Do I need a wall or can the cabinets be attached to the ceiling?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ January 20, 2011 ~ No Comments

I want to put a slide-in stove where there isn't a wall. I would also like cabinets on either side. The question is, do I need a wall or can the cabinets be attached to the ceiling and if so do they need to be supported underneath too? Or do I just need to put up a wall?

Jennifer ~ Kenmore, Washington

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Jennifer, This is definitely a question I haven't been asked before and goes to show that in the construction and remodeling business you can run across something new every day.

Normal wall cabinet installation involves attaching the cabinets to the wall behind them. When the house is in the framing stage the carpenter installs a series of horizontal blocks in-between the vertical framing where they anticipate cabinets being installed. After the home is drywalled the wall cabinets are installed with screws through the rear of the cabinets and hopefully into that blocking. Screws are also placed through the cabinet frames and into the adjoining cabinets to tighten any gaps and provide additional support. I'm not sure what you plan to put in your cabinets, but you might be surprised at how much weight stacks of dishes or glasses can add to a cabinet that can be fairly heavy by itself.

All that being said, heavy light fixtures and ceiling fans are installed in homes every day and as long as there is proper blocking to support your hanging cabinets and you use proper fasteners, you should be okay. If you aren't confident in your skills to do this sort of project, I suggest you look for a contractor around Kenmore, Washington as you could not only end up with broken cabinets and dishes if the cabinets falls, there is also an issue of safety involved. The last thing you want is for the cabinet to fall on a child or pet as they could be seriously injured.

The sheetrock or whatever ceiling material you have where you hope to do your cabinet installation should be removed so the framing is exposed. I would then install some flat blocking using 2" thick wood such as 2" x 6" or 2" x 8" boards and make it a double thickness. The blocking should be installed so that once the drywall goes back up the blocking is directly behind the drywall. Your ceiling framing is probably 2" lumber or engineered trusses. Nail through the bottom chord of the engineered trusses or through the 2" framing to secure the new blocking. I would use at least three 16d nails in each end of each piece. If you have engineered trusses with a bottom chord, have the second thickness of blocking extend over the top of that chord for additional support.

If you look inside your cabinets, you should see the cabinet frame around the perimeter of the top. After you have completed your drywall patch secure your hanging cabinets by using four lag bolts through each corner of that cabinet framing. You want to use heavy duty lag bolts that extend through the cabinet frame and first layer of blocking and well into the second layer. I would install a lag bolt with a washer in each corner of the cabinet top and you'll need to drill a pilot hole first so the cabinet frame doesn't split.

Even with all this I would still hesitate to put anything really heavy in the cabinets. I also strongly encourage you to use a contractor with experience in hanging cabinets to do this project. They should have the knowledge to make sure the job is done properly and ensure that the hanging cabinets will be completely safe to use.

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