How to Change Cabinets So a Refrigerator Fits

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A refrigerator can take up a great deal of space in your kitchen. You may need to change your kitchen cabinets around when installing a new refrigerator or moving your present refrigerator to a new location in the kitchen. An under-the-counter refrigerator may necessitate the removal of lower cabinets. Moving a full-sized refrigerator may mean raising upper cabinets. Changing your kitchen cabinets so that a refrigerator fits calls for careful planning.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Step ladder
  • Wall stud finder
  • Drill
  • Level
  • 3-inch screws
  • Shims
  • Spackle compound
  • Spackle knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Measure the width and length of your refrigerator with a measuring tape. Add 2 inches on each side of the refrigerator and at least 2 inches for clearance at the top of the refrigerator.

  • Measure the area where the refrigerator will be located. Determine which cabinets will be changed around. Unscrew the kick panels, the pieces of wood that protect the area beneath the lower cabinets, with a screwdriver. Open the doors on all of the cabinets to be moved, and unscrew the four screws holding the cabinets to the wall studs. Set the cabinets aside.

  • Climb a step ladder. Measure where the upper cabinets will go if you desire small cabinets above the refrigerator. Find the wall studs above the refrigerator with a stud finder, and mark their locations with a pencil. Drill four guide holes in the wall studs for the screws for each cabinet.

  • Raise the upper cabinets one at a time to align with the predrilled holes. Screw in two 3-inch screws on the top and bottom nailer strips on the inside of each cabinet so the screws are secured through the wall studs. Check the top of the cabinets with a level to ensure that they hang straight.

  • Move the refrigerator into place beneath the top cabinets. Find the wall studs in the new locations for the lower cabinets and mark them. Drill four guide holes in the wall studs for the carriage screws for each cabinet. Move the lower cabinets into place. Place a level on top of each cabinet to ensure that it will hang evenly when installed. Screw in two 3-inch screws on the top and bottom nailer strips on the inside of each cabinet through the wall studs.

  • Screw in the bottom cabinet kick panels. Fill in any exposed old wall screw holes with spackle compound and a knife. Let the spackle dry completely for several hours. Sand the spackled areas smooth with sandpaper, and wipe away any dust with a tack cloth. Paint over any spackled areas with paint and a paintbrush.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may need to temporarily install a ledger board beneath the upper cabinets to support them while you install the cabinet screws into the wall studs.
  • Always use screws to fasten the cabinets to the walls. Nails can easily pull away from a wall stud, causing the cabinet to fall.

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References

  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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