The Basics of Cabinet Replacement
LESLIE: Well, in Illinois, Jamie listens to The Money Pit on WLBK and you’ve got a countertop situation. What’s happening?
JAMIE: Not much. I actually – it’s more of a countertop cabinet situation where I think I’m going to have to be replacing the entire thing. I mean it’s a small kitchen – I’ve never done it before but I’m kind of like, “Well, I bet I can.” (chuckling) But I …
LESLIE: You can do whatever you set your mind to it.
JAMIE: That’s the way I look at it but I just didn’t know where to start, you know?
LESLIE: So tell us what’s happening with the cabinets and the countertop right now.
JAMIE: They’re just so old. Probably …
LESLIE: So you don’t even want to try to repair them. You want to take them out and get all new.
JAMIE: You got it.
TOM: Because, Jamie, there’s really two levels of improvement you could make here. You could do sort of just an inexpensive kitchen makeover by, say, taking the old countertop and removing and replacing that but perhaps repainting the cabinets, changing all of the hardware on the cabinets and then sprucing up the floors and the walls to match. Or, of course, you could do a total …
LESLIE: Yeah, that would be a face lift, Tom. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, sort of a facelift. Or you could do a – you know, a total makeover where you pull everything out. But you know, here’s the basics on doing a total cabinet replacement. The easiest thing to do is, when the new cabinets happen to fit the layout of the old cabinets, there’s no additional structural work involved, there’s no additional plumbing work involved; you know, it all kind of goes back the way it was. So that would be the first thing for you to decide; whether or not you’re going to sort of mimic the existing layout.
If you’re not and you’re going to get into sort of moving things around, that’s when sort of the complication level goes up. Why? Because you could end up having to move the sink plumbing; you might have to move some electrical outlets; you may have to move the gas hookup for the stove or the electric hookup for the stove; the duct that takes the smoke from the stove outside. All of those other things sort of add to the complication level.
So I would say, if it’s a simple sort of cabinet-for-cabinet replacement, that’s probably the easiest. But when you start changing the layout, that’s when it gets more complicated and you might want to have an expert help. And you know, there’s a lot of design services out there. All of the home centers will do designing for you, as long as you’re buying their cabinets. You might want to go out there and get a few ideas on the designs because there are a lot of neat new cabinets out that could really make a difference in that kitchen.
LESLIE: Yeah, and if you’re going to put them up yourself, remember, put the uppers in first.
JAMIE: (chuckling) Gotcha.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It saves a whole lot of headaches, believe me.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a lot easier to not have to reach over those bottom cabinets. Wall cabinets always go on first.