Attaching Wall Cabinets to Steel Studs

      Steel wall framing poses a particular challenge when it's time to hang upper cabinets. Here are a few installation tips. November 19, 2005

What is the best method and fastener for attaching cabinets to drywall covered steel studs?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor D:
I use #10 x 2-1/2" wood screw at 3 per stud with 2 in the top and 1 in the bottom for the uppers. I use 2 in the top to insure that at least one really does grab. I have never had trouble with cabinets that I have installed myself this way but I have had to go back and install toggle bolts on some cabinets that have let go recently that were installed by employees.

I think that they over tightened the screws and stripped them out. I prefer wood backing but it's not allowed in many buildings these days. A lot of architects are specifying 16 Ga. sheet steel backing. I find that this doesn’t work very well because the screws just push it out of the way so you still have to hit a stud.

From the original questioner:
One thing I am a little worried about though is getting a good connection on the top cabinets.

From contributor J:
I would do all of what Contributor D said except use wood screws. I would suggest using the fine threaded drywall screws they are designed for metal studs. Your pilot holes through the cabinet should be the same as the screw diameter plus a little more.

You only want to screw through the sheetrock and into the metal stud - not the cabinet. Make sure you hold tight against the wall and set your clutch so you don’t strip the hold in the metal. Also, I would glue them with Pl 300 ,400,500, even liquid nails.

From contributor R:
To contributor J: Make sure not to mistake drywall screws with wood screws. They are for hanging drywall. I suspect that you have been using them for some time to hang cabinets, but they haven't been designed for that purpose.

I like the point about using the fine thread screws for attaching to studs, but not a drywall screw. Make sure to use a screw with a shank diameter designed to carry the load of the cabinet and its contents - drywall screws are not. I'm sure Baer Supply and all other fastener companies carry a fine thread wood screw to do the job.

From contributor J:
I don’t use drywall screws. I use cabinet installation screws 2.5" #17 double auger tip. I was using drywall as a generic term.

From contributor M:
I find the most important thing is not to over tighten. I always try to put wood blocking between studs before sheet rocking. It's not always possible however. I ask the contractor to have them put in before the sheetrock and they usually will do it.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: Installation

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article