Installing the dishwasher

Last Saturday after our guests left it wasn’t late enough to go to bed. So we decided to install the dishwasher – Bosch Integra 500 series.
Reading dishwasher instructions
It’s pretty straightforward but there is a lot of prep work like hooking up the hoses, wiring, moving brackets. We also had to extend the feet almost all the way up since our counter sits a little higher than standard.
Reading dishwasher directions 2
Installing dishwasher hose

A little bit of Egg Nog

We *may* have been drinking egg nog while installing the dishwasher


Another thing I had to do was add some wood to the side of the dishwasher opening. Because it abuts a wall, the opening was a little bit wider than the usual 24″. The side needed to be built up so that I could attach the brackets on the side of the dishwasher to something.
Spacers on side of dishwasher opening

Spacers on side of dishwasher


With that done there was one thing left to do before pushing it back into it’s spot, drill holes in the cabinet for the hoses (one lower for the water/wire through and one higher for the drain to create a ‘high loop’)
Drilling holes

Drilling holes

One thing I should share with everyone is the cable we used to plug in the dishwasher. Traditionally dishwashers are hardwired. But it is becoming more commonplace to require the dishwasher be connected via plug and cord. Our electrical inspector required it. It may also be because the dishwasher shares it’s circuit with the refrigerator. Anyway I had to do a little searching around for the proper cable. It needs to be 14 gauge and have loose leads at one end. A lot of small appliance cables are actually 16 gauge. I found one at Home Depot.

Finally we were able to push it back in place. This is where we stopped for the night.
Dishwasher in

Sunday I began by leveling the dishwasher out. The back needed to go down a lot. Luckily my little magnetic level stuck to the door, despite it being stainless steel. Must be a low grade. It took a few glances at the instructions to tell that you were supposed to place the level against the door. That picture was a little funny. After it was level and plumb I installed the screws to lock it in place. Then Irene and I headed out for some breakfast and to get a different kind of plumbing trap. The first one I got had a little drain plug, but other wise glued together. It ended up a little too low in the cabinet to be useful. So I exchanged it for one with a union. This is what the plumbing looked like all hooked up.
Drain plumbing installed

Later that night, while running the dishwasher for the first time, I installed the doors on the sink base.
Doors under sink installed

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Hooking up the sink and we are cooking!

Friday, Irene worked in the morning again and I got started on the plumbing. I was dreading doing the hot and cold water pipes based on my last experience sweating (soldering) the isolation valves in. It didn’t turn out to be too bad and took me only a day to do. I started by drilling small 1/8″ holes through the cabinet and floor where I wanted the hot and cold water pipes to come up. The small hole was to make sure I wasn’t too close to the floor joist I knew was close by, or worse yet trying to drill through it. The position of the holes was good so I drilled all the way through with a 1″ speedbore bit. The holes ended up such that I just had to make up some spacers so I could attach the pipes to the side of the joist that was between the two. I initially thought I would have to run a board across two joists and attach the drop elbow to the top of that board. The second way ended up being easier, but I had to change my plans a bit.

After that I sweated the valves that would shut off the hot water to the faucet and dishwasher, and a union. For the cold side I used a screw on valve but still had to sweat on an adapter. The screw on valve and union was so I can take everything apart if i need to in the future. All this sweating was done on my work bench, which made it easier and these pieces sweated easier than the ball valves. I should have taken pictures of this stuff along the way but I was too focused on getting it done. Once all that stuff was mounted up it was time to connect it to the pipes coming from the infamous ball valves. There was just enough misalignment between the two sets of pipes to make this not straightforward. This meant a trip to the home improvement store looking for solutions. I had to return some stuff anyway.

My options were:

  1. Go all copper and sweat everything. I was not looking forward to doing soldering in the crawl space. I’d have to make three or more sweat joints on each pipe.
  2. Use hoses meant for connecting a faucet. I almost went this route but found the threaded copper fittings I would need to connect the hoses to the pipe were expensive for hunks of copper.
  3. I recently found out that my local Lowes supposedly carries PEX. Indeed they did! Somehow I missed it in previous trips, and I looked! Anyways, I decided to go this route since it would keep my from having to use fire in the crawlspace and would accommodate the misalignment in the two sets of pipes easily. The only downside is that I would have to invest in an expensive crimping tool. I solved that by using push-on fittings, since one elbow I used earlier was holding up so far. Besides, I could always switch out the fittings later. This option was also pretty cost effective, the cheapness of the PEX offsets the cost of the push-on fittings.

So this is what everything looks like below the crawl space.

Hot and cold water pipes in crawlspace

Hot and cold water pipes in crawlspace

I finished up in the early evening. Unfortunately Irene wasn’t feeling good and was sleeping. I had to wait until Saturday morning so she could watch for leaks when I turned the water on. Amazingly there were none! There was a hitch though. The faucet sprayer hose could get caught on the hot water shutoff valve. After contemplating moving the whole pipe coming up from the crawlspace I decided to try place something between the valve and the hose. I found scrap of sheet metal I cut out from the range vent cover in the basement. I cut out a small piece of it and attached it to the wall. It worked great to keep the hose from snagging.

Next I headed to back Lowes with the Ikea sink strainer in hand to buy the parts for the drain piping. It took a little bit to find what I needed. None of the double sink drain kits seemed like they would work. For one the connection wasn’t the correct type. Two, they were a half inch too short. Three, I don’t like the thin plastic they are made of anyways and I don’t like the chrome ones: the chrome doesn’t hold up and is a waste being hidden inside a cabinet. I have to say that that section of the store was a mess. Lots of empty bins, bins with the wrong parts in them, plastic bags ripped open where people had stolen parts out of kits. I finally found the correct tailpieces and other parts I needed to make things work and headed home. Since the usual slip joint piping used under a sink is thin, flimsy, and prone to leak I decided to make mine out of solvent welded (fancy for glued together) PVC pipe. I got home and started measuring, fitting, and gluing.

This is where I stopped Saturday evening because we had some friends coming over for our monthly dinner club! This month was ours to host and as long as we had a working stove we were going back to hosting. Irene spent most of the day moving everything back into the kitchen and cleaning up the dining room (former makeshift kitchen) so it was fit for company. We decided to make Alton Brown’s Tenderloin Roast. We’ve made it a few times now and it’s a real favorite of ours. This meant I would be the one to cook and we would give a good test to the range hood since it involves searing the meat on a hot cast iron pan.
Cooking for first time

The range hood worked great. No smoke detectors going off, which is not what happened the first two times we made this dish. We got to celebrate with some champagne…
Opening champange
and desert…
Dinner club desert
We had a great night, but it wasn’t over yet. We will continue the story in the next post…

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Appliances Go Back In

What a week 11 it has been. We moved our oven in on the night the counter tops were installed. That wasn’t as straight forward as we would have liked. The opening was tight, despite giving myself an extra 1/8″. It must have gotten taken up by the counters. Then the range didn’t slide far enough back. The electrical cord was in the way. We tried just pushing the cord down and sliding it back but it didn’t work. The problem was that the cord came out and went up, the plug is a 90° kind. I looked online to see if we could get a straight type but they only make 90° versions. Then I searched for ways I might be able to turn the socket sideways. It turns out you can take apart the socket and put it back together sideways! So that took another half hour.

Even after rotating the outlet the cord still wasn’t cooperating. It took a lot of wrangling but eventually we slid it all the way in! While dealing with the electrical cord issue we also noticed the range top was lower than the counter surface by about 3/4″. So we had to jack all the feet up. After what taking 10 times longer than I thought it would it was in and looking good.

Stove installed

Wednesday night I put the faucet in. It went uneventfully.
Installing faucet
Installing faucet 2

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, Irene worked in the morning and then we had dinner with my family. We moved in the refrigerator that night! I just had to run the water line icemaker. It all went smoothly and no leaks!
Fridge installed

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Countertops!

Today is the big day and really completes the kitchen even without appliances in place.

DuPont Zodiaq ‘Meteor Grey’ – it’s an engineered quartz made with 25% post-consumer recycled content. It is also is certified by organizations such as GreenGuard, NAHB, US Council for Green Building, SBIC, learn more here

Before the installer left – 12 hour for glue to try, no bleach ever, clean it 2 times before putting food on it and Clorox Green Works gives it a nice shine but just a little soap and water will be fine for most cleaning.

As a side note, a lot of people install the sink before the counter and hook up the plumbing. He said in the last year, we were the first ones who didn’t have it all hooked up. I don’t know how people do it because it’s supported by the countertop.

Morning of installation




Above the dishwasher, soon enough dirty dishes go there!

Biggest slab is in!


Woo! The sink!


All in, wow


DuPont Zodiaq 'Meteor Grey'

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Lightswitch Rave… LED edition

I’ve talked a lot about our LED under cabinet lights, mostly because the electrical inspector made a big deal bout the wire we used for them. Two Thursdays ago, with all of our cabinets in, I got to finish wiring them up. I purchased two 24″ long Waterproof LED Light Bars from Elemental LED, one under each of our wall cabinets. The price was better than LED lights from Lowes and better than halogens from Ikea. Plus they come in a variety of sizes to you can customize. This is what our setup looks like.

LED Light Layout

The red lines represent wires that are run inside the wall. The blue arrows are where I had to solder wires together. Why did I solder them? The alternative is to use wire nuts to connect wires but then I would have to put that connection inside an enclosure of some sort. The other reason I can get away with soldering the connections is the voltage is 12V DC, just like a car! The lights themselves have a plug-in connector. Elemental sells solder adapters that have the other side of the connector on them. They also sell units you can plug in to an outlet.

The soldering itself went painlessly, except I forgot one piece of heat shrink tube. I put a piece of heat shrink tube on each individual wire (positive and negative) and another larger piece to enclose the two wires into a cable. Out of the three connections I forgot this larger, outer heat shrink tubing once. So I just wrapped the wires in electrical tape. *hangs head in shame*

Next I hooked up the driver, which is the white box. This device takes your house’s 120V AC power supply and turns it into 12V DC for the LEDs. I located it in the basement, just below the light switch. You could put it inside of a cabinet but we have glass front cabinets and I needed to enclose the 120V connection in a box of some sort. The smallest box I could find is an ugly 2″x3″ metal or plastic thing. I did use wire nuts to make the connections here. The thick white wire going into the metal box is the 120V from the switch over the counter top. The small white wire coming out the other side carries 12V DC to the first light bar.

LED driver and enclosure for wire connections

LED driver and enclosure for wire connections

With great anticipation I turned the breaker back on and flipped the light switch. At first nothing happened. I had to guess which of the two wires on the solder adapters was positive and I guessed wrong. For anyone else using Elemental LED’s solder adapters the side with the black dashes on it is actually the negative side. The solution was simple, I just had to flip-flop the two 12V wires coming off the driver. Again I flipped the light switch and again nothing happened… then lights flicked on for a split second and quickly turned off. It did this once per second. Not Good!

I triple checked everything and couldn’t find anything wrong so I turned to my old friend Google. Unfortunately Google was not any help in this matter. Any searches for blinking or flashing LED lights turned up a bunch of posts about Audis. LOL After thinking about it for a bit my hunch was that the driver was not powerful enough. Each light bar used 2.9W and I bought a 6W driver. Resistance in the wiring could be eating up more than 0.2W.

I emailed Elemental LED and they confirmed my hunch, it was most likely that the driver was underpowered. I would need to buy the next size up, a 10W driver. They told me they usually bump the power requirements by 10%. I don’t remember seeing that on the website and I wish they would have caught it when I placed my order. This mistake cost me $33.

Last Friday the 10W driver arrived and I installed it along with the other lights I was installing last Saturday. With the more powerful driver the lights work as advertised.

LED lights on by themselves

LED lights on by themselves

PS Lightswitch rave came from one of my favorite youtube videos:
Strong Bad – Techno

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Rounding out week 10…

10 weeks or 70 days we’ve been at this.

Last Monday we put all of the drawers in and doors on the base cabinets. They needed to be installed for the templaters who were coming on Tuesday. Adjusting drawers and doors is not very much fun but the directions are straight forward.

Installing Drawers

Tuesday the counter top company came to do their thing (truthfully, I have no idea what company they are because they say their name so fast lol). We brought in the sink on Monday night since we were told it must be on site. Paul figured they would know how to handle this sink since they contract with Ikea. When the guy came to template he took a quick look at the sink and said “ok, I know what to do for that”. LOL We had to bring the sink in on a furniture dolly since it weighs 126lbs.

Templaters are Coming

Wednesday we got to putting in the drawers, shelves, and doors in the pantry.

Building the pantry, Drawer slides installed.

Pantry drawers in

All drawers and shelves in

Doors attached

Pantry door attached

Pantry with all doors attached, today we noticed it was upside down

Paul started out the weekend on Friday buying lots of things we need to finish up: wood for the window stools and to finish the trim to the left of the dishwasher, router bits for the window stool, an adapter and some clips for the icemaker line, and covers for the radiator pipes. He then shut power off to the whole house so he could hook up the wires for the stove inside out service panel, which included replacing the breaker. Then he started installing the ceiling fan and worked on it until the very moment we had to leave for the evening. We didn’t get a lot accomplished since we had tickets to see Harry Potter in IMAX along and dinner with a friend. The movie was good – it stuck to the first part of the book so it went a bit slow lol.

Covers for the floor


Paul puts up celining fan motor and support


Paul putting up the ceiling fan motor before we leave for Harry Potter


Saturday morning we headed over to Mohawk Tile and took a look around. They carry the inexpensive Lanka tile but it wasn’t as white so we took home another brand to see if we wanted ‘brighter white’. We’ll have a price quote on Monday and we’ll decide if it’s worth the price upgrade.

Our next stop was Ikea (we stopped at Cracker Barrel just before that – yum). We went to get the cabinet hardware and return our extra stuff. We ended up leaving with Vinna and not the Varde I originally wanted. Paul didn’t like Varde with the circles and loved it more without them. I thought they looked too chunky so we ‘compromised’. I know what you are thinking, wtf is that word?

So we looked around and decided on Vinna. I think it works because the glass door knobs aren’t the round kind and Vinna has round touches. I also prefer the large handles for our bottom drawers, a nice ergonomic touch. It also has no overhang so it won’t get caught in your clothing.

courtesy of Ikea Fans

We got home from Ikea and Paul finsihed up the ceiling fan and started on the other light fixtures. Then he cut and installed the toe kicks. While he was doing that I worked on painting the crown molding and window trim. Ikea Fans suggested Benjamin Moore Simply White to match the cabinets so I got a quart of that in Aura Semi-gloss. I think it looks right. We’ll never get the finish right because they use thermofoil technology but eh. Not too much to fuss over for a non-custom kitchen.

Ceiling fan installed

Paul installing track lighting

Light and the rounded ceiling 'feature'

Lights are up

Toe kicks

We put up the glass cabinets and they don’t snap together as quickly or fast as they show on that Fix This Kitchen show. Paul had to snap them into place since the slapping technique they show didn’t work for me. LOL

Shelves are in

Doors are going up

Adjusting the doors

After we finished this, it was dinner time. We headed over to Chick-fil-a and stopped off at Home Depot on the way home. A complaint of the glass knobs I read in a review were how they’d come loose every few months and need to be re tightened. I asked Paul about this and he suggested we buy lock washers for them. We also got flat washers to protect the cabinet from the lock washers. This should ensure they won’t loosen over time! It was about $2.50. We also picked up all the duct work for our range hood vent which was around $45.

We ended up having to head over to Lowe’s after getting home and tried to install the door knobs. I didn’t bring the glass knob hardware with me so I guessed they were #6 (they were indeed #8) so we returned the base molding we weren’t going to use while we were there. Now we could finally install the knobs.

Door knob installation, tape is to ensure minimum damage to inside door

1st door knob installed

Paul installing door knob

Lock washer and flat washer

Door, washers, and nut

1st set in!

Upper Cabinets Done!

I read online you can get a template to make putting up the cabinet hardware faster but to make sure the templates are big enough so we brought our hardware with us. Ikea sells one and it doesn’t fit all the hardware they sell (smart huh?). It was a bummer, I thought, the big box stores only accommodate hardware 4″ or less.

So Paul made his own template instead (cheap and custom). He took some thin leftover plywood from our subfloor, made all of the measurements on it for all the different drawer sizes, put holes in the plywood where each hole would be drilled. The piece wasn’t long enough for the 30″ wide drawer and wide handle so he brad nailed two pieces together and applied painters tape so it wouldn’t scratch. Then he brad nailed small pieces of plywood to the top and left side to guide the template. Those two pieces rested on the drawer face. It really made it all so quick and accurate!

Door hardware template

Upper row drawer hardware in

Installing

2 sets of drawers in, time to move onto upright versions

We are done

Pantry door hardware

It was 10:45pm or so and Paul decided we should flip around our pantry door. We didn’t realize until we were done adjusting the darn thing that the door really has an ‘up’. I looked at other Ikea pantry’s and it’s funny to see how many times this happens (and that people leave it). This bothered Paul so he wanted to take the time to flip it around before mounting the door pull. We thought it would go a bit faster but there are these little gray plastic plugs for the holes that you would usually attach the pantry door if it were on hinges. In order to attach the pantry door, you need to put one of the screws for the drawer “clips” in that plug. We tried to get the plug out but it wouldn’t pop out at all so we called it a night.

Sunday, Paul started his day at Ikea. He couldn’t get the plugs by themselves in the extra parts department so he had to buy a whole kit. *bummer* We finished the pull out pantry and put the hardware on.

Pantry done!

Next up was the range hood ducting! Paul started the project and put in the elbows. During his install he found the ‘caps’ to our baseboards hanging out in the attic space. This is amazing. We knew it was in 2 parts as long as we have enough for the whole room, all we’d need to buy is 3/4″ for a base.

Range hood part 1

Paul forgot to get “plumbers tape” to hang the ducting last night so back Home Depot we went. We stopped off at Primo Hoagie for lunch and then finished up installing all the ducting for the range hood. I finished painting the pre-primed trim. We still need to add a piece at the top (suggested to slide in a painted piece of wood the same color as the ceiling.)

Done! well, almost

We finished up our night after a dinner at Bertucci’s by me filling the pantry and Paul started on the window stool. Paul made it out of some 1 x 10 select pine using his new router. It looks really good. I have to prime and paint and then it’ll be in tomorrow night. We have to get the one above the sink in before the sink and faucet go in otherwise it’ll be really difficult. So that’s how we ended our Sunday.

Monday we’ll move in the fridge, paint, finish up some other trim, and attempt to put in the all the window parts for above the sink. Soon as Tuesday comes, Paul gets back to plumbing!

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Great news…

Happy Early Thanksgiving to everyone! It looks like our holiday will be filled with plumbing in our sink and dishwasher! The lovely lady, Lucile, made my holiday by calling me this morning to setup delivery of our counter top – it’s coming on Tuesday, November 23rd. *big high fives*

courtesy of Ikea Fans - Domsjo Sink

We also found a source for beveled subway tile at a price we can live with at Mohawk Tile in King of Prussia! Their hours are short but I hope we can stop by on Saturday to get that taken care of and perhaps do that over Thanksgiving break too (okay, that’s pushing it but a girl can dream).

Paul will be finishing up the range hood venting today (possibly the lighting, for sure this weekend) so we can put in the stove and we’ll move the fridge into the pantry area! I’ll be able to cook!!! My upper cabinet door jewelry came this week so we’ll finish the glass front doors and load up the dinner plates/glasses/bowls/etc too. We’ll make a trip hopefully next week to return some leftover stuff to Ikea and buy the Varde handles so I can load up our pantry.

I found some affordable corbels where I bought my hardware knobs. The open corbels are $50 or so more each which seems a bit crazy since you get less wood but it is more work. Hmm. I wonder if I could buy the cheaper versions and carve out the back myself – then I thought about what a dust magnet the open ones would be! Paul had questioned whether or not just have 4 glass knobs will look okay and I’ll have the time to change my mind when I order the corbels.

courtesy of House of Antique Hardware

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The “To Do” list…

We have a majority done but we still have so far to go. I have yet to hear from our counter top company to setup the installation so it is looking more and more like we won’t have it the day before Thanksgiving *sigh* I was hoping Paul could plumb that whole weekend so we could get final inspection from the township and our 3rd party inspector and so we’d have a dishwasher and sink.

DuPont Zodiaq in Meteor Grey

Other things include building out the window casing, install and paint the crown molding, open shelving for the sink area, source and install the back splash and baseboards. We need to find some local mill shops to see if they’ll have our baseboards otherwise we’ll be getting a custom router bit. I want 3/4″ thick baseboards! I asked some friends about this and they think it would be worth the effort, even if it takes much longer and the kitchen won’t quite be ‘finished’. I also still can’t locate beveled tile locally and if I order online, it’ll be about $400. Decisions, decisions!

I love this corbel, reminds me of the scroll of a cello

Did I mention we’re still committing to our dinner club through all this? Indeed, we are – the weekend after Thanksgiving! We love our friends and this is the last one until 2011. Paul will make his beef tenderloin that I am very much looking forward to. I’ll be getting some Chinet – these people are worth it LOL

We use the Alton Brown recipe here If you are afraid to ruin this expensive cut of meat, don’t be anymore. This is a HUGE crowd pleaser. I love having with with baked sweet potatoes and some garlicy green beans or cranberry-apple stuffed acorn squash.

courtesy of Terra-Organics.com

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On Paint…

I feel paint is a very personal choice as far as favorite formulas and brands are concerned. There are a lot of choices these days – no voc, low voc (Volatile Organic Compounds @ Wikipedia), paint and primer in 1, oil based, latex, bathroom safe, etc! It can leave you dizzy.

I wanted the best covering flat paint, with low or no voc, and quick drying. I looked around all kind of home improvement sites and found some common themes – Benjamin Moore Aura – is it worth the price at $55/gallon? I think it is. I bought 2 colors to try out this line in our bedroom. One is an Affinity color (meaning it is an Aura shade) in Schooner AF-520 and the other a Historical Color in Marlboro Blue. I started on the accent wall behind our bed and it went on like icing after it had been dirty iced (cake’s primer). It covered so very well, even when I got Schooner on the other wall Marlboro Blue covered it! If I was careful, I may have been able to do one coat and I used much less than typical calculations call for (please note, it isn’t a one coat paint – I don’t know if there truly is such a thing and if you even want that for durability/washing the walls and you get a true color doing 2 coats). It’s also self leveling, you can’t slap it on really really thick but it isn’t fussy. Load your brush and go. Did I mention you can add another coat after an hour!? Yeah, you can do a room by yourself easily in just a few hours. The last & best trait is that it’s mixed by a computer so you really could just buy a gallon and go back for a little more and know the color will be right.

I have gone back into our dining room trying to seal up the cracks in the plaster where the original house and addition meet. I repainted some areas and I was happy with how well it blended into what I had previously done. It also washes well for a matte color!

Luckily for me, the local BM store had a sale in the winter so when we needed to buy paint for the rest of the house, we paid a bit less. This came in handy because I must have been crazy choosing Firenze, a burnt orange color, for our living room. It lessened the blow of the money we waisted changing our minds (still trying to figure out what to do with that color, we gave one gallon to friends for a project but I still have another unopened gallon, perhaps Craigslist would be a good idea).

I was given a paint roller made for Aura, I think you can skip that accessory. I didn’t find it performed any better or less than a Wooster blue high capacity – neither brand linted or bubbled. I will say the BM Aura washed out much better than the Wooster ones. Truthfully, I hate washing rollers. I feel like I use too much water to get them cleaned out so as not to tint the next color I want to use.

If money is an issue (if you need 2 gallons, that is a little more than $100) try out the Regal paint, especially if you aren’t using an Affinity color. It doesn’t have all the features of Aura but some of that may not even be important to you. You can see in our last post my paint progression – swatches and I cut in. I painted it a little funny because I forgot at one point we’ll have a backsplash. LOL

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A Week of Cabinets, Part 1

Are cabinets are all in! As you can see neither Irene or I has been in a blogging mood this past week. We just wanted to concentrate on getting the work done so we can have a working kitchen done. I left off two Sundays ago (it’s Tuesday night as I write this) with the wall and high cabinets up. That means it was time to install the base cabinets.

There is a debate among those familiar with Ikea’s kitchen cabinets, use the ledger boards or don’t. I think most people fall in the don’t category. There are two main reasons for this. One is it can be harder to level out your cabinets using the ledger boards. If your boards are installed crooked enough you may never get them level. I’ll agree with this point, it is a little tougher to get them level with only two feet to adjust. The second complaint is the boards are fragile and not strong enough. To look at them they don’t look like much. They are just fiberboard. But that is what most ready-made furniture looks like underneath the veiner. I think on this second point most people don’t know how to handle them and end up damaging them when mounting them to the wall.

I decided to give it a go using the ledger boards. I was hoping this would save me some grief with not having to reach under the cabinets and adjust the back legs but time spent mounting them is most likely a wash. I basically followed the Ikea directions. One big piece of advise is to mark out the line for the boards as per the directions, starting at the “high point” in the floor. Then find the low point and measure to the line. Add 30″ to this number plus the thickness of your countertop. If this number is high you will want to lower the line appropriately.

Once the line for the ledger boards is drawn it’s time to think about fasteners. Instead of using normal countersunk wood screws I decided to use lag screws. I was concerned that the countersunk screws are part of why people had trouble with the fiberboard splitting or crumbling, especially if they did not pre-drill the holes. Lag screws have a hex head like the bolt on a car so they are easier to drive in, no stripping phillips slots. Because of this you don’t have to make a countersink in them, just a straight hole for the screw is needed. I also wanted to make sure my screws were strong enough to hold the cabinets & countertops. 1/4″ is the smallest lag screw I could get, but that is also bigger than any wood screw you can usually get. To minimize stress concentration on the fiberboard more I also used flat washers underneath the heads of the lag screws.

I marked where the studs were with a stud finder and had Irene hold the ledger boards in place against the lines on the wall. Then I drilled a hole where each stud was with a small taper drill bit. Exact size does not matter, this is just to mark where the holes go. Just be sure to drill through ledger and into the drywall some. Then I had Irene remove the board and drilled 3/16″ pilot holes into the drywall and studs. This hole keeps the stud from splitting. I drilled 1/4″ holes in the ledger for the screws to go through. This keeps the ledge board from splitting. Then all I had to do was line the holes up and drive the screws in. Don’t forget to make marks on your board before drilling the mark holes so you can put it back in the same orientation later. Mark the outside face as outside and put mark for left or right and up or down.

With the ledger boards all mounted it was time to bring the cabinets in, a big moment for us!
First base cabinets
More cabinets
This is how we ended Monday night, with our “big” row of cabinets in.
After one night

Tuesday night we got the rest in.
Ready for oven
Sink base installed

You will see the hacked up back panel for the sink base on the right. This piece isn’t in the Ikea instructions when using the Domsjo sink. But I thought it would cover up the extra big hole I made in the drywall for the drain pipe. Also we wouldn’t have to paint that part of the wall. Well, in cutting the hole for the drain and electrical outlet I hacked it up pretty good. We had to ditch it. That did it for Tuesday night.

Wednesday I fabricated a support for the countertop above the dishwasher. A support like this is needed anytime a dishwasher is installed at the end of run. Lots of Ikea fans use an oven panel available from Ikea. If the end of the counter run is exposed this is a good choice since the finish will match that of the rest of the cabinets. Since our run ends against the wall the oven panel is a waist of money, only a slim sliver of it would be visible. I made the support out of dimensional lumber. Initially I budgeted the room to use a 2×3 but reading similar accounts it seems that is overkill and a 1×3 would be good enough. Just to be sure I found the density of quartz online and calculated the weight of the piece above the dishwasher. It will only be about 45 pounds. 1×3 will have no problem with that. You can see the two pieces of wood in the left of the picture below. They are screwed to studs with #10 screws, 2 per stud. While I was doing that Irene painted the walls.
Over dishwasher support installed

In a fit of energy I decided to stay up late and put together the swing out shelves for the corner cabinet units.
Putting together corner cabinet "baskets"
"Baskets" installed
That is how we ended Wednesday night!

Posted in Appliances, Cabinets, Counter Top, Drywall, Paint, Stud Walls | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments