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Can You Put Cabinets On Uneven Wall/Ceiling?

Cabinets are a part of life in every home. They are not necessarily the easiest thing to install, however, when you have an uneven wall or ceiling. Can you install those cabinets?

Cabinets can be installed in homes with uneven walls and ceilings. It requires additional work that could include leveling the cabinet with shims or preparing the wall or ceiling in advance so that it is level.

building the cabinet wall

When we first look at a room, especially if there is nothing on the wall, it may seem as if everything is perfectly in order. That is rarely the case and sometimes, we have some serious need of leveling on the wall and/or ceiling.

It is always better to know this in advance so that you can plan ahead for the work you are about to do. It is a lot more frustrating to begin installing the cabinets and then realize that you have a problem.

Can You Put Cabinets On Uneven Walls/Ceilings? (How To)

Of course, there are going to be different ways of correcting the problem, depending upon what is happening and how bad the problem is. In some cases, it’s a matter of correcting the issue before you install the cabinets and in others, it’s making adjustments as the installation takes place.

If the ceiling or wall is so bad that there is a significant change over just a few feet, it is not likely something that can be corrected easily with a few shims and some screws. It may require some drywall work, and we will discuss that in this article.

Otherwise, you would just begin leveling the cabinet in place with some shims. Screwing through the shims would provide you with stability and would correct any issues that you are having with either the wall or the ceiling.

Before you begin to install the cabinets, it’s a good idea to consider your safety. This is true of any DIY project, especially one as large as cabinet installation.

It is always recommended to wear safety glasses when doing any type of DIY project, whether large or small. Some of the newer safety glasses are keeping up with our needs, and you might be surprised that they are actually comfortable and usable.

Other PPE can also be worn, including gloves and if you are using any type of power saw, you may want to wear some hearing protection as well. These may seem like simple things to consider when you are doing cabinets but they can make a difference in your comfort in the long term.

Let’s consider some of the different possibilities for installing cabinets over uneven walls and ceilings. We will also look into some issues that could occur if things are not installed properly.

Should You Put Cabinets On Uneven Walls/Ceilings?

Confused man standing

We’ve already answered the question of whether it is possible to install cabinets on uneven walls or ceilings. Perhaps a better question is should you install those cabinets?

There are some possible issues that could occur if you are installing cabinets on uneven walls or ceilings. These may show up right away in some cases in others, it may take a while before they appear.

Visible Gaps – One of the biggest problems that you will likely run into is visible gaps. When installing upper cabinets, particularly if the ceilings are high, you may be able to see under the cabinets and the gaps may show.

This is not always going to be a problem but it is something that may need to be corrected. The easiest way to fix this problem is by using some type of tile as a wallcovering for the area above the backsplash. It will cover almost all gaps that could exist. Otherwise, you could use some caulking.

Stability – I am including this as a potential problem because there could be issues with stability if the cabinets are not installed properly. As long as you use shims and screw through the shims, however, the stability will often be adequate. Just make sure that you have things installed properly because you will be loading the cabinets up with heavy items.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Cabinets On Uneven Walls/Ceilings?

Confused man standing

Now that we know it is possible to install cabinets on uneven walls and ceilings, it’s time to prepare for the job. Part of the preparation is getting your tools together, and here is a list of some items you will need.

Ledger – This is a simple board that is screwed to the wall at the bottom of the upper cabinets. It is there to hold the cabinets in place and support the cabinetry so that you can work. Always make sure that the ledger is installed level because it will guide you through the process.

Tape Measures – It is a good idea to have both a 25-foot tape measure and some 12-foot tape measures to get the job done.

Power Drill



Paper (for Running Down Measurements)

Laser Level

4 Foot Level

Short Level

Stud Finder

Miter Saw


Trim Nailer


Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on September 26, 2022.


Rubber Mallet

More than likely, you will also have some tools that you will prefer to get the job done as well. You can include these in the list as needed.

What Preparations Do You Need To Install Cabinets On Uneven Walls/Ceilings?

In almost any DIY job, the preparation is just as important as the actual work that is done. This is especially true when you are installing cabinets on uneven walls and ceilings. What can be done in advance?

At times, you may find that the walls or ceiling are so far out of plumb that you have to fix them rather than make the cabinets work with them. This can be done in a number of different ways.

For uneven walls, you may find that it is best to float the wall with drywall compound. This will not only adjust for any low or high points in the wall, it will also provide a suitable surface that you can screw into easily.

Of course, even if you float the wall, you are still likely to have some imperfections that need to be corrected. Most of the problems will be negated with this step.

Sometimes, the ceiling is so far out of level that it is difficult to float it properly. This is something to consider because it is difficult to hide the uneven gap at the top of the cabinets.

Rather than floating the wall, you may want to remove the drywall in that location and fix the boards. You can then install new drywall that is level and ready for cabinet installation.

You should also ensure that the area has been fully prepped in advance. Since you will be installing the upper cabinets first, the floor should be cleaned and everything out of the way so that you can work directly in the area.

Be sure of where the electrical and plumbing are so that you don’t accidentally screw into them. It might be a good idea to turn off the circuit breaker in the area in some cases as long as you have light to work.

Finally, you will find it much easier to have all of the cabinets fully assembled before the installation begins.

How To Install Cabinets On Uneven Walls/Ceilings

Confused man standing

Now that you have prepared for installing the cabinets, it’s time to actually do the work.

Professional cabinet installers will sometimes scribe the cabinets so that they fit onto the wall perfectly. The lips on the sides of the cabinets can be scribed in this way to match the wall and all of its imperfections.

If you don’t have the skill set necessary to scribe the cabinets, you should plan on using some shims in the process. Here is how to install the cabinets properly.

1. Install Ledger – The ledger should be installed at the bottom of the upper cabinets. It is a board that is attached to the wall so the cabinet can rest on the board while the installation takes place. It helps to keep things in line.

2. Shim – Install the cabinets by screwing through the cabinet into the wall at a stud. If there are any gaps behind the cabinet at that location, you should shim it so that the shims match the wall in the back of the cabinet and then screw through the shims, leaving them in place. If the shims are visible, you can cut them by using a utility knife and snapping them off.

3. Continue Installation – The upper cabinets should be installed one after the other, attaching them both to the wall and to each other. As long as you measured well in advance, you will be able to install them using the ledger and have a suitable gap at the top. That gap can be corrected using some crown mold or caulking.

4. Install Lowers – The lower cabinets should be installed starting with a cabinet located at the high point of the floor. After installing the first cabinet, install the other cabinets while keeping the top level. Use shims on the floor to support the cabinet and leave the shims in place after the cabinet has been attached to the wall.

After the cabinets are installed, you can begin installing the trim and the countertop.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on September 26, 2022.

It is possible to install cabinets when you have uneven walls or ceilings. Often, the issue can be corrected by using shims or bridging the gap at the top of the upper cabinets with caulking or crown molding. Otherwise, you can float the wall or ceiling to make it level.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 26, 2022.

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