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(This topic is also categorized under Kitchen Projects)

Moving a Cabinet


Ever had the feeling that your kitchen's appearance would be greatly improved if the top cup-boards were located somewhere else? Why not move them? It's not such a difficult job and the end result could be brilliant, to say nothing of a potential increase in kitchen efficiency.

Cabinets are normally affixed to the wall by screws. In the case of timber frame construction, the screws usually go into studs. With masonry construction the wall is drilled and plugged to provide solid fixing. All that has to be done, therefore, is to undo the screws, remove the cabinet or cabinets, and reaffix the unit in the more favored position.

Remember also to check with your local laws as to how much distance you should remain above a stove or a refrigerator should they be involved. Above all, when nailing or screwing, watch you don't hit any electrical wiring or plumbing. More than likely wires run on the inside of the wall studs and you are screwing directly into the stud, but worth requesting the awareness to avoid injury!

TOOLS AND MATERIALS

Buy new screws (unless you can get the old ones out without damaging the heads) and plugs if necessary (for masonry installations). You'll need a hefty screwdriver (ratchet if possible) that neatly fits the screw heads, a hand or electric drill plus drill bits (include a tungsten-tipped masonry bit if drilling brick-work), a tape and pencil, level, hammer, 50 mm nails, and half kilogram of fortitude.

PROCEDURE

1. Remove the contents of the cabinet and then clear the screw heads of any -paint with, say, a nail file or steel skewer.

2. Look to see whether the top cabinet is a single unit or several units fixed together. If necessary, undo the side fastenings checking first that each unit is individually secured to the wall. You don't want a cabinet section falling and damaging your countertop of flooring.

3. To support the cabinet, enlist the aid of a sympathetic and robust friend or build two pillars of support under each end (you can use thick books or paint tins). Then undo the screws and remove the cabinet (if you're by yourself and it's too heavy, it may pay to remove the cabinet doors to make the unit lighter).

4. Mark the position where the bottom of the cabinet will go, using the tape. Level this line across the wall (if you haven't got a level, you could measure from the floor, countertop or ceiling – assuming they are fairly level).

5. With the help of a friend, place the cabinet in the new location. Use a nail punch or narrow screwdriver to mark the existing screw holes on the wall; then remove the cabinet. Drill and plug the holes (make sure they're at least 3 mm deeper than the amount the driven screw will project past the cabinet), and then fix the cabinet in place. For timber frame walls you can locate the stud positions with a stud finder or by tapping the wall while listening for a solid sound. Drive in a nail to verify a solid fixing. Mark these stud positions (usually at 450 or 600 mm centers) below the level line, then, with the cabinet in place, drill new screw holes through the back of the cabinet opposite these positions and resecure the unit to the wall.

1-2-3 SUMMARY

  • Mark the new position of the new cabinet measuring carefully the new area to make sure it will fit.
  • With cabinet held in new position, punch through screw holes.
  • With a friend's help screw the cabinet in the new position.

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