I've done my own kitchen cabinets and the kit did not come with toe kicks. So I'm making those, too. I think I should stain them with matching paint before installing them. I'm more concerned about cutting them short enough to fit and whether I'll damage the paint when installing them. You have ideas?
Larry D. ~ Berkeley, California
Larry, you are absolutely right to cut and finish the toe kick pieces prior to installing them at the base of your kitchen cabinets. I use 3/4 inch solid wood stock for my toe kicks, and knowing that only the face of the board will be visible once installed, I can choose my material accordingly. I cut the boards an 1/8 inch narrower than the height measurement from the finished floor to the bottom of the cabinet box, as this insures an easy fit which will not damage the finished paint job on the toe kicks or the kitchen cabinets. I also use full length pieces of wood so that I can avoid joints in the middle of the long runs, and due to the wear and tear that toe kicks are subjected too, I like to use butt joints instead of mitered joints at any corners.
When finishing the toe kicks, make sure to cover the ends, the sides and both faces of the wood pieces with a coat of primer and several coats of paint which matches the paint on the kitchen cabinets. After the painted toe kicks have dried, use a finish nailer and some construction glue to attach them to the cabinet risers at the base of the cabinetry. You can then fill the nail holes with color matched wood putty or another paintable wood filler.
If the toe kick material was not included with the cabinet kit you purchased, then you will have to buy some 3/4 inch stock to make the toe kicks. When matching painted wood cabinets, I like to use maple for the toe kicks because it is durable, easy to work with, and takes paint well.