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Old 11-06-2011, 03:31 PM   #1
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


I inherited a house after my mom died. Back in 1985 my parents moved into a house and had a kitchen enlarged and a new den put on a house. They had kitchen cabinets put in the kitchen. My question is how did the person who installed the kitchen cabinets know where to place the screws and make sure they were centered on the 2 by 4 correctly. Back in 1985 how did they center the screw that holds the kitchen cabinets. This is something I know nothing about. Scared kitchen cabinets could come down if not screwed in properly. I can't see through a wall and don't know how they were able to do it. It's a mystery to me. Trying to be scientific and analytical about home maintenance but everything I encounter seems to be based on being lucky.


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Old 11-06-2011, 04:07 PM   #2
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


That is actually a good question from a novice.....

A lot depends on when your house was built and where you live. In some houses, when they framed the kitchen, they would run blocking all along the top portion of the wall. This gave you a continous surface to nail/screw into. That is if your lucky.

Look under your cabinets and see if you can see some screws. There should be at leat 1" of space under there....basically, you need to attach cabinets in two places...the bottom which carries most of the weight and the top which keeps it from pulling away from the wall.

If they attached them to studs (which 'should' be 16" OC), then you will most likely see screws top and bottom at odd distances from the sides. If you do have blocking in the wall, then the screws will be evenly spaced on the cabinet.

If you want to know where the studs are, get a stud finder....typically $20 or so at HD. Find the first one, and the next one 'should' be 16" from it.

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Old 11-06-2011, 04:14 PM   #3
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


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Originally Posted by richard7994 View Post
I inherited a house after my mom died. Back in 1985 my parents moved into a house and had a kitchen enlarged and a new den put on a house. They had kitchen cabinets put in the kitchen. My question is how did the person who installed the kitchen cabinets know where to place the screws and make sure they were centered on the 2 by 4 correctly. Back in 1985 how did they center the screw that holds the kitchen cabinets. This is something I know nothing about. Scared kitchen cabinets could come down if not screwed in properly. I can't see through a wall and don't know how they were able to do it. It's a mystery to me. Trying to be scientific and analytical about home maintenance but everything I encounter seems to be based on being lucky.

Richard, believe it or not, back in the eighties, folks were pretty adept at finding studs, and hanging cabinets. Even without all the laser guided, electronic range finding gizmos out there today. I was remodeling back then, and to my knowledge, none of the cabinets I hung have ever come down. I still have my stud finder(a little magnetic device that could zero in on the wallboard nails).
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:38 PM   #4
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


Older guys can tap on the wall and tell the difference between the sound of the stud {solid} and the sound of the cavity{hollow}. Then you can drive a nail part way into the drywall and see if it hits a stud. Doing this before you hang the cabinet means the cabinet will hide the holes. And if the cabinets have been up since 85, they probably are fastened securely
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:41 PM   #5
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


First of all, the fear that your cabinets might suddenly come down after 25 years because they were not installed properly is I suspect unfounded. You have no specific reason to think that they are not well installed, do you?

To answer your specific question, the stud finders back then were clear plastic rectangles with plastic arrows hanging down with magnets in them like Mickey described. You would sweep the device back and forth and when it found a screw the arrows would move. You would confirm that there was a stud there by nailing in a finishing nail and find the center of it. Then you would measure off 16" increments and check that there were studs where you expected by thumping on the wall. To confirm you could always tap in more finishing nails. Pencil vertical lines where the studs are as a visual reference, then start hanging your cabinets.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:32 PM   #6
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


start at a corner and measure 16" along the wall then mark it..if you have room above the cabinets a finishing nail into the mark and see what you hit.once you catch a 2x4 you have a reference to find the others...corners in any room have to be wood or tin
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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Are Kitchen Cabinets Secure


If the builder built the walls 16" on center, you just measure from the corner. Otherwise, if it was done by an amateur, if you pulled the uppers, you would most likely find a bunch of holes in the sheetrock/plaster/rock-lathe, from them trying to find studs.

There really is nothing scientific or analytical about hanging cabinets. It just takes common sense, and following directions.

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