Jun 07 2011

House Stuff and Math is Hard

“Kitchen cabinets falling out of ceiling. Whee!” This was my post snippet to remind me to post about this stuff later. I should delete it to start in properly with what’s going on with the house right now, but that snippet really sums it up. What I should also do is change it to past tense, but that’s getting ahead of myself slightly.

When we bought the house at the end of 2009, one of the issues the home inspector brought to our attention was the kitchen cabinets above our sink island weren’t anchored securely into the ceiling. We instructed the sellers that they needed to fix this or else we no buy their house, kthxbye. A contractor came in, put some very heavy duty looking screws into the cabinets and everything seemed hunky dory from then on. Until Mother’s Day.

I had noticed the gap for a few weeks at that point, but it wasn’t until Mother’s Day that I became increasingly concerned. There was some caulk/glue along the back edge of the cabinets and as the cabinets pulled away from the ceiling, it created holes in the glue. Holes that I could see clear through to the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen. Not good. The husband and I swapped the heavy glassware from the sinking cabinets over to a more secure location and housed all our nice, light, plastic storage containers in the fail cabinets.

For the most part, our cabinets are just fine. Except the door style. They lack personality and are just bland bland bland. Blech. So, Superhusband (because he is my hero) told me to shop for different cabinets. That’s how we would fix the problem.

And panic set in.

I was convinced I would spend too much money on cabinets that I would not, in fact, like. I have several family members and friends with kitchens I adore. They have personality, style, FUNCTION. They’re all wonderful. I had worked myself up in a tizzy convinced that mine would not.

So, that idea went out the window pretty quick.

Instead, we opted to get someone to repair the falling cabinets. Superhusband was going to call a professional to pay to do it. This is, of course, ridiculous. We have a very good friend who is a professional and calling anyone but him first, is kind of silly. If it is urgent and he is unavailable, by all means, call someone else and pay them. We really do try our best not to take advantage of his goodwill because he is our friend.

So, Jim came by and we started taking down the cabinets to find out why they’re falling out of the ceiling and what needs doing to get them back up there and staying up there. In my head, I was fairly convinced that despite the contractor coming in and “fixing” the cabinets post home inspection, there was nothing on the other side of the drywall for the screws to hang on to and that was going to be the problem. We would need some piece of wood up there to reinforce the structure.

Jim cut a hole in the ceiling so he could place the wood he brought for just such a repair. He smacked at it with his hammer. Repeatedly. It wasn’t making a hole. Drywall isn’t the strongest of stuff. When you smash it with a hammer, it makes a hole. After further investigation and successful hole-creating, we found wood up there for anchoring cabinets!

So why were my doubly anchored cabinets pulling away from the ceiling?

This is where math comes in handy. Slide rules at the ready? We have a 1.75″ stile + .5″ drywall + .5″ plywood = potato?

No, not potato; 2.75″, akshully. The contractors must have thought potato, because they used 2″ screws. That plywood in my ceiling intended to anchor the cabinets was probably pristine and unblemished apart from where it was joined to the frame for hanging aforementioned drywall.

Not only did they use 2″ screws. They used 2″ screws TWICE! Different contractors! Used the same wrong screws! GAH!!!!

After fishing around in his toolbox, Jim found as many 3″ screws as he could find, my kitchen cabinets are now happily secured and not falling out of my ceiling.

Unrelated to cabinets at all, Jim managed what a previous contractor I had paid, could not. He made water come out of a pipe and make ice in my refrigerator. Sure, the ice was brown the first dozen cycles of the ice making system, but that’s not HIS fault.

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