One hour spent dry-fitting cabinets and verifying dimensions will save many hours later by ensuring that cabinets will fit properly and that doors, drawers, and appliances won’t interfere with one another. Trim or shim cabinets to adjust for walls, floors, and ceilings that are not plumb, square, and level, being careful to note how this affects countertop height and rough-in dimensions. Use filler strips to provide clearance for doors and drawers, to close up gaps at the ends of cabinet runs, and to hide structural imperfections.

Cabinet installation takes place after most of the other work in a kitchen has been completed, including framing, flooring, drywall, and rough-in for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. Whether the cabinet installer is involved in this prep work directly or he arrives on site after it has been completed, he's likely to be faced with a variety of conditions that will affect not only the installation process but also the final appearance and functionality of the cabinets. In this article, we look at the most common problems that cabinet installers face—especially in existing homes—and the methods, tools, and products that...