Construction Tips

Receiving your order

When your order has been shipped from the factory, CQR will forward a Fed-Ex tracking number to you so that you may track your order yourself. Fed-Ex will call at least a day in advance of the delivery to verify that you are ready to receive and that someone will be in attendance to take delivery. You may modify the delivery date and/or times at on this call. You may also elect to go to the Fed-Ex facility and pick up the order yourself if that is needed.

Your order will be delivered to your site by either a large box truck or truck and trailer. Be sure that there is adequate area on the street to park and unload the truck on the day of arrival. The order will be delivered on several palettes, be sure that a space to place these palettes has been cleared, preferably indoors and out of the weather. Fed-Ex is only obligated to drop the palettes from the truck (curbside delivery), however; drivers have always been willing to assist with moving the palettes up a driveway or even into a garage. If it is raining on the day of delivery, you should be prepared with some plastic sheet to protect the order while unloading.

Inspect the order as soon as it is removed from the truck. You are looking for damage to the palettes and packaging. Do not open the packages at this time unless the package has been damaged. Take photos of the damage, including the packaging. The bill of lading will indicate how many pieces (palettes) are on the truck. Have the driver note any damage on his paperwork before you let them leave. If there is a shortage or damage, send an email to CQR with pictures and documents. See Claims and Returns for more information.

Stage your order in a secured, safe area protected from extreme temperatures and moisture. Staging area should be close to the installation area, but out of the way. Your order should be palettized as follows:

  • Cabinet boxes (includes face frame, sides, back, shelves, bottom and top)
  • Doors and Drawer Fronts individually wrapped
  • Drawer Boxes
  • Tall and Oversize pieces
  • Hardware (door hinges, drawer slides, shelving pins)
  • Inserts and accessories (lazy Susan, trash pull-outs, etc)

The cabinet boxes will be the first packages to work with. The Doors and Drawers will be the last.

  • Cabinet boxes will be labeled. B and CSB are base cabinets. W and CSW are wall cabinets.
  • Separate boxes by which rooms they will be installed in and separate the wall and base cabinets.
  • Take and inventory based on the cabinet list provided by CQR
  • Notify CQR of any discrepancies via email.

Cabinet Assembly

Save and use the extra cardboard from the packaging as padding for assembly and/or protection for your floors. Cabinets may be assembled on the floor or on a table if you prefer. Due to the weight of some cabinets, assembly on the floor may be required. One person can assemble most of the cabinets alone, however; help is recommended for corner cabinets and tall cabinets. For written assembly instructions and videos refer to Assembly and Installation.

Recommended tools and materials are;

  • Quality wood glue
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Wet and Dry rags
  • Finish hammer or pneumatic nail/staple gun
  • 1″ – 1.5″ 18ga finish nails or staples
  • 2 – 36″ or 48″ bar clamps (useful in some rare cases)

Considerations for assembly:

  • Protect your flooring
  • assemble close to your installation area to minimize transport and damage in doorways
  • make sure larger cabinets will fit through any doorways in the path to the installation area
  • Tall cabinets may be too tall to stand up after assembly depending on ceiling height
    • assemble in another room and move into installation area standing up; or,
    • assemble standing vertical (requires help); or,
    • modify bottom of cabinet if platform kit not supplied (contact CQR for advice)
  • save ALL scraps and extra pieces in the packages, they may come in handy later
  • make sure all boxes are completely empty before discarding

Assembly Tips

  • Wall cabinets are usually reversable, top to bottom, left to right.
    • shelf pin holes in the sides are equally spaced top and bottom
    • exception for wall cabinets with drawers or two tiered cabinets
  • Base cabinet sides are usually notched for toe clearance at the bottom-front
    • drawer openings in the face frames need to be oriented to the toe clearance
  • Base cabinets do not usually have full tops, but instead two strips to brace the front and back corners
  • Base cabinet backs are pre-drilled for drawer slide brackets – be careful to orient the holes properly to the face frame drawer cut-outs. They are not evenly spaced top to bottom.
    • remove the brackets and screw packs from the drawer slide packages. Put the slides back for later.
    • two of the screws in each screw pack are slightly larger than the rest. Separate these, they are for mounting the slides later.
    • install be drawer slide brackets to the cabinet backs, using two of the smaller screws for each, before assembly (not necessary, but much easier)
  • CORNER CABINETS ARE DIFFERENT study the written instructions prior to tackling these.
    • Base corners are heavy, get help
    • shelves and Lazy Susan pieces need to be inserted into the cabinet during assembly. They will not fit through the opening later.
    • Lazy Susan pieces can be installed on the bottoms and shelves prior to insertion (not necessary, but much easier)
    • The shelving pins for the corners are the larger type in the hardware packs
  • Cabinet Backs get glued and nailed or stapled. One every 3-4 inches from the sides, unless the side is finished. Then you nail from the back.
    • I prefer pneumatic staple gun with 1″ – 1.5″ 18ga staples
  • Doors, drawers, slides, inserts and accessories should all be installed after installation. This keeps the cabinets light weight and minimizes potential handing damage to the doors and drawer fronts.

Cabinet Installation

Inspect walls, floors and ceilings. Look for square corners, level floors and level ceilings. Deviations of more than 1/4″ should be repaired, shims can be used to correct less than 1/4″.

Discover whether there is a “cabinet header” installed in the wall. This is usually a 2×6 installed where the top of the cabinets may be screwed into the header. If there is no header, consider installing one prior to continuing.

If there is no header and you decided not to install one. You will need to mark the locations of each stud along the wall. Mark both above the top of the cabinet and below the bottom so that your marks can be seen with the cabinet in-place.

Wall cabinets should be installed first. This allows working closer to the walls and directly under the wall cabinets with no danger of damaging base cabinets.

Recommended tools and materials;

  • Stud finder
  • 2′ and 4′ levels
  • Framing square
  • Chalk line
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil/marker
  • Shims
  • Rubber Mallet
  • 2 1/2″ #8 Cabinet Screws
  • 2 1/2″ #8 Decking/Framing Screws
  • Drill and bits
  • Screw driver #2 phillips head
  • 1 1/2″ to 4″ Hole saws – for piping holes in sink base
  • Jig saw – for electric outlet cut-outs
  • 6″ “C” clamps or cabinet clamps
  • Table saw and electric hand-held planer are recommended for trimming cabinet frames

Installation Tips

  • Mount a 2×4 to the walls, with the top of the 2×4 measured to where the bottom of the new cabinets will be. Use this 2×4 to align and support the cabinets during installation.
  • Installing wall cabinets is a two-man job.
  • Install Corners first. Take time to ensure that corner cabinets are straight and level. Since this is a starting point, any error will be multiplied as you move down the wall.
  • Use Cabinet Screws to secure the cabinets to the walls. Cabinet Screws are labeled as such on the packages. They have flat bottomed heads to provide a better bite on the cabinet.
  • Use at least one screw per stud at both the top and bottom of the cabinet.
    • If the cabinets are too close to the ceiling to access a screw in the top one inch, measure and predrill holes on the inside of the cabinets. Hold the cabinet in place and use one of the pre-drilled holes to hold it.
    • Use a minimum number of screws until the face frames have been aligned and screwed together. Shim behind where needed and then add screws as needed.
  • Align the face frames, drill, counter-sink and screw together. Use #8 2 1/2″ counter sunk construction screws to join the frames. Use clamps to align and hold frames together tightly while drilling and screwing. I use a tapered bit.
    • Place screws one at top and one on bottom inside the frame.
    • Hiding the screws under the hinges doesn’t work. Measure to avoid the hinge areas.
    • Add a screw to the center of the frame if needed to pull the frame together completely.
    • Improve the over-all look by locating the screws in the same locations on each cabinet and drilling from the side least likely to be seen after installation.
  • Base cabinets should start in the corner as well. Each cabinet may be set in place without screws as a “dry fit” to identify any errors or trimming required.
  • Secure the corner cabinet to the wall using cabinet screws along the 1′ strip at the top. Shim and adjust as needed to get the cabinet flat and level. \
  • Identify the cabinets that require penetrations for plumbing and/or electrical outlets and pre-drill/cut-out as needed prior to fastening to others or the walls.
  • Screw the face frames together same as with the wall cabinets. 1/2″ shims may be needed between the cabinets at the back to keep the face frames flat. Use a 4′ level or other straight edge to keep the faces flat. Shim and fasten as needed to the wall at the top or to the floor at the toe. Once the base cabinets are assembled as a unit secure firmly to the wall with at least one screw in each stud.

Drawer Slides and Drawers

Drawer slides and drawers are next.

  • Drawer slides install with the back of the slide inserted into the tabs on the brackets at the inside back of the cabinet. If you previously installed the brackets, if not do so now. (and “I told you so”)
  • The front of the slide sits on top of the bottom rail of each drawer opening approximately 1/8″ back from the front face of the frame.
  • It requires only one of the larger screws that we separated out from the hardware earlier. Do not use the smaller screws used on the brackets. They will fit snug, but will pull out sooner than later.
  • The drawer slide clips fit under the drawer in the front corners. See the written instructions. The only caution is to use an extended bit for the screw gun in order to get the screw as flat as possible and screw slowly as to not crack the drawer. Might take some practice. If the screw pulls the clip up off of the drawer bottom, it will not work well. Reinstall it, if possible.
  • To install the drawers, pull out the slides and set the drawer on top with the slide fit inside the slots on the back of the drawer. Push the drawer closed solidly. The slide should clip into place.
    • If not, you may need to grab the slide and pull it into place. CAUTION: THE SLIDE HAS SHARP EDGES AND WILL CUT YOU.
    • There is a hole on the back of the drawer above the slot. A guide on the slide fits in the hole.
  • Check that all of the drawers are sitting in the openings straight and even. The faces of the drawers should be slightly recessed from the front face of the face frames. 1/16″ to 1/8″ is preferred. 0″ will work.


As with all construction and carpentry, there are many ways to correctly obtain good results. I prefer to install doors before drawer fronts. It helps when aligning the tops of the drawers with the tops of the doors. Save door knobs and drawer pulls for last.

  • Predrill the inside of the face frames for the top hinges. All of the doors are drilled with the center of the top hinge at 3″ from the top edge. If you have a 1/2″ door overlay, the predrilled hole should be at 2 1/2″ (3-1/2=2 1/2). That’s the easy one. You’ll have to calculate any other overlays yourself.
    • I will generally predrill all of the cabinets before moving to the next step.
    • Pay close attention to the directions that the doors are intended to open for single door cabinets. Mark them with tape if needed.
  • Hang the door by installing the screw through the top hinge (not tight) and let it hang down. The hole is oblong, the screw should be to the top of the hole. Then predrill the bottom hinge by drilling through the hinge at the top of the hole. Adjust the door to obtain the correct overly (which should correspond to the screws being in the center of the holes) and tighten the screws.
  • An alternative is to make a jig with spacers to clamp to the bottom rail of the door opening. Set the door on the jig to hold it at the correct height while predrilling and fastening the hinges to the frame. In this case the predrill and the screws should be in the center of the holes.

Drawer Fronts

With your drawers already in place, the drawer fronts need to be fastened to the drawers. This can be done in a number of ways. This is how I do it.

  • Put two vertical strips of 3M Double Sided foam tape on each end of the drawer. For wider drawers add a few more strips vertically or horizontally. In 1/8″ or so from the edges to hide them after the front is on.
  • Using a straight edge across the bottom or tops of adjacent doors to align either the bottom or tops of the drawer fronts. You can mark the face frame with pencil or tape on one side of the drawer opening to gauge the correct overly. Set the front on the straight edge and press it onto the drawer front.
    • The tape holds really well, so if you make a mistake, pull the front off as quickly as possible. After a day in place, removing the front becomes a chore. I’ve had false fronts on vanities held on the cabinets only by tape for over 12 years now. They’re not coming off.
  • Once the first drawer is in place you can use straight edges on the sides and spacers between them to align the remaining fronts.
  • Once all of the drawer fronts are in place and correct, mark the fronts for drilling to mount the drawer pulls.
    • On most drawers the pulls and tape combined is more than enough to hold the fronts firmly in place. If you feel the need, additional screws can be added from the inside of the drawers. Carefully measure for the length of screw for your particular drawer front design.