“Um, Steve, These Cabinets are not going to just hang themselves…..”
OK, cabinets: heavy, unwieldy, and heavy right? How do these huge wood boxes hang on the wall so strongly? It must be better men than me that complete these feats of gravity-defying home improvement. Imagine my chagrin and anxiety when Chernee came to me and said, “Steve, I want to hang cabinets in the laundry room. I hate our storage in there.” Cabinets? The big wooden things? Then I said the thing I always say………”ummm, OK?”
Of course, she had the whole thing already planned out in her head. Two cabinets on one side of the room and 3 on the other side. Chernee had done some minor improvements in the laundry room already, but this was going to be BIG. It meant taking down existing shelves without destroying the wall (something that I do not guarantee in any of my work) and hanging up wooden cabinets.
We were not changing the paint color and we had some left over from our first paint job for touch ups, so off we went! We went to Home Depot, and purchased unfinished wood cabinets. We bought 2 that were 18 inches wide by 12 inches deep by 30 inches high for the wall above the washer and dryer. Then, for the opposite wall we bought 2 cabinets 30 x12x30 and a smaller one 12x12x30. All together, we spent $200 on the five cabinets. We got them home, I took off the doors and Chernee got to paintin’!
While she painted, I began the path of destruction, or, as others call it, taking the shelves down that were in there. The main shelf over the washer dryer came down without incident. I am not sure how!
The shelves on the opposite side came down rather easily because I hung those in the first place and let’s face it, and some point they would have come down on their own.
Now, there were instructions that came with the cabinets, and they mentioned the use of a “cabinet rail” in installation. Basically, you hang the cabinet rail on the wall and then attach the cabinets to the rail. This probably provides a more secure installation and provides some play in making sure the cabinets are flush together on their face and line up correctly. Well, I didn’t have a cabinet rail, or even know what one was or how to install it, so we ended up using another construction technique called “winging it.” Spoiler alert: It all came out OK anyway.
The first task was finding the studs…..no, not me! (Ha Ha – that might be the oldest joke in home improvement, sorry) We needed to find the studs in the wall to make sure we could attach the cabinets right to the studs.
If we secured the cabinets to the drywall we would have really huge holes in the wall and broken cabinets on the floor. So, I used my trusty stud finder to locate the studs in the wall and marked them so we would know where to put our screws.
At this point I should mention that I enlisted a helper for this job. Chernee’s dad, Neil, came over to assist due to the heavy nature of the wood cabinets. Once we had marked the studs on the wall, we measured on the back of the cabinets and pre-drilled several holes in the cabinets so when we were holding them up to the wall we would be able to quickly drive a screw through our pilot hole into the stud to secure the cabinet.
Neil and I started on the larger wall above the washer dryer. Chernee wanted to have two cabinets on this wall and hang shelves in between. In our original discussions, Chernee mentioned she wanted the cabinets on this wall to be up flush with the ceiling to ensure we had enough clearance over the washer and dryer. (NOTE: our house has standard 8 foot ceilings). So, Chernee went to run and errand with Fix It Franny, and while the two of them were gone, Neil and I decided to get to work and see if we could hang both cabinets while they were gone to surprise them. Well, they went up fine! Neil held the cabinet flush up to the ceiling while I drove 4 screws in each cabinet into the studs. No problem! This improvement stuff is easy!
Chernee and Fix It Franny came home, looked at the cabinets and said “Wow! They are really high! I mean, wow, those are really really high!” The cabinets were really high. Putting them flush up to the ceiling ended up being a mistake.
We ended up deciding, as a team, to leave them where they are (we have footstools) and also deciding that I would not hang huge stuff on the wall without Chernee being there to tell me where it goes……
The second set of cabinets went up even easier! I did not have my strong helper, but on this side of the laundry room there is a countertop installed that I was able to use to make the hanging easier. Chernee and I “corrected” the cabinet height on this wall and hung them at a lower level, about 12 inches lower. So, on this wall the cabinets are normal height as opposed to the Kareem Abdul Jabbar height of the other cabinets. We were hanging them lower and I had this countertop to help me, but I still had the issue of needing someone to hold the cabinets while I drove in the screws. They are too heavy for Chernee to hold in place by herself, and I needed them to be at the exact height she wanted. The only solutions I could think of were get a piece of 4×4 and cut it (fingers, blood) to the exact height, or, find something strong enough to hold the cabinet and also be adjustable.
And then it hit me! A car jack! If a car jack can lift up 2 tons of car, it can hold my 30lb cabinet.
And, it’s adjustable! Brilliant! I got the car jack out of the trunk and set the cabinet on top and raised the jack into place. It worked great! The jack held the cabinet in place and I secured them to the wall, lowered the jack, and away we went.
I think the cabinets came out great, and it makes the room more functional and look better! Double bonus! Now I am off to fix the annoying squeaks in our bedroom floor…….
P.S. The whole room reveal will be up next week….we are still putting items away and catching up on laundry!