Video: Set-on-Countertop Cabinets

Is it levitating? Hi. I’m Nathan Harrison, on site, for It looks a little strange, doesn’t it? But actually it’s how it needs to be to be ready for countertops.

Having wall cabinets that are get down onto the countertops is one of those elements that sets a kitchen apart. But, unless the countertop is laminate, and in this case we’re looking at a granite countertop, it’s not actually going to be the case that the cabinets are set on the countertop. It just needs to be made to look that way. In fact, all the cabinets will have been set before the countertops even made it to the site.

Is this a pain to do? A little bit, but it’s worth it. And it’s not much of a pain if the cabinet installer and the counter installer know what to do.

The key is for the base cabinets to be set first. And they must be close to perfectly plane across their tops. Level is bonus, but plane, or flat, across the tops of the base cabinets is essential.

Hopefully the kitchen designer will have contacted the countertop provider to find out how thick the counter top will be. And that is certainly something the homeowner could verify.

Then the installer would come up with a material that serves as a proxy for the countertop – plus about 1/8 inch is what I recommend.

In this case, I used a thickness of shelving, a layer of cardboard, and another thickness of shelving. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.

Then the wall cabinet is simply fastened to the wall, and the material that acted as a proxy for the countertop can be removed. So, really, the wall cabinets will not be resting on the countertop. They will only

appear to be.

Once the installer of the countertop comes with the countertop, the 1/8 inch gap will allow the countertop to fit in comfortably. But the, what do we do with that 1/8 inch gap? We don’t want that gap to be there when everything is said and done.

The easiest way to get rid of the gap is for the countertop man to simply shim up so that the countertop is shimmed to the cabinets above. This small gap will not show due to the fact that countertops always run past the cabinets. There is always an overlay, usually an inch.

Another possibility in snugging up the cabinets with the counter (and I’ve used this) is to simply loosen the screws in the wall cabinet. And usually just loosening them will allow the cabinet to settle just a bit downward. Re-tighten them, and they won’t go back upward.

That’s a trick you can use, but you have to be careful. For example, in this case, we’re connected to this tall refrigerator cabinet. I don’t think it would cause a problem in this case, but it’s worth thinking about before you do it. It could mess up the crown or possibly take a cabinet out of square.