Urgent...in midst of Kitchen Remodel - Cabinets Not to ceiling

BerlinGirlNovember 18, 2012

Hoping for some guidance as I am in the midst of a kitchen/bath remodel. I have 8 foot ceilings and wanted my cabinets snug to the ceiling. These were hung Friday, one is an inch down, another is 1/2 inch down. The Pantry and fridge cabinets are 1/4 inch down, however the cabinet adjacent to the fridge is 1/2 inch down. The last cabinets are 1/4 inch down. I am fine with 1/4 inch down. Guess because of the height of the pantry cabinet it would dictate the height of the others. Don't know a thing about hanging cabinets, but want to know if it is reasonable to ask the contractor to rehang the ones that aren't 1/4 from the ceiling? I did not want molding and don't have room for molding, although on the side of the fridge cabinet I obvious gaps and will need some there. Any recommendations here please? I did order molding with the cabinets. Should they go up? Should they go down? I am bothered by the differences and the shadows,

Thank you!

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The one that is an inch down. Most obvious. My DH noticed but didn't say anything about it. My DD only noticed when I pointed it out.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Pantry cabinet that sets the height...am I correct? I would guess. I don't know. Wish I had paid more attention when they were being put up. Quitting work is not an option for me...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Trim time.

Something in a narrow crown molding in a very simple cove design, maybe.

This is something any millwork supply will have. Best solution would be to use the same species wood and the same finish from the cabinet makers.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 1:06PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Your ceiling isn't level. Your measurements before you ever began the project should have showed you that there was a problem with that. (There usually is.) A "fudge" should have been planned into the design. Where is your contractor in this picture? Why didn't he explain to you that there would be an obvious difference in the gaps because the ceiling had an issue?

And why weren't shorter cabinets planned for from the beginning to hide this issue better? With 8' ceilings, you NEVER do 42" cabinets "to the ceiling", even in new construction because the ceilings are never flat. If you had done 39" tall cabinets, you would have had room for a 3" piece of solid stock between the cabinets and ceiling and then a small crown or even just inside corner molding could "float" that height difference where it was less noticeable. Or if you had chosen 36" cabinets, you could have had room for 6" combination molding that could have hidden the height difference. Or even doing plain 30" cabinets with no molding wouldn't have accented the ceiling sag as much as what was designed.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:19PM
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Thanks Handymac...will take a look into that...

hollysprings...just climbed up on a step stool and measured it all. It isn't perfect but the ceiling isn't the problem. I looked at the top of the cabinets and they were not hung up at the same level. That is apparently the issue.

Why weren't shorter cabinets planned? We have a small galley style kitchen and I'd done some research and found many in my boat who were happy with 42 inch cabinets to the ceiling here on GW. In our planning only one person suggested maybe a 39 inch cabinet and molding. I talked to the contractor today about them and we will look at what I'd like to have done tomorrow.

Question, should I lower the cabinets and put trim around them? Or just have the one that is 1 inch down put up to 1/4 inch from the ceiling? I don't mind the look of the 1/4 inch down all around the kitchen. Is this something a finish carpenter can handle? Thoughts please?

My DH has no idea, the contractor doesn't know and I don't know either. Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Standard bottom alignment height for cabinets is 54" off the floor. The entire installation starts with finding the high spot in the floor (and there always is a high spot) and measuring 54" above that. You strike a level line all the way around the room. It's fairly easy to do with a rotating laser level. That's the line that the bottom of the upper cabinets "sits" on. Then you measure 19 1/2" down from that line, and that's the level line to shim to for the base cabinets.

If the cabinets are level across the whole room at the bottom, then the ceiling is the problem. If the cabinet bottoms are at different heights, then somehow, your installer screwed up and hung some too low. They are standard heights so to work together as a system.

The first thing for you to do is to grab a level. Find out what the actual issue is.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:19PM
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hollysprings - just measured and a couple are 53.5 and a couple are just under 53. Guess they are hung too low. Measured the ceilings and are 1/4 inch under 8 ft all the way around. thoughts?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you want some type of taller molding than just a tiny trim cover type, you can have the toekick on the pantry cut down to less than 4", and then have the other cabinets hung lower all the way around the room, but that will mean that they will have less than the standard 18" between the counters and uppers. Some people are OK with less clearance, but some people have KitchenAids or other home appliances that need the height.

Some people are perfectly fine with having the cabints hung at different heights on different walls. It IS barely noticable in your pics. And if your ceiling wasn't so bright white, the contrast between the cabinet tops and ceiling wouldn't be so look at me. So possibly consider painting the ceiling another color. After all, it IS the 6th and most forgotten wall!

So, there's a couple of ideas to minimize the issue. However, I also have to say that right now, you are in full TKO mode and are noticing things that 99% of the time won't even register at next year this time. And that won't register with 99.9% of the people who visit your home either.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:36AM
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no expert here but if it's just the one upper by itself to the left of the window just move that up slightly and the rest are close enough!No one will ever notice, and no one walks around with a tape measure. You need some space on top so that the doors don't scrape the ceiling when opened.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Yes, a small bit of trim to match will work here ... But I wanted to say your cabinets are gorgeous! So, so pretty :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:05PM
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Thanks all! The contractor ended up moving two of the cabinets up a bit and will be using Kraftmaid molding at the top.

I've been in full TKO mode as noted by hollysprings and I wasn't seeing the end product.

I'm completely confident at this point and can see an end in sight! They really are very pretty and I'll post a finished product thread!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:24AM
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" just measured and a couple are 53.5 and a couple are just under 53."

From what?
The likely out of level floor or ceiling?

New cabinets in older strictures ALEAYS need a place to 'fudge' the fit.

A small piece of molding that cover a changing gap is far less observable than a gap that is different or varies.

If the gap to the ceiling has been 3-4 inches you might never have noticed either.

SMALL changes in a small gap are easy to see.

The same problems arise with wall-to-wall cabinets.

Walls are rarely perfectly plumb and flat (especially drywall being flat).

The fill piece often used to allow full door opening against a wall is how the errors in the walls are hidden.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:14AM
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