Home>Discussions>KITCHENS>How to shim base cabinets to make them true
11 posts / 0 new
Last post
tonyc56
How to shim base cabinets to make them true
tonyc56

In the following video Tom silva places shims between the top rear sides of the base cabinets to make them true...should you also place shims between the bottom rear sides...if not why??

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20046303,00.html

Timothy Miller
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
Timothy Miller

Howdy, shim placement for leveling and screwing the cabinet boxes too the wall is the norm. Placing the boxes on the floor, unless the flooring is very uneven, its footprint is a stable platform.
The uneven wall due to many causes can require shimming to allow for solid fastening at the screw to wall points. As the box is built rigid no other shimming is needed.

tonyc56
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
tonyc56

hi tim,

I'm not sure what you mean..I'm referring to the section where Tom has the cabinets laying down on the plywood sheets and then shims the backside to make them true prior to fastening them to the wall...my question was should he have shimmed the bottom rear side also when the base cabinets were still on the plywood sheet...if yes why?

A. Spruce
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
A. Spruce

Not necessary in the manner the cabinets were installed.

By installing the spacers on the floor, which were shimmed and leveled, and attaching the cabinets together as they were, the bottoms of the cabinets aren't going to move. Once shimmed and screwed to the wall, there would be no ability for the cabinet to flex.

tonyc56
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
tonyc56

Hi Spruce,

Thanks for responding..Just curious why then is it necessary to place spacers..when the cabinets are secured to the wall won't that prevent the cabinets from flexing???

havanagranite
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
havanagranite

it is basically to help the novice (most professional installers don't use a spacer but do make sure their face frames are in a straight line.)keep the face frames straight while installing the cabinet so that you have an even reveal between the face of the counter top and the face of the cabinets instead of the cabinets just simply being screwed to the wall and have the face frames in a potential zig zag pattern. as you know there almost isn't such a thing as a straight 2 x 4 anymore, so it is virtually impossable to have a truly completely straight wall. and the same is true about concrete work as well so you better also check the cabinets for level not just plumb. this is especially important if you are installing granite countertops since there is no flex in them and you don't want a big gap between the tops and the cabinet.

A. Spruce
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
A. Spruce
tonyc56 wrote:

Hi Spruce,

Thanks for responding..Just curious why then is it necessary to place spacers..when the cabinets are secured to the wall won't that prevent the cabinets from flexing???

The cabinets need to rest fully on the floor to be able to support the weight of themselves, their contents, counter top, and surface load. The spacers are there for that full bearing support. Screwing the cabinets to the wall only stabilizes them and keeps them from moving around.

The reason that the spacers were used was to bring the cabinets up to the finished floor height. Once the flooring is installed and the baseboards run, you would never know the spacers were there.

Havana brings up another good point that wasn't addressed in the video, and that was Tom only checked, on camera anyway, the lengthwise level of the shims, he didn't check the front to back level. This causes two problems, one the cabinet is not properly supported, causing stress when loaded. The other is the counter top becomes unlevel and in the case of solid surface tops with no lip on the front, any spills on the top end up on the floor.

tonyc56
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
tonyc56

Hi Spruce,

I wasn't referring to the spacers that were used was to bring the cabinets up to the finished floor height. I was referring to the video segement where Tom has the base cabinets on the plywood and places spacers to make them true...

A. Spruce
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
A. Spruce

As mentioned earlier, it isn't necessary. With the front and top back corner connected and trued, and a level base, the cabinets are a solid unit. From there they only need be attached to the wall at the top to make them stable and immobile. All forces on a base cabinet are downward, not torsional, so there's no need for further shimming or interconnection.

tonyc56
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
tonyc56

Thanks Spruce

A. Spruce
Re: How to shim base cabinets to make them true
A. Spruce

You're welcome.:cool:

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.