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fixing kitchen cabinets

Converting from Electric Range to Gas Range

I want to convert my electric range to a gas range, but when the men came to connect the gas, they told me they could not because the local code requires 18" clearance from the top of the countertops to the bottom of the upper cabinets. Our clearance measured 17 1/4".

My options appear to be:

  1. Cancel the project
  2. Raise the upper cabinets 1" higher
  3. Saw 3/4" off the bottom of the upper cabinets
  4. Saw 3/4" off the top of the lower cabinets when replacing the laminate countertops with granite.
  5. Others?

I would also need to hire an electrician to install a 110v electrical outlet.  I have a gas water heater and fireplace. I was told that hooking up the gas line could cost up to $1200.  Is this project worth pursuing?

What is the best option that is not going to break my wallet?

Our Answer

Well, it's true you need 18 inches of clearance, but that only for the cabinet directly above the range. In most wall cabinet layouts, the cabinet above the range is 15 inches tall and the remainder are 30 inches tall.  The quick fix is to remove the range cabinet, and move it up 1 inch and then reattach it.

If you are concerned that the top of the cabinets no longer lineup, then add a strip of molding across the entire run to cover the irregularity. This post offers more options for improving your kitchen cabinets

This also mean your range cabinet doors will be higher than those on cabinets ot the left of right, but you can move those hinges down a bit and raise the hinges for doors on the adjoining cabinets to make the difference less obvious.

As for costs, since you already have gas appliances, $1,200 sounds very expensive for running an existing gas line to that appliance.

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crawlspace as doghouse

Is Vapor Barrier Needed in Crawl Space?

I recently bought a home  built in 1991. It is a fine home that sits on a hill. I discovered that there is no vapor barrier on the ground in the crawl space. I do not notice any resulting problems, but the first floor feels cold to my bare feet even though there is insulation under the floor.

Should I add a vapor barrier, and if so, why?

Our Answer

Vapor barriers reduce humidity in the crawlspace as they greatly reduce the amount of moisture that can evaporate off the soil floor of the crawlspace.  This reduces the risk of mold and decay framing on the floor framing, and further improves the effectiveness of your insulation which works best at lower humidity levels.  

That said, its not likely this will make your floor feel warm to bare feet!  For that you'd need to improve the make sure the floor joist have as much insulation as they can handle (2x12 floor joist should have 12 inches of insulation, for example).  Also, crawlspaces traditionally have foundation vents that can let cold air in, which helps dry the space out.  Those can be closed for the 3 or 4 coldest months (maybe November or December to February).  Just make sure they are opened for the rest of the year.