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Can't Remove Dishwasher

21698 Views 25 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  sixeightten
The previous homeowner had a very thick hardwood floor installed up to the kick plate of the dishwasher (but not under). They also installed granite counter tops with a bullnose lip that hangs down 3/4". The combination of the two are impeding removal of the old broken dishwasher by approx. 1 1/2".

This dishwasher does not have leveling legs, the tub rests directly on the concrete slab (pic below).

I'm considering removing the old machine from the cavity by cutting it up with an angle grinder. Easy enough. But I still have to figure out how to get the new machine into the cavity.

Options and questions:

1) Remove wood floor planks - It's at least 15' to an edge of the floor, The planks are oriented perpendicular to the door face. How involved is this? I imagine the hardwood floor installer would need to cut a tongue to begin the removal process?

2) Jack up (or tilt) the granite counter top - This counter top is an island, so at least there is no backspash to deal with, but the slab is massive, 16' x 5' , and it's comprised of two sections. The granite counter top is epoxied to the base cabinets. How difficult would this option be?

3) Cut out a square section of the counter top bullnose directly in front of the dishwasher. Could the bullnose edge be cut precisely enough so that it looks ok?


Can you provide any other ideas or options? We'd prefer not to get a downsized dishwasher (from the ADA compliant category), we're actually trying to increase capacity for our large family.

Thank you, DWooderson.


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The previous homeowner diffinately took the easy way out for sure and left you with that headache. I guess he never thought about if he ever had to replace it.

Sounds like you have already thought it through. Your ideas would work. Like you have already mentioned, the big issue will be getting the new one in there without having to booger up too much of the counter top and wood flooring. Down sizing may have the least impact. Up sizing will be harder and may require additional finishing work. They have some nice ones out there, you might get lucky. Take your dimensions with you.

Can you post a couple more detailed pics, at the countertop level, so we can see what you are seeing? Others will be along shortly with some more ideas for you. Thanks.
 

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Also, new ones are likely to have adjustable feet. So screw the legs up short, slide it in, then re-adjust. Last year I installed one in a kitchen that had been tiled like that. New one went in pretty easily. But I agree with jmon that it's too bad the previous H/O left you out like that.
 

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Here's an option, but I haven't thought it through- hire a granite company to cut the top in two- one cut at each side of the DW. Then lift the unit out.
Now you could build up the 24" DW bay to it's proper height.
This would give you an elevated counter top in that spot but maybe you could make it look like it was there all along. Perhaps even use a different color of granite there?

As I said- just thinking out load
But the 33 1/4" is the minimum I have seen for a DW- and thats with the feet removed
 

· Bill Kearney
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Yes, some newer dishwashers come in an ADA-compliant configuration. These end up having a smaller tub vertically. It may be possible there's a unit out there that's got enough room under it to allow fitting into your situation. But I've seen a number of other types with a bit of variability to their bottom chassis. Could be one of them has enough wiggle room to make it back into the space.

Check with a local appliance distributor, NOT just some retailer. The distributors would likely have some more informed personnel to help with the problem.

What else is in the island? Any chance of making the whole thing lift up along that side? Just enough to get the new unit in? But I'm guessing there's a sink in it, or other hard plumbing connections...

Are you sure the counter is epoxied down? Most of the time it's just attached using a bead of silicone or other adhesive. Might be possible to cut that loose from inside the various cabinets.

What about possibly removing that bullnose lip in front of it? Not all of it, of course, just the part that hangs below the slab. Would that give enough clearance to make it worthwhile? Got a picture of that top edge?

I ran into a similar problem but the Asko dishwasher that was in there had enough wiggle room to allow raising the legs far enough to clear the floor. The nearby fridge cabinet was not so convenient. I had to remove about 7/8" of the face frame on the cabinet above in order to get a new fridge in there. Even with that I still had to remove the front rollers on the fridge in order to drop down into the space. I just shimmed it up once it was in there. Damned previous owners had tile on 1/4" backer put down over the existing linoleum, and not into the appliance bays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of the advice, I removed the old machine last night. It took 3+ hours but I eventually won the battle!

The dishwasher box is formed of flimsy steel, but it has heavier structural steel framing around the front and back. The front was accessible, so fairly easy to cut out, but the back was difficult due to it's position inside the cavity. The sawzall was either hitting the cabinets/counter, or not penetrating deep enough, which violently ejects the saw from the cut. Fun! Maybe I need a sawzall lesson.

So, I'm picking up a new water supply line and fitting today, and fingers crossed, I will slide the new machine in and hook it up (we purchased the machine last week).

The installation guide specifies a 34" opening height requirement, my opening is 33 1/4".

The new machine has plastic wheels on the back. If necessary, I believe that I can remove the wheels for an additional 1/4" of clearance, then I'll figure out how to shim it from there if necessary. This still leaves me a half-inch of problem, but hopefully they included some wiggle room in the spec.

If there is a lot of wiggle room with the new machine, I'll also consider raising up the floor under the machine to match the cosmetic floor. That will simplify future maintenance.

I guess the former homeowner is ultimately accountable, but he probably just had someone perform some renovation tasks and never thought about the DW implication. The counter and/or flooring installers should have raised this concern. Maybe they did, and he ignored it.

Hopefully I'll add one more happy post tonight after I've started the machine's inaugural cycle.

Thanks again for you advice and insight.

Photos:

Floor height 3/4" (the counter top bullnose trim is also 3/4", even with the cutout):



Bullnose Trim: Upon further inspection, the bullnose edge was already trimmed down, about 1/4" on the left, maybe 1/8" on the right. Worst-worst case scenario, I'll have someone come out and trim this further. I never even noticed the cutout before last night. Not visible in this poorly lit picture is the top of the machine, which is slightly higher than the top of the door (which is visible).



With the front reinforcement removed, the machine now slides 75% out of the cavity (then the back reinforcement get's jammed).



Trying to get back to the back reinforcement framing:

 

· Bill Kearney
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YOU WENT TO TOWN ON THAT BOX! Yee-HAW!

I'd have been more inclined to use an angle grinder as they're less trouble to control versus a destroy-zall. Either way, eye protection and a hat are a MUST when cutting metal like that. The hat to keep shavings from dropping back into your eyes when you take a shower later...

Curious to see the previous notching of the bullnose. Seems the previous contractor knew something was amiss. Still, they're bastards for setting it up that way.

While it might seem drastic, what about busting up a bit of the slab to gain some clearance for putting the new unit back in there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Busting up the slab would be drastic (and possibly difficult to do), but it's good to consider all options. Hopefully the thing just slides in. :)

Yes, I did end up using the sawzall (destroy-zall.. ha!) and the angle grinder both quite a bit, the angle grinder especially on the back. My kids were impressed with the light show from the angle grinder, and we were all somewhat concerned with the smoke that started pouring out after several minutes of sustained cutting.
 

· Bill Kearney
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I've seen some really heinous looking concrete scarifiers/grinders, but have never used one. I can only imagine the racket they'd make during the ordeal.

If you do end up removing the back feet just be sure to plan ahead and have a way to put something back there to support it. Perhaps by cutting an access hole in from one of the adjacent cabinets. I didn't have to remove the back feet on my fridge, but did have to take off the front ones. Removing those allowed for the front/top to sit just enough lower to slide back into the cabinet.

The same geometry might apply to your situation. I roughed out the shape using some plywood to be sure before I hacked the rollers off the bottom of the fridge.
 

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I would have the new dishwasher hooked up in the basement for a few weeks before I went through the trouble of re installing it. The metal legs are molded into the body of the dishwasher. I would probably cut those, weld them back together, but shorter. Be careful with galvanized metal
 

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I would guess that the original problem stemmed from an installation of the hardwood floor after the dishwasher was installed. This meant that the dishwasher would not slide out as it should have. The floor probably blocked the front feet. If that was the case, you should have lowered the front feet to get them over the floor. These floor guys do this all the time and they know better but ar too lazy to take the washer out and lay the floor all the way to the back of the opening and then re installing the washer. Just a thought.
 

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I would guess that the original problem stemmed from an installation of the hardwood floor after the dishwasher was installed. This meant that the dishwasher would not slide out as it should have. The floor probably blocked the front feet. If that was the case, you should have lowered the front feet to get them over the floor. These floor guys do this all the time and they know better but ar too lazy to take the washer out and lay the floor all the way to the back of the opening and then re installing the washer. Just a thought.

ima let you go ahead and reread the very first post and look at the pic and see if there are any feet to level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update: The new dishwasher is still not installed, I'm still washing dishes by hand, and my wife is not pleased.

The new dishwasher's installation guide specified it needed a 34" tall opening, my opening is 33 1/4", but I thought I'd give it a shot, and it wasn't even close. I put a level on top of the new machine and measured it's height, and it's 34 3/16" tall (3/16" taller than specified), and that's with the feet and rear wheels completely removed.. it's not getting any shorter.

I've called the original granite installers twice to request that they come out to cut away the bullnose trim, but they are not being responsive. I'm planning to move on to another installer after we return from the holidays.

I'm also still considering a different machine, I think I can return my machine for a full refund. A particular Bosch 400 model requires a 33 5/8" opening, which is closer, but I'm still shy more than 1/4". I'll research a few more machines and see what I can come up with.
 
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