July 25, 2005

Effectiv wall cabinets and US stud spacing

Recently, I purchased two gorgeous Effectiv wall cabinets from Ikea to mount in our bedroom-office. Last night, I made the short-sighted mistake of recycling the boxes prior to mounting the cabinets. This morning I got organized, got my 3" #14 wood screws, a drill bit for the pilot holes, and a 48" Empire level from Home Depot. After marking the studs, I was shocked to discover that the studs were too far apart to hold the Effectiv wall cabinet (about 35 lbs). In the United States, studs are typically 16" apart, sometimes 24". The metal bracketed cabinet holes? About 30" apart. Problem.

Since I tossed out my boxes, Ikea wanted a whopping 30% to take back the cabinets. Add to these the glass doors, and now there is a substantial financial incentive to get this to work. Now, how can I get it to work in an aesthetic manner? Apparently, I'm not the first to face this problem. H.S. Cambell, on an ImproveNet board, proposed "running a metal strip to across the length of the cabinets, attaching that strip to all available studs, and then where a stud is not available, using a toggle bolt or screw to fasten the cabinet through the metal strip."

LiveModern has a substantial thread on mounting Ikea wall cabinets. Steve_OH suggests

If the person who framed your kitchen was thinking ahead, there will be blocking (horizontal 2x4s) installed in the walls at the right level for attaching your base cabinets. If so, then you have it made. If not, you'll need to drill new holes in the cabinet backs. In any case, walls are rarely perfectly flat, so you'll want to get some tapered cedar shims (you can get them at your local Home Depot/Lowe's-type of store), and insert one (or more, if required) between the cabinet and the wall at each stud, and adjust them so that the backs of the cabinets are all perfectly aligned.

An alternative is to attach a 1x4 furring strip to the studs at the right height (use the shims!), and then attach the cabinets to that strip. The advantage is that the cabinets are well secured right where they need to be, without concern about the location of the studs. The disadvantage is that the cabinets are 3/4" further away from the wall, which means that you might have a fitting problem if you have any corners, and an off-the-shelf countertop might not be deep enough.

If you're not using the furring strip, use 2-1/2" drywall screws to attach the cabinets to the studs. You don't need to drill pilot holes, but you may want to drill holes just through the plaster to minimize cracking. If you are using the furring strip, use the 2-1/2" drywall screws to attach the furring strip to the studs, and then use 1-5/8" drywall screws to attach the cabinets to the furring strip.

Will a drywall anchor ala E-Z Ancor be strong enough? I'd really hate to see the cabinet pull out a huge chunk of wall. Maybe that is the way to go. E-Z Toggle claims to hold up to 90 lbs. I could do one stud and one drywall anchor...

Robert E. Lee from Fremont wrote for Mercury News:

One drawback to the Ikea wall-mounted cabinets: European and U.S. studs are placed at different widths apart, so the mounting holes for the Ikea cabinets do not match up to our studs. I had to attach 1-by-3-foot boards to the wall first, drilling into the studs, then mount the cabinets to these boards through the mounting holes.

Posted by torque at July 25, 2005 11:35 PM | TrackBack
Comments

You know I have the exact same problem. Very irritating. The effective design basically _requires_ the screws that attach the shelf to the wall/mounting strip to be ~29.5 inches apart. You can't tweak this at all. So now there's two problems:

1) How to attach a mounting strip to the wall. The livemodern thread covers this pretty well. I'll probably use a 3" screw to attach a strip into the studs. Question: can an Akurum mounting rail be used with an Effectiv shelf?

2) How to attach the shelf to the mounting strip. This is the hard problem. Whats the point in having 3" screws attaching the mounting strip to the studs when you have a ~1" screw attaching the shelf to the mounting strip? (Assuming a 3/4" thick mounting strip).

I don't want a super thick mounting strip cause it will just push the shelf further out from the wall. The Ikea design doesn't allow for additional screws to be used to take the load unless you really hack it.

The presence of the mounting strip itself creates issues. If it's 3/4" thick, then the shelf is pushed out from the wall and when fully loaded with books it will probably tip forward slightly. To solve this problem, you need a second strip below the upper mounting strip just to keep the damn thing hanging straight.

Thank goodness I still have my boxes. Seriously considering returning all this crap. And to think Ikea's slogan these days is 'fits'. What a joke.

Cheers, Blair

Posted by: Blair at August 9, 2005 3:58 PM

Hi. I just encountered exactly the same problem. Both the IKEA store (East Palo Alto, CA) and my local hardware store told me that if I attach one of the connections to a wall stud and the second to a hollow wall anchor designed to handle a fair amount of weight (>100 lbs) I should be OK. I did this yesterday and it seems to work, meaning it hasn't fallen down! Just for safety's sake I also went ahead and put a metal L bracket on top where you can't see it. This is screwed into a wall stud in the middle and to the top of the cabinet.

It amazes me that IKEA doesn't at least sell a hardware mounting kit to take care of this problem, which probably happens with each and every cabinet they sell in the USA. Oh well...

Posted by: Bob Rydzewski at August 15, 2005 7:29 AM
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