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Old 07-28-2019, 07:56 PM   #1
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Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


I bought a home a few years ago. All of the cabinets on one side of the kitchen seem a but low. So I measured. Cabinets on the right are 3 inches lower than the ones on the left.


I also have a full panty cabinet. At first glance I wondered how the top of the pantry matched the tops of the other cabinets. Well they cut 3 inches off of the base of the pantry to make it fit.





But the main thing that caught my attention on the whole mess was the over the range microwave. For starters, the microwave handle gets too hot when cooking on the stove top. Also for a 6'1 person, it makes it very hard to cook.




I had plans to cut down the bulkhead and raise the cabinets along with the microwave. But now I decided to ditch the over range microwave. I think that raising it 3 inches isn't going to do much as it already sticks a good way beyond the bottom of the cabinets.



I have limited counter space but I have a corner where it looks like I can place a shelf for the microwave.



My question is, should I go ahead with the plans to raise the cabinets? The problem is that it is not so straight forward. I have a bulkhead that needs to be cut down or removed. I am opting for cutting it down if I can get away with it, as I will need a lot of ceiling and wall repair.


My existing problem upper cabinets are a little less than 53 inches above the floor or 15 inches above the counter top (my other cabinets measure 18" above counter).



I have read from the Bob Villa site that optimal height above floor is 54". Is this true? If so, I am wondering if it is even worth raising an inch. Or should I raise them 3"? Or don't mess with them.


P.S. It is sort of a pain with the cabinets at that height. All of the light switches and sockets are so near the bottom of the cabinet, they are hard to see. I am not a baker but a mixer might have a tough time fitting under there (i.e. looking down the road at resale value)
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:07 PM   #2
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


I would not do anything for the resale value, when you do sell it the new people may want to gut the kitchen anyway. Changing the microwave for a hood would help the cooking situation , adding the shelf sounds like the easiest fix.
I have moved a light switch that was too high like that, I just installed an old work box lower and put a blank cover on the original, the next time the kitchen has a reno, they can deal with it.
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Old 07-28-2019, 08:30 PM   #3
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


You may find when you open the bulkhead there is a reason. There is probably something inside that bulkhead. support beam, HVAC vent, range vent pipe, plumbing drain.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


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You may find when you open the bulkhead there is a reason. There is probably something inside that bulkhead. support beam, HVAC vent, range vent pipe, plumbing drain.



Kitchen in in an L. I cut a "view port" at one end of the L. At least at that end there is nothing in there (aside from dust and old insulation). I can see a wire hanging down from the ceiling but it is high enough that if I go with my cut down idea, it should not be a problem.



The other side of the L faces the outside wall. Can't be any duct work in there because it would not go anywhere as it dead ends into my dining room wall. Doubt any pipes would be in an outside wall.





I think I can modify the frame for the bulkhead pretty easily. The whole thing is built with 2x4s. The hangers or studs (what ever they are called) hang from the attic floor joists. They meet with bottom frame. The bottom frame is built with the 4" side facing outward.


I figure I could cut 2 " of the drywall off, then remove the bottom frame. Replace with new 2x4 but flip it so the 2" (1.5") side faces outward That would pick up 2" right there.


And the existing drywall is an inch thick. It is its the same for the "floor" of the bulkhead then I could replace with 1/4" to 1/2" and pick up a bit more.


Advantage of removing cabinets and cutting down the bulkhead would be I could also insulate the bulkhead and walls. The kitchen can be very drafty in the winter. though I guess I could just blow some insulation in there right now.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:19 PM   #5
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


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I would not do anything for the resale value, when you do sell it the new people may want to gut the kitchen anyway. Changing the microwave for a hood would help the cooking situation , adding the shelf sounds like the easiest fix.
I have moved a light switch that was too high like that, I just installed an old work box lower and put a blank cover on the original, the next time the kitchen has a reno, they can deal with it.



I am wondering if I should just start there??? See how things go,


There is no outside vent. No idea why when the former owners put that microwave in. they did not install an outside vent.


Anyway. I suppose those hoods are cheap enough. But are they designed in such a way that they can be switched to vent to outside or inside? Or do you have to buy them specific for the venting type.


Or should I just cut a hole in the wall now? If I raise the cabinets by 2-3" will it make a difference on venting?
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:32 PM   #6
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


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I am wondering if I should just start there??? See how things go,


There is no outside vent. No idea why when the former owners put that microwave in. they did not install an outside vent.


Anyway. I suppose those hoods are cheap enough. But are they designed in such a way that they can be switched to vent to outside or inside? Or do you have to buy them specific for the venting type.


Or should I just cut a hole in the wall now? If I raise the cabinets by 2-3" will it make a difference on venting?
It has been years since i bout one but the last one has plastic cover on the front to remove and you install charcoal filters so it blows the stem in you face, we sort of.



Or you could pipe it straight up and vent it out of the box above into the room. Or just up into the cupboard and then out so it would still work if you lift the cupboard.
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:35 PM   #7
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


Looks like they do make them convertible.


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Broan-30-in...-87-in/3576592
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


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Looks like they do make them convertible.


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Broan-30-in...-87-in/3576592
Yup, that's the same one I had 30 years ago.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:48 AM   #9
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


Vent to room is almost as worthless as no vent at all.
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:01 AM   #10
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


All this depends on what you want to do and how involved you want to get.
if there is nothing in the soffit, then there is no reason (other than work) to either shorten it or remove it.
"standard" is 18" above counter top. I would shoot for that or slightly taller if you want it to be "normal"

How nice/new is the kitchen? how much work do you want to do and do the cabinets fully cover the bottom of the soffit, or do you need to mud/finish the drywall?

are you going to be happy with the results?

basically i see this as a pretty largish undertaking to raise the pantry, remove upper cabinets, cut into soffit, shorten soffit, insulate, reinstall cabinets higher, fix backsplash, replace microwave with vent hood vented outside, to effectively gain 3".

Im not saying it wouldn't piss me off also, as a large guy with the uppers closing in on the lowers, just that its a lot of work. you're probably 3/4s of the way there to doing that side of the kitchen. If it were a newish kitchen I liked, I'd consider doing it. if not, I'd consider saving my pennies and spending the extra to replace it all with new cabinets.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:36 PM   #11
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Re: Raise kitchen cabinets or let them be?


I would not waste the space over a cooktop with a range hood and I would not take up limited counter space with a microwave that could be mounted over the cooktop.


My LG microwave specifications called for a minimum distance of 30 inches from the countertop to the bottom of the wood cabinet opening for the microwave and so I had the cabinets made so that they would go from the top of the microwave up to the ceiling. My LG sticks out 2 inches past the cabinets but it is not noticeable at all as the sides are flat black. The bottom of the microwave is 20 inches above the cooktop and not affected by heat from it when cooking.



If you plan to sell the house in the next several years then I would do the minimum needed to fix the microwave problem and ignore the odd cabinet heights.
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