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Old 12-19-2007, 09:16 PM   #1
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


Hello all,

I'm installing Mills Pride (assemble yourself) wall cabinets in my kitchen. I think these are "frameless" cabinets. I'm one cabinet away from installing an entire run of cabinets, but the I've had to use what seems to be too many shims to keep adjacent cabinets flush with one another.

Here's the situation. I have a 24" diagonal wall cabinet in the corner. Easy to install. Next to it is a 36" wide cabinet and I had to add a shim or two behind it to keep its face flush with the corner cabinet. Next to this cabinet is a 30" cabinet under which will be the microwave over the range. I had to add more shims to the back of this cabinet to keep its face flush with the 36"-er. This leaves only one more cabinet on this run to install - a narrow 6" wide by 30" high cabinet next to the microwave. To get this cabinet flush with its neighbor, I'll have to add even more shims behind it. The gap between the wall and the cabinet will be almost 3/4". Personally, I don't mind a gap that wide - I'll trim around it. But is this normal? Acceptable? Excessive?

If I don't shim these cabinets, then there will be a gap between them on the front side of the cabinets. This would be very unsightly and therefore pretty dang unacceptable. I have followed the manufacturer's instructions, which recommends using shims where necessary, but it doesn't say how much shimming is acceptable. What do you think?

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Old 12-19-2007, 09:26 PM   #2
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


Unfortunately, that is all too common, but more the norm than it should be. Last year I put cabinets I made into a new home, and at one point there was a 1 1/2" out of plumb wall....the builder said it was my problem to hide, since the framers had been sent packing by INS. With a 3/4" gap, you can still hide it with standard scribe or knife mould.........shim to get your cabinets plumb, straight and level, and they'll last longer not being "racked" to fit the wall.

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Old 12-19-2007, 09:26 PM   #3
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


Can you screw them together, then put them up as a unit? I have done this before and it works pretty good.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:28 PM   #4
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


Are the cabinets level, and are the face frames plumb? If so, it sounds like your corner is probably not square, or the walls arent' plumb.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:12 PM   #5
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


I'd split that difference between the two walls that the corner cabinet is mounted on. If you shim out the opposite end of the corner cabinet just a hair, it'll bring your run of cabinets closer to the wall. Aim for 3/8" gap at the end. Then when you install the other run that extends away from the corner cabinet, it will also have a small gap. If that second run is much shorter, then shim that corner cabinet a little more to bring the 3/4" gap down to 1/4" or so, because the shorter second run won't develop much of a gap if it's not as long.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:59 AM   #6
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


Woodman; that "builder?" and I would have a very brief one sided discussion! He built it, there is a 10 yr HOW program and HE would be fixin or breathin outta a different hole
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:52 PM   #7
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


It's not limited to just one builder, and the problem is that CenTex Homes ( the primary builder in the US, particularly in Texas ) is a way big conglomerate that just doesn't care...as long as they can sell a $32,000 house for $125,000........suffice to say, I no longer am on their Christmas Card list.........down here we have way too many framers that hit & run.......sometimes back across the Rio Grande, so there's no recourse that the contractors see as viable for such lack of quality........we, and the trim crews deal with it as best we can...........now on the high end homes....nearly everybody speaks English, and reads tapes in inches, so the quality is considerably better........bottom line is that as a custom cabinet maker, I have to compete with the production shops & big box stores.
I have lost more than one job because of quality issues which I refused to comply with to get a job........I refuse to build with particle cr*p, MDF, OSB, or any other bastard product, and have been told that "we don't care how long it will last, as long as it will stay together for the year warranty, and looks good when the buyer walks in"......there's still a few of us who would rather have fewer jobs than turn out sub-standard melamine or MDF boxes.......
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:06 PM   #8
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


I like the way you think.

I live in a custom home that must have been built to the sub standards you mentioned. Some of my walls have over an inch in bow in 4 feet. When I tiled both bathrooms, I was surprised at how bad the walls were. The tiles really show it.
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Old 12-22-2007, 06:36 PM   #9
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


One of our so called 'quality' builders built an addition on to my folks house 25 years ago. Nothing has changed and nothing has moved BUT I showed the builder one day with a level that the end wall with a door(entrance) to south end was 4" out of plumb from floor to top trim. Enough that the door FALLS open on its own. Said,"Oh something must have changed. Sometimes outside walls are just THAT way!!! His drywalling technique isnt MUCH better cause you can see every seam and nail hole,,musta used double shrink mud and a one trip n dun. Ida been embarassed beyond belief and I DONT require perfection!! I was gonna change the door out to one that actually kept the weather out(can see thru this one) but changed my mind when I saw what the level DIDNT tell him!!!
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Old 12-22-2007, 06:42 PM   #10
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


IF you scribe that corner cabinet into the drywall just a 'little' it will straighten up a ton. Most of it is the corner mud to get the corner tape covered!!
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Old 12-22-2007, 07:48 PM   #11
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Excessive shimming to keep wall cabinets flush with one another?


Is the corner square?

Cut the drywall for the corner cabinet.

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