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Old Dec 26th, 11, 5:47 pm   #1
margoren
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Question Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

Please help!! We are finally installing the cabinets (wall cabinets). I was thinking of doing the deco strip on top horizontally with rounded corner facing down and flush to the ceiling as seen in this picture here:
Rounded deco strip and installation question

We measured 3 1/4 in from lowest point in ceiling (soffit) to bottom of rail, we drew the line with a level then used a laser to double check for level. Then we discovered that the cabinets/deco strip will be flush on one side of the run but on the other side of the run there will be 9/16 gap.

What are our options? Is there a way to fill the gap, or should we bring the line 1/2 in lower so the gap will go from 1/2 in gap to a little over 1 in gap (and maybe less noticeable?)

My husband wants to draw the line (and hang the rail) sloping and I am about to have a heart attack just to hear him say that . He thinks we should hang the rail sloping so that there is no gap all along the run. Please help me explain to him why he should not do that....

Oh and we do need the cabinets as close to the ceiling as possible because we have a soffit, so we won't have a lot of space between countertop and wall cabinet.

I hope someone can help! Thanks!

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Old Dec 26th, 11, 9:01 pm  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

First off, the one thing you DO NOT DO is hang the rail out of level to account for this gap. That will cause more problems than it will solve, which include that your doors won't hang straight (all the adjustments built into the hinges won't account for that kind of gapping), and oh yeah, your wall cabinets won't be level to your cabinets and countertops (assuming that you install them level).

That matter out of the way, there are several ways to account for the gap - exactly how you do this will depend on the color of yur cabinets and doors, and your level of skill.

You can use caulk (a simple, if not elegant way). You can use the deco strip so that it mostly fills the gap (this means you install it with the 2 1/4" side facing out), and then caulk the remaining small gap. You could use a different kind of moulding altogether (like a screen or lathe-type piece).

One thing to keep in mind is that you need to worry about the gap at the front of the cabinets, not where the rail is, as your ceiling may not be level running back to front - this could change your approach to a solution.

In the end, depending on how your ceiling runs, you might elect to do away with the deco strip-as-filler idea altogether, and just bump your cabinets all the way to the soffit.

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Old Dec 27th, 11, 7:42 am  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

Thanks Chuck,

My husband finally got it, so no worries about the rail not being level.
And you are right, the gap that matters will be at the front of the cabients, and I won't know that until they are hanging.
My boxes are white and my doors are Adel white.

Now, what I am really wanting to do is to put that deco strip horizontally and flush with the ceiling. I know there will be a gap or gaps along the way because the house is so old and you can just tell that soffit is not level, including back to front.

So If I go with my plan, and I end up with a gap too big for caulk, can I add a piece of trim or wood on top of deco strip to fill the gap? Or would that not look good?
Or should I just lower that rail 1/2 in more (right now we are at 3 1/4 in) so there would be a gap everywhere (nothing flushed with ceiling).
So what to do, rail at 3 1/4 in or 1/2 in more?

I hope you don't mind if I ask one more question (unrelated to this thread). We are installing floating cork floors. Some people said here, because they are floating they cannot go under cabinets, so there was a suggestion of laying a layer of plywood under cabinets, is that the right approach?

Thanks so much!

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Old Dec 27th, 11, 5:08 pm  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

The first thing you need to do is determine how much gap you can live with, and which direction your soffit "leans" front-to-back - these will determine the starting point for your rail. I would recommend keeping the gap to a minimum, so this would mean starting your rail 4" from the "lowest" point of your soffit.

If you do it well and in stages, you can caulk a gap of around 1/2" - I've gone more than that, but I wouldn't recommend it. Instead, you could use another piece of trim sandwiched in there, but not material can be cut that thin - at that point, you could always caulk the now-thinner gap.

You could also create your own two-piece IKEA moulding, using deco strip installed 2 ways - a piece installed vertically to fill in the gap, and then a 2nd piece ripped down to leave just the 3/4" or so decorative part and installed just under the soffit at the top side of the gap.

As for your flooring, you can go either way (I've done it both ways, though I prefer to do floor first)), but keep in mind that your fridge and stove are going to sit on the floor (you were going to do that, right????), so you won't have any problems with the cabinets on top of the floor.

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Old Dec 27th, 11, 8:08 pm  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

We decided to keep the rail at 3 1/4 in, in an attempt to have no gaps in the ceiling. That's the stove wall, so I don't want grease and dust up there.
Judging by the way the soffit leans, I am thinking I will end up with a gap all along the ceiling. But I'll wait to see how bad and then decide how to go about it. If neccesary, I'll use another piece of trim for big gaps and then caulk the rest, like you suggested.
Now, we found out that the wall bows more than we thought, so, we'll have to bring part of the rail down to get shims there. What about the places where the bow is no more than 1/4 in? Can we adjust the cabinets or do we have to shim there too? The Ikea instructions say to shim only if more than 1/4 in... But wanted to ask anyway.
And yes, I did know that the fridge and stove go on top of flooring, I was planning on doing that... I have enough floor to go under cabients, but have a hard time deciding what to do.
Thank you so much!

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Old Dec 28th, 11, 12:51 am  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

I'd make the rail as straight as possible, keeping in mind that the only places it really matters are where the attaching hardware pokes through the corners of the cabinets. Those "studs" should protrude into the cabinet at least 1/2" beyond the corner bracket.

I think you'll find the floor MUCH easier to install before the cabinets go in, but that's just my experience. Others may differ (they'd be wrong of course, but they just can't help themselves ).

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Old Dec 28th, 11, 9:33 am  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

Awesome thread.

We have really wonky/wiggly walls too, and the uppers were a bit of a pain in places, but the base units were a snap to install and level. We did lay cork in the Breakfast room/kitchen Annex, I'm trying to remember if we ran it under the base units or not, I'll have to ask Susan. I KNOW I'd run it all the way under if I did it again. If you use the Max # of legs the load should be more than amply spread.

What was the reasoning for not laying cork under the cabs?

If you haven't done the base units yet, they are a snap to level. Make sure you've got a nice LONG screwdriver or other rigid tool that can be inserted into the little holes in the bottom of the adjustable feet so you can turn them to adjust the back ones with the cabinet in place. Having two people, one to watch the level and the other (the one with longer arms!) to lay on the floor with a flashlight and adjust the feet, makes it really quite straight forward. MUCH easier IMO than using copious shims etc.

James

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Old Dec 28th, 11, 9:05 pm  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

We finished the rail today, after a lot of shims. We also hung all the cabinets in that run, the first two had a gap at the bottom but not at the top (weird?) but we used a clamp and were able to align them just fine. The other 3 seem to almost be aligned already, even without clamps or adjustments. We still need to screw 2 cover panels in that run, then clamp and align, and screw all of them together.
Oh, and I guess we have to cut a piece on the cover panels because of the rail?
Do we line those cover panels with the back of the cabinet?
And we ended up with a gap from about 1 1/2 in to about 2 in. at the top. I recheck the rail and it was hung (from the lowest point in the soffit) somewhere between 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 in. So the soffit was uneven in all directions. The gap does not look that noticeable or too bad. So the plan now is to install deco strip vertically. I wonder if that would look ok, given the slope of the gap....

And the bad thing is that it looks like we'll end up with about 15 in space between countertop and wall cabinet. But there's not much we can do about that, I guess.

The reasoning for not doing floating floor under cabinets was that in the kitchen planning forum, some people said not put them under cabinets because floor needs to expand, and if it needed to be replaced, it would be easier to do so if they were not under cabinets.

We have not done base cabinets yet, we are just getting done with this wall which has the most wall cabinets, then we have 2 more walls and then the floor, then the base cabinets, enclose the refrigerator and a pantry.
But we could not be doing this without everyone's help here, I am very thankful!

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Last edited by margoren; Dec 28th, 11 at 9:16 pm..
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Old Dec 30th, 11, 8:28 pm  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

I'll jump in here. This is the best way we have found to fill the gap between the wall cabinet and the ceiling. It may not work in your case.

If the ceiling is relatively flat, we push the cabinets to the ceiling and the shadow line of the deco strip will deal with about a 1/4" variation. As Chuck pointed out, you can also clauk that gap if it really bothers you.

If the ceiling varies by more than a 1/4", you can use this trick shown below. The deco goes tight to the ceiling, then you scribe a piece of toekick to match the gap. It may require you to lower the wall cabinets for this to work since you really can scribe a thin piece of toekick.

In this kitchen, it worked well and looked pretty good. I didn't like the two-tone veener of the toekick but we didn't have a choice. It was not as noticeable in real life.





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Old Dec 30th, 11, 8:33 pm  
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Re: Help with uneven ceiling and kitchen cabinets

BTW , check with the manufacturer with the flooring. Some specifically says not to put their floating floor under the cabinets. I once had a conversation with an engineer at one company regarding this. He specifically told me not to put it under the cabinets. I explained how the IKEA cabinets had floating toekicks and the floor was only trapped under the four legs. He claimed it need to expand. I asked how it would expand when it was trapped under a 250 lb range or a 350 lb frig. He said "I'll have to get back to you on that". I'm still waiting...

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