What is the best way to level a freestanding cabinet?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ November 19, 2010 ~ No Comments

After installing a new ceramic floor in the kitchen, a free standing slim counter with cabinet that sits at the end of the range is now raised about 3/4 of an inch and is level with the range. The right side is unchanged and sits lower. While this allow for easy installation of the new range, I'd like to lower the counter/cabinet and secure it. Can this be done by shaving off the bottom? What would be the best way to secure it on the ceramic floor?

Brandon ~ Elyria, Ohio

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Brandon, From the way you describe it the cabinet was added after the ceramic floors were installed and the rest of the cabinets had the tile installed around them.

The bottom of your cabinet can be trimmed down the 3/4 inch, but you are going to have to be careful when doing your leveling that you don't damage the cabinet. I think a portable power jigsaw might be the best tool for the job as it could be difficult and dangerous trying to use a circular saw. Make sure you use a blade for finish carpentry work; the teeth should be close together. You should also try to rig up some sort of straight edge so you have a guide to cut by and have a good chance of ending up with a nice straight cut.

You may end up with some chipping as many cabinets have a veneer on the exterior and the main part of the cabinet is composite board or another type of wood. Using the right type of blade should minimize the chipping, but there will probably still be some that needs to be touched up.

Most home improvement stores have touch up stain and filler crayons in their paint and stain departments and in my experience it's fairly easy to find colors to match cabinets; there should be one around Elyria, Ohio that would have what you need. If you have a tough time and know the manufacturer of the cabinet, they probably have touch up kits that are an exact match. If you plan on securing the cabinet in place and not moving it in the future, one side should be hidden by the range and you could install a piece of stained shoe mold at the bottom of the other side that should hide any chipping. Use small finish nails to attach the trim to the cabinet taking care not to hit the ceramic tile. Toe kicks on the front are normally black or brown so it should be easy to hide that chipping.

I'm not sure why you want to attach the cabinet to the ceramic tile. If you're planning on securing it in place and it's next to the range, it sounds to me like the rear of the cabinet should be against a wall. If that's the case, I would secure the cabinet to framing in the wall through the back of the cabinet and that way you don't take a chance on breaking a tile.

If there's some reason you can't do that, I would use a few 90 degree metal shelf brackets to attach the cabinet to the floor. You can get them pretty small and you shouldn't need many as the weight of the cabinet and what you have in it should also hold it in place. Try to find an inconspicuous place to place them and attach one side to the cabinet and the other side to the floor. There are special drill bits for drilling through ceramic floors and I would put some masking tape over the spot you plan on drilling to hold the bit in place until it takes hold in the tile.

If you aren't sure how to proceed or are concerned with damaging the cabinet or your ceramic tile floors, you might want to have a cabinet or trim contractor from around Elyria do the job.

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