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Old 02-15-2017, 08:03 PM   #1
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Kitchen Cabinet Tolerances For Level

A couple questions about kitchen cabinet installations. I've installed about 10 kitchens successfully with no problems. Is there a standard factor of tolerance for how much kitchen cabinets can be out of level/flatness? Like 1/16" per foot or something? The uppers are easy for me, but the base cabinets are a little more tricky to get level and flat. I can get the backs level because I just line them up with my chalk level line 34-5/8" above the highest point in the floor. But sometimes it's hard trying to get the cabinets all perfectly plumb/level/flat because the cabinets themselves are never constructed perfectly.

That being said, it probably, then, isn't common that any cabinet installation is perfect, and no cabinet installed would waste their time trying to get things perfect when it's just not possible because of the way that the cabinets themselves are made.

So I think having them perfectly level isn't necessarily the key. I think the key might be to install the cabinets "as level as possible" but keep their tops all nice and flat so that when granite goes on top, it rests evenly on the tops of those base cabinets with no humps or dips. But that itself is still a little difficult because of the fact that the cabinets themselves aren't perfectly made.

Another thing that makes it hard to get things perfect is that fact that no bubble-level is perfect! It might read perfectly level one way, but flip that thing around and it's not reading perfectly level anymore! Very frustrating...

Am I wasting my time trying to get things perfect when they really don't need to be? Any tips?

Last edited by hellohello; 02-15-2017 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:32 PM   #2
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Re: Kitchen Cabinet Tolerances For Level

First of all,if your level changes reading when you reverse it, it needs to be calibrated. The trouble with the newer levels is that they are sealed units and do not allow for calibration.

I once was in a big box store and had 8 levels stacked one on top of another, all reasonably close to level but none of them were showing exactly level and all of them were different. Picked the best two and they changed when they were reversed. All were junk.

If you can get the cabinet boxes level to about an eighth of an inch over 8 ft along the front and back length of the cabinets you should be happy. within about a sixteenth front to back should do it.

As long as you can make sure that a spilled glass of juice doesn't all drain to the back corner, you should be okay with it.

Have you tried a laser yet?
Short of cutting off a body part, the worst that can happen in woodworking is manufacturing really nice looking kindling. --- Quoted from lenaitch
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:41 AM   #3
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Re: Kitchen Cabinet Tolerances For Level

I guess the boxes can be out of level and plumb to the point the doors can be adjusted using euro hinges. Some cheap drawer slides may open diy.
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