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Problems to Expect While Installing or Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

August 25th, 2023 | 4 min read

By Dianna Corsi

problems installing or replacing kitchen cabinets remodeling custom built lansing michigan

Are you gearing up for a kitchen remodel and excited about refreshing your space? If you're like many homeowners, the allure of new kitchen cabinets promises both improved functionality and aesthetics.

However, amidst the anticipation, it's essential to be prepared for the challenges that can arise during the installation or replacement.

At Custom Built, we understand that the journey to achieving your dream kitchen isn't always a smooth one. With over 15 years of experience in the remodeling industry, we've witnessed and resolved numerous issues homeowners face when installing or replacing kitchen cabinets.

We want to share our insights to ensure your project progresses seamlessly, saving you time, money, and stress.

In this article, we'll delve into common problems that can crop up during the installation or replacement of kitchen cabinets:

1. Kitchen Cabinet Measurement Discrepancies

contractors installing kitchen cabinets during a home remodel custom built michigan

Accurate measurements are the foundation of a successful cabinet installation. Even a slight measurement error can lead to ill-fitting cabinets that compromise the overall aesthetic and functionality of your kitchen.

To avoid this issue, always double-check your measurements and consult professionals if uncertain. Consider working with a skilled carpenter or contractor who understands the importance of precise measurements and can guide you through the process.

2. Uneven Walls and Floors that Delay Production

Older homes often have uneven walls and floors due to settling over time. Installing cabinets on uneven surfaces can be challenging and result in misaligned or unstable cabinets. It's essential to address this challenge before installation.

Consult with a contractor who can use leveling techniques or shimming to create a level and stable foundation for your cabinets.

3. Plumbing and Electrical Obstacles that Require Professional Help

kitchen sink with cabinet and faucet overlooking outside view custom built michigan

Kitchen cabinets are often positioned around plumbing and electrical fixtures. Discovering unexpected pipes or wires during installation can disrupt your project.

To prevent this, plan and coordinate with professionals to ensure that plumbing and electrical components are properly accounted for in your design. If necessary, work with licensed plumbers and electricians to reroute any necessary elements.

4. Kitchen Cabinet Quality and Fit Discrepancies

When choosing cabinets, it's important to consider both quality and fit. Pre-assembled (or often referred to as “Stock”) cabinets might not always align perfectly with your kitchen's dimensions, leading to gaps or awkward configurations.

For a more customized and precise fit, consider semi-custom or custom cabinets. Ordering from reputable manufacturers or working with skilled carpenters will ensure you receive high-quality cabinets that fit seamlessly into your space.

5. Limited Space and Layout Constraints in Your Kitchen

contractor design builder installing replacing kitchen cabinets during home remodel custom built michigan

Sometimes, the existing kitchen layout or limited space might not align with your desired cabinet design. This challenge requires careful planning and creative solutions. Collaborate with a professional kitchen designer who can help you maximize your available space, optimize the layout, and maximize storage and functionality.

6. Kitchen Cabinet Door Alignment Issues

Achieving perfect alignment for cabinet doors can be time-consuming and frustrating. Even minor misalignments can affect the overall appearance and functionality of your cabinets. If your cabinet doors aren't closing properly or are uneven, consult a professional installer who can adjust hinges and hardware to ensure that your doors align seamlessly.

7. Budget Overruns That Are Avoidable with Buffer

Installing or replacing kitchen cabinets can sometimes exceed your initial budget due to unexpected expenses. These may include modifications, additional materials, or unforeseen labor charges. To avoid budget overruns, consider adding a buffer to your budget and working with professionals who provide transparent estimates and can discuss potential cost implications.

8. Disruption to Daily Routine During Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen cabinet installation involves dismantling and reassembling parts of your kitchen space, which can disrupt your daily routine. During this time, cooking and meal prep may become more challenging. Plan by setting up a temporary cooking space or making arrangements for meals during the installation period to minimize disruptions.

9. Finish and Aesthetic Issues That Are Difficult to Address

Inconsistent finishes or color variations between cabinets can be disappointing, especially after installation. To prevent this challenge, consider purchasing cabinets from a single manufacturer or choosing matching finishes. Regular communication with your installer is vital to address any aesthetic concerns promptly and ensure that the final result meets your expectations.

10. Timing and Delays that Setback Production

Unforeseen circumstances, such as supply chain issues or unexpected challenges during installation, can delay your project timeline. It's important to maintain flexibility and open communication with your contractors to manage potential delays effectively and adjust your expectations accordingly.

When to Hire a Professional or DIY Your Kitchen Cabinet Installation or Replacement

Deciding between hiring a professional to install or replace your kitchen cabinets and embarking on a DIY project is a crucial step in ensuring a successful outcome. While both options have their merits, various factors should be considered to determine the best route for your specific situation.

Hiring a Professional

Bringing in a professional for your kitchen cabinet installation or replacement can offer numerous benefits. If you're not confident in your DIY skills, lack the necessary tools, or simply want to ensure a seamless and polished look, a professional is your best bet. They possess the expertise to handle every aspect of the process, from precise measurements to navigating potential challenges.

Professionals can also offer valuable insights into design and layout, helping you optimize your kitchen's functionality and aesthetics. Additionally, they can recommend high-quality materials and products, ensuring your cabinets stand the test of time.

DIY Approach

Opting for a do-it-yourself approach can be a rewarding experience for those with the necessary skills and confidence. DIY projects give you greater control over the process and save on labor costs. If you have a keen eye for design and are comfortable with woodworking tools, tackling kitchen cabinet installation on your own could be a viable option.

However, it's essential to consider your skill level, the project's complexity, and the potential time commitment. While DIY projects can save money, they can also lead to frustration and delays if unexpected challenges arise. Before diving in, assess your abilities and the project's scope to ensure a successful outcome.

Next Steps to Installing or Replacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

If you're overwhelmed by the prospect of installing or replacing your kitchen cabinets, you're not alone. Many homeowners face challenges and unexpected issues along the way. But don't worry – there are ways to navigate through them effectively.

By delving into the potential problems and solutions outlined in this article, you've gained valuable insights into what to expect during your kitchen cabinet project. With this knowledge, you can tackle challenges and make informed decisions.

At Custom Built, our years of experience in the remodeling industry have exposed us to many projects, including kitchen cabinet installations and replacements. We understand the complexities that can arise during these endeavors and are well-equipped to provide you with the insights you need.

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Dianna Corsi

Dianna Corsi is a highly experienced professional with over 14 years in the remodeling industry. She has lived in the Greater Lansing area for the last 3 decades and currently resides in Okemos. Dianna specializes in kitchen and bath projects, and currently holds the roles of Project Advisor and Cabinet Specialist with Custom Built Design & Remodeling. With her extensive knowledge of the remodeling industry, she is able to provide her clients with high-quality services that enhance their experience.