How to Level Cabinets for Quartz Countertops

Installing new quartz countertops can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With their durable, stylish surfaces, quartz countertops make an excellent addition to any home improvement project. However, proper installation is key to ensuring your new quartz countertops fit correctly and last for years to come. An essential first step is leveling the cabinets on which the countertops will be installed. Taking the time to properly level your cabinets will provide a flat, even base that allows your quartz countertops to sit flush against the wall. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to level cabinets to prepare them for quartz countertop installation.

Why Leveling Cabinets is Important

Leveling your cabinets is a crucial first step before installing quartz countertops for a few key reasons:

  • Prevents gaps or cracks: If cabinets are uneven, your countertop may not sit flush, leaving unsightly gaps along the wall. Leveling ensures the counters have a flat base, preventing cracks or gaps.
  • Allows proper installation: Quartz countertop pieces are cut to precise measurements. If the cabinet base is uneven, the countertop pieces may not fit together properly during installation.
  • Provides proper support: Level cabinets ensure the countertops are fully supported at every point. This prevents stress cracks or breakage over time.
  • Delivers a professional finish: Taking the time to level cabinets delivers a flawless, seamless look after installing the quartz. The countertops will appear perfectly flush against the walls.

How to Check if Cabinets Are Level

Before beginning the leveling process, you’ll need to check your existing cabinets to see if they are already level. Here are two simple ways to check:

Use a Carpenter’s Level Tool

A carpenter’s level is a small, inexpensive tool that allows you to check for level horizontally and vertically. To check, simply place the level against the cabinet in several spots and observe the bubble. If the bubble stays centered between the lines, your cabinets are level. If it drifts to one side, they are uneven.

The Marble Test

An easy way to check is to place a marble on the surface of the cabinets. If the marble rolls or drifts to one side, your cabinets are not level. The marble should come to a complete stop if the cabinets are properly level already.

If either test reveals your cabinets are not level, don’t worry! Just follow the steps below to level your cabinets prior to installing the new quartz countertops.

How to Level Wall Cabinets

Leveling wall cabinets is easiest done before securing them to the wall. However, you can also adjust cabinets that are already installed. Here are the basic steps:

Working with Uninstalled Cabinets

  1. Place the wall cabinet in the desired installation location.
  2. Use shims under the cabinet until a level confirms the top is even.
  3. Mark the wall through the cabinet anchor holes.
  4. Set the cabinet aside and install mounting strips aligned with your marks.
  5. Mount the leveled cabinet to the wall anchor strips.

Adjusting Already Installed Cabinets

  1. Loosen the screws on any existing wall anchors. Do not detach them fully.
  2. Insert shims between the cabinet bottom and the wall as needed.
  3. Use a level to double check the cabinet is now even.
  4. Tighten the wall anchor screws to secure in place.

Leveling Base Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen base cabinets rest on the floor rather than the wall. Adjusting these requires checking for level both side-to-side and front-to-back. Here are the steps:

  1. Loosen the base cabinet attachment hardware several turns. Do not detach completely.
  2. Set a carpenter’s level in the interior cabinet bottom. Adjust the legs or place shims beneath the corners until the bubble is centered.
  3. Repeat on the outer cabinet surface by placing the level against the counter lip. Adjust legs or shims as needed.
  4. Double check both interior and exterior levels. Make additional minor adjustments if needed.
  5. Tighten the cabinet hardware fully to secure in the leveled position.

How to Level Bathroom Vanities

The process for leveling bathroom vanities or base cabinets is essentially the same as with kitchen cabinets. Always check for evenness on both the interior and exterior surfaces.

The steps are:

  1. Partially loosen the vanity anchor bolts to allow movement.
  2. Use shims beneath the vanity legs as needed to level the interior vanity base.
  3. Check exterior countertop levelness and make any final shim adjustments.
  4. Fully tighten the anchor bolts once leveling is complete.

Tips for Leveling Cabinets

  • Take your time and check level frequently as you adjust. Rushing can throw things out of level.
  • Use high-quality spirit levels for accuracy. Laser levels are even more precise.
  • Level front-to-back first, then adjust side-to-side.
  • Use thin plastic shims to make minor adjustments and avoid over-leveling.
  • Consider adjusting hinges or door alignments after leveling cabinets.

With some careful adjustments and checking for level frequently, you can level your cabinets like a pro. Taking this important first step will ensure your quartz countertops fit perfectly flush for a beautiful installation.

FAQs on Leveling Cabinets for Quartz Countertops

What tools do I need to level cabinets?

The essential tools are a reliable carpenter’s level, plastic shims, a pencil, and the appropriate screwdriver for your cabinet hardware. A laser level can also help achieve precision.

Should I remove doors and drawers before leveling?

Yes, removing doors, shelves, and drawers allows easy access for leveling. Number pieces to keep organized for reinstallation later.

How much of a gap is acceptable after leveling cabinets?

Ideally no gap should exist between the cabinet and level. Up to 1/8 inch gap can be acceptable on one side when checking a standard 3-foot level.

Should I level the entire cabinet run at once?

It is best to level cabinets individually or in smaller sections for greater precision. Trying to level a long run makes it harder to find and adjust any high or low spots.

What if my floors are uneven beneath cabinets?

For severely uneven floors, you may need to install a new subfloor to create a flat underlayment for cabinets. Otherwise use extra shims in low spots.

Can I adjust cabinets after installing countertops?

It is best to level cabinets first, as removing countertops risks damaging them. But in a pinch you can adjust anchored cabinets slightly by loosening screws.

How do I anchor cabinets to uneven walls?

Use wood shims when mounting cabinets to follow any uneven wall contours. Or install mounting strips to create an even surface to attach cabinets to.

Do I need a professional to adjust cabinet leveling?

With time and care, DIYers can often handle leveling cabinets on their own. But for extensive adjustments or complex builds, a professional may be needed.

What should I use to fill gaps after leveling cabinets?

Small gaps can be filled with clear silicone. Larger gaps may require cut wood filler strips or additional wall paneling for a seamless look after installing the countertop.


Installing durable, stylish quartz countertops can take your kitchen or bath to the next level. Paying attention to properly leveling your cabinets first provides the perfect base for a flawless countertop installation. After checking for unevenness and making the necessary adjustments, you can install your quartz with confidence, knowing your cabinets are even and ready to support these top-of-the-line countertops for years to come. With these simple leveling steps, you can start enjoying the beauty and luxury of quartz in your home.