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How to Hang Kitchen Cabinets on Thin Walls

Updated April 17, 2017

Kitchen cabinets must be able to support quite a bit of weight, and the consequences for a falling kitchen cabinet can be dramatic. Ideally, a stud or beam can support the weight of a kitchen cabinet. However, some kitchen cabinet locations do not allow this option. Fortunately, you can hang a kitchen cabinet safely on even a very thin wall, such as drywall. The key is proper preparation and anchoring system selection.

Test-fit a few toggle bolts in your kitchen cabinet's mounting hardware. Select the largest-size toggle bolt that will fit in the hardware. Leave the toggles off the bolts during test fitting.

Position the cabinet on the wall. Use a level to determine the correct orientation for the cabinet. Have a helper hold the cabinet in place while you mark the drilling points through the cabinet's mounting hardware with a pencil.

Drill a hole in the wall at each marked point. Use a drill bit that is the same size or slightly larger than the diameter of the folded toggle. Hold a folded toggle flush against a drill bit to compare diameter sizes. Test-fit a toggle bolt and folded toggle into the holes, pushing the hinged end of the toggle into the hole while holding the wingtips of the toggle. Enlarge the holes if necessary. Do not worry if the drilled hole seems slightly too large--the opened toggle will be several times larger in diameter than the closed toggle.

Fit the toggle bolts, minus the toggles, into the mounting hardware for the cabinet, then thread a toggle onto the end of each bolt. The wingtips of the folded toggle should be pointing toward the head of the bolt.

Have a helper hold the cabinet in place against the wall while you insert each toggle into its predrilled hole. Push the toggle through the hole until the toggle opens behind the wall. The tips of the toggle will push against the interior of the wall, distributing the cabinet's weight over a large area.

Tighten each toggle bolt with your dominant hand while pulling out on the shaft of the bolt with your nondominant hand. This will maintain pressure on the toggle at the end of the bolt, allowing you to tighten the bolt without the bolt spinning freely.

Tip

Toggle bolts are for installation in thin hollow walls (such as drywall) only. Do not attempt to install a toggle bolt into wood (including a stud) or any other type of solid wall material, such as masonry, brick or concrete.

Warning

Always exercise caution when operating power tools. Ask a friend for assistance in lifting heavy cabinets.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • Drill
  • Toggle bolts with toggles
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About the Author

Fred Samsa has been writing articles related to the arts, entertainment and home improvement since 2003. His work has appeared in numerous museum publications, including program content for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he was awarded a Presidential Fellowship in 2005. He holds a Master of Arts in art from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Brown University.