Experience gluing cabinets to plaster walls?

charlikinOctober 17, 2008

Xposting with Kitchen forum...

I live in a 1948 apartment building with plaster/lathe walls. In order to securely anchor my new kitchen cabinets to the wall, my contractor actually *glued* the cabinets in place, as well as securing them with screws. I don't know what kind of glue he used.

Does anyone have any experience with this technique?

How difficult would it be to *remove* these cabinets from the wall? Would it destroy the cabinets? Destroy the wall? Would it be possible to rehang cabinets on this wall? It's a fairly thin internal plaster wall between the kitchen and living room.

(I ask because the carpenter screwed up the installation of the cabinets, and I'm considering whether it's possible to re-order some of them and rehang them or whether that would just make things worse.)

Thanks in advance for any input and advice!!

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There's usually some caulk around the counter top but no glue is used in a cabinet installation. The kitchen is a room that gets remodeled so you don't attach the cabinets permanently. If a real construction adhesive was used you'll probably pull the plaster off removing the cabinets.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 4:10AM
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Jan, this room was never remodeled before. It was the original kitchen from 1948 with backless painted wood cabinets "built-in-place". The wall in question is a very thin plaster wall with no studs or any structure.

Here are some photos of the wall after removing the old cabinets and doing the electrical. In one picture, you can see some green around the junction box - that's the light shining thru from the living room. The wall was so thin that when the electrician put in the junction box, it went straight through.

So when the contractor was figuring out how to hang cabinets on this wall and make them secure enough that I could store heavy things like dishes, the solution he came up with was to use glue. I don't know what the other options would have been.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 7:22AM
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Take down the old wall and put up a new one? It's suprisingly inexpensive and depending on old walls in that shape to hold new and probably heavier cabinets to me would be very scary!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 5:42PM
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Field glue is rarely given any strength rating unless done under controlled conditions (and even then screw ups occur - ask Boston about epoxy anchors in concrete).

There is no reason to take down an entire plaster wall just to hang cabinets.

There are a number of cleat systems (AKA 'grench cleats') that can easily be used.

The wooden ones will bump the cabinets out from the surface about 3/4 of an inch, but metal systems are available that take up almost no space (around 1/16 inch).

As a last resort in plaster wall a section about 6 inches tall behind the cabinets can be removed, filled with wood attached to the studs, the remainder of the opening closed off, and the cabinets hung on the wood filler.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 6:52PM
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No studs? Just a wall of plaster? How does it stay up?

If it's really just a plaster wall as thick as a junction box, then I would say that taking off glued cabinets will destroy it. And I agree putting up a new wall would be a good idea! You say it's an apartment--are you just renting?

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 7:18PM
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brickeyee knows what he's doing.

Correcting a typo: French cleats. (video)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 10:47AM
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Thanks, everyone! Just to clarify - the wall appears to be cement and metal lathe with a plaster coating on both sides. There might be thin metal studs supporting the lathe. There's been a lot of discussion over on the Kitchen forum about whether this wall can support the weight of the cabinets and their contents, and how best to secure them... I believe the wall *can* somehow support it because it had cabinets on it before, and everyone else in my building has cabinets on that wall (though I don't know what techniques they used).

I'll check out that video about French cleats. In the meantime, I face a battle with the contractor tomorrow about replacing the cabinets his carpenter messed up. (He put up the full 3" of filler, and then planed 1/4" off the cabinets when they didn't fit. As a result, it's nearly impossible to adjust the doors not to rub against each other. Plus he voided my lifetime warranty on the cabinets.)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:32PM
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