Cabinet Modifications for Taller Appliances
Cabinet Modifications for taller appliances like Refrigerators, Stoves w/ Hood and Microwave Exhaust Hoods. We can offer guidance for your appliance installer, handyman, or cabinet maker and we will properly handle the modification of the doors and drawers involved.
Method of Cabinet Making: Wall cabinets are generally made by one of two methods. Which method can usually be determined by a closer look at the cabinet above the refrigerator or stove’s exhaust hood.
With the first method, the wall cabinets above and to both sides of the appliance are actually all one long unit with a series of doors and partitions. Notice if the vertical stile above the appliance is the same width as all others and the doors above are hinged to it along with the cabinet to that side. This means that to remove the cabinet above the appliance the total wall of cabinets must come down. We try not to take that approach for a variety of reasons.
In the second method, the wall cabinets are a series of individual cabinets, each with left and right vertical stiles to which the doors are attached. This means that the cabinet above the appliance is usually attached to its adjoining one/s with screws sideways through the face frame, and to the wall or soffet with screws or nails. It should be relatively easily removable, and can be brought to our shop. At the shop we can perform the modifications better at less cost.
Face Frame Cabinet “Reveal”: This can apply to either method of cabinet making. Most cabinets are made with a lumber face frame with a rail that extends below the bottom of the cabinet. Check the cabinet above the appliance. The bottom of the bottom of the cabinet can sit as much as 1 ¼” higher than the bottom of the front frame. This available reveal space might provide enough clearance for the new appliance if the face frame is shortened. We can make these modifications and refinish the worked edges. We can perform these modifications better and at less cost in our shop but they can also be done in the home with reasonably good results.
European style cabinets with totally concealed hinges do not have a face frame and are always made as a series of individual cabinets, like the second method above. The section of cabinet, with the doors, should be removed and brought to the shop for reconstruction.
Still More Space is Needed: To obtain the needed clearance the cabinet case and its face frame must be modified to make the opening shorter. In either approach below the problem is that the doors will now be too tall.
If the wall cabinets are of the first type above, it is usually impractical to take down the whole wall section of cabinets for work at the shop. So, our usual solution is to cut away the bottom and lower face frame of the cabinet above the appliance, in the home. This is complex and messy. A new bottom for the cabinet and a new section of face frame can be fashioned and finished to match within reason. The old bottom was likely recessed into the side cabinets and we can cover that area with a piece of trim, if the new appliance doesn’t cover it up. The costs are much higher and require several trips to the home and can vary widely.
If the wall cabinets are of the second type above, at the shop we can perform the modifications better and at less cost. It will involve cutting across the vertical stile and case ends (what we call zipping the cabinet) and taking out the needed amount of space before re-joining the upper and lower parts to a shorter height.
The goal is to keep the top of the doors aligned to those beside them.
If the door is only slightly too tall, the first option is to remove a small amount of wood from the bottom rail, or also the top rail as might be required to solve the sizing problem.
If the door becomes just too tall for the new shorter opening the door must be shortened by cutting across its lower portion within the raised panel area, removing the necessary sections of wood, and re-joining the door back together. There will be a horizontal line across the door but we’ll make it look as good as possible. This choice is made to keep the original door style, wood grain, and finish intact.
Door Plunge Method: IF the hinge methods includes plunge hinges, then not only must the doors be modified allowing for the hinge plunge location, but the face frame on the cabinet must be replunged onsite and its old plunge location filled and faux hidden best practical.
How to get a bid:
We encourage the homeowner to take a series of photos and measurements for the installer, handyman, cabinet maker to review to better sort out their options:
- Photo of wall section of kitchen cabinets
- Photo of cabinet above the appliance with door closed and another with door open with no contents
- Accurately measure the appliance height at its back half with the unit leveled front to back.
- Accurately measure from the floor to the bottom of the bottom face frame of the cabinet above the appliance.
- Accurately measure the amount of reveal behind the bottom face frame of the cabinet above the appliance
Then contact us by emailing these photos to us. We'll assess your needs and respond with additional questions or pricing.
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