How to Convert a Built-in Dishwasher to a Freestanding One

open dishwasher
  • 8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 400
What You'll Need
Water-supply line hose
Discharge-line hose
Adaptors and tools for installing hoses
1-by-6 foot board
Lumber
Nails
Metal panels and/or cabinetry (optional)
What You'll Need
Water-supply line hose
Discharge-line hose
Adaptors and tools for installing hoses
1-by-6 foot board
Lumber
Nails
Metal panels and/or cabinetry (optional)

A built-in dishwasher may come with your new or existing home, but you may wish it was a portable, freestanding unit, instead. With the right instructions and tools, converting your built-in dishwasher to a freestanding unit can be both cheap and easy.

Step 1 – Partially Disassembling It

Remove your built-in dishwasher from its storage space to prepare for conversion. Be sure that you disconnect it from the power source before completing any steps that follow. If your dishwasher is a plug-in unit, remove the plug from the socket. If your unit is hard-wired, shut off the power from the breaker panel. Once this is done, you will need to disconnect all wires from the power source.

Step 2 – Converting Hoses and Adapters

You will need to attach two different hoses, that you can find at most appliance stores, to convert your dishwasher. One hose will be dedicated as a water supply line, and the other will be the discharge line. Depending on the length you want, you may need to extend your hoses.

The discharge line will hook onto your sink or another draining system. Check with the appliance store for specific adapters and tools for installing the hoses. Ensure that you have the proper grade of hose, too. Otherwise, the unit’s hot-water could injure you during supply and discharge.

Step 3 – Building a Mobile Platform

Next, build a platform out of lumber to mount your dishwasher on. When building the platform, ensure you properly measure the dimensions of your dishwasher so that it fits securely. Add casters, so that the unit is easy to move from one point to another.

Attaching the Dishwasher

Attach the dishwasher with the same type of mounting screws that the machine had pre-conversion, or the portable unit could tip over. To add extra security against tipping, install a 1-by-6 foot board capable of sliding out from underneath the unit. In addition, build a post the heavy dishwasher door can rest on.

Step 4 – Adding a Cabinet

You can build a complete, freestanding cabinet around your converted unit to serve as a kitchen island for a multi-purpose unit. While wood is an acceptable material to build the cabinet with, metal panels can also be used to give your cabinet a more modern, updated look.

Convert a Built-in Dishwasher to a Freestanding One FAQ

Can a built-in dishwasher be used free standing?

Built-in dishwashers are often installed underneath counters and connected directly to kitchen plumbing. They do not have a standard finished top because they are designed to go under a counter.

Portable, or freestanding, dishwashers are completely stand-alone. They have finished sides and they're made to be attractive as well as practical.

Can I replace a semi integrated dishwasher with free standing?

If you want to remove your existing dishwater and replace it with a portable dishwasher, this is possible. All you have to do is ensure that the new dishwasher is small enough to fit into the space left once the old dishwasher is removed.

There may be a noticeable gap around the portable dishwater.

Do you need a plumber to install a freestanding dishwasher?

Portable dishwashers are fairly easy to install. Usually, they need to be connected to a drain and a water connection, typically the kitchen sink.

It is relatively straightforward to make these connections, in most cases, so any hands-on DIYer can usually get the dishwasher connected. Unless there is a problem or something unusual in the plumbing connections, a plumber will not be necessary.

Why are freestanding dishwashers cheaper?

Built-in dishwashers must be installed and they are solidly sealed into place and finished to look like part of the kitchen cabinets. Portable, freestanding dishwashers connect to the sink and to a drain using hoses, which require very little work to install.

Freestanding dishwashers can also be built to fairly standard sizes and purchased in any size. Built-in dishwashers much fit into the available space and cannot be taller than the counter, so they are built in a range of different sizes in order to fit a lot of kitchens.

What is the difference between a dishwasher and a built-in dishwasher?

Built-in dishwashers are specifically made to sit under kitchen counters and connect up to plumbing that is already there. Dishwashers that are freestanding can be connected with a hose in many designs, which makes them very simple to install and use.