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How to Install Wet Bar Cabinets

Wet bar cabinets transform a space into a lively gathering place and add ease and style to entertaining. It gives you a place to mix drinks and grab a quick glass of water without crowding the kitchen. As the name implies, a wet bar features a basic faucet and sink.

 

There are two elements to consider when planning your wet bar. First is deciding where you want it to go. Do you have an alcove in the area where you’d like it to go? Will it be free-standing? Where the wet bar will be is important for determining the size of cabinets and countertop.

 

The second element to consider is plumbing. The faucet will need a water line to feed it while the sink will need a drain pipe. Unless you’re handy with plumbing, you may want a plumber to do the work you’ll need to connect the piping.

 

Wet bar plumbing, however, isn’t all about having a water source – it’s also about planning where the pipes will come from. In an alcove, they can run through the back of the cabinet. If the wet bar will be free-standing, the pipes will need to come up through the floor. How you do the plumbing will impact where you make your cuts for the pipes when you install your wet bar cabinets.

 

Fortunately, once you decide on the plumbing, installing wet bar cabinets is simple. Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it.

Tools Needed to Install Wet Bar Cabinets

You don’t need a lot of tools to install your wet bar cabinets. Just make sure to have everything ready to go. It will make for a smoother process and save you a bunch of time. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • 2’ or 4’ level
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Hammer
  • Jigsaw or Sawzall (or even handsaw)
  • Clamps, if you’ll be connecting more than one cabinet
  • Shims
  • Hammer and finishing nails

How to Install Wet Bar Cabinets

With tools ready, it’s time to install your wet bar cabinets. Here’s how…

 

Step 1. Check for level. Lay a straight 2x4 on the floor where the cabinets will sit. Set your level on top, checking for level across the span. Raise the 2x4 where needed and use shims to bring it to level. The point you’ve raised your 2x4 to is your high point.

 

Step 2. Snap a chalk line. Measure to the height of the cabinet (usually 54” or 56” inches for standard cabinets) on the wall. Make marks on the wall at several intervals (i.e., sides and middle). Snap a chalk line and hold your level on that line. It should be level; if not, check your marks and measures. Your cabinet(s) should sit right on this line once put in place.

 

Step 3. Find the studs in the wall. Use your stud finder and mark where the studs are. You want to secure your cabinets to the studs.

 

Step 4. Cut an opening for pipes. One of the cabinets of your wet bar will hold a sink and require access for plumbing. Take this cabinet, set it in place and mark on the floor or back of the cabinet (wherever your pipes are) where you will need to cut a hole to allow access to the pipes. Drill a hole, then with your saw cut out the marked area.

 

Step 5. Install the first cabinet. Start in one corner, ideally the one closest to the highpoint in the floor. Take that cabinet and set it in place. It should sit level against the chalk line. Shim as needed to bring it level. Secure it to the wall on the studs. If you only had one cabinet, you’re done. If not, read on.

 

Step 6. Install the next cabinet. Take the next cabinet, set in place and check for level. Before securing to the wall, first secure to the cabinet next to it. To do this, clamp the two cabinets together. Predrill holes on the stile (the inside wall inside the cabinet) at the top and bottom at the front and back of the cabinet. Secure with screws. Secure to the wall.

 

Step 7. Complete cabinet installation. Repeat step 6 with all remaining cabinets.

 

Step 8. Add finish. Using finishing nails or construction glue, add trim. Your cabinets are now installed!