Cabinets pulling away from wall

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  #1  
Old 05-03-18, 11:37 AM
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Cabinets pulling away from wall

I installed new cabinets about 9 years ago and the wall cabinets didn't seem very sturdy to me. They are higher end solid maple cabinets, so I was a little surprised. Over the years, things are getting worse. It appears to me that the rear cross member that is screwed to the wall is bowing outward at the ends from the weight of the cabinet, which is causing the cabinet to pull away from the wall and sag. I'm already in contact with the manufacturer, but wanted to get some opinions here as to why this could be happening. Is it just cheap construction? The picture is of the inside of a 36" wide wall cabinet. You can see the screw that is fastened into the wall stud and the staples from where the cabinet has separated from the rear horizontal framing member. I can lift up on the front-bottom of the cabinet and it moves nearly 1/2", yet the screws are tight.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 12:00 PM
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There should have been a 1x attachment member running across the top back of the cabinet. It is fastened to the sides, top and back of the cabinet box and is what you screw through into the wall framing. Either that, or that back piece should be the same thick material as the sides.

Is that the only screw in that cabinet? If so, then it's likely installation error. Even my small cabinets have 2 screws into the wall, the longer ones have 3.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 12:14 PM
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Correct. There is a 1x across the top (on the back side of the MDF veneer) which is what the screws pass through and into the wall studs. There are two screws in this cabinet. The top and sides of the cabinet are pulling away from the back. Notice the exposed staples that fasten the 1x to the top of the cabinet. Appears to be an issue with the cabinet construction, not the install. Sorry, the title is misleading.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 12:52 PM
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Well, if thats the case...they are poorly designed. Staples into the edge of particle board or even plywood are not very resistant to pullout. If the 1x had been inset into the box and stapled through the top and sides (as well as some sort of adhesive) there wouldn't be these issues. Even some cheap utility cabinets I bought off the shelf at HD have the structural parts more securely attached than what you describe.

Good luck getting any manufacturer help after 9 yrs.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 01:32 PM
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Good luck getting any manufacturer help after 9 yrs.
The cabinets have a lifetime warranty, and I am currently in contact with the manufacturer. I'm confident they will resolve the issue. They will likely send out new cabinets.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 03:12 PM
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Well if you've already contacted them and they have a lifetime warranty, then what is/was your question? What was the point of posting this to begin with?
 
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Old 05-03-18, 04:14 PM
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Are cabinets fully anchored and level on the floor? In other words are the bottoms of the cabinets flush at all surfaces to the floor? (They don't necessarily need to be nailed to the floor, but do the bottoms shake or move if pushed at the front?). They can't fall forward if they are resting securely on the floor.
Also is the counter top anchored to the wall with a back splash and are the counter tops again fully flush with the top edge of the counter tops.

I agree the inside is lacking the proper framing.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 04:48 PM
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Oops. my mistake. I thought these were lower cabinets.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Vic. Yea I see what you mean.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 06:59 AM
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Well if you've already contacted them and they have a lifetime warranty, then what is/was your question? What was the point of posting this to begin with?
To see if anyone has had a similar experience, what the cause and remedy was, etc. Basically trying to educate myself so I am armed with information when the manufacturer gets back to me (they've only asked for pictures thus far). Also, this was a DIY job and I wanted to be sure I installed them properly.

These aren't cheap cabinets. The larger ones cost upwards of $500 each IIRC.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 03:45 PM
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My question for the company would be, where's the glue? All those joints should be glued so that it's not just staples holding the carcass together.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 07:05 PM
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X, I thought about that...but the way those staples came through it's pretty apparent the boxes are particle board with a thermofoil face. Typical glues wouldn't stick to that very well would it(?)...unless they used that hard almost plastic stuff that holds real well...right up until it doesn't and pops right off barely leaving a mark. Kinda like some sort of hot glue?

That's why I thought it might be some sort of thin backer that just conceals the wall...not structural at all.

I'll bet they are going to want one completely removed to determine what the failure was (no glue on the mounting 1x to the box, inadequate fastening to the box or wall, bowed wall, whatever).
 
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Old 05-04-18, 07:43 PM
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From what I have seen, they usually use a hot glue gun on those... top and bottom perimeter of the cabinet that isn't easily seen. Sometimes a melamine glue.

The point you bring up about a bowed wall (missing shim) is a good one, because that's how it starts... someone that torques the screw down when there should have been a shim behind and pops that glue bond.
 
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Old 05-07-18, 09:51 AM
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I have two adjacent cabinets doing the same thing, so unless my wall is wavy, I don't see a bowed wall being the cause. Could be wrong.

Out of curiosity, how would one shim the top of a wall cabinet when there is a soffit directly above? Determine where the dip is using a straight edge then tacking the shims in place prior to setting the cabinet?
 
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Old 05-07-18, 12:41 PM
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Using your fists, pound on the front of the cabinet so the entire cabinet goes back into position, the back panel straightens out from its bowing, and the gap between the cabinet top and the cabinet back closes up.

Then use 90 degree angle metal strips, one at each stud, to fasten the cabinet top to the back walls.
 
  #15  
Old 05-07-18, 03:42 PM
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Yes, identify any dips on the wall with a straight edge and tape shims to the low spots before the cabinets go up.
 
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Old 05-08-18, 08:59 AM
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Then use 90 degree angle metal strips, one at each stud, to fasten the cabinet top to the back walls
.

Can't do that. There's a soffit directly above.

Yes, identify any dips on the wall with a straight edge and tape shims to the low spots before the cabinets go up.
I really don't think it's the wall. I think it's just poor cabinet construction. It is 36" wide and holds a lot of weight (plates, glasses, bowls). I'll be sure to check the wall though.
 
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