How to install toe kick boards for kitchen cabinets

Written by john fechik
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How to install toe kick boards for kitchen cabinets
Cabinets showing toe kicks (modern kitchen image by Melking from Fotolia.com)

Toe kick boards give the finished look at the base of your kitchen cabinets and are intended to protect your cabinets from your shoes, or toes, kicking the cabinet base. You can order custom-made toe kicks in solid wood or other materials that are wood coloured to match the rest of your cabinets. The toe kick also covers the seams in between cabinets and gives a uniform appearance. By installing your toe kicks, you can also prevent gaps that food or other objects may get lodged in below your kitchen cabinets.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Mitre or chop saw
  • Construction adhesive
  • Hammer or brad nailer
  • Small finish nails

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the length of the base of the kitchen cabinets in the area where you are installing your toe kicks. Work on one section of the kitchen at time and install the toe kick before moving on to the next section for the easiest process.

  2. 2

    Take your required length for that section and measure the toe kick and mark it. Cut the toe kick to the required length with either a mitre or chop saw.

  3. 3

    Place a thin strip of construction adhesive along the top and bottom edges of the toe kick. Place the toe kick at the base of the cabinet and press the entire length to secure.

  4. 4

    Attach the toe kick using a brad nailer or small finish nails and a hammer, placing one approximately every 12 inches on the toe kick to help hold until the adhesive cures.

  5. 5

    Repeat the process on the remainder of the base cabinets.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have any heat registers or appliances to work the toe kicks around, measure each small section using the same process as above. For corners, make straight cuts and butt each piece together.
  • Shoe moulding, also known as 0.5- or 0.75-inch round moulding, can be added to the base of the toe kick for a good clean finish. This is often used on uneven floors because it is easier to contour to the floors and fill the voids that the toe kick may not cover.
  • For cabinets that have an unfinished exposed side panel, glue a thin decorative matching wood piece to the side cabinet and attach a fancy trim board in the place where a toe kick would go. Improvising and being creative sometimes works the best when building and remodelling.
  • Many companies offer solid wood toe kicks in several wood species to match just about any cabinet type.

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