Is there an easy way to adjust countertop height?

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Forum topic by mcg1990 posted 04-08-2015 09:21 PM 1049 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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158 posts in 712 days

04-08-2015 09:21 PM

I’ve spent the last couple of days building some base cabinets for the shop, but sadly they’re not level due to being built on sloppily poured concrete (also my fault).

As you can probably deduce; I’m recessing my mitre saw into the tabletop. The plan is to eventually have all kinds of T-tracks and stuff going on, but right now I just need a good level tabletop.

The top is made out of two 3/4” sheets of ply laminated together. As the top is >8’ long I’ve had to make it in parts, so although SketchUp doesn’t show it, the mitre saw recess actually extends to the back of the bench and the table is split in two. They’re both independent from each other.

But now I get to laying the tops on the cabinets I find that they’re not level. With themselves or with each other.

Is there any hardware in existence that are essentially adjustable mounting brackets for cabinet tops? Something that I can get underneath and tweak with a screwdriver to adjust the level.


17 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile


2104 posts in 1592 days

#1 posted 04-08-2015 09:32 PM

Kitchen cabinets are shimmed at the floor until they are level and lined up. No floor is ever totally level.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View mcg1990's profile


158 posts in 712 days

#2 posted 04-08-2015 09:34 PM

Aye, sadly these are the first cabinets I’ve built though, and I’ve made sure that I can’t do anything like that.. I think I have to tackle the problem at the countertop itself.

So far all I can think of is using levelling feet to get it where I want it, then use L-brackets to secure it in place. Does anyone else have a more elegant solution?

View Troy Cleckler 's profile

Troy Cleckler

384 posts in 790 days

#3 posted 04-08-2015 09:35 PM

Shim cabinets at the floor and screw them together and to the wall. Solid top and less likely to warp.

-- Troy. - Measure twice, cut once and fill the gaps....

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2416 days

#4 posted 04-08-2015 11:57 PM

As johnstoneb and Troy said. Shim them at the base. Any other readjusting is going to look crooked and be weaker. Thats just how it is done !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2390 days

#5 posted 04-09-2015 12:10 AM

Are they (the base cabinets) anchored to the floor and/or wall?
If they are, you might have to do what you were talking about; adjust the mounting of the top.
Otherwise, I’d be shimming the bottom; even if I had to remove a bunch of screws in the back.

If you absolutely have to adjust at the top, perhaps you can install a level, co-planar, apron on top of the inside perimeter of the base frame. Then set the top on this apron and trim the gap or fill it with something.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 641 days

#6 posted 04-09-2015 01:05 AM

If it’s the kick area your worried about you can always cut a façade. In new construction cabs are often installed prior to the und. layment so the shims are hidden. On older homes the house has had yrs or decades to settle/go mental, so if the und lay is already there a thin façade can be applied to cover the gaps.

-- I meant to do that!

View waho6o9's profile


7118 posts in 1996 days

#7 posted 04-09-2015 01:15 AM

All concrete has a slope for drainage.

Build a big ol rectangular box and make it level where you want your cabinets.

Fasten to the concrete, lay ply on top and then secure your cabinets to the ply
and the wall and your done.

View mcg1990's profile


158 posts in 712 days

#8 posted 04-09-2015 01:40 AM

I’ll do my best to shim the box that I built the cabinets on, but if I do have to end up shimming/finding hardware to adjust the top, can anyone suggest any products or rigs?

View MT_Stringer's profile


2819 posts in 2650 days

#9 posted 04-09-2015 01:43 AM

If it is not too late, build a ladder frame. Level it and anchor to the wall. Then place your cabinets on top and screw them together.

There is a lot more info in my blog that details our kitchen remodel.

Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View jak77's profile


18 posts in 1361 days

#10 posted 04-09-2015 01:52 AM

Never fasten cabinets on two planes. Houses move. Enough movement will tear apart your cabinets.

Assemble flat boxes across the top. The top will be completely supported this way. Shim the boxes at the floor or use adjustable legs and then scribe the kick to fit the floor.

View joey502's profile


482 posts in 937 days

#11 posted 04-09-2015 10:44 AM

Can you shim in between the cabinet and the top itself?
Do you have a picture of the cabinets you can post?
Is the unit one long cabinet or smaller cabinets joined together?

View rwe2156's profile


2113 posts in 900 days

#12 posted 04-09-2015 11:47 AM

Aye, sadly these are the first cabinets I’ve built though, and I’ve made sure that I can’t do anything like that.. I think I have to tackle the problem at the countertop itself.

What does this mean? Are you cabinets not all the same height?
Are they separate units?
If not, how did you build them?

Either way, leg levelers will solve your issue.

Scribe the toe kick to the floor and you’ll be good to go.

I used these.

If you can’t do that, then you can scab a cleat to the sides and level them off.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 650 days

#13 posted 04-09-2015 12:07 PM

As stated above: dont tweak the tops, tweak the cabinets. Even if you have a huge gap at the bottom you can run base over it and hide it. But everything therein will always be dead level like the bottoms of drawers.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Ken 's profile


17 posts in 647 days

#14 posted 04-11-2015 05:51 AM

Cabinet maker showed me years ago how he does it. Lay the cabinets on their back. Line up the tops. Screw the sides of the cabinets together. Now as one big assembly, stand them up. Screw to the wall. Shim the base. Cover the gaps. And don’t use the old wood shims. Get the engineered wood shims as they will not compress with age.

View skatefriday's profile


379 posts in 902 days

#15 posted 04-11-2015 03:00 PM

Bob Lang recommends building separate bases, lay the base down, shim it level
and then place the cabinet on top of the base. The base forms the toe kick area.
I’ve made four cabinets that way so far. None of them are installed yet.
I’ll let you know how it goes. :-)

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