Kitchen cabinets to be installed on breathable floors

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kidwellj

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I'm finally getting underway making my cabinets on our new (1880) home having completely demolished the previous kitchen. What I've learned is that the house is all earth floors with quarry tile (or suspended timber in other rooms) and solid 9" brick walls with lime plaster (4cm thick in some places!). The kitchen back wall where I want to put cabinets is partially underground and thus pretty damp (damp to the touch most of the time, though not dripping, so presumably air is evaporating). I've learned about the importance of letting water vapour evaporate and have put in a fan that will run 24x7 to keep air fresh. But now I'm wondering how I should install the cabinets (which are all 18mm birch ply). I plan to install a dimpled membrane in front of the brick external wall, with battens and probably wood wool boards with lime plaster on them, with cabinets in front of that. I gather that putting in a timber plinth on the floors would probably be unwise, so will need to have some kind of feet. Any recommendations? should I leave an air gap below? And how should I fix to the wall? Was thinking a french cleat, but wondering if I should minimise contact to ensure evaporation can circulate...
 

Droogs

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Funny you ask this, as i am in the middle of making my new kitchen too. Rather than using a plinth I intend to use these, 4 per cabinet to get perfectly set height/level for the granite countertop that will go on. As they are plastic no worries about liquids seeping up etc. My cabinet bottoms will sit 90mm above the floor to allow a toekick, which will be a long board a couple of mm short of that height and attached by magnets to some support blocks under the cabinet. The final couple of mm at the floor will get some sealant to stop spillages or crud going under the cabinet. All the cabinets will be fixed in place using French cleats and where the back edge of a cabinet meets the wall and will be seen (as I am not scribing) they will have a little bit of moulding put on.


hth
 

Spectric

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I would go for a freestanding kitchen using something non permeable between the legs and floor, could have nice ornate wooden legs but hidding a plastic leg like Droogs has linked to. Also rather than wall cabinets, use dressers so air can freely flow over the walls. This way you have no issues with scribing to a wobbly wall and I think would look great in a period property.
 

Cabinetman

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Funny you ask this, as i am in the middle of making my new kitchen too. Rather than using a plinth I intend to use these, 4 per cabinet to get perfectly set height/level for the granite countertop that will go on. As they are plastic no worries about liquids seeping up etc. My cabinet bottoms will sit 90mm above the floor to allow a toekick, which will be a long board a couple of mm short of that height and attached by magnets to some support blocks under the cabinet. The final couple of mm at the floor will get some sealant to stop spillages or crud going under the cabinet. All the cabinets will be fixed in place using French cleats and where the back edge of a cabinet meets the wall and will be seen (as I am not scribing) they will have a little bit of moulding put on.


hth
Some fitters do away with the magnets and blocks fixing and just screw through the top of the plinth into the plastic blocks that are at the top of the feet, screws will never be seen- unless you’re absolutely out of your face of course.
I agree not such an elegant solution but quick and easy. Ian
 

HOJ

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A couple of products I now use for my kitchens, these:- Axilo I have adopted because I cant get my arm under the cabinets I make, for the same reason as Droogs with a 90mm plinth height, I have the tool to adjust them with and its saved no end of effort and time, (good video on Hafele's site) also, for fixing to walls I use these: Space plug, where appropriate.
 

kidwellj

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@Spectric I see what you mean (now) about freestanding / dresser style cabinets. I hadn't even heard of this as an option before. So the idea here is to make cabinets that don't require any fixing to the wall, but instead have metal feet or wooden legs. Would love to know if you have some photos of freestanding style cabinets, as I've struggled to find visual examples.

I gather there is a trade-off here which is that I can't have styles of shelving that will unbalance the unit (e.g. drawers that pull out).
 

kidwellj

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Funny you ask this, as i am in the middle of making my new kitchen too. Rather than using a plinth I intend to use these, 4 per cabinet to get perfectly set height/level for the granite countertop that will go on. As they are plastic no worries about liquids seeping up etc. My cabinet bottoms will sit 90mm above the floor to allow a toekick, which will be a long board a couple of mm short of that height and attached by magnets to some support blocks under the cabinet. The final couple of mm at the floor will get some sealant to stop spillages or crud going under the cabinet. All the cabinets will be fixed in place using French cleats and where the back edge of a cabinet meets the wall and will be seen (as I am not scribing) they will have a little bit of moulding put on.

hth

I think that your solution @Droogs won't work for me, as I think there probably needs to be at least 1cm clearance, maybe even 1" all the way around my cabinets, including at the bottom, so plinth with mm of clearance will be too little to allow vapour to escape, especially inasmuch as it is evaporating upwards from the floor. The other upside of freestanding cabinets is that I can keep an eye on their condition after they have been installed - which gives me some comfort.
 

kidwellj

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A couple of products I now use for my kitchens, these:- Axilo I have adopted because I cant get my arm under the cabinets I make, for the same reason as Droogs with a 90mm plinth height, I have the tool to adjust them with and its saved no end of effort and time, (good video on Hafele's site) also, for fixing to walls I use these: Space plug, where appropriate.

Love these - thanks for recommendations. Will def use those space plugs where I'm working with internal walls...
 

Droogs

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You can buy different sizes of feet all the way up to 150mm aand can fit vents to the toe kick
 

kidwellj

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@Droogs I was also planning on putting granite over these cabinets, and I hadn't appreciated the fact that feet will make the balancing so much easier. Thanks for pointing this out.
 

kidwellj

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Now I'm wondering what sort of ways I can hide the feet without making a wooden toe kick... Any ideas?
 

Spectric

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A couple of ideas, basically rather than making units that all fit into a kitchen, each unit is made like a piece of furniture, I think fitted kitchens came about with MFI & MDF so they all proped each other up for strength.

1621545853498.png
 

Davey44

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Hi there, you have a potentially interesting and challenging project. Have you considered digging away the earth that rests against your 9" solid wall/s? Or is it not possible?
We have a similar build (9" solid with lime plaster internally) and had a damp problem for a number of years which despite trying almost everything we could think of or find to which recommendations had been made. Eventually, I recalled my step-father's farmhouse having the same kind of symptoms and his cure.

He dug out a trench all along the affected wall down to a depth of about 18" and about 12" wide, so as to give a clear two courses of brick above the old earth line. He then lowered the remaining soil by a further 6". He used slabs standing on edge and leaning at about 10 degrees away from the house wall to retain the earth along the trench. He then filled the trench with large'ish pebbles (from memory they were between 2.5" and 3.5" in diameter) up to the height of two exposed bricks below the damp course. It took a year or so for the damp to be drawn from the wall. I believe he called it a version of a French Drain, which may or may not have been the correct name.

The other thing he was talking about doing, but never got around to it was reprofiling the garden so that it sloped away from the house, rather than towards it.

Just a thought.
 

kidwellj

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@Davey44 I have indeed been thinking about this a bit. I don't think that the road drains water from above very often (I've been told by another neighbour that the line you can see in the gravel is from a torrential rainstorm from several years ago). The key challenge is that the earth behind is underneath a driveway owned by one of the neighbours. I haven't broached the subject yet, but I have considered approaching him to see if they'd mind me trenching it out (as you say) replacing with gravel much further down (e.g. below the kitchen floor by 6" or so), installing a membrane against the brick on the house (maybe) and installing a french drain at the bottom. All this working with neighbours stuff is very new to me!
 
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