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Thread: Installing Countertops on Sloped Floors

  1. #1

    Installing Countertops on Sloped Floors

    I am installing new countertops, but I need to get my cabinets level first. There is an inch and a half difference between the highest and lowest cabinet. Also, the floors are sloped pretty drastically around the perimeter of the room, so some cabinets need to be raised 1.5 inches in the back and 1 inch in the front. My plan is to put 1/2 inch plywood under any cabinet that needs to be raised at lease that much in the front and the back. Then, I was going to screw 2x4s to the walls in the corners for the countertops to rest on and put shims on the front of the cabinets. The countertops could rest on the 2x4s and the fronts of the cabinets. There would be gaps between the countertops and the cabinets, but they would be hidden by the walls, fridge, and stove. Does anyone have a better idea? The pencil line in the picture is where the top of the cabinet should be.

  2. #2
    The implications of your plan are not quite clear. Are you planning to have varying height shims between cabinets and countertop? If so, how will that affect the appearance of the kitchen?

    Typically the shimming would occur at floor level, disguised by finished toekicks. You may be able to cut down the cabinet heights at the high points of the floor if the relevant appliances allow it and you want to limit the counter height to a certain number.

    Is this your own kitchen? If not, you should consult with the contractor/homeowner.

    Is there any opportunity for levelling the floor? Is there some structural issue that needs to be addressed before setting the cabinets?

  3. #3
    I would do all your leveling underneath the cabinets, with whatever combination of bases or shims necessary. You want the cabinets themselves to be lined up even and level, not just the countertops.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Your description is unclear. Are all the cabinets the same height top to bottom? or are they differing heights? Or is it just the floor that varies? The previous answers assume you are only worried about the floor.
    Bil lD

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Doylestown, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    Is there any opportunity for leveling the floor? Is there some structural issue that needs to be addressed before setting the cabinets?
    That's my thought. 1 1/2" seems like quite a bit.

  6. #6
    Are these euro cabinets?

  7. #7
    You want the counter tops to be level and at a comfortable height. I think it is time to determine why the floor is so out of level. It sounds like there are some significant structural problems. Yes it will be more work than just shimming cabinets, but in the long run it may well save money.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  8. No need to worry about shimming the countertops if you set the cabinets level then the countertop should be level or need very minimal shimming. It starts with the cabs but if you level them then the countertop will automatically be level since it sits on top of the leveled cabinets and not the floor.

    For your cabinets you have two options with the best method being a little bit of both.

    Option one is to scribe the base cabinets to the floor. You could use a circular saw, track saw, belt sander, jig saw or what ever your preferred method of scribing might be.

    Option two is to shim the cabs how ever much is necessary with big thick shims. Once you get them shimmed and leveled then screw them to the walls through their backs and screw them to each other through their face frames using a countersink bit. Since at this point you may have some of your base cabs floating off the floor you could then add some blocking under the part not touching the floor then scribe and install your toe kick. Boom done!

  9. #9
    Thanks for the replies. The cabinets are all the same height, it is just the floor that isn't level. Unfortunately, at this point leveling the floor isn't really an option (even though the entire place has uneven floors). I think I'm going to have to shim the cabinets up from the bottom.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Are these existing cabinets or are you building them? If the former, use a design that has the toe kick section separate so you can shim a base across the entire run of the cabinets before setting the actual (rectangular) boxes on top. This is the absolute BEST way to install base cabinets in an existing structure, especially one that's older and crazy way out of my house. If the boxes exist, you need to find the high point and work from there with shimming the individual cabinet carcasses.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Western Nebraska
    I'll try to add something useful. Installing cabinets is one of the ways I make my living. Believe it or not, your floor isn't to far from normal. Lots of cement slabs in good shape actually have that much variance in them. It's a lot easier to deal with than you are thinking. You'll need a laser, then set it so the line at the highest point of the floor is the top of a cabinet without shims. You then work from a corner, installing and shimming as needed as you go, keeping that laser line as the top of the cabinet reference. You have to have a level countertop surface, especially for stone, and this process accomplishes that. Wood scraps and shims are all it takes. Screw it all together as you go, and to the wall studs. Finish by attaching a toekick. Most of the time you can just install a 4" kick on the floor and the differing gap at the top cannot be seen, so you don't even have to cope it unless it bothers you.

    In your case, if the cabinets are already installed, you'll have to take them down and start over.

  12. #12
    If you could snap a level line on the wall behind the cabinets, You could cut a 2x2 or 1x2 and fasten that to the wall at the rear, floor level only level. That would give the cabinets a level edge to set the cabinets on, and you could level out the width of the base of the cabinet and put another board fastened to the floor as well, cut level with the board in the rear. Then your cabinets have a level base to set. Screw cabinets to wall and together. Ready for tops.

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