• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to widen a refrigerator alcove.

    1. Go into the basement or crawlspace below the kitchen and check to be sure there aren't any pipes, wires or other obstructions running up into the wall of the refrigerator alcove.
    2. Lay a sheet of -inch-thick hardboard onto the floor in front of the refrigerator.
    3. Pull refrigerator out of the alcove and onto the hardboard, then roll it out of the way.
    4. Use a reciprocating saw with a long blade to cut through the drywall of the alcove wall.
    5. Remove all the drywall from the interior surface of the alcove wall using a pry bar.
    6. Carefully pull off the corner bead from the corner of the wall.
    7. Use a reciprocating saw to trim the drywall flush with the interior surface.
    8. Cut the -inch-thick hardboard to fit over the alcove wall.
    9. Cover the interior surface of the alcove wall with the hardboard.
    10. Fasten the hardboard using a brad nailer and ¾-inch brads.
    11. Install a piece of quarter-round molding along the top of the hardboard panel.
    12. Apply joint compound to the vertical edge of the wall, then sand it smooth.
    13. Roll on one coat of primer followed by one topcoat of paint.
    14. Slide the refrigerator into the newly expanded alcove.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      the job is a little dusty and messy, but not terribly difficult to complete
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • reciprocating saw
        Reciprocating saw with long blade, used to cut out drywall
      • flat prybar
        Flat pry bar, for prying off old drywall
      • pneumatic brad nailer
        Pneumatic brad nailer, air compressor and air hose, used to fasten hardboard to wall
      • drywall knife
        Drywall knives, used to apply joint compound
      • utility vacuum
        Vacuum, for capturing drywall dust

      Shopping List

      1. Two 4x8-foot sheets of -inch-thick hardboard, used to protect the floor when moving the refrigerator

      2. Quarter-round molding, used to trim the top of the wall repair

      3. Joint compound, for patching the wall edge4. 120-grit sanpaper, used to smooth joint compound

      5. Primer and paint, for finishing the interior surface of the alcove wall