repairing kitchen wall cabinets 'in place'

homeboundFebruary 8, 2011

Client has tall kitchen wall cabinets where the sides are pulling away from the backs that are attached to the wall. These are supposedly 12 yr old quality cabs, but I don't know the mfr off-hand. Obviously a dangerous situation. Do you think the cabs have to be removed and repaired, or could they be emptied, then upper corner braces added, etc? With a crown molding top, I'm hoping for an in-place solution, though I suppose the face frames could be unscrewed and the cabs dropped and removed, then repaired. Thoughts? Thanks.

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I should have added that this problem pertains to a total of three (2) adjacent 24" tall cabs, with additional cabinetry on either side. I figure it's the connected face frames that has kept the whole think from falling thus far. They've already emptied them partly.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 9:01AM
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I've never run across your issue but I can give you my take on what I would do. Since you have other cabinets that have not come apart and seem to be holding the separated ones from falling, I would consider those as defective as well. They will sooner or later do the same thing. As for wood working terminology, I am not a wood worker so I'll describe as best I can my thinking on the issue. It'll be interesting to see what other methods folks have that might be used.

Using some 2x4's, I'd run one under all the front of the cabinets, push the cabinets back into place and prop the cabinets in place temporarily until the repair is done and then remove them.
I would take a 1 inch by 1 inch strip of wood the vertical length of the inside of the cabinets. Using glue and screws, I would fasten them to the rear corners of the cabinets. I'd choose screws long enough to go through the strip of wood, through the cabinet sides and into the block of wood in the next cabinet. This would be pretty much the same technique as used on the front of the cabinets to draw them together. I'd pre-drill pilot holes into the strips where the screws are to be used so there would be no chance of splitting. I'd then screw the the strip to the back of the cabinet into the wall. If there's no furring strip or stud behind the wall where the screws are to go, I'd use molly bolts. Then you could stain the strips to match the cabinets and anyone looking at it would be none the wiser. Each cabinet would essentially be secured individually but by being joined to the next, would also allow each cabinet to add additional support to the one next to it.

The other option, using L brackets is less sightly (inside the cabinets) but should work too.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 9:58AM
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With multpile cabinets being connected and the fact all of them will probably fail eventually I would opt for the pull down. It's more work, but doing things right always is, it's just a matter of getting the homeowner to understand that. So yeah pull down, rebuild, use lots of glue (just don't make a mess), and use some 1/2 or 3/8 plywood triangle to stiffen it if you want, but if you glue the sides better it shouldn't be much of an issue.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 11:02PM
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