IKEA Kitchen Makeover

Has anyone here installed an IKEA kitchen themselves? Were the instructions easy-to-follow? For example, how easy is it to mount the wall cabinets in an older house with uneven walls? The kitchen I'm looking to remodel is in a small 10'x10' room (approximately 7'x7' for the actual kitchen area), so it would basically consist of about 5-10 wall/base cabinets, a range, and sink arranged in an L shape. The sink/range will be about a foot away from their current positions, so the service lines may need to be extended. Does the particleboard construction hold up over time (at least they make it easy to replace doors/shelves, etc.)?
I've heard horror stories about people ordering kitchens from IKA and receiving broken/missing parts or late delivery or some parts. Is the customer service really that bad or is just a loud, vocal minority? I live in the Philadelphia area is it makes a difference.
How would you rate the IKEA kitchen remodel experience to an equivalent Home Depot/Lowes "ready to assemble" path?
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Just thought I would say that I needed some nice white cabinets for a laundry room to replace ugly shelves. Started with Lowes and Home Depot. One had assemble yourself cabinets and the other reasonable preassembled cabinets. I then went to a smaller cabinet store that has been around forever and often used by builders. Installed they were much cheaper and easier to work with. I went with them and it was a perfect job. Cabinets weigh a ton by the way.

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We've bought many items from IKEA, but never kitchen cabinets.
We redid the kitchen at our old house with maple-finish "Mill's Pride" cabinets from HD. Assembly and installation were straightforward, but nothing (appliances or sink) had to be relocated. We were not there long enough afterwards to find out how durable they were, but somebody else reported here a couple of months back that the white Mill's Pride stuff did not last long in a situation with which (s)he was familiar. (But the maple doors and drawer fronts are solid wood (seemed to be, anyway), whereas the white have just a laminated finish.)
MB
On 09/18/04 05:13 pm Spiderman put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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"Minnie Bannister" <>

I installed Mill's Pride kitchen cabinets from HD in a rental about five years ago. I just sold the house and the cabinets looked as good as the day I installed them. They were easy to assemble and install and fit the available space perfectly. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again.
Don in Tracy, Calif.
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On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 17:13:42 -0400, "Spiderman"

I expected that assembling the cabinets would be more or less like assembling other IKEA furniture, and it was, with one important difference. If you get an IKEA desk, all the parts for the desk arrive in the same box. The parts for an IKEA base cabinet might arrive in 7 separate packages. We ordered 11 cabinet units, but there were 96 items on the packing list, if memory serves.
Why? It's all mix and match. Each cabinet does come in its own box, but the "cabinet" is just the four sides and the back. Shelves are separate. Doors are separate. Hinges are separate and there are at least 2 kinds. Drawer frames are separate from drawer fronts. The "outside" cabinets of a row of cabinets get side panels (also separate). Toe kicks, moldings and feet (the base cabinets have 2 feet each) are also separate.
Most of the items arrived undamaged, but there were some nicked pieces as well as some incorrect ones. IKEA was pretty good about replacing them, even though I found some of the problems several months after the delivery. You should definitely check as much as you can right away.
Ikea wall cabinets hang from a metal track. This seems a little odd at first, but it works pretty well. However, the bottom of each wall cabinet is not attached to the wall at all. The salesman said gravity is enough to keep them in place. He's probably right, but I put an L bracket in the bottom of each cabinet and anchored those to the walls anyway.
The base cabinets are mounted in an unusual way. The front part of the cabinet sits on plastic feet that are about 4" high, and adjustable. (have at least 2 levels handy for this part). The back of the cabinet sits on a wood "cleat" that mounts on the wall. They ship some particle board that is maybe 3" x 1/2" x 8' in the toe kick package (where you'd never guess, and it's not labeled) for this purpose. That looked very iffy to me, especially the thinness of the material. I bought a piece if 4/4 x 4 at HD to use instead. That worked fine.
They say that you only need a few hand tools to install the cabinets. This could be true in a narrow technical sense, but I ended up with an impressive pile of tools in my kitchen that were used during the job. For instance, you should definitely have a few of those quik-lock clamps, or whatever their name is. There are any number of times you'll need to hold things "just so" while you fasten them.
As you progress through the job, you'll get better at "thinking like IKEA", and at reading the "Wordless Workshop" pictograms that accompany each part.
The job came out pretty good, I think. There was a fair amount of head-scratching and even a bit of gnashing of teeth along the way, but I think it is doable by a reasonably handy person.
Good luck.
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No, not just IKEA, but any cabint is going to have to be shimmed and pssibly trimmed to fit. The cabinets are made with perfect square franes and unless you shim things, they will n t fit together properly. Read at least a basic book on kitchen remodel to have some idea what you are getting into.

Not "may" but "will" have to be moved. Do you have any plumbing exerience? Depending on what you have now, it may be easy to use the flex tubing avalable, but in an older home, it is a crap shoot. Could be a real PITA. Check it out before you do anything. You don't want to pull it apart and then wait two weeks to find a plumber.

OK as long as it does not get wet. Many cabinets are made with MDF or similar material. Not as good as real wood, bt much chepaer.

Can't help you. I did hang two cabinets from Home Depot in the laundry room. They are still OK after three years. Not at all familiar with IKEA. Neither is what I'd call a truly good cabinet when compared to the top of the line stuff, but they are much cheaper. Ed
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Based on having done two kitchen bare-wall remodels, process is maybe a 7 or 8 (out of 10) degree of difficulty, not including the plumbing. I do have a couple of comments on the following:
"> Ikea wall cabinets hang from a metal track. This seems a little oddat

The track thing is pretty widespread, faster, and better for getting cabinets level. (Getting them all level is the biggest pain and comsumed the most time for me. My only question would be if the cabinets end up flush against the wall? I had a carpenter do a kitchen and he hung a board across the wall, then fastened the cabinets to it. (Behind the cabinets at the top.) This made the cabinets stick out from the wall and we had to put on trim to hide the gap. I would expect IKEA had avoided this problem.

Never have to shim a row of cabinets on a wavy floor again? I love this idea. Just level the cleat and set the cabinets on top? I could have done the base cabinets in less than half the time. BTW, 1/2" is fine for the job: the force is against the 3" dimension, not the thickness. I would probably put the screws about 3/4" from the bottom of the 3", though.
My issue with particle board is moisture; maybe they have done it up with a binder that helps or sealed the MDF somehow.
Have fun! Bill
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wrote:

That is partly what the side panels are for. The cabinets themselves are made of particle board with fake veneer surfaces. For the surfaces that will actually show (on an "end" cabinet), you get a side panel, which is also particle board, but with real wood veneer. This panel is wider than the depth of the cabinet to cover the gap left by the thickness of the supporting rail.

The back of the cabinet actually rests on TOP of the cleat. That means driving a screw through the very edge of the cabinet bottom into the 1/2" edge of a piece of unfaced particle board. I'm no professional, but I see at least two problems with this.
Putting a screw that close to the cabinet bottom edge is asking for it to split, especially because your wall WON'T be straight. Any "concave" area of the wall will leave even less of the already skimpy 1/2" to screw into.
Secondly, screwing into particle board, especially into such a thin edge, doesn't seem like a solid idea to me. I like that "it's not going anywhere" feeling when I build something. My substitute material was twice as wide, so I could leave a healthy margin from the cabinet edge. And it was made of honest-to-goodness screw-grabbin' wood. Cheap, too. I like that.
Greg Guarino
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The cabinets I had were already faced on each side (every cabinet), so there was no "extra depth." side panel.

"Just level the cleat and set the cabinets on top" I understood that the base cabinets rest on TOP of the cleat.
If your wall is that wavy (mine was!) you should probably shim out the cleat. But that's still 20x easier than shimming each base cabinet to level with shims on the floor.
I wouldn't screw the base cabinets to the cleat at all: screw through the back of the cabinet into the wall. You don't need too many for a whole line of cabinets if you hit the studs. With the cabinets fastened to each other, they aren't going anywhere in a hurry, anyway.
BTW, the wall cabinets will hang just fine without screwing them into the wall studs at the bottom. But it doesn't hurt either. There is usually a strip of wood, maybe 1.5" wide, at each side of the cabinet back that is stronger. (My cabinets have the back maybe a 1/2" away from the wall, with only the sides and the two strips mentioned actually touching the wall. (So, if you screw through the back anywhere except where the side strips are, you risk having the screw pull right through the particle board.)

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On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 17:13:42 -0400, "Spiderman"

I had about the same situation. Despite the advice of several friends who said that gas piping was easy, I had a plumber do it. I had a clear vision of myself standing outside the hole in the ground where my house used to be, explaining to the insurance adjuster about a do-it-yourself gas installation.
But I decided I could probably move the sink plumbing the fairly small amount that was needed. At the last minute I decided to have a (VERY handy) friend come over to help me, but only because I was worried that I couldn't rip out the old counter, install 2 base cabinets, countertop and sink in a weekend by myself.
I was very lucky to have had him come over. It ended up taking the two of us 2 full days. My house is 50 years old. It turned out that the trap and the nipple that attached to the waste pipe were too corroded to leave, but frozen on and nearly impossible to remove. It was only my contractor friend's vast experience that saved me from going without a working kitchen for what might have been weeks (until I could get a plumber).
It sounds like you're at best a weekend handyman like me. I think you'll be able to manage the cabinets, but you should at least get someone knowledgeable to have a look at the utilities.
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Could have probably just used a longer flexible connector. On the other hand, working with black pipe for gas is very easy but equally unforgiving if you don't get it right, so you made the right decision: insurance companies don't have much of a sense of humor about these things.

You discovered one of the laws of old plumbing: if you touch it, you will have to keep taking out pieces further back. (Especially if it is brass.) If you're lucky, you can find a section of galvanized strong enough to cut with a hack saw (also a good time to talk the wife into buying that sawzall), stick on a no-hub fitting, and rebuild the bad parts with pvc. (Just finished doing that under the kitchen sink. The only galvanized left are the bits of fittings that make an inaccessible curve in the wall behind the cabinet and down to an unreachable spot just below in the basement.
Bill
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