What I'm Seeing Now

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How Not To Install A Kitchen Cabinet

 

 

Every home inspector has seen this.

New construction.  Kitchen cabinets.  Installed wrong.

Same old, same old.

At least they used the ring!

The ring doesn't really improve the strength, just makes the whole thing look a little more "professional."

But it is still incorrect.

That is a drywall screw.

 

 

 

At least the screws weren't 1" long!

That is the other problem.  Often the installers have a box of 1" drywall screws nearby and use them!

These screws were 2 1/2" long.  They might hold.  And while they might hold, perhaps not for long.  Under long-term weight drywall screws have been known to sheer right off.

That is why cabinet manufacturers usually do one of two things.  The installation guide they include with EACH cabinet either says not to use drywall screws or they include the screws they want used.

I had another new construction inspection this week and that builder used the screws included by the manufacturer:  stainless steel with a square head, and little rings.

 

The cabinet manufacturer included those because they are strong, they look better, and they know they will get fewer call backs because their cabinets "failed."

Interestingly, when I pointed this out to my clients, they said that in a previous house their cabinets came off the wall!  They knew just what I meant.

Will the builder replace them?  I don't know.  I doubt it.  But the comment is made.  It is not as professional an installation as it should be.

 

My recommendation:   Look for the little things that set a great builder off from a good or mediocre one.  And a great home inspector looks for the small and simple, the little things that make all the difference.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 23 commentsJay Markanich • February 20 2010 05:46AM

Comments

Great Post, I see things like this all the time...  People should at least go on DIY.com before they try to do something like this...  that or stop taking short cuts!

Posted by Barbara Kornegay, Wilmington NC Real Estate, Homes (REMAX Essential) over 9 years ago

Thank you for the post. Hope people considering installing kitchen cabinets will read it.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 9 years ago

It's seems everybody is a do-it-yourselfer these days, clearly with mixed results. Thanks for the post, Jay.

Posted by William True, Sarasota Real Estate (True Sarasota Real Estate) over 9 years ago

I also thank you for the information. It is why having a home inspector is so important. I have never checked to see how the cabinets were hung when showing clients houses. I may do so today on my showings.

Cal

Posted by Cal Yoder, Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744 (Keller Williams Elite) over 9 years ago

Barbara - this was the builder's cabinet installer's installation!

Gita - why spend big bucks on great cabinets only to expose them to potential disaster?

William - the builder's sub should not be a "do-it-yourselfer!"

Cal - it's the little stuff!  The road less traveled by!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

What I am seeing in the new home business is that the builders are using there own clean-up guys or even the building super to do things like hang cabinets and build decks.  I guess they are trying to save money by having staffers do the work instead of hiring qualified people.  This type of thing has been getting worse in the last 2 years.  A home inspection is very important on new construction.  Some times more so then on a resale.

Posted by Lee Floyd (Race City Inspections Inc) over 9 years ago

Lee - I often have more problems with new construction than old.  The biggest problem I see is what I call "7/11 construction," where they pick up the trade "professionals" at the 7/11 in the morning.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

I always try to get manufacturer's installation instructions for all mechanicals and manufactured items (such as cabinets) for my clients.  That way, if the builder did install in a manner not according to the manufacturer's instructions and a failure did occur, it's much easier to get relief. 

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) over 9 years ago

I can honestly say I have never paid attention to how the cabinets were hung...but I will now. Thanks for the post.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay.  Good information.  The drywall screw has become the universal anchor. 

In addition to kitchen cabinets, I often see drywall screws incorrectly used on attic pull-down stairways and decks. 

Posted by Glen Fisher (National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC) over 9 years ago

"I've been doing it just like that, just like my Daddy taught me, just like his Daddy taught him.  And I've never gone back yet..."

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 9 years ago

Richard - reading the instructions makes you a rarity!  And if they fail 5 years later you would have a hard time getting relief.  Or bought a property even 3 years later!

Randy - it's all in how the hanging is done...   Bluebeard

Glen - but of course!  It's the duct tape of attachment.

Mike - I hear that a lot from installers - "I've been doing it that way for 22 years..."

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Great post...I have installed cabinets and counter tops  myself and it is not the easiest job in the wolrd LOL...I better keep my day job. Good to read this post - too late for me but I will pass it on :)

Posted by Deb Rosa, Associate Broker (The Maine Real Estate Network) over 9 years ago

It's true, great inspectors look for the little things.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Linda Lohman, Former Teacher/Broker (Fonville Morisey Realty) over 9 years ago

I had to stop when i saw cabinets, last summer in the middle of the night thats exactly what happened in my home.

Crash, sounded like a rush of water (i was sleeping at the time) turns out it was the sound of all those (collectable and non replaceable mugs of the kids when they were little and such) china wine glass and all hitting the floor.

Filled a 55 gallon barrel. Seeing this made me stop and laugh...........

Thanks

Don

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 9 years ago

I had to stop when i saw cabinets, last summer in the middle of the night thats exactly what happened in my home.

Crash, sounded like a rush of water (i was sleeping at the time) turns out it was the sound of all those (collectable and non replaceable mugs of the kids when they were little and such) china wine glass and all hitting the floor.

Filled a 55 gallon barrel. Seeing this made me stop and laugh...........

Thanks

Don

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 9 years ago

Deb - if you install counters and cabinets you are the man!

Linda - we try!

Don - that is a scary thing when it happens.  And when you are sleeping you do not hear the real sounds!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay I do appreciate all your posts you are making me a better agents. I always look forward to your posts.

Posted by Mandy Buchholz (Benchmark Realty, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, I guess I never thought of this before. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 9 years ago

David got really screwy when we built our house....we did the general contracting and hopefully did not miss anything...as usual, your advice is well taken.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

Great advice....I hope that I never have to actually hang the cabinets my self but will at least know what to look for!!! 

Thanks!

Posted by Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady! (Keller Williams Realty Boise) over 9 years ago

Jay, good post.  Most people don't realize that these drywall/utility screws are often tempered and therefore very brittle and should be used where "shear" is involved.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Mandy - I am glad you like them and learn from them!  Did you miss my two posts on damn icing ice damming?

Michael - most people do not realize!  It's the little stuff!

S&D - wow, I hope you didn't miss anything either, out of the hundreds of thousands of things you had to think about in building a house!

Deborah - if you have to hang cabinets, grab a buddy.  It is so much easier!  Many hands make light work.

Charlie - drywall screws really aren't very strong.  En mass they are very good for drywall though!  But most cabinets are hung with only 4, and sometimes 2 screws.  Not enough for the heavy cabinets!  I just got back from our bowling/birthday party for our 13 year old - I survived a pack of 12 thirteen year old girls!  Yikes!!  Fortunately the bowling alley cleaned up after the melee.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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