Uncle Bobs Tips

Remodeling Kitchen Cabinets

Remodeling Kitchen Cabinets

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The second most important item in your kitchen is cabinetry. Without space to organize and store your food, pots, dishes, and appliances, your counter space is not going to do you any good. The key to keeping a kitchen organized is sufficient cabinet space.

If your cabinets are poorly positioned or are run down, installing new ones can be a rewarding project. New cabinets will give your kitchen a fresh look without the astronomic cost of complete renovations. Let's go through the steps involved in cabinet installation.

If you're starting from scratch, measuring and marking your cabinet area is the first and most integral step. As we've already mentioned in 10 Biggest Kitchen Design Mistakes, measurements are essential to a successful project. Measure the entire area where the cabinets will be placed, stud locations, and spots that are uneven and will require shims for balance. Mark down all this information on the walls and floor clearly. Masking tape makes good place markers.

Lining the wall with pieces of 1x4 at the baseline of the cabinets will offer more support to the countertops. This is only necessary for round, "pie crust" cabinets or any other style or model that will not reach the entire back wall and properly support your countertops. Square-edged cabinets will not need this.

Start at the corner and work your way out.

Bring in the first unit, and align it properly with your markings. Use shims to create a level arrangement. Take your time with this step, as it will act as the corner stone for the rest of the project. Any imperfections here will be reflected throughout the rest of the cabinetry. Go it slow, and pay attention to the details.

When you have two cabinets aligned properly, clamp them together securely at the face frames. You can position and clamp as many units as you want before screwing them to the wall, but I suggest working with one at a time.

Screw the unit to the stud markers/wall. Any necessary shims should be in position at this time, and drilled together with the cabinetry. Screw the units together, using the clamp to keep the frames flush and aligned.

Upper cabinets are usually 18"-20" or so above the top of the lower cabinet (these measurements should also be marked clearly before you begin any part of this project). Make sure to leave appx. 1 ½ " countertop allowance. Some preparations are necessary for upper cabinet installation. Ledgers should be drilled into the walls to support some of the weight of the cabinet, and a "T" brace can be used to prop up the front end and support the remainder of the weight. Make sure everything is properly aligned, and screw into the wall. It is a good idea to make screw holes with the wall markings before lifting the cabinet off the ground. When all the units are up and nicely secured, you can replace the doors. The shelves or drawers should be installed last.

If adding cabinetry to your kitchen is not an option, all hope is not lost. Brands like Rubbermaid make hard plastic pantries that provide excellent cabinet space. Deep and wide shelves have plenty of room for pots and pans or for storing extra dry goods. If you prefer a little more style than hard plastic has to offer (sheesh), try these impressive wood storage cabinets with frosted glass doors.

For an efficient and productive kitchen, remember the two most important things are counter space and cabinetry. Whatever options you choose, be sure your kitchen is equipped with ample storage availability.

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