Charleston Cabinet Installation: What You Should Know

A close-up image of a handyman using a power drill to mount cabinet boxes on a wall during a cabinet installation project.
Whether in kitchens, bathrooms, or other areas, cabinet installation is one of the most important tasks when it comes to revamping your home. Storage systems are one of the main features of a room, and it's paramount that they are secured tightly to the wall. Otherwise, whatever is in them, including glassware, crockery, ceramics, and even appliances the structures hold, could come tumbling down—causing not only a huge mess but also possibly damage to your floor or counter. Not to mention, it's essential that storage is built at the correct height and is level with the countertop or wall for ease of access and to be aesthetically pleasing.

Since this task requires considerable expertise to get it right, Charleston cabinet installation is best left to professionals—such as our knowledgeable team at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville, who have years of experience with cabinet installations, repairs, and improvements. Not to mention, many of our cabinet installation pros are skilled carpenters. We also offer customized cupboards from scratch that are completely unique and perfectly suited to your home. This could be useful if you have a distinct vision or if your kitchen or bathroom is shaped oddly.

Even if you are planning on hiring a professional to handle the installation for you, you likely still have some questions about this home improvement project. We've got answers to all your questions about Charleston cabinet installation—from basic measurements to the alternatives that you have for renovating your storage.

How Deep Should Cabinet Boxes Be?

For standard Charleston cabinet installation, upper cabinets are generally built around 12 inches deep. Meanwhile, base cabinets are usually around 24 inches deep for additional, easy-to-reach storage. If you want additional storage space, it’s possible to buy cupboards that are even deeper. If you need a structure that has to fit an odd-shaped space, our talented carpenters are able to build custom cabinets.

What's a Good Cabinet Width?

You may be tempted to install wider boxes, so you have more storage space in your bathroom or kitchen. However, what many Charleston homeowners fail to consider is that the wider the box is, the bigger the door is too. This means that when it swings open, the door will take up much more space than the standard width. So it's important to think about how much room is in your kitchen or bathroom area for the door to swing open before settling on the ideal width. Typically, most cupboards and cabinets have either one 24-inch door or two 12-inch doors. The latter is perfect if you're installing them in a narrow space.

Pro Tip: Top-Hinged Cabinet Doors

Adding cupboard doors that hinge at the top rather than open at the side is a great option for those that don't have a ton of space or simply don't want to crowd up the room when putting away storage items, cooking, or grabbing toiletries. These designs are ideal for small rooms.

What's a Good Height for Base Cabinet Boxes?

It's important to factor in the countertop and toe kick when establishing a good base cabinet height. The toe kick is the small strip of space that runs beneath cabinets, separating them from the floor. With this in mind, the standard height for base cabinets is around 36 inches. Cabinet frames are around 30 inches, toe kicks are a max of 5 inches, and counters are a max of 1 inch.

Framed vs. Frameless Cupboards

Essentially, some cupboards have a frame, and others don't. The difference is that frameless models usually give you a little more storage space. So, when you're shopping around for your Charleston cabinet installation project—or if you are planning on having a custom design built—and storage is a concern, choose a frameless design for more room.

How High Above the Counter Should Wall Models be Hung?

There are a couple of considerations for Charleston cabinet installation height. First is access, which depends on your own height and comfort level. These are key considerations when establishing where to hang wall cupboards. Also, consider your family members. If you're quite tall, but your partner is more petite, this may affect how high the cupboards are installed.

The second consideration is style. Traditionally, boxes are placed roughly 18 inches above the countertop. However, certain styles may offer more room. For instance, Scandinavian aesthetics usually involve installing them at 24 inches above the counter.

What Gets Installed First: Cupboards or Countertop?

Cupboard installation is always completed before the countertop goes in to dictate where the countertop should go. If you’re replacing both, it's incredibly important that the handyman professional you hire has considered the width of your countertop when providing Charleston cabinet installation service.

What Gets Installed First: Uppers or Lowers?

In South Carolina, different Charleston cabinet installation professionals have different methods when it comes to installing upper or lower cupboards first. There are benefits to each process. Installing uppers first allows for easier access to lift cabinets in place. However, installing lowers first has merits, too—especially if a room's floors are uneven. Uneven floors may create issues with spacing if the uppers go in first, so in this situation, it's best to install base cupboards first.

What Gets Installed First: Flooring or Cupboards?

In most cases, Charleston cabinet installation is completed before the flooring is put in. To be clear, when we say flooring installation, we're talking about the flooring finish or the surface you walk on. We do not mean the subfloor or underlayment, which must be installed first. Generally, flooring will be cut to size after cupboards are put in so that it's flush with your new storage. Any gaps will be covered by baseboards or molding.

Should Cabinets Connect with the Ceiling?

This depends on your personal taste and how much you like dusting. It is becoming trendier for cabinets in Charleston to connect with the ceiling, making your ceiling appear higher than it is and providing additional storage space and a clean aesthetic. It also helps to get rid of the tough-to-reach space on top of cabinet boxes—which often collects dust. That said, more traditional rooms don't have boxes that reach the ceiling, so the choice is really up to you.

How Long Does Charleston Cabinet Installation Take?

Typically, professional cabinet installation in Charleston, South Carolina, takes around one to two hours per unit. This means that the project length largely depends on how many cupboards you need to be outfitted. It usually takes about 35 hours for large projects like kitchen cabinet installation, which is the equivalent of about one week.

How Long Should They Last?

There are two factors that influence how long your cupboards last: the materials they are made of and how well you take care of them. For example, solid wood is a more classic material, but it may need to be refinished or repainted from time to time to deter wood rot and mold—especially in a more humid climate like Charleston. By keeping cupboards dry and clean, you improve their chances of lasting a lifetime.

When it comes to aesthetics, styles do change over time. If you're planning on hiring Charleston cabinet installation services to revamp your kitchen or bathroom and don't plan on renovating again in the future, then you may want a more classic, timeless style you know you'll enjoy for years to come. In this case, wood is a great choice because it can be easily stained or painted to create a new look.

What Options Are Available for Charleston Cabinet Installation?

Below we have listed three main varieties of cabinet models, and each is available in Charleston.

  • Stock: These are the most affordable options and are made to order as standard-sized units that can't be altered or adjusted. Stock models are best installed in spaces that have lots of space and are not shaped oddly, as the design cannot be changed.
  • Semi-Custom: These are made before they are ordered but can be adjusted for size and other specifications as needed. They are usually higher quality than stock models used for Charleston cabinet installation. This means they will likely last longer and wear better through the years.
  • Custom: The most high-end option, custom designs also cost the most. However, you are able to get exactly what you have envisioned and have complete control over the design. In addition, custom models are typically made out of the best materials available, providing the highest durability and longevity.

Are There Alternatives to Charleston Cabinet Installation for Storage Makeovers?

If your cupboards could benefit from a little TLC, the experts at Mr. Handyman can make updates to your cupboards instead of a full cabinet replacement. If you ever have questions about restoring your bathroom or kitchen cabinets, we're also more than happy to answer them at any time.


Staining or refinishing cupboards is a great alternative to Charleston cabinet installation if you have wooden models. Staining also provides a more classic and traditional aesthetic while still boosting the appeal of any room.

Pros of Refinishing:

  • Creates a traditional, natural look
  • Easier to wash
  • Less prone to cracking
  • DIY mistakes are more forgiving
  • The classic and natural look could benefit the resale value of your home
  • Supplies will cost you less than painting
  • Hides dirt better than paint
  • Lasts longer than paint
  • Showcases natural wood grain

Cons of Refinishing:

  • Harder to remove stains that are not cleaned right away
  • Shows dust more than paint
  • Stained wood is less resistant to water than painted wood
  • Harsh cleaners can dull the finish


A fresh coat of paint can be completely transformative. Painting offers the opportunity to create a sleek and modern aesthetic, and it's another one of the simpler Charleston home improvements. It can also be applied to most materials, making this a great option if you have vinyl or MDF cupboards.

Pros of Painting:

  • Neutral colors add to the resale value of your home
  • Creates a smooth, modern look
  • Hides dust more than stain
  • Paint has more color options than stain
  • Can apply a top coat to make cleaning easier

Cons of Painting:

  • It’s more difficult to touch-up paint
  • It can be more time-consuming
  • Mistakes show more easily
  • More expensive than stain
  • More prone to cracks and chipping
  • Paint lasts less than staining
  • Bold colors can detract from the resale value of your home


Cabinet refacing projects are the best option if the interiors are still structurally sound but you don't like the look of the doors. Refacing is basically replacing cabinet hardware, doors, and the fronts of cabinet drawers with something new.

Its main benefit is that it saves you a significant amount of time. Swapping out doors and drawer fronts is much faster than painting or staining—not to mention outright cabinet replacement. It also enables you to get exactly the look you're going for without fussing with paint swatches or cabinet styles you don't really like. The main drawback of refacing cupboards is that it is less budget-friendly than staining or painting. That said, it's still more cost-effective than a full replacement.

Hire the Experts at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville Today!

Are you ready to start your next Charleston cabinet installation project? Or maybe you need help painting or staining your existing cupboards? In any case, our professional service technicians at Mr. Handyman of Charleston and Summerville are happy to help. Each of our team members is highly skilled and also is guaranteed to provide outstanding work and customer service. When you hire a professional installer from our team, you can rest assured that he or she will treat you with the utmost respect and courtesy.

We help homeowners throughout the Charleston area with all their home improvement needs—from providing Charleston cabinet installation or replacement services to a complete kitchen remodel. We're proud to serve a range of communities near Charleston as well, such as North Charleston, Moncks Corner, and Goose Creek.

To get started today, we invite you to reach out to our friendly customer service representatives today. We're looking forward to helping make your home improvement goals a reality!

A kitchen remodel involving new cabinet installation completed by Mr. Handyman.