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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  #2  
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.
 
  #13  
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.
 
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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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Old 06-19-18, 01:57 PM
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The manufacturer got back to me today and said they believe it is due to an installation error. They said the cabinet should have been screwed through the top and into the soffit as well, since it does not attach to the adjoining wall to the right (because there is a 2" gap due to a filler piece). They are going to send me new cabinets, but I'd just assume fix what I have. Guess I'll take them. Except how does an end cabinet with no adjacent wall and no soffit above get attached other than screwing through the back?

Here's a photo of the cabinets that are pulling away from the wall. The 36" cabinet on the right is the worst, and the 30" cabinet over the microwave is pulling away as well--from the weight of the 36" cabinet. They are saying since there is no support on the right side due to the filler, that I should screw up and into the soffit framing. Seems like another option would be to screw a 2x4 into the right wall prior to mounting the cabinet, then drive a couple screws through the cabinet into the 2x4. Thoughts? I believe the sides of the cabinet are 1/2" plywood.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 04:35 PM
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not attach to the adjoining wall to the right (because there is a 2" gap due to a filler piece).
I had a similar situation when I did my kitchen remodel. I put in a filler piece to span the gap and screwed into the wall. I needed the extra strength due the fact that this was an oversize cabinet and was to carry heavy pots and pans.
 
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Old 06-19-18, 05:02 PM
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The manufacturer got back to me today and said they believe it is due to an installation error.
Wow.... installation error. That's a poor excuse for a poor design, I hate to be blunt but I wouldn't want to be anywhere near those cabinets when loaded. Your picture shows them fastened thru the back. It also shows the back as fastened to nothing. I don't see any glue at all. At the very least that cabinet needs a strip at the top of the cabinet that is fastened to the back and the top of the cabinet.

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  #20  
Old 06-20-18, 06:38 AM
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I guess I'll go ahead and accept the new cabinet delivery then. Maybe they improved the design. Does what I propose sound like a good idea? Screwing a 2x4 into the righthand wall then driving a couple screws through the bottom right side of the cabinet into the 2x4? Alternatively, I could also drive a couple screws through the right of the filler piece at the top/bottom into a vertical 2x4 then cover the screws with a piece of shoe moulding/quarter round.

I imagine if they truly thought it was installation error, they wouldn't have offered to send me new cabinets. These are not cheap cabinets, and they are made to order. Not only that, but they no longer carry this color/finish, so they sent me a prepaid label so I can send them a door so they can recreate the exact color.
 
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Old 06-20-18, 11:02 AM
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Except how does an end cabinet with no adjacent wall and no soffit above get attached other than screwing through the back?
...exactly...................

Like I said in post #12, I'd be using a hot glue gun around the top perimeter of the cabinet where it can't be seen before I screw them to the wall. And then be sure the wall in back is not bowed. Be sure the back of the cabinet has a solid filler piece where you intend to screw. You can't install cabinet screws where there is a void or it will look like your photo in post #1.
 
  #22  
Old 06-20-18, 11:05 AM
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Well, maybe it is poor construction then. These weren't cheap cabinets, but evidently they aren't the best either. Kraftmaid is the brand. Great customer service though.
 
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Old 06-20-18, 11:08 AM
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At the very least that cabinet needs a strip at the top of the cabinet that is fastened to the back and the top of the cabinet.
There's a 1x4 (or similar) mounting rail that runs horizontally along the back of the cabinet, which is what I screwed through. The staples you see are driven through that rail, through the backing, and into the top of the cabinet. You are correct, no glue. The back panel of the cabinet is a veneer, so it is slick. Don't think glue will stick to it. Top, bottom, and sides are 1/2" plywood with veneer and fronts are solid maple. Not certain about the back, but I believe it is thinner.

Hot glue to secure the cabinet together? Shouldn't I use something stronger/strong?
 
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Old 06-20-18, 11:31 AM
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You are using it like caulk around the entire top perimeter of the cabinet to glue everything to the top panel.

https://www.amazon.com/Steinel-speci.../dp/B002NKM1T8
 
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