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?
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.
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.)
On 09/18/04 05:13 pm Spiderman put fingers to keyboard and launched the
following message into cyberspace:
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.
My experience was reasonably good, but there was a learning curve.
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
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
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.
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.
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 odd
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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