Framing with Cabinets in Mind
Every kitchen remodel is unique, and will fall somewhere on the spectrum of home improvement complexity, cost, and time.
Some homeowners who are happy with their kitchen layout and functionality choose to keep things simple. These lucky few can opt to ‘replace’ their tired, old boxes with brand new cabinets that match their predecessor’s dimensions. The new cupboards ‘slide’ right into the old spots, and voila, new kitchen!
One the other end of the scale are the “down to the studs” renovations. These are the types that involved removing walls to create an “open floor plan” where the kitchen flows into the dining and living areas unobstructed. Projects of this scope this will likely include a complete change of kitchen size, layout, and maybe even location within the home. When plumbing, electrical, and gas lines need to be moved, drywall usually has to come down to give contractors unobstructed access to change and quite often upgrade these utilities.
Having removed the sheetrock to expose the wall framework creates an unparalleled opportunity to plan a smooth kitchen cabinet installation, while ensuring super study, strong cupboards for years to come.
Take a cue from this video created by the folks at MARK IV Builders in Maryland. They add a 2×6″ stud all the way around a kitchen, both up high toward the tops of wall cabinets, and at counter height to line up with the top of the base cabinets. After all framing is hidden by new drywall, having this ‘rail’ really speeds up the installation process when it’s time for cabinets to go up. Incorporating this continuous line of wide, 6-inch backing at the most crucial hang points eliminates all guesswork and “stud-hunting,” while giving all the cabinets a firm, strong fit as they’re being anchored to the wall itself with every screw.
The majority of homeowners find that their updates fall somewhere in between the extreme ends of the spectrum. Some parts of your kitchen will probably be pretty easy, while other areas will require a lot more attention. If, however, at any point you end up starting at wall studs, strongly consider adding this relatively simple and inexpensive bit of framing, and you won’t regret it!