What I'm Seeing Now

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Kitchen Cabinet Installation - I Am Looking Down The Road

On new construction, kitchen cabinets can often get overlooked.  When I look at kitchen cabinet installation I am looking down the road.

Kitchens are essential.  They are where everybody ends up - the family, guests, the party, whatever! 

Designers of new homes take this into account as they know people demand a kitchen that is the heart and social center of the home.

The cabinetry is very important.

If it wasn't there wouldn't be so many styles, woods, designs and colors to choose from!

This kitchen is gorgeous.

The buyers spent a lot of time choosing everything from layout to final products.

This bank of cabinets is over the dishwasher.

I know from experience, personal and as a home inspector, that the cabinet(s) nearest the dishwasher take(s) all the weight.

That's where the plates, bowls, glasses and mugs usually go so they don't have to be carried far when removed from the dishwasher.

I look inside every cabinet.

Why?

I want to see how they are attached, or if they are properly attached.

My bug-a-boo, actually the bug-a-boo of cabinet manufacturers, is the use of drywall screws to hang them.  They are not very strong under long-term weight.

Some manufacturers have instructions as to what screws they prefer and others actually provide a bag full of what they want used.

Either way, cabinet installation is important to the manufacturers. 

So it should be important to the builder too!

Looking inside the cabinets over the dishwasher what did I see.

ONLY ONE LONELY SCREW!  IT WAS THE SCREW PROVIDED BY THE CABINET MANUFACTURER, BUT THERE WAS ONLY ONE IN THERE!

Preferably there would be more!

It was cute, but all by itself!

So it got mentioned on the report.

Does this sound like a dipsy doodle thing for a home inspector to mention on the report of a brand new home?

Actually not!  It is the ONLY time to mention it.  I have actually had clients say that they have experienced a cabinet pulling off the wall.

And on home inspections I have seen cabinets overloaded, with the bowing shelves, and pulling away from the wall.

GRAVITY WORKS!  IT WORKS ALL THE TIME!

It has to be controlled.

So when cabinets are installed, you have to look down the road to what they will be asked to do and how well they will be able to do it!

My recommendation:  the next time you are in new construction, have a peek inside the kitchen cabinets!  And if you do, you, too, might find the lonely screw! 

That was a very alliterative sentence...

 

 

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 31 commentsJay Markanich • December 16 2011 03:57AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay.

     Kinda sorta looks like someone got screwed or will get screwed when the cabinets come a crashing down...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) over 7 years ago

Jay: The liability of cabinets potentially falling and hurting someone or worse should be enough to do the job correctly. Any suggestion for how many screws per cabinet would be appropriate?

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) over 7 years ago

Looks like this installer really "screwed up"...or not enough....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay....that's very interesting....I've never seen one lonely fastener ..... glad of that....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 7 years ago

Just read Michael's (sorry watched) Michael's video in where a deal fell through because of his inspection.  Has any or your clients had the builder or homeowner put more screws or attached the cabinets because of your report?

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 7 years ago

1 screw?  that sounds crazy.  You're inspecting them while they're empty.  but, soon, there will be dishes, etc in there and it needs to hold up a lot more weight.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Jay good tip, what I wonder is how the rest of the home is built, hopefully with more than one screw/nail here or there.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) over 7 years ago

Just one screw?  I'm surprised it's not pulling away from the wall already if that is the only thing attaching it to the wall.  Add a few hundred pounds of accessories later and it's going to be a short stay on the wall.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 7 years ago

Mr. Jay;  After reading your post, I checked my kitchen cabinets;  I'm OK.  Thanks for the info.

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) over 7 years ago

For once, Michael, I found a job that wasn't screwed up...

Anne - whatever the manufacturer recommends.  Usually four, but if the stud permit it six in the heavy cabinets would be appropriate.  They are also screwed side to side into each other.

S&D - not enough here!  One is the lonliest number you can every do.  Two can be as bad as one, it's the lonliest number since the number one.  Uh-huuuuhhh....

It was cute Barbara, but very lonely in there by itself.  It needs some friends!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Don't know James, but this buyer was pretty fired up when he saw my report!

Debbie - that one would typically be the plate cabinet.  They get very heavy.

David - there are different trades working all over the house.  Hopefully there was not a single memo for each about fastening!

Perhaps Bliz, hence the comment on the report!

Good Ken!  But don't overload!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay I totally agree! I am amazed more cabinets don’t come crashing down. And the installers think 2-3 drywall screws should work just as well on 42 inch cabinets as 30 inch cabinets.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) over 7 years ago

Jay, this is me---testing the screws---in 2001

Charlie in the Cabinet

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

David - the manufacturer's instruction is pretty clear when installing a particular cabinet, often including the pack of screws to use.

Is that a weightless Shadow in that cabinet?  It looks stuck on there pretty well! 

Now THAT'S what I call a crawl space!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Will the buyers be calling back the contractor to have the cabinets installed correctly? I can't see letting that one go after spending all that time and money.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA over 7 years ago

Jay this is the type of attention to detail that makes you the home inspection professional you are.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 7 years ago

They had their walk through yesterday Cynthia, and I haven't heard.  I assume the builder will shore it up.

Chris - well, thanks, but my clients weren't there and I had to be very thorough!  Pictures included...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay -- though I wouldn't necessarily figure all cabinets would hold Charles (#13) - I would have expected the cabinets to have a board across the upper inside, which had several screws holding the cabinets at the top.

May you and yours have a safe and blessed Christmas season.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

He's just a shadow now of what he was then Steven!  Actually he put up a pretty strong cabinet, didn't he!

And thanks, the very same back to you and yours!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Everyone seems to love them dry wall screws for fastening everything. I also look in the cabinets. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jim - I had a post on that after I pointed drywall screws out to my clients once, and they told me the story of how their cabinets came off in the middle of the night!  They called the manufacturer who said not to use drywall screws.  To me it's a duh, but not to most I guess.

Can you imagine the start and fright from cabinets crashing down at night?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Very good information for home owners.  We always advise home buyers to obtain a professional home inspection.

Best wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Holiday Wreath in Colonial Williamsburg IMG_1417

Photograph by Roy Kelley

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 7 years ago

Thanks Roy.  That's quite the wreath, typical of Williamsburg!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

The start and fright of a bump in the night. How poetic :) You and I both know why the right screws don't get used most often, $$$. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Ubiquitous and superfluous, we knewed why they screwed.

You are the poet Jim, not I!

Sure, it's the money, but also the convenience of having boxes of stuff just laying around, or left over from another job.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Most people would simply thing that since it is new construction it is going to be done right..............wrong!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 7 years ago

Barbara-Jo - that is too true!  Both sides of your sentence!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

While on that topic, I recently attended an electrical seminar where the instructor complained about 4" screws being used, saying that cabinet installers are never supposed to use anything longer than a 3" screw.  Have you ever heard this before?  I haven't, and I'm not inclined to believe the instructor.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

I haven't heard that Reubs.  A 4" screw would theoretically reach 3" into the stud.  If it catches the stud right, what's the problem with that?  The manufacturers send 3" and 3 1/2" screws in the little bags, so the 3" thing might be a bit overboard.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

The electricians were concerned about screws piercing wires that were run through the studs.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

The cables for counter-top receptacles are drilled through the studs below where cabinets are held against the wall Reuben, for a reason.  But still, those wires run through the middle of the studs and can be hit by a 3" screw in the right spot.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

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