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New cabinets, cracked plaster

We are installing new kitchen cabinets in our 1930s home. The plaster beneath the old cabinets is cracked and crumbly on a few walls that will hold the much heavier 42" solid cherry wall cabinets. One wall is an exterior bricked wall without studs. Another is terra cotta block - again with no studs. The plaster appears to adhere to metal mesh rather than lathe in these areas.

Our trusted electrician insists that the kitchen contractors should take out the plaster and replace with drywall. Our kitchen contractors (with whom we've never worked before) say that mounting screws for the cabinets cannot be safely sunk into the brick or terra cotta. They have cautioned against screwing or gluing a veneer of dry wall over the old plaster as well, stating that our cabinets would no longer fit properly into the two corners where our stove and sink will be relocated.

Each party's argument is equally convincing. I am not knowledgeable enough to determine which one I should listen to.


Re: New cabinets, cracked plaster

Since the house is from the 30's and pre-dates insulation, opening the walls would be optimal. You can do all new wiring, piping and insulation. That is the point of remodeling right? If this were my home that is what I would do.

The carpenter is correct about the sizing and things not fitting. You could also remove a section of the plaster wall and inset a nailer for the cabinets.

Choosing between the two is an old dilemma. How much time and money do you want to put into the remodeling, compared to how thorough a job do you want to do?

Re: New cabinets, cracked plaster

There are two ways to hang your cabinets on these walls, but either way, the plaster should be repaired and resurfaced first, and possibly the cause of the damage needs to be determined?
The cabinets can be hung from a French cleat, which is a European system, or molly bolts can be inserted into the voids in the terra cotta, and masonry anchors inserted into the brick parts.
The cleat cannot be used to hang cabinets that must touch the ceiling, as there has to be a small margin of space to lift each cabinet above the lip of the cleat.

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