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bcarwell 02-13-2008 12:17 PM

Level kitchen cabinets ?
We're putting in granite kitchen counter tops. I've pulled the formica tops and the cabinet top edges are now exposed. The granite folks lasered the tops of the cabinets and said there was a 1/4 dip so the cabinets need to be leveled/shimmed.

I'm first going to see if I can level them by the top surface to avoid pulling the cabinets and shimming.

Could somebody please tell me what the best way is to locate 1/4in dips in about a 10 foot span of the cabinets ? Would simply an aluminum straight 10 foot screed straight edge do (in addition to a 3 foot bubble level I have). Or would pulling a string across the edge do ? Or some kind of laser from Loew's ?

Could you please tell me the PROCESS to use too ? In other words, first check ABC, then do XYZ... THanks for any help,


skymaster 02-13-2008 02:44 PM

pull a line across front and rear. get it nice and tight and take a line level hang it as clost to center as possible. This get you 2 things a straight line first and foremost, and it will tell you where level is at. STRAIGHT is more important now than exactly level. Cabs may be ez enuf to lift. If not you can cheat by sistering on to the sides of cabs with a pc and screwing into the cabs.

johnrem 02-13-2008 02:55 PM

A string will work but your straight edge is better.Forget about the level unless you are prepared to reinstall all the cabinets. If the backs dip,along the wall,remove screws at the dip and straighten .rescrew in new holes. try to hit studs .Assuming all the joining is good,shim the fronts up at the floor.

bcarwell 02-13-2008 03:01 PM

Many thanks for the quick and clear response.
Please forgive, but you are talking to a rookie. When you say " can cheat by sistering on to the sides of cabs with a pc and screwing into the cabs."
Whatsa "pc" (being an electrical engineer I assumed it didn't mean my personal computer- couldn't fit anyway).
And I gather you are just scabbing onto the inside upper edges of the cabinets some sort of pieces of wood for support of the granite where the low spots are ? If correct, would they be like maybe 6 inch x 1 inch x 1 inch pieces or something like that ?
Thanks again for your reply. Very much appreciated, as I've NEVER dorked with cabinets in my life. (440 VAC, yes, cabinets, no).


skymaster 02-13-2008 08:32 PM

Bob; yes fit a piece (pc) :} of 1 x 4 for example inside the cabinet,bring to the string and screw into the cabinet side. You could use pcs of 3/4 plywood, one CAVEAT Granite is real heavy so you want to use as wide as possible so you can have lots of screws. If the inside surface of the cabs is not really highlt finished use some adhesive also. one good one is Grabit or something like that, PL products are very good also


troubleseeker 02-13-2008 10:06 PM

Since a reliable 10' straight edge is not likely something the typical HO has, use string. First check the cabinets along the wall by measuring up the back wall the same amount on both ends (2", 3", 5", the measurement doesn't matter as long as it is the same on both ends of the cabinets. Now pop a chalk line between these two marks, and measure down to the top of the cabinets. Any place the measurement is greater than your original measurement is a low spot by that amount... if your initial marks were 2" above the cabs and you find a spot that measure 2 1/4", that is a 1/4" low spot in the cabinets. The easiest way to shim IMO is to rip some 3/4" by 1/16" strips, then snip into lengths as needed and stack with a dab of glue as many as needed to fill the low spot. For the front edge, clamp a couple of 3/4 spacer blocks under a tight string at each end of the cabinets, then use another piece of 3/4" block to slip under the string at various places. If there is a 1/4" gap between the string and spacer block, you have found a 1/4" low spot; shim the same way. Shimming the tops of the cabinets this much will probably require a tiny piece of trim after the tops are installed. Should you happen to have the shoe moulding removed, you can tap wedges under the cabinet boxes to raise the low spots along the front, then slip shims with glue under the boxes and remove the wedges. This will work well if the dips are located where the boxes are joined together. If the dip is in the middle of a wide cabinet frame, as is particularly common with wide sink base units, you will have to shim at the top.
Do not get overly panicked by the granite guy's whining about the cabinets, this is pretty much standard rhetoric they spout immediately upon walking onto any job. They all carry little horseshoe shaped plastic shims of various thickness for supporting their stone where required, and a little bit of epoxy in the low spots will easily support the stone over a few moderate length dips.
Don't waste time trying to scab any pieces along the inside of the cabinets for a few little dips.

bcarwell 02-13-2008 11:15 PM

Thanks so much for taking the time as I now feel confident I can hack it. Can't wait to find those dips now. And I feel gratified that my common sense instinct was right that you could level from the TOP and don't necessarily have to spend the quoted $1500 to pull, level/shim and reinstall the cabinets from below. I've already successfully pulled off the old formica tops to expose the upper cabinet surfaces with no damage to the front surfaces, so I'm well on my way to saving $1500. Now if I can just convince the Finance Committe that, as a reward, I get to buy a new tool toy...

skymaster 02-14-2008 10:26 AM

bcarwell: Inform the Finance comittee that the new tool is mandatory for you to complete this job and save HER some money, PLUS the new tool will save even more money after this job when you have to do others:laughing: :yes: :thumbup: :whistling2:

mark942 02-16-2008 05:18 AM

skymaster,,,,,,,,I see I am not the only one that uses that very same line..................:thumbsup:

skymaster 02-16-2008 11:41 AM

Aye Matie works most of the time LOL LOL When it doesnt I always try to have some kind of a "problem" where the new tool would have prevented it ROFLMAO

kgphoto 02-24-2008 11:30 PM

Here we put a plywood top across the cabinets and then the granite. So shim that.

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