How to Build a Kitchen Island
Increase your food prep and storage space by using modular kitchen cabinets and pre-made countertops to create an island or a kitchen bar in your home.
The addition of a kitchen island or bar will increase your options for seating, workspace and storage; without enduring the headache and hassle that often comes with a full kitchen remodel. The design options are almost limitless, and it's quickly done using pre-made modular cabinets. This is simple way to increase the value of the floor space that you already have.
Finalize the Design
Give a lot of thought about how you want to use your island before finalizing a design. How much seating will you need? Are you short on storage space? Do you want cabinets with doors or open shelving? Use the answers to these questions in the design process and you'll be thrilled with the final result.
Ensure Proper Placement of the Island
Utilize a pattern made of cardboard to simulate the footprint of your island design. This will allow you to visualize exactly how much floor space will be taken up, as well as giving you the opportunity to ensure that all dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator doors have sufficient room to open. One the final placement is determined. Mark the corners with tape so that you can easily place the cabinets in the correct location.
Join the Cabinet Faces
Arrange the cabinets side by side according to the design of the island. The cabinets should be joined by drilling pilot holes and then recessing the screws into the faceplates. Make sure that the heads of the screws are recessed deep enough to allow the doors and drawers room to close properly.
Secure the Backs of the Cabinets
Base cabinets would ordinarily be secured to the wall when installed. Since your island won’t be against a wall, the backs of the cabinets must be fastened each other to ensure stability. Slide a spacer in between each cabinet and screw them together. Use a Japanese saw to trim to excess length off the spacers. This tool is ideal for flush cuts. Make sure that the spacer is flush with the top of the cabinet, or else the counter-top will not sit level on top of the base.
Custom Extensions for Shorter Cabinets
For this project, wall cabinets were incorporated in the design. They are shorter than the base cabinets that make up the rest of the island, so extensions must be built to make them the same height. Ensure that the base makes these cabinets the exact height as the rest of the island to that the top sits level.
Secure the Remaining Cabinets
Repeat the fastening steps for the cabinet faces and back for each pair. Make sure all of the spacers trimmed as well. You must have a level surface to set the top on to.
Add Decorative and Finish Pieces
The cabinet backs will be exposed, so you’ll need to add some bead board or other veneer pieces to cover these and give your island a finished appearance. This is done using a combination of nails and glue. You can also install any moldings or other trim pieces at this time. Once the trim is in place, a wax pencil can be used to fill any nail holes.
Install Support Columns
The countertop selected for this specific project has a fairly large overhang that requires some additional support. A specially ordered, pre-made column must be installed to bear the extra weight of the overhang.
Install the Island Top
There are a number of options to consider when choosing your top. In this case we’ve selected a special order Butcher Block. Once it is set in to place, it will need to be finished.
Finish the Top
When selecting the proper finish for your Butcher Block top, you’ll need to spend a little bit of time thinking about how you will be using the surface. If you are going to be preparing food directly on the surface, then use a mineral oil or some other food safe sealer to protect the surface. If you simply want to seal and protect the wood from spills, then use the polyurethane product of your choice.
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