2x4 Base Under Base Cabinets
Been doing ladder bases for some time now. I've tried legs, 1-piece cabinets, etc. and in my opinion, a level ladder base is the way to go. I use 3/4" ply for wall mounted bases, and 2 x 4 bases for some islands. I screw 3 1/2" square blocks to the inside of the base to the floor, leveling front base as I go. 1/4" finished toe skins (pre-cut in shop) go on last, to the floor. Skins are ripped 1/16" short, but bottom FF rail reveal hides it.
We use the ladder system as well. Works great on a long run of cabs. We cut out heels on the ladders so you only have contact in areas directly under partitions. On a long run, you get kick level, which is easier on a small 4" high piece with open back (opposed to box reaching under to adjust legs or shim), then just start dropping on your boxes and screw together. I have heard of people using CDX for the ladders in bathrooms and kitchens. Not a bad idea, although how practical I'm not sure. If you have water damage, the cabinet itself would probably have to be redone in addition to the kick box (ladder).
I typically use "ladder bases" as well. I use melamine, MDF, or plywood. I wouldn't use 2x4's if you are talking about Doug fir. There is too much shrinkage if you use green Doug fir, and you will end up with settling problems. Try a more stable material.
Plywood = good. 2X4 = okay. MDF or particleboard = risk if there is a sink or other water use in the run.
The ladder base does provide a level on which to install cabinets. Legs or levelers have advantages, but it's almost a different discussion.
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