27th Jan 2009, 10:14 PM #1
built in wardrobe - starting from scratch
So this is whats happened so far... We got the wordrobe people in to give us a measure and quote and for 2 built in wardrobes the cost is $5k ish which I reckon is pretty steep, so I'm going to give it a go myself.
I've spent a few hours searching this forum and the web for some directions on how to go about it but haven't had a lot of luck so far.
At this stage I'm planning on sliding doors. The room is currently carpeted with old carpet which will probably be ripped up in the next couple of years so i'm planning on putting the tracks on the timber rather than on top of the carpet.
So far the people who are more skilled in these things tell me its doable as a DIY but attention to detail is mportant otherwise they can turn out a bit ordinary.
Its a simple 3mth wide wardrobe I want wheer the back and one end will be existing rendered dbl brick walls.
My first step is going to be to go to a wardrobe place and buy some door tracks and come home cut away the carpet and get into it.
Am I setting myself up for a fall? Any tips/comments etc are appreciated.
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27th Jan 2009, 11:03 PM #2
I made a built in wardrobe a few years ago before I got serious about woodworking and had only very primitive tools (my chisels and screwdrivers were equally sharp, and interchangeable). It turned out ok so is doable. The company who made the sliding mirror doors came and fitted the tracks when everything else was done if I recall, but it wasn't difficult the guy who did the installation was a German backpacker.
I've got to do the same thing in a couple of months (different house). My plan is to go down to Hafele and select fairly upmarket fittings. I was down there a few weeks ago and they had some neat stuff in their display. My philosophy is that by doing all the work myself I can use top quality materials and still save a heap - could have a rethink if their prices are outrageous of course!.
Go for it and good luckCheers, Glen
28th Jan 2009, 08:30 AM #3
Any chance you could take some photos and make it a WIP - Work in Progress thread? This would be very interesting. I, too, need to build such a wardrobe and would be very interested in how you find it.
28th Jan 2009, 01:05 PM #4
constructing a built in wardrobe
Hi Andrew 29,
An interesting project. It's almost always easier to build the wardrobe as a stand alone unit or modules as the case may be and then offer it up into the space to be filled with appropriate fillers on the ends. That's the commercial norm. There's a heap of reasons for going that way which you will discover if you go the build- in- situ way. The incorporation of a back is an essential part of getting the whole thing very square which in turn is an essential part of getting the doors to fit etc etc.You really need a floor as well for the same reasons and I'd go for a kickboard as part of this.The use of sheet materials to build the carcase is a very quick way to get the job done. 16mm whiteboard is the go here for a wardrobe. Don't get the HMR version as it's s good bit more expensive and not required for this application. If you build as a stand alone unit/s as i suggest you will have to construct the whole as modules that can be got to where they are required. Remember you can't tip up a 2400 cupboard module under a 2400 ceiling!! If you are going to use sheet materials for carcassing get a local joinery works to supply and cut the sheets for you. You will get +/- 0.5mm width accuracy and usually dead square which makes building the carcases a breeze. Use confirmat screws and buy the necessary step drill for predrilling the holes. Get the joinery works to edge the sheets where they will be visible. Select your sliding door hardware now before you do anything so it can be incorporated into the design phase. Hettich and Hafele both have a great range and both are represented in Hobart now. Good luck with this its a physically large project but the joinery(using sheets and stand alone modules) is absolutely simplistic . Old Pete
28th Jan 2009, 03:15 PM #5
With a 3m span you should build it in such a way that the span over the wardrobe will NOT sag if, for instance, all the doors are slid to the middle at one time. I know cavity doors are usually light-weight, but a long span can quickly sag under just it's own weight, let alone with doors adding to it. It'll need to be either fastened to the ceiling, designed along the lines of a truss or simply over-engineered.
All the built-ins I've constructed have been just that; fully built-in. I also cut away sections of the ceiling plaster so I could build frames from 70x or 90x35 studs, securely attached to existing walls, floors and ceiling joists. These were then plastered & painted, inside & out to blend with existing walls... hell, they are new walls, complete with cornice & kick-boards!
Properly done, you'd never know they weren't built at the same time as the rest of the house.
- Andy Mc (AKA "Ghost who posts." )
28th Jan 2009, 07:59 PM #6
thanks guys, i'll post some photos as i go. i'm sure i'll have a few questions along the way!
thanks pete, i reckon your suggestion of building it stand alone sounds like a good idea. i've heard a less than sqare house makes a built in a challenge at times and whacking a sqare well built wardrobe where it needs to go should be more achievable. and if a few years down the track it needs moving that would be easier too.
Any suggestions as to a good hobart joinery service I could use?
Pete, when you suggest making modules separately and then installing them, do you mean that the runners for the sliking doors would be attached to these modules? so theoretically the wardrobe is completely freestanding?
29th Jan 2009, 09:21 AM #7
Built in wardrobes
Hi Andrew 29.
The previous post from 'skewchidamn' sets out the normal methodology whereby the doors hang and operate in front of the wardrobe shelving and hanging space modules etc assuming you want floor to ceiling doors that is. If you don't want to enclose the whole space to the ceiling then you will need to do a bit of framing to bring the top of the wardrobe down and then plaster above the cut off point.
Thurstans Joinery in Mornington will probably be willing to cut your sheets to size. If you have to buy the sheets yourself for them to cut then Laminex is literally just a few doors up the street from them. Work out a cutting plan from the available sheet sizes to suit your job as you don't want to waste any of that whiteboard at about $16 per m2. Confirmat screws and step drills available from Specialised Joinery Supplies in Burnett St.
29th Jan 2009, 10:24 AM #8
One important thing I learned when doing this is that it is a very bad idea to assume that your existing walls/floor/ceiling are square to each other. If you use them as references for your construction you may not end up with square final results.
PeterThe other day I described to my daughter how to find something in the garage by saying "It's right near my big saw". A few minutes later she came back to ask: "Do you mean the black one, the green one, or the blue one?".
29th Jan 2009, 04:17 PM #9
Andrew, goodonya for having a go. In regards to the quote etc you haven't said what the sliding doors are ie mirrored or mdf/chipboard panels. If they are mirrors then they would be from lamimated safety glass and that bloody dear.
10th Feb 2009, 10:10 PM #10
thanks for the advice so far. I'm starting to plan the cutting list for the modules that will make up the guts of the wardrobe.
My plan at this stage is to:
- design several modules for the shelves/drawers/rails which will be made out of 16mm whiteboard.
- get them cut out for me and then put them together in the shed. My plan at this stage is that they will be very 'boxlike' with a base, top and back.
- take them upstairs and install them where they will go (after cutting out the carpet in that section).
- once i have them in I'll install a plate on the floor in front of the modules for the sliding doors (i.e. the doors and top and bottom support won't be part of the modules).
- install an end and the doors
- sit back and admire my handiwork.
11th Feb 2009, 02:15 PM #11
Hi Andrew 29.
Looks like you are going real well with the project. One change I'd suggest. That whiteboard is bloody heavy and the less lugging it around you do with it the better. For that reason I'd clear out your room so you have plenty of space and I'd assemble the modules in front of the space to be filled and then I'd just skid them into place and screw them to the wall. If you have all the holes pre-drilled for confirmat screws it will take but an hour or two to assemble the bits also you can assemble bits up to 2400 to go under a 2400 ceiling doing it in front of the space.
You don't have to use whiteboard-- you can use edged chipboard if you want and its a good bit cheaper.It varnishes up quite nicely. Remember to incorporate some timber of substance in the back at top and bottom to screw through to secure the job to the wall. Laminex sell a 2" x 1" pine batten wrapped in white polyvinyl foil that is suitable and quite cheap. Likewise there is a 3mm 2400 x 1200 white MDF sheet for making the backs. Stapling is the best means of attachment, far better than brads.
Get started before you lose motivation!!
12th Feb 2009, 05:33 PM #12
I put in a built in for exactly the same reason you are doing it - to save money. We have a walk in robe which is a room off our bedroom, about 3m x 2.7m. The quote to put in a built in robe was over 4k, and I did it myself for well under 2k. We didn't need doors, because it is already a room in its own right - with doors I'd imagine our quote would have been over 5k.
Instead of building it like a normal built-in, which is pretty much pre-constructed and then installed, I built it in place. I firstly measured the room (all measurements, as nothing is square) and drew up a floor plan, making notes of every measurement. Then I made some notes of the needs that we had for space in the robe. For example, I spec'd shoe shelves for my darling (and for me), which she said she didn't want. I counted her shoes and convinced her that it was a good idea, and built them anyway. She says they are the best feature of the robe.
Rather than just use standard measurements I measured the clothes that we wanted to hang, which led to me making my hanging space wider than my darling's, because my coats are wider (across the shoulders I mean ). This may not seem like a big deal, but when you have a limited space and you want to fit everything in it can make a difference. I also tailored the corner shelves so that we could get to every space easily, and made sure we had enough hanging space for long clothes (dresses and long coats). And then I put some wider shelves up top to store suitcases on.
I over-engineered the lot, which is my usual way of doing things. We joke that if ever the house gets blown over in a cyclone at least the wardrobe will still be standing. I can hang off the shelves (and I weigh more than I'd like)... I made it mostly out of 18mm MDF, using 19mm yellow-tongue for the uprights because I had a few sheets of it lying around. I couldn't afford to buy the plastic-coated chip-board, so I made do with what I had, and put 3 coats of paint on every surface to seal the MDF and make sure that the paint wouldn't easily wear off. I also put hardwood strips on the front of every shelf and upright, so make it look a little more finnished. Every shelf and upright is supported by 2 x 1 pine, which is screwed into studs through the plaster and also stuck to the walls with construction adhesive. and the bars for the hanging space are chrome steel bars cut to length and supported by blocks of 90x35 pine with holes drilled in them.
I decided to go without drawers, as we didn't want them. It was also easier to just use shelves. It isn't the prettiest wardrobe in the world (my darling insisted I paint it white, while I would have chosen a darker colour to hide the faults), but it is one of the most functional I've ever lived with, and it is tailored perfectly to our needs. It is also very very solid indeed... And it was very cheap to make, and pretty easy. Included in the costs were a good quality 60cm level (essential because if you measure from floor or ceiling the shelves will not be level!), and a few other tools including a sturdy 4 step stepladder, and it still came in under $1500. Oh, and I used lots and lots of spakfilla to hide my mistakes (there were plenty).
The best thing about it is that my darling absolutely loves it, and shows it off to everyone who comes to visit for the first time. Since then she has let me build a built-in bookcase along a 3m wall, from floor to ceiling. That went considerably better because I'd learnt lots...
I'll see if I can find a couple of pics to post...Bob C.
Never give up.
13th Feb 2009, 06:52 PM #13
Here's what I did in our old place. Project initiation was SWMBO scoring the louvre doors from her parents.
29th May 2009, 12:09 AM #14
How is your built in wardrobe progressing? can you post some photos please? i'd be very keen.
I'm thinking about building one for us. It would be 2330 wide by 2700 tall. i got a quote from space works in lane cove for $3640 for it and that's with only primed doors(hinged) for me to paint myself. their wardrobes are lovely - the ones thnat are cleated to the walls and don't touch the carpet underneath etc. but i was thinking i could possibly do it myself for way less than that but it would really be my first wood work attempt plus i've got 2 little kids underfeet and a very non square house. hmm...not sure.
would love to ehard how you've managed and any advice you've got to pass on
29th May 2009, 10:45 AM #15
I haven't started yet, the arrival of a rugrat has delayed progress... So far ive only visited a joiner to ask about them cutting the stuff for me.
I should be able to start soon so I'll keep you up to date on how i go.
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