Leveling Cabinets for Granite Countertops: Getting Ready for Granite

Level Granite Needs Level Cabinets.

leveling-cabinets-for-granitePlanning to have granite installed?

If your cabinets are new, they should be level before your granite counters are installed.

If your cabinets are old, they should be level before your granite counters are installed.

Oh, goodness, that sounds almost the same!

The reason is simple: you want your granite counters to be level, so they need to be sitting on level cabinets. By level we mean: the cabinets aren’t all wonky, going downhill with the sloping floor in an old kitchen, or installed all crookedy.

You’d be amazed at how many cabinets rise and fall like a ship on a sea, particularly in some of the great older homes in Austin – you know the ones that are oozing with character and charm, but need a little TLC.

Of course, old houses and their cabinets can settle over time. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the cabinets or the house, but they do need to be as level as possible before your granite counters are installed.

Leveling New Cabinets for Granite Counters

If the cabinets are new, and they aren’t even and level, then they weren’t installed right. Your cabinet installers should have checked and re-checked while they were installing the cabinets. That means putting a level across the top, and checking to make sure the cabinets are even from side to side AND from back to front.

If they didn’t make sure the new cabinets were level before leaving, they should come back and fix them. If they don’t want to do this part of their job, you should insist. There is NO good reason for new cabinets to be installed without lining up right. The installers should shim and trim until everything lines up just right.

Leveling Old Cabinets for Granite Counters

Older cabinets are frequently uneven. Sometimes the house has settled, particularly if the house has a pier-and-beam foundation. The area of East Austin that is east of 35 and north of 51st has a lot of darling older homes built in the 50s and 60s with wonky foundations. When these come on the market, they often need to be fixed up.

Some people put in new cabinets, and others just gussy up the old ones with new counters, new hardware and fresh paint.

Sometimes the cabinets can be unscrewed, shimmed, the re-screwed back into place.

But more likely, they’re stuck in tight, and shims will need to be used between the tops of the cabinets and the underside of your new granite counters.

If this is the case – that shims are necessary – you might want to plan to trim the gap at the front (and sides) with a little strip of wood, and then paint or stain it to match. Often, you can’t even see the shims unless you’re down on the floor and looking up at the underside of the counter.

If you’re going to paint or re-finish the cabinets anyhow, then this isn’t even much of an extra step, and will help give it that nice, clean and finished look to your updated kitchen and your new granite counters.


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