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Old 11-12-2007, 01:22 PM   #1
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Hello all,

I'll soon be hanging Mills Pride cabinets in my kitchen as a part of my complete kitchen remodel. I've looked at several sources for installation instructions, including the Mills Pride (manufacturer's) instructions.

All sources say to mark a line on the wall for the base cabinets at 34.5" above the highest point on the floor. That's done and I know that can't change as the cabinets are standard base cabinets spec. Mills pride recommends that you mark the line for the base of the wall cabinets 18.5" higher, for a total of 53" (the bottom of the base cabinets would be 53" above the floor). My Home Depot book recommends going 19.5" inches higher than the base cabinet line, for a total of 54".

Both of these heights seem pretty dang low to me. I drew a line at 22" above the base cabinet line (56.5" off of the floor) and then 'mapped out' the layout for rest of the wall cabinets and the micro-over-the-range with pencil outlines. This seemed to be a very manageable height for me (5"11"). My mom's gonna test it out and she's significantly shorter.

So my question is: do you see any problem with raising the wall cabinets 3-4" higher than spec? My kitchen is pretty dang small (78 sq feet) and hanging these 30" high wall cabinets a little higher would seem to open up the kitchen a bit. Hanging at the spec height just feels claustophobic for me. And yes, it's my house and I know that I can do whatever I want, but I do intend to sell in 5 years or so. I'm first time homeowner and am new to DIY projects, so I'm a bit concerned about going against the recommendations - they've been at this longer than I have.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts....

AZ

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Old 11-12-2007, 02:10 PM   #2
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


I don't think it will be a problem, but it's probably "to each his own". Then again, there may be some code involved, or at least consideration for owners who may be handicapped. You could always pop a couple wall cabinets up on the wall temporarily and see how it looks. Worst case scenario you just may need to patch a couple screw holes.

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Old 11-12-2007, 03:30 PM   #3
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


We hang wall boxes 19" above countertops. Moving them up 4 or 5" would look odd to me and will make it more difficult for shorter people to reach into the back of the cabinets. I believe the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a 19" gap between countertops and the bottom on wall boxes, but I may be wrong on that.

If it were me, and I were planning to sell the house, I'd hang them at 19".
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:18 PM   #4
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


If you are measuring before installing the base cabinets it will look funny but when permently installing the upper ones need to be hung first. An idea would be to place (no secure) a lower cabinet then hang two small cabinets, temporarily, over it, one at the lower height, one at the higher and see how the heights feel.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:23 PM   #5
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Before you hang any wall cabinets, see how far off of level the floor is. I've had floors off 1 1/2" over a 12' ,"L" shaped kitchen.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:54 PM   #6
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Thanks for all of your responses. Not sure what I’m going to do yet, still gonna think about it. I’m guessing that I’ll come down a bit, but maybe not all of the way. But to respond to some of your comments:

PK: the base cabinet line that I referred to is the height of the base cabinets without the counter top. My current countertops are about 1” above this line. So following your suggested guidelines, I should go about 54.5” off the floor (34.5” for the base line, 1” for the counter, 19” gap between counter and wall cabinets).

Ron: I already did the process of finding the highest point on my kitchen floor. Remarkably, the kitchen floor in this 55 year old house is nearly level. There’s a bit of a dip in the middle of the floor, but the floor at all ends of the counters is pretty much the same height – maybe a inch to 3/8 inch difference.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:34 PM   #7
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


If you just have upper cabinet boxes, you can install them at whatever height you are comfortable with. If they meet any full height cabinets, such as pantry or oven cabinets, the overall height of the tall cabinets will dictate where the wall cabinets go, so that all the tops line up.

If you decide to raise the wall cabinets, be sure there is still enough room above them for any moulding that had been ordered with them.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:50 PM   #8
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


accepted "normal" is bases at 34.5 which is automatic since that is what they are built at, just find the high point as you said The wall cabs are set at 19.5 from the bases. This will allow 1.5 for the tops and the standard 18" from top to bottom of wall cabinets. if you work with 34.5 and walls at 54 then you should work out on the money.
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:17 PM   #9
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Alex, I should have specified that we hang wall boxes 19" to the bottom of the box on faceframe cabinets. The actual gap from countertop to the bottom of the faceframe is 18" since we use an 1 3/4" frame rail on the bottom edge of the box.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:21 PM   #10
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


54" to the bottom of the wall cabinet is standard. Remember, you'll also have to reach the top of the cabinet as well. If you do an appliance garage, or other such things, these are made to an 18" height.

Additionally, 54" keeps the sight lines low - meaning if you do under-cabinet lighting, or a flip down dvd player, etc, they will be relatively "invisible". Seated eye-line is at 4' (typical).

Also, this height gives you good sight into the cabinet - remember that you'll be looking up into the cabinet to find items on the top shelf, even if you can reach them.

In terms of selling, I doubt most would walk into your kitchen and say "Hmm, thats 3-4" off", but some may notice that it feels different. Personally, I'd stick to a 54" height.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:01 PM   #11
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Hi all, I've got a dilemma, my contractor installed all my base cabinets at 36" and 37" high, before countertops. (I have a 1.5" slope on my floor over 12' So the cabinet's are built at 35.5" then shimed to be level.) So my counters look perfectly level, they are just a tad too tall, following that, my wall cabinets are 18" above those, (which means my wall cabs are 58" high at the bottom inside shelf), I've requested to have the wall cabinets dropped down 2" (for a 16" clearance) and giving me 56" shelves, but my microwave above the stove will then also 16". Is that bad for the cooking area? I can have him resize the microwave cabinet so the microwave can stay 18" above the cooktop.

My contractor says they can drop all the base cabinets, (it'll just cost me $$) to be 36", but I wonder if it's worth it. 37-38" seems acceptable.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:13 PM   #12
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


My wife requested (demanded) that the base cabinets finish out at 39" with a 19" wall cabinet spacing. At 5'11 she says it is more comfortable for her. Three years and many gatherings later most people don't even notice the difference.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:19 PM   #13
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


The microwave specs will dictate the recommended clearance from the cooktop. It would be a good idea to follow them.
Since these cabinets were ordered with the floor variation in mind, why wasn't this hashed out before the cabinets went in? Better yet, before the cabinets were ordered.
Quite frankly, the extra 1.5" is hardly worth the extra $$$. The top shelf in wall cabinets in most kitchens are accessed with a step stool.
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Old 07-20-2008, 10:59 PM   #14
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Before you hang any wall cabinets, see how far off of level the floor is. I've had floors off 1 1/2" over a 12' ,"L" shaped kitchen.
Ron
Sounds like my kitchen. By the time I got to the opposite corner, I was using 2x4's for shims.
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:32 AM   #15
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Installing kitchen wall cabinets higher than spec recommendation?


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnkarner@gmail.com View Post
Hi all, I've got a dilemma, my contractor installed all my base cabinets at 36" and 37" high, before countertops. (I have a 1.5" slope on my floor over 12' So the cabinet's are built at 35.5" then shimed to be level.) So my counters look perfectly level, they are just a tad too tall, following that, my wall cabinets are 18" above those, (which means my wall cabs are 58" high at the bottom inside shelf), I've requested to have the wall cabinets dropped down 2" (for a 16" clearance) and giving me 56" shelves, but my microwave above the stove will then also 16". Is that bad for the cooking area? I can have him resize the microwave cabinet so the microwave can stay 18" above the cooktop.
As a guide, MOST base cabinets are 34.5" tall, counter tops 1.5" making the overall height to the counter surface 36". Then upper cabinets are 18" off counter height. This is not a set-in-stone rule but a guide. Obviously, floor issues, ceiling height and customer requests can change any of this. However, those stats are completely with reason. Also, you need to be careful when lowering your upper cabinets to 16". Sometimes you will have a small appliance that won't fit in only 16".

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