Step 1: Inspect the wall cavity

Inspecting the wall cavity with flashlight.
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Lightly mark the wall to show the approximate outline of where you'd like the cabinet to hang. Use a stud finder to locate any studs that lie within this outline.

Using a keyhole saw, cut 4-inch-square holes on either side of those studs, staying within the cabinet outline. Keep the angle of the saw shallow so you don't cut any deeper than the drywall and risk hitting wires or pipes.

Remove the drywall cutout. Shine a flashlight into the openings and look around for possible obstructions. Contact an electrician and/or plumber to move wires or pipes if necessary.

Tip: Before you cut the inspection holes, drive a long screw ½ inch into the drywall in the middle of the cutout area. Use the screw as a handleto remove the drywall intact.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      to score drywall
    • keyhole saw
      Keyhole saw,
      to cut openings in wall
    • flashlight
      Flashlight
    • two-foot level
      Level
    • hacksaw blade
      Hacksaw blade,
      to cut drywall screws
    • hand saw
      Handsaw (to cut studs
    • rasp
      Rasp,
      to tailor the drywall opening to fit
    • drill
      Drill/driver

    Shopping List

    1. Medicine Cabinet: Look specifically for cabinets labeled "recessed," though a surface-mount cabinet can be converted into a recessed one, as long as its sides can slip into the wall cavity without obstruction.

    2. 2x4 Lumber: For the blocking, which makes the frame to which you'll fasten the cabinet. Use scraps if you have them, or one 8- to 10-foot piece should be enough.

    3. Construction Adhesive: To help attach the blocking.

    4. 21/2-inch Decking Screws: To fasten th blocking to the studs.

    5. 11/2-inch Drywall Screws: To hold the cut drywall edges to the blocking and to mount the cabinet.

    6. Caulk (as needed): To fill gaps between the cabinet frame and the wall.