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Always use metal


I was forwarded this by a contractor asking us to step in and fix this mess. Evidently this cabinetmaker thought that his stapled on back would be sufficient to support a floating cabinet with a granite top. So much wrong with this situation. The cabinetmaker is obviously an idiot. But what about the granite guy? And the jobsite superintendant? Nobody looked at this and thought "hmm, where's the metal?"

View higher quality, full size image (1089 X 1936)

View higher quality, full size image (1089 X 1936)

3/1/17       #2: Always use metal ...

I guess that's why it's called the "staple and screw" method instead of just "staple".

Don't think you can pin this on anyone but the cabinet builder.

3/1/17       #3: Always use metal ...
rich c.

Was there an architect or designer involved? The guy could have built it to spec, but if they did, there should have been a phone call made. Could have also been a mid project change to go to stone top. That's giving them the benefit of the doubt, but it's happened before!

3/1/17       #4: Always use metal ...
Alan F.

Maybe the cabinets were built and they decided later to omit the kick or decided in the field after everything was there.

3/1/17       #5: Always use metal ...
Leo G

Doesn't even look like staples.

Bare minimum would be a trapped back

3/1/17       #6: Always use metal ...

I hate it when that happens!

3/2/17       #7: Always use metal ...
door shop guy

I always built my cabinets with 3/4" backs.

3/2/17       #8: Always use metal ...
james e mcgrew Member


Remember, there are disclaimers by architects on drawings, Shop drawings should have caught this, If the Cabinetmaker accepted the substrate and blocking, then some one was asleep at the wheel at both fabrication.

3/2/17       #9: Always use metal ...

We must reach a firm consensus on the idiocy of the cabinet guy.

Big wall hung cabinet, stone counter top, dovetailed drawers, plus glass shelves, glass doors, and the homeowner threw in a few glasses for good measure.

Definitely a front runner for the dumb ass of 2017 award. He's got my vote.

3/2/17       #10: Always use metal ...
door shop guy

Hey...he uses Blum undermounts...he must be good! LOL

3/2/17       #11: Always use metal ...
Alan F.

I think the 6" lag screw would have worked if there was something in the wall, that screw just has drywall on it but that could be because it pulled out through the rock.

Definitely not enough information here. If the wing walls were installed first and were expected to hold the cabinets well....

3/2/17       #12: Always use metal ...


Normally when you start installation the walls are already sheetrocked & painted.

How is the installer supposed to evaluate the substrate & blocking?

3/2/17       #13: Always use metal ...
pat gilbert

Legally if you start doing the installation you have tacitly/legally taken responsibility for the condition of the job and it is all on you.

In the contract/quote you should dictate that blocking is required.

3/2/17       #14: Always use metal ...
james e mcgrew Member


Cab,, We would have used a wall stud finder first to look for horizontal blocking,, then marked where the piece would be covered then drilled holes in a non conspicious location to confirm.. and for the most part i would have preconfirmed. My men phot everything at all site visits and send them email to me,,

we have done Large gang restrooms suspended for and the US army barracks we are involved with blocking when it is our work

View higher quality, full size image (1024 X 683)

View higher quality, full size image (1024 X 683)

3/2/17       #15: Always use metal ...
Family Man

I guess we have differing views here to me. Looks like the back stayed on the wall so this has almost nothing to do with blocking but how the cabinet itself was constructed. First problem is particle board-I'm not against using it in it's rightful place (slab veneer doors/panels and in some cases boxes) but a floating cabinet is not the place. Second, no screws or glue- only staples.

I know with our plywood boxes we do not use any metal brackets or blocking inside the cabinets. 3/4" sides and 3/4" backs with the backs screwed every 8" all the way around with a 2" screw suffices on floating vanities and the like. We don't spec how they get hung on the wall but this has me thinking I might add that clause...

I also did not see a lot of glue/epoxy/setting compound holding down that stone top. That thing probably shot off there like a missile.

3/3/17       #16: Always use metal ...
Alan F.

We do backing drawings and details on every job, for certified seismic jobs we inspect the backing and take photos.

We exclude the backing and blocking but we are responsible for locating it.

It should have never happened nut we don't know what happened in what sequence, maybe it was rocked and the cabinet was added, maybe the site super said he wouldn't open the wall, maybe the cabinetmaker or his installer has no clue, or maybe its a combination of all of the above.

The guy installing tried to put a very big lag screw in not sure where it went. or what happened. Obviously you can rely on a plant on back that is stapled on.

3/3/17       #17: Always use metal ...

A few simple $30 L brackets such as those from would have completely solved the problem. The cabinetmaker wouldn't of even had to alter his construction. In recent years we have performed dozens of installations involiving floating cabinets. Without metal sopport of some kind, your cabinets WILL sag, even if they don't fail. Why not use metal when it's so cheap and easy? Use the simple solutions.

3/3/17       #18: Always use metal ...
pat gilbert

The torsion box idea works as well

3/3/17       #19: Always use metal ...

Spelling correction: support

3/3/17       #20: Always use metal ...
Family Man

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the sag. To get sag, you'd have to have space between the bottom of your sides and the wall, otherwise your 3/4" side (or whatever thickness) basically acts like a huge corbel, especially when built euro style and you are doubling up sides. Without that gap, all stress is transmitted to the back (if also 3/4)" and more then thick enough to distrubute weight to the next stud- no more than 7.25" away at a maximum without give- even given the stress of time.

If there are super wide cases I would agree with you but anything 36" or less I'm not sure of the need.

Convince know I respect your opinion.

3/4/17       #21: Always use metal ...

This isn't rocket science. Build a strong box out of 3/4" ply. Screw & glue at least a 1/2"(3/4" is better) back on the box. Lag screw with washers into the studs. Done. No blocking required.

Have a beer, count your money, and sleep well knowing it will never fall off the wall. Even if the counter top guy stands on top of the stone he just installed.

3/4/17       #22: Always use metal ...


We have tried virtually every method of supporting floating cabinets that there is. We even went as far as turnbuckles inside the cabinets. It doesn't take much for a long 24" deep vanity with a granite top to have a noticeable 1/4" sag at the front edge, even when the side panels are tight to the wall. So where does it come from? I happen to believe it's a combination of things, including compression of the drywall at the bottom, "stretch" where the cabinet is fastened at the top, and flex in the studs themselves. I personally have pushed on the front edge of a few floating vanities and watched the entire wall flex.

We use several different solutions depending on the circumstance; the design of the cabinet, the amount of mechanical we need to navigate around, the availability of studs and blocking, height of the object we're hanging, visibility of the supports, willingness of the contractor to patch walls, etc.

Every situation is different. About half the time we can use inexpensive pre-made metal supports, and the other half we end up with something custom fabricated. A very effective solution we use is a rectangular piece of 1/4" plate steel equal to the width and height of a cabinet (can be an individual cabinet or 1 or 2 within a group) with the center cut away so that it looks like a picture frame. To this, two "arms" are welded that stick forward. These arms are routed into the side of the box. The arms can be low on the box or high, it makes no difference. This rectangle can now be surface mounted to the drywall and it's width and height allow for flexible and multiple mounting points to whatever is available.

This method would not have been required for the situation shown in the original post, for that I would have spent $120 on a few surface mounted L brackets.

3/4/17       #23: Always use metal ...
Family Man

For those that don't know I was trained in DS's shop. While we have had our bumps in the road, there is not a man in the industry whose opinion I respect more. He's makes as fine product as can be made and I've seen hundreds of millions of dollars in product in thousands of homes since I left his shop fifteen years ago.

That said, I'm not following the logic here. If there are three problems- 1)drywall compression 2) stretch in the cabinet 3) flex in the studs themselves.

If using metal brackets you are condensing the load to even fewer load points. Which means your drywall compression and your flex in the studs would be greater, not less.

On the 1/4" steel frame, unless the plywood back in itself is condensing/compressing I don't see how this fixes any of the problems except stretch in the cabinet itself- and it adds additional weight. Which I would consider a downfall.

I guess I will need to study if the stretch in the cabinet itself is likely, otherwise it seems additional cost, weight and time involved.

However, all that said we know that a good portion of our job isn't just to make a sound product that will stand the test of time but to minimize liability- even if it is perception of liability. That seems to have great merit to me and especially in the market and pricepoint I know DS works in seems to be a winning solution.

3/4/17       #24: Always use metal ...

It's entirely possible that I've just gotten so accustomed to using metal that trying to find ways around NOT using it seems like a waste of time to me. It works well, it works every time, and I don't need to convince anyone (except here) of the value. The contractors appreciate it, the homeowners appreciate it, the cabinet installers appreciate it, and the countertop fabricators appreciate it. It's just one of those decisions that was thought about and tested years ago that I no longer spend much time thinking about, until I'm faced with a situation like in my original post and I find it hard to believe that metal is not commonplace. Are there other methods that can provide adequate results? Sure, I suppose so.

3/6/17       #25: Always use metal ...

Images taken from one of our installations I visited today. Absolutely rock solid, could sit 2 or 3 250lb adult male Trump supporters on it and it still wouldn't budge. (sorry for that last bit Robert, all in good fun)

View higher quality, full size image (1328 X 747)

View higher quality, full size image (747 X 1328)

3/6/17       #26: Always use metal ...
cabinetmaker engineer


You will never change the opinion of a Trumpanzi. They are in it for other reasons. Information that is contrary to pre-conceived notions simply does not compute.

Your metal supports are kind of like building a great big wall. They don't actually do much except to improve your constituent's morale.

3/6/17       #27: Always use metal ...
Family Man

Looks good as always. We only do maybe a dozen a year of the floating vanities- have never had any issues doing it as we described but there is no doubt that your way is a first class way to go and a no brainer in the market place you play in. I wonder how much of the differences you and I are describing is because of your captured back vs our applied 3/4"- I'm thinking that might explain some our differences of opinion on this.

250- those are the lightweights!

3/8/17       #28: Always use metal ...
Peter Rawlings

It's gravity's fault.

Suspend that phenomenon and the world's your oyster!

3/19/17       #29: Always use metal ...
Kevin Dunphy


The other 2 examples are wall to wall big difference lots of meat to screw into
The one that failed is way to heavy even with out granite you only have the wall no side .You could be responsible for putting extra stress on the studs big risk
I would be curios to see a cabinet that size floating with no side support

3/25/17       #31: Always use metal ...
Jerry Hankins  Member


If I were designing wall hung base cabinets and had concern about the weight of the stone counters, I'd have steel angle brackets made, use multiple lags per bracket into the studs, install the base cabinets up under the brackets (notched accordingly) then the stone. The majority of the load would be on the steel, not the cabinetry on the steel. But hey, that's just my $0.02. Not sure about the relevance of "Trump"??

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