Gaps Opening Up After Cabinet Installation

When base cabs seem to pull away from walls, the culprit is usually moisture-related movement of the house framing lumber. December 2, 2006

I installed some cabinets in a new house and now, about a year later, there is a 1/4" gap between the wall and the countertop and I know it was tight when I installed it. And the cabinets are tight at the bottom and 1/4" away from the wall at the top of the base cabinets. I think the studs are shrinking or twisting. Has this happened to anyone? Any other ideas why this happened? How do you fix it?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor C:
It's the house that's moving, not your cabinets. If the owner asks you to adjust them, charge them a modest fee for doing so.

From contributor J:
Run over with your drill, some 4.5" screws, and pull the wall to the cabinet through the cabinet side panel. No charge - buy me and the wife dinner when you see me.

From contributor T:
This happens once in a while. It's always in the winter when moisture is low (in Montana anyway) and does heal itself somewhat in the spring. I attach all my splashes to the countertop, not the wall. Use paintable caulk between splash and wall so you can caulk over it if needed.

From contributor J:
Most common reason for this is cheap, wet, green lumber, and usually builders to match.

From contributor B:
Or when you screwed them to the wall, it pulled them back where the front came off the ground, and then when time and weight were added, they bent down and came away from wall on top. But I doubt that's what happened here.

From contributor M:
I wish I had $1.00 for every time a contractor screwed up on the foundation, so the house settled, and then tried to blame me for a bad install on the cabs. About the only way to fix the problem is to jack up the floor. And unless the questioner built the house or had anything to do with the floor, and it was the floor that sagged, then the questioner is off the hook. I did a job once where the floors were out of level, the walls were out of level and out of square.