Base/platform/toe-kick for stacked cabinet boxes?

Old 08-19-16, 05:23 PM
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Base/platform/toe-kick for stacked cabinet boxes?

Hi all,

I have a very basic question about cabinet installation! I'm a total noob, so thanks for your consideration of my very basic question

I just finished building 8 storage cabinets (simple frameless boxes). They are each 2' high by 3' wide with inset doors made from 3/4 baltic birch (all sides and shelves). I am stacking them 4 high (8 feet) in 2 columns. The ceiling is almost 9 feet, giving me almost a foot between the top cabinet and ceiling.

The floor is a concrete pad. I covered the concrete with a vapor retarder coating and then laid down commercial solid vinyl floor tiles.

Should I construct a base / platform / toe kick to place the first cabinet box on?

Aside from providing correct counter height and a toe-kick for cabinets with a countertop, I don't see the need for a base platform for cabinets - but maybe I am missing something?

I see some benefits of *not* using a platform, and simply placing the base cabinet directly on the floor:
  • I don't have to spend more time constructing a platform
  • The significant weight of the cabinets (about 500 lbs per column unloaded, perhaps 1000+ loaded) can be borne by the floor rather than another structure (platform)
  • Placing the first cabinet directly on the ground gives me almost a foot of additional storage between the top cabinet and ceiling

The benefits of using a platform that I've come up with are:
  • Very slightly easier to shim one platform rather than 2 base cabinets for the 2 columns of cabinets
  • If the water heater leaks or the utility room otherwise floods, the platform would be damaged but not the base cabinet
  • Maybe (???) it would be better for the base cabinet to not be placed directly on the concrete floor, even though the concrete has had a vapor retarder applied as well as solid vinyl tile.

I appreciate any comments. Thanks for reading
Old 08-19-16, 05:40 PM
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Toe kicks are useful in most houses for several reasons. In kitchens, it allows you to stand close to the counter without leaning in or feeling awkward. It also provides space for a vacuum or mop, preventing the cabinet faces from getting beat up. Occasionally forced air heat and a/c will be ducted to a register located in the toe kick. And just generally speaking, most prefab cabinets come with a built in toekick.

Frameless cabinets, similar to what you have, are often set on a toe kick frame... the frame is levelled, then the boxes are installed on top, simplifying and speeding the install. Of course, an additional panel needs to be added on any exposed (finished) ends to cover up the seam between the box (on top) and the toe kick (below).

A furniture toe is similar to a standard recessed toe kick, but it is not recessed. It is sized so that baseboard can run around the unit, giving it the appearance of being built in. I would suggest that your cabinet be installed in this manner. Keeps it off the floor, raises the bottom shelf, and probably makes it a bit easier to clean around. The baseboard covers the seam between the box and toe kick.
Old 08-20-16, 07:00 AM
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I agree with installing a toe kick. It even looks more professional to do so. One caution, if you have 4 boxes at 2' each in height, you may not have the additional height to install a kick if your ceiling is 8' in height. If the ceiling is taller, then nevermind.
Old 08-20-16, 07:07 AM
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If only for the benefits you mention a toe kick is worth it.
Old 08-20-16, 09:13 AM
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I would add that adding the toe kick makes the piece look better also. IMO having the shelves start right at the floor looks unprofessional.

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