Oops! Can't Stand Up that Too-Tall Cabinet

Suggestions for recovering on site from a bonehead cabinet design error. December 9, 2007

I built a full size cabinet for a laundry room and am having problems getting it in. It will not clear the ceiling because I did my calculations for more clearance and am limited in between the garage door and house door. If I could turn the cabinet and stand it up, it would clear, but I can't do this. Has anyone run into this problem, and what have you done to correct the issue? I was looking at cutting this down at the mid rail, making it into two cabinets, but am concerned about the joinery and what that would look like. I am contemplating redoing it. Believe it or not, this is the first time I have made this error.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor K:
Sheetrock repair is fast, cheap, and easy. You may consider taking out a section of ceiling.

From contributor W:
I agree with contributor K. I have a guy that does patches for $25 each. I have also cut a cabinet in half before with a skilsaw and straight edge, then put it back together with biscuits once it was in place. It was paint grade, though, and was being painted in place.

From the original questioner:
I don't think I could get away with the drywall method because of the limited space and the size of the cabinet. It was just a bonehead move on my part. This is stain grade and I am trying to sell the client on garage cabinets if I can't think of anything else.

From contributor D:
Can you remove toekick, build separate toe box, set toebox, stand up cabinet, then slide onto kick?

From contributor L:
Cut angles on the top or bottom (back) sides of the cabinet. Lift the cabinet in place and cover the cut off corners with trim of some sort.

From contributor G:
Would removing door jambs and casings give you any more wiggle room to turn the cabinet?

From the original questioner:
No, I did remove both doors and it doesn't look like this is going to happen. I usually like to do single full-height cabinets and to tell you the truth, have never had to build two units and am not sure how to go about doing this without showing a joint line.

From contributor D:
Cut it in half and make a transition molding, copying door edge detail top and bottom. Make it look like it was meant to be.

From contributor M:
This thread might help you from it happening again:
Tall Cabinet Calculations for Ceiling Clearance

From the original questioner:
Thank you. The molding is an option, I believe. As far as the calculations, I already know that, but when I figured for the height, I just used the depth instead of the width. If I could turn the cabinet in this small space, the height would be correct. This was just stupid on my part, not taking the time for design. Thanks for the responses.

From contributor J:
A builder friend of mine was doing a high end closet in Portland. He gave me specs for a full height 16" deep shelf unit, all to look like big one piece. We split it to two to get it in. Since I never saw the jobsite, I figured with all of his experience, the design would stand up. He thought it would be tight, but would work. He couldn't even get the thing into the closet, let alone stand it up. Even the pros screw up big time on these.

From the original questioner:
If I cut this cabinet in half, the only thing I am worried about is the trim work on the face frame. How would I trim this to make it look right? I can skin the inside with 1/4".

From contributor C:
Cover the seam with a flat astragal molding.

From contributor J:
Pop the face frame off, cut the cab in half, reassemble in place. Two seams to deal with, some table saw made mouldings - small, thin, flat would do the trick. It's only a laundry room, not a kitchen. When you're done it will still look better than anything they could buy at Home Depot. Sometimes it's faster to get out the tools and go at it than to think about it.