the building trades, I believe it happened

in about '93.  That's why I didn't know about it.  I like PEX, a lot of people around me still won't

use it.


I also remember cast iron pipe, oakum and pouring lead.  The ABS pipe sure took care of that,

made a lot of plumbers unhappy, just like PVC pipe.


45 years ago they didn't have dry wall screws either, everybody used nails, I still have some.


I think the reason for the new screws, including above is due to developments in metalurgy

and tooling.


Thanks for the info on the screws -


Jim (Empirical Technology)

Posted 2013-12-29T21:32:57+0000  by emptech
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