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Are gaps unavoidable?

Posted by sstrazisar (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 4, 13 at 21:45

I think my contractor advised us that it's not possible to hang upper cabinets without gaps running vertically between the different depth cabinets. I say "I think" because this is coming second hand to me...I'll talk to him directly tomorrow. He advised using scribe, but it'll be a lot of scribe running horizontal and vertical. Is there another option I need to ask about? My old cabinets were hung in a similar configuration, and there was no gap.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Does he also "think" you may be in the market for a bridge or two?


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Ok, so it's bad work? I measured and the gap is 3/16". Very visible. Hard to see in the pic, but here's another one.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

ss:

Cabinets are square rigid boxes. Walls are wavy. If there is an outward bow in a wall and the bottom cabinet points downward and the upper cabinet points up, the result is the gap you see. Cabinets must be hung plumb and level no matter what your walls are doing. Put a level on the front, side, and top of the pictured cabinets and get back to us.

If a cabinet is screwed to a wavy wall, it can become "racked" or out of square. This means the door can never shut completely because the top or the bottom of the door will strike the face first, even when all the hinge adjustment is used.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Thanks trebuchet. I'm not sure I follow though. Are you saying that because my cabs are full overlay there needs to be a big vertical gap between the different depth cabs? I'm resigned to horizontal scribe, but wanted to avoid vertical. I guess I'm bummed because my old not as nice cabs had no issue with this in the same spot. (see pic of old cabs). They were partial overlay though, and not stacked.

I'll check level tonite, thanks for the tip!


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Your cabinets were not hung level and plumb. There's no reason two flat straight cabinets can not sit flush against each other. Carpenters make adjustments at installation time to handle the uneven walls (which are everywhere). They don't follow them, installing things crooked. The 3/16 gap is not necessary for your doors to open.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 8:11


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

I may be wrong, but what I'm reading from Trebruchet is that the walls and cabinets must be squared up to prevent the gaps. That may require shims behind the cabinets (or perhaps shaving down portions of the walls that are convex).

My sister and I were wandering through a house under construction last week. It was a zero lot line house priced above $500k and that is a lot for our area - we are in the South where the median price of a home for the last quarter was $120k. One wall was so bowed out that it was noticeable/remarkable even amidst all the construction detritus!

I would refuse the vertical scribe and have the cabinetmaker do the necessary shimming and shaving to make the cabinet boxes sit flush on the walls and the joints fit tight.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

You've got a plain jane carpenter who's trying to expand his repertoire to include cabinet installation without either the knowledge or tools to do it correctly. In other words, a moron who doesn't understand how to shim or to use clamps. A piece of scribe on the side is the only acceptable place to use scribe (to hide the shimming) Or, to hide the (totally flush) seam of stacked cabinets. Or, in a higher end line, for the end cabinet or those that show, you do an extended side to the back that's meant to be scribed to the out of level wall. And in a higher end line, the stacked cabinets are combined into a single cabinet without a seam between them.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Maybe some photos would help. We installed our own cabinets, so I'm pretty sure that there is a more elegant way to true up cabinets than we used, but the essentials will be the same. Our wall has one stud near the right side that has the crown (the bow) facing towards the kitchen while all the rest face the room on the other side of the wall. This bump meant that we had to bring the cabinets to either side of the bow out from the wall to keep everything level across the fronts and back of the the cabinet run. They also needed to be level across the top regardless of the ceiling, but that wasn't much of an issue. The bow is behind the cabinet with the drill sitting on the shelf:
 photo DSC01056.jpg
Here is a cabinet moving away from the bow:
 photo DSC01059.jpg
See the shim poking down from the cabinet just above the level propped against the wall?
 photo DSC01062.jpg
As each cabinet was leveled, it was screwed to the one next to it, drawing them tightly together. I think most installers use screws, but because these are frameless cabinets, we used "sex bolts," which are available under other names for obvious reasons. Regardless of the name, they pull the cabinets tightly together. To attach the cabinets to the wall we used cabinet screws. The result is that everything is held firmly to the wall and to each other, no gaps, everything leveled in all directions.

When we installed the lowers, that bump still came into play. The little orphan cabinet between the gaps for the stove and fridge still had to be level across the top and across the face with the ones in the corner so that when the granite was placed everything was perfect. (That 15" cabinets falls directly between 2 16"-on-center studs, so we couldn't screw it to the wall. We finally toenailed it into the floor. It still has shims behind it to maintain the distance from the wall.)
 photo DSC01067.jpg

If we can figure this out from watching utube videos, reading online explanations, reading GW, and listening to GreenDesigns warnings, professional installers certainly can.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

I agree with the others--if the cabinets are built square (and I bet they are!) there shouldn't be a gap.

Great shim shots, Suzanne!


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Gaps are only unavoidable if you're dealing with these guys. Kick him to the curb.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

I think those are the same guys that put the plumbing for my dishwasher in the middle of the living room! They get around!


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

bbstx, start a new thread - tell us more!!


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

It's a lot easier to see white white cabinets. My cabinets are right up against each other and there is not a gap at all. I would not be happy with those gaps.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Wow Wow guys thanks so much for all the replies! I'm leaving work now and will totally dig into this when I get home. We are having a big sit down with GC, our carpenter, and KD in 2 days, so it's super helpful to have all this info.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Tomorrow (Thurs.) is the big sit-down? Are you ready? Don't forget to tell us how this goes.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

I promise! 12 hours and counting. You have all given me so much info, as much as I planned I definitely didn't anticipate all the little details.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

sjhockeyfan, It was only a momentary story. The house is being framed and the plumbers put the pipes in the wrong place. It is going to be fixed promptly.

I took cookies to my cabinet guy today. I hope he remembers when installation time comes!

Good luck, sstrazisar!


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

" suzannesl "

"we used "sex bolts," which are available under other names for obvious reasons."

Post and binder is another name.

There also was a commercial lubricant used in the plumbing industry, made by Sexauer.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

"Thanks trebuchet. I'm not sure I follow though. Are you saying that because my cabs are full overlay there needs to be a big vertical gap between the different depth cabs? I'm resigned to horizontal scribe, but wanted to avoid vertical. I guess I'm bummed because my old not as nice cabs had no issue with this in the same spot. (see pic of old cabs). They were partial overlay though, and not stacked."

ss:

Full overlay has nothing to do with it.

There should be no horizontal scribe, maybe some vertical trim molding to cover shims.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

snoonyb - don't forget "sex wax" which is a wax for the surface of surfboards so your feet don't slip.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Fixed! I think he used some sexy bolts to get the cabs to snuggle up. :) Part of the issue was the 2nd hand communication...this would be easier if I could quit my job for a month! Anyway, here's a pic of the fix. A lot more remains to be done, but I'm happy with their responsiveness. And now I can laugh at the humor in this post! Thanks again for the back-up.


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

much better!


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

The gap at the vertical seam in the stepped-back cabinet is owing to the fact that there is no end cap "skin" added to the face of the big cabinet to bring it out the 3/16" (flush with the faceframe at the corner) and you/he needs that 3/16" to make the rest of the run come out in proper alignment. Be a sport and get the necessary components for a proper install. The other gaps at the stiles of the vertically stacked uppers is a defect in manufacture; the faceframes were not flushed up properly at assembly. This would be accomplished in the factory by a pass over a jointer or a large belt sander.
Casey


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RE: Are gaps unavoidable?

Glad it was that easy!


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