How to Level Base Cabinets for Granite? [Explained]

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You can't really be at peace if your base cabinets aren't level for granite. Because this situation will surely affect your daily house chores. 

How to level base cabinets for granite properly?

You've to check whether the cabinets are level when installing.  For that, place a level tool on top of the cabinets. Then make sure they're level from both side to side and back to front. Lastly, use shims to level the cabinets.

It's best to know the elaborate version. That's why we've provided the necessary steps that'll help you. 

Therefore, spare some time and keep an eye on our piece! 

Do Cabinets Need to Be Level for Granite? 

Old or new cabinets, both have to be leveled to install granite counters. Because you certainly can't do any work properly if your countertop isn't leveled. 

Plus you'll get an unfinished look. Moreover, there will be gaps left in between the cabinets. Which may trap debris or dust. Because of that, you'll see mold growing there soon.

If you didn't know-

Uneven cabinets can even crack your granite counter. So, if you don't want to face that, it's important to level the countertop. 

Now, to get an even countertop, it's essential that it sits on top of level cabinets. 

Plus check whether the cabinets are even before installing the granite. Otherwise, the leveling process will be quite hard. 

6 Steps for Leveling Base Cabinets for Granite

Now, you know why it’s necessary to level base cabinets for granite. Therefore, let's check out the process, shall we?

Well, before that, you'll need to grab some essential tools. Thus, let's go through them first. 

Tools You'll Need

Here’s the list of the important tools:

  • Gloves 
  • Spirit level
  • Shims 
  • Cabinet clamps 

Yup, just four tools. And these are pretty easy to get as well. However, regular shims aren't a good foundation for your cabinets. Therefore, we suggest using composite or heavy-duty shims. 

On that note, here are some of our recommendations regarding those types of shims:

Product 1

Product 2

Grab them quickly to level the cabinets. 

If you're wondering which gloves to use. Well, you can use the same gloves that are used when working on black and white wires

Well, that's it for the tools, let's get to work!

Check If the Cabinets Are Level or Not

How to check if your cabinets are level? 

Well, all you'll need is a spirit level. Place it across the top of the cabinets to figure out if they're level or not. Not clear enough? 

You'll need to follow the bubble of the level tool. Because that's what will tell you whether the cabinets are level. If the bubble is in the middle, that means the surface is level. 

If it’s leaning towards either left or right, you need to get to work. And by work, we mean- trying to make the bubble come into the middle. For that, you’ll need to level the base cabinets.

By the way, laser level can be used for this job too.

Use the Shims to Level the First Cabinet

Now, after checking with the level tool-

If the cabinets aren't level, you’ve to start using the shims. 

Let’s start placing the shims at the back and one cabinet at a time! 

Place a flat piece of shim underneath the backside of the cabinet. If you're done with one side of the cabinet, get to the other side of the back. 

Put the level on top of the cabinet back to front. And check the bubble's position. 

If it’s on the right, place shims underneath the two front sides of the cabinets. 

While placing the shims, make sure to constantly check the bubble’s position. And stop pushing the shim in once the bubble's in the center. 

Sometimes one side of the cabinet might be all good and leveled. But the other side can be uneven. Why does this situation occur?

It happens because of uneven floors. That's why it's really important to place the cabinets where the area is flat. 

If you've got this problem, put another piece of shim on the uneven side. To know whether the shim needs to be put under the back or front side, use the bubble level. 

Then pull out the shim you placed first and put it on top of the new shim. Next, you’ve to push both underneath the cabinet together. 

Lastly, just check both sides to confirm they're level. 

Cut the Excess Part of the Shims

Now, there's a possibility that some part of the shims will be out. Because you don’t have the push the entire shim under the cabinet. 

Mark how much of the shim is needed. Then cut the excess. And place the shim under the cabinet again. 

Cutting the excess is pretty crucial before putting the neighboring cabinet. Because the part of the shim that's outside is higher than the one inside. So, if you don't cut it out, it'll be impossible to level the other cabinet. 

Glue the Shims That Are Under the Cabinet

You might think gluing the shims isn't that important. Well, sorry, my friend but you're wrong. 

Not attaching the shims to the cabinets properly can cause trouble. How?

With time, your cabinet can crack and get damaged underneath due to this. 

If you stick the shims properly with the underside of the cabinet-

It'll get a stronger foundation. Therefore, take out the shims, put hot melted glue on them. Then pick up your cabinet and place the shim under it. 

You need to be really careful on this part. Because not attaching the shims correctly can make the leveling process harder. Just how not placing carpet over tile properly can damage it.

Place the New Cabinet & Level It

Before grabbing the new cabinet, place the shims. Because you won't have access to the backside of the old cabinet. 

For this reason, grab two new shims for the front and back. Cut them into the same size as the ones underneath the old ones. 

A quick tip is to measure and cut the new shims before gluing the older ones. Because it's much easier this way. 

If the shims are ready, place them on the floor. Remember, they should be in front of the older shims. 

Grab the new cabinet. Then place it next to the older cabinet and on the shims. Next, shim the other side of the new cabinet as well. Check the bubble and level it properly. 

Lastly, use the cabinet clamps and screw the two cabinets together. 

Level the Top of the Cabinet

Now, the top of your cabinets might not be level. But you need an even surface for the granite countertop. 

To level the top part, grab plywood or more shims. And place them on top of the cabinets. The number of the two depends on how uneven the top part is. 

Then check if the top part is even or not. If yes, install the granite tops. Otherwise, keep on trying to level the surface.

That's all! Surely this is much easier than getting rid of backstabbing wires. Because this work can be done without the help of a professional! 

FAQs

Question: Can I use a cabinet leveler to level base cabinets?
Answer: Well, yup you can! Plus the foundation is much better than the shims. However, beginners might have trouble while working with a cabinet leveler. 

Question: How to prepare cabinets for granite countertops?
Answer: The answer is simple. You have to level the surface. You can level the top by placing shims underneath the cabinets.

Question: Do cabinets need to be empty to level them?
Answer: Yes, it's best to keep the cabinets empty. Otherwise, you'll face lots of problems while leveling them. 

Conclusion

That's everything on how to level base cabinets for granite. Hopefully, you've got your answer. 

Now, were you able to level them?

If you haven’t yet, good luck with leveling them!

Melissa Hawkins