View Full Version : kitchen cabinets on tiles

7th Apr 2004, 03:33 PM
Ok, some of you will know the major reno we're doing on our house - see "gable decoration" for a picture. THe house has had tiles throughout and we're slowly pulling them out - actually we hope to finish this over Easter.

In the kitchen the cabinets are on top of the tiles (which sit in about 2 inches of mortar which is on top of masonite and old lino), and we can't face the thought of pulling the cabinets out to get to the tiles underneath - before you ask, it's a new kitchen so there's no chance we're going to put new cabinets in, and no, we didn't put a new kitchen on top of the awful old tiles! THe idea we've had is to take the tiles up, and then cut them flat against the cabinets, and put a longer skirt on the cabinets to hide the tiles. This in effect would mean that the cabinets are about 2-3 inches higher than they are now which would suit us as we're both tallish. Is this viable? Any ideas greatly appreciated.


7th Apr 2004, 04:01 PM
Well you could do what you propose I suppose but it does sound like a bit of a half ars**d solution in my opinion.

Presumably you are going to want to sell this place one day then your potential buyers are going to wonder why the bench tops are so high.

My phisosophy is if your going to go to the trouble of doing something then you may as well do it properly.

After all, your going to notice it everday when you use the kitchen.

The above is just my $0.002 feel free to take it with as much salt as you like. :)


7th Apr 2004, 04:22 PM
Maybe we'd get a buyer as naive as we were when we bought the place!

7th Apr 2004, 04:39 PM
Why don't you just remove the tiles that are there and replace them with some that you like?

Perhaps you don't like tiles at all and you want bare floorboards, in which case you're going to have to either pull the cupboards out, or put in your extra high kickboards. It might look a bit odd having 6-7" kickboards though.

If it was me, I'd pull the kitchen out but that depends on how handy you are.

7th Apr 2004, 04:50 PM
The idea is we'll pull the tiles out and polish the boards, and then we'd have, as you say, 6-7" kickboards (hadn't thought they'd be that high). We aren't particularly handy - how big a job is it? How difficult would it be to deal with the sink/plumbing, the stove and oven?

7th Apr 2004, 04:59 PM
6-7" assumes you were starting with a 4" kick and adding 2-3" to it.

Re. the plumbing etc. - yes you are going to have a few problems to solve there but it can be done. Presumably if it's a new kitchen it's at least partially modular. Depending on your kitchen, yes it will be a big job and not for the faint of heart.

If you're not confident about it, either pay someone to do it, or go with the high kickboards. Post a picture of it if you can and I'm sure you'll get some opinions on what to do.

7th Apr 2004, 05:00 PM
simple...it's called a licensed plumber and a licenced electrician. Even though we all love those DIY shows that take up precious time on our tv sets, i have to side with the blokes who have the knowhow and suggest a licensed bloke. and just before you think i'm sexist, i'm not, i just use the word bloke to represent people in general.

7th Apr 2004, 05:08 PM
I'll post a picture on the weekend. This discussion might be academic, while the floorboards have been in pretty good condition under the tiles we don't know what we'll find in the kitchen and if they're rotten we may have no choice.

I wouldn't even attempt to do the plumbing or electrical work myself! The problem is that this all starts to add to the cost - leaving them sitting on the tiles, whilst against my nature, is simpler and cheaper.

7th Apr 2004, 06:46 PM
As someone who seems to have inherited a kitchen designed for a family of vertically challenged people I'd go for the high kick boards. If you do a good job no-one is going to notice anyway ( unless of course they are so short they can't see over the countertop ). And if you're going to be living there a while having countertop/sink at the right height is worthwhile. If its a problem for a future purchaser then let them sort it out.

My sister ( over 6ft tall in her stocking feet ) has dark blue glass with lights behind as kickboards in her kitchen - it looks great after dark - during the day you just notice that its non standard as its not wood/laminated.

my 10c

journeyman Mick
7th Apr 2004, 09:37 PM
First thing to do of course is to crawl under house and check what the bottom of the boards look like. If that looks OK do a few exploratory holes at random in the topside to see how good/bad the timber is. THEN if it still seems feasible have at it.
Getting the tiles/grout/cement/topping bed/lino etc etc up to a neatish line to the current kicker may prove a bit difficult. As the kicker is usually set back at least 50mm or so you may be able to plant your new kicker over the top of the existing. Personally I would be inclined to remove all the cabinets and start again - with higher kickers if you want. I doubt however that you will want them that much higher. Even if you're both star basketballers your extra height only translates to a minor adjustment in the height of the tops.
To find the benchtop height that is right for you:
Grab a knife and a cutting board and place on your current top. Adjust the height of the cutting board by lifting it with books or magazines until you can place the knife (in a working hold) on the cutting board with your arm and shoulder hanging comfortably. If you need to lift your shoulder at all it's way too high. If you need to bend your forearm up at all it's still too high. I bet it's not that much higher than the standard 890 - 915 mm.


7th Apr 2004, 10:27 PM
Here goes with some piccies to show the problem. The one with the coke can is where we've done the tiles up to so far - this is leading into the kitchen. I measured the kickboards - they're 5cm. What we don't know is how much mortar is under the cabinets.

7th Apr 2004, 10:32 PM
number 2!

7th Apr 2004, 10:34 PM
and number 3.

7th Apr 2004, 11:36 PM
How are you going to cut the tiles and mortar in line with the front of the benches? It sounds almost impossible.

If you can do it, don't worry about the higher benches. When I did the kitchen in my last house, I did benchtops 1 metre off the floor. I loved it. (I have a cranky back, and I'm a professional cook.) My current house has lower than standard benches and sink, and I hate them. The new house will have high benchtops again. The first place has been rented out for a few years now and the tenants have always liked the high benches. (though not the slate benchtops - what was I thinking? never again!)


Greg Hudson
8th Apr 2004, 12:20 AM
I'll throw my 2c worth in too...

I'm 186cm (6'1") and being chief bottle washer, spend a lot of time at the sink every night BENT OVER to get to the dishes at the bottom (and this iis with a 'standard' 900mm high bench. I HATE THE BUGGER who thought up this 'standard'. Generally the population is getting taller & taller each year... how come bench heights have not also moved into the 21st century as well ?

I say GO FOR IT and stick with you higher cupboards.

BTW, you MAY find the kickers are removable - in which case it will be easy to chip away some of the mortar to reinstall higher kickers. (Maybe not though!) :-)

Regards, Greg.

8th Apr 2004, 09:19 AM
It's a small kitchen, so you're not looking at a HUGE job. The tiled splashback will need to be redone if you pull the cupboards out and lower them. Can't see any major problems though.

If you go for the high kicks, the first problem that stands out is what to do with the dishwasher. Some of them have an adjustable kick plate but I'll bet with 5cm kicks if this one has one, it's already stretched. The end of the bench on the left presents a problem as well because it doesn't have a kick, so you'll end up with a 2-3" gap under it that you'll have to do something with.

I think you can probably get away with doing it either way but pulling it out, digging up the floor and putting it back in gets my vote. I think it will look better and you'll be happier with the result.

11th Apr 2004, 03:01 PM
Knowing how much work is involved in putting in a kitchen, I would be thinking about removing the tiles and leaving the existing cupboards in place.
To see if the height is going to be too high, get a piece of chipboard or similar and sit it on phonebooks on top of the existing bench, (someting to raise it up to the level it would be without the tiles) and see if you can manage with this new height.

If this proves OK, you could remove the tiles and put drawers at the bottom in place of kickboards. This all depends on whether the tiles go underneath the cupboards (to the walls). If the tiles are underneath the cupboards you would have a step. In this case put in dummy drawers (only the fronts) in stead of kickboards.

13th Apr 2004, 01:15 PM
Ok, so an update on the last four days.

We pulled the tiles out of the loungeroom on Friday, and then had to deal with the lino underneath on Saturday. Luckily it was on masonite, but it was really difficult to pull out, and then we had all the nails to pull out - I wish we'd counted them. After this effort we couldn't cope with the thought of the tiles in the kitchen, and the hire company had forgotten to collect the scaffolding so we thought we'd better make use of it and have primed 1/2 the house now. This weekend I'll do the tiles in the dining room which is on a concrete slab and is a nice small area for me to do on my own (well, with the help of a 9 yo!) and then we'll do the kitchen probably the weekend after. THe boards underneath look good. After much consideration, reading everyone's suggestions, I think we're going to leave the cabinets on the tiles for now.

Chris - my idea is to chip away at the tiles and the mortar so that we can either replace the kickboards or put new ones over the existing kickboards.

I like the idea of either putting a draw in, or even a fake draw - I've seen this done on kitchens in England but hadn't seen it done here.

I know that the end of the bench on the left, and also the surround for the fridge will be a problem - I think we'll either cut a piece of the laminate and attach it to the bottom (cheaper and not so nice option) or have new pieces of laminate to fit the new length (more expensive but nice option!).

We'll keep you informed.

BTW, the loungeroom looks amazing without the tiles - beautiful baltic pine that will polish up a treat!

14th Apr 2004, 09:43 AM
jane, there is an article on kitchen upgrades in the September 2003 American Woodworker which covers fitting drawers into kickboards. Rather than try and fit draw slides under the cupboards the article suggests making a "cradle" which fits under the cupboard and the drawer goes into the cradle.