How to Install Kick Boards for Kitchen Cabinets

Written by rachel turner
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How to Install Kick Boards for Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen kick boards prevent damage to the cabinet bases. (Modern elegant kitchen image by MAXFX from

Kitchen cabinet kick boards give a finished look to the kitchen cabinets. These kick boards--often referred to as toe-kick boards--are located at the base of kitchen cabinets to protect the cabinet bases from toe and shoe damage. Cabinet kick boards offer a uniform and clean appearance to the kitchen. Installing these kitchen cabinet kick boards is a project that can be completed in a few hours.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Kick board wood
  • Nail set
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint or stain
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Hand hacksaw
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Measure the height and length of the cabinet base area where the toe-kick boards are going with a measuring tape. Write these measurements down with a pencil, on paper. Continue to measure and take note of each cabinet base section where any kick boards will be installed.

  2. 2

    Cut the kick board pieces one-eighth smaller in height than the original measurements to allow for fitting room. Use a hand hacksaw to cut each kick board according to measurements. When using the hacksaw, take care to make clean cuts so if any butting of the kick boards is required, they will fit together cleanly.

  3. 3

    Find matching paint or stain for the kick boards. Go to a paint supply or home improvement store to match the kickboard stain with the existing cabinetry. Remove a small piece of the current cabinetry, such as a small drawer, take this with you when you go to match the stain or paint colour. Cabinet drawers should remove easily with a screwdriver. Place these screws into a small plastic bag and set aside for reinstallation.

  4. 4

    Prepare the kick board for staining or painting. Use sandpaper to sand the kick boards smooth before applying the stain or paint.

  5. 5

    Dip a paintbrush into the stain or paint and apply it to the kick boards. For staining, allow the stain to sit on the wood for two to three minutes, and wipe off lightly with a cloth rag. Allow each coat of paint to completely dry before proceeding with the next coat. Set the kick boards aside to dry overnight.

  6. 6

    Place the kick boards in the corresponding location under the cabinet base. Hammer finishing nails into the kick boards to secure to the cabinet base. Countersink the finishing nails further into the wood with a nail set.

  7. 7

    Match wood putty to the paint or stain colour of the kick boards. Push a tiny amount into each nail hole, and smooth to blend into the kick board.

Tips and warnings

  • Kick boards may also be installed by squeezing caulking adhesive to the back of the kick board, and pushing it into place on the cabinet base. While this method is often used for kick boards, over time the adhesive may lose its stickiness.

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