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Kitchen Renovation: Part 2 #411


On this, the second of our two-part kitchen renovation project, Bev, Chris and Angel complete the process. They install new cabinets and put in a wood floor. They also show how solid surface countertops are added as well as new plumbing, appliances and lighting fixtures.

Product Information:

Hanging Cabinets Hardwood Floor Types of Countertops Countertops Installed Countertops Installed Electrician
  • McGing Electric Co., 630-833-9480
Decoupage stool Cabinet Handles Lighting
  • · Lighting: above and below cabinets, inside glass door cabinets, over bar: Juno Lighting,
Pots & Pans Guests

Rae Lynn Zak
Power Plumbing & Sewer Contractor, Inc.
3840 North Ashland, Chicago, IL 60613

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Projects of the Week #411

Kitchen Renovation / Part Two

This is the second of our two-part kitchen remodel. Bev, along with Chris and Angel, are remodeling Vince's (Bev's son - Chris & Angel's brother) kitchen.

Part I was basically demolition: removing old appliances, countertop, and cabinets, knocking down a non-support wall - then the electrician installed new outlets, moved 220 circuit for stove to new location; electrical work was inspected and approved. Built half-wall for bar/countertop; taped and mudded, patched, primed and painted. We didn't paint where the cabinets would be installed for a few reasons: Saves time and paint; allowed us to write the number of each cabinet on the wall where it they would be installed; marked where the studs were.

Projects of the Week #411a

Hanging Cabinets

What You Need:

  • Cabinets
  • Stepladder
  • Safety glasses
  • Drill / driver & bits
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Clamps
  • Screws

In general, the upper cabinets are hung and then the lower cabinets are installed. However, we needed to install a corner base cabinet first because the cabinet directly above it was an all-in-one cabinet with an appliance garage that started at the countertop. It was important to have the first base cabinet set in place and level so we could measure up the thickness of our counter top plus 1/16" - that's exactly where we needed to locate the bottom of this upper cabinet. Once this was done, we followed the basic guidelines for installing upper cabinets. Of course every kitchen is different and may require a different approach - look at the big picture to see where and how to begin installation in your particular situation.

Some basic guidelines for installing cabinets:
  1. Cabinets need to be plumb / level, front to back & side to side. Shims will be your best friend when it comes to installing cabinets. (The first cabinet is the cornerstone of entire kitchen design! Take your time with it and the rest will pretty much fall in place!)
  2. Draw level line where bottom of upper cabinets will be installed
  3. Position bottom of cabinet on line and secure to wall studs in at least four places with screws long enough to pass through the cabinet back, drywall and penetrate at least 1 ½" into the stud (manufacturer will either include screws or suggest type and size). Drill pilot holes for screws.
  4. Align next cabinet to both the previous cabinet and with level line - secure to wall as above, then, clamp front frames together. Secure frame faces, by first drilling pilot holes using a standard bit and then a countersink bit so that the screw head can be recessed. Install spacers to face frames of upper cabinets as required.
  5. Base cabinets: attached similarly to upper cabinets, floor acts as level line. However, floor is NOT always level. Use shims as needed.
  6. Secure to studs with screws.
  7. Leave space between cabinets for appliances and install spacers as needed.

Projects of the Week #411b

Install a Floating Hardwood Floor

The particular floor we installed required no gluing or nailing, often referred to as a "floating" floor (fit tongue into groove and "click it" together). Depending on type of floor you are installing you may install it before the base cabinets - the manufacturer of our flooring recommended that we install it after the cabinets were in.

What You Need:
  • Tongue and groove hardwood flooring
  • DIY floor kit from manufacturer (tapping block, helps tighten up floor; last board puller; spacers)
  • Chop saw, Jig saw and / or Circular saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Packing tape & tape gun
  • Kneepads
  • Router
  • Wood glue, if installing medallion
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Shop vac
  • Wood stain
  • Molding

General directions (follow instructions from your manufacturer):

  • Put down underlayment - in our case a thin pad that comes on a roll. It absorbs some imperfections in existing floor and helps sound proof. Also, it has a moisture barrier on it. Use packing tape to secure strips together. The pad can be installed a couple of strips at a time.
  • Place spacers around the perimeter of wall
  • We put 3 full lengths of flooring together, then, push them against the spacers on our starter wall (manufacturer suggested starting on outside wall or longest wall in room). With three rows of flooring in place, we could then work from on top of the flooring, making it easier to pull, rather than push, the planks into position.
    TIP: The manufacturer recommended working from 3 or 4 boxes at a time to vary the color - the flooring we installed is real wood veneer and each piece takes stain differently.
  • Offset boards in each row at least 12 inches
  • Click floor together, end to end, then tap in place with hammer and tapping block
  • Cut boards with circular saw, jigsaw or chop saw
  • Remove spacers after all the planks are in place
  • Trim floor with quarter-round molding (often referred to as shoe molding stain to match floor)

Projects of the Week #411c

Contemporary Crown Molding

Our carpenters, Jeremy and Jay did the crown molding from our designer's (Heather Dilger, MasterBrand Cabinets) layout. The molding consists of 1X3's and ¾" screen molding - the components were ordered at the same time as the cabinets from the cabinet company (they were prefinished to match the cabinets), assembled and then cut to length, mitering as needed. (Power finish-nailer makes assembling and installing crown molding MUCH faster.)

For the style molding installed in Vince's kitchen:
  1. Glue and nail 2 1 x 3's at right angle
  2. Glue and nail finish strip at top and bottom
  3. Cut to length (mitering as needed)
  4. Attach to top of cabinets with glue & nailer

Projects of the Week #411d

Installing Counter Tops

Vince chose a solid surface (Corian®) countertop for the work area of the kitchen and an engineered quartz (Zodiaq®) for the bar area. Installation should be done by a professional fabricator.

Elevator size limited the fabricator as to the length and configuration the countertop could be - the work surface was done in 4 pieces, the bar area, with very careful maneuvering, fit in the elevator in one solid piece.

Once in the condo the installers:
  • carefully set in place and invisibly seamed the pieces together with a form of hot glue and clamps
  • Backsplash was installed similarly
  • Once the adhesive was cured, the countertops were given a final polish, including sanding & buffing.

Some Countertop Options:

Laminate: Most common kitchen countertop. Made up of several layers of brown craft paper with a decorative paper on top and clear plastic coat to seal it. This is a very thin material, so it is easily damaged, but NOT so easy to repair. Seams cannot be concealed and the edges are dark, from the craft paper.

Solid Surface: Made of mineral compounds & resin together. If it is scratched it can easily be sanded or buffed out.

Some advantages:
  • Seams are invisible
  • Chips, dents & scratches can be easily repaired
  • Flexible - can form decorative shapes and integral sinks
  • Stains can be scrubbed out
  • Scratches can be sanded out

Engineered Quartz: 93% genuine stone & resin mix. It does NOT need to be periodically resealed like 100% genuine stone. Has the look of natural stone, with consistent color.

Projects of the Week #411e

Cabinet Handles

What You Need:
  • Cabinet handles
  • Pencil
  • Drill / driver
  • Drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter's Masking tape
  • Cardboard template

The handles we installed on the upper cabinets went from the bottom of the cabinet door to the top - so there were several different lengths of handles. One template would not do for all. Collectively we decided to have the bottom of each handle positioned in the same spot on each upper cabinet. As with most remodeling projects, you will need to adapt instructions - if all the handles had been the same size (which our lower cabinets were), we could have made a template that would include both holes.
  1. Make template out of cardboard so you know where to drill bottom hole for handle.
  2. Place template on cabinet corner and mark placement for bottom screw hole.
  3. On handle, measure center of one screw hole to center of the other - transfer that measurement up from mark just made on cabinet and mark for top screw hole.
  4. Drill threw-holes (slightly larger than diameter of screw) and attach handle with screws.

For the drawer handles, we really put our math skills to work - measuring top to bottom and side to side, finding center each way, then centered the handle and marked for screw holes.

Draw knobs on square drawer fronts:
  1. We found center of drawer, by placing painter's masking tape from corner to corner to form an "X".
  2. The tape crosses at center of drawer and this is where we drilled for the screw hole.
  3. Attach knob with screw.

Projects of the Week #411f

Appliances Installed & Plumbing Completed

Appliances Installed

With the countertops in place, appliances (Microwave, stove, refrigerator and dishwasher) were delivered and the microwave and stove were connected.

Plumbing Completed

Last, but not by no means least, the plumber installed the faucet and sink, connected the dishwasher, garbage disposal and water/ice maker on the refrigerator.

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