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View Carol's profile

asking for help with counter support

by Carol
posted 01-29-2017 05:58 PM


21 replies so far

View EugdOT's profile

EugdOT

283 posts in 913 days


#1 posted 01-29-2017 06:29 PM

What I would do is rip a 2×4 in half and get my ledgers /cleats from there, you don’t need to go more that 1.5 inches for a counter that big, just make sure you put it on both sides and the full length of the back,
For the top I would use 1 pieces of 3/4 then build it up with another strip of 3/4 for the front to give it the appearance of 2 layers. That way you can screw up from the cleats bottoms so on screws on top later would be seen,
Iastly add your front to cover the plywood, and it will give you the appearance of a 1.5 top with less weight

The extra strip in front and the solid wood face frame should help decrease Bowing, if you still concerned about Bowing you can always add another strip to the middle.
Hope it helps

View ocean's profile

ocean

157 posts in 1191 days


#2 posted 01-29-2017 06:40 PM

I would agree with EugOT. I helped a cabinet maker for many years install cabinets and your only using it to fold clothes on, so 3/4 is plenty, just don’t sit on it. As he said the front plywood cover piece will add plenty of support to the ply and hide the cleats.

-- Bob, FL Keys

View MrStyle's profile

MrStyle

87 posts in 2088 days


#3 posted 01-29-2017 06:47 PM

For laundry room you might consider using a Melamine White Panel. These would stand up to moisture and are easier to wipe up.

I used melamine board 16×37 in a pantry with 1.5 plywood strips as the ledgers. I did run the ledger along both sides and entire back wall with 3 inch screws into the studs as well as washers on the screws. Ahh yes, the over engineered solution of the amateur…...I doubt that these shelves are taking more weight than what you are projecting and I have no sag at all. These have been in place for 3 years now.

I would say two layers isnt required.

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

335 posts in 2406 days


#4 posted 01-29-2017 07:06 PM

It looks like you have a structure in the middle between the washer and dryer. Between the support that can provide, if you take advantage of it, and the ledger and edge treatments you have sufficiently overdesigned it. I think the advice you collected above you could span the full 6 feet.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5200 posts in 4319 days


#5 posted 01-29-2017 07:33 PM

Why not just use a post-formed laminate top? Stupid simple and less expensive.
Bill

-- [email protected]

View jerryminer's profile (online now)

jerryminer

951 posts in 1800 days


#6 posted 01-29-2017 07:44 PM

Good advice above. 1×2 ledger is fine, as is single 3/4 top with lip in front.

How do you plan to hook up the dryer vent? Have you seen these? We used them on a recent project and loved them!

How about the water shut-off valves? I hope you are keeping them accessible—- not behind the washer under the countertop. I wouldn’t want to have to pull out a full washer to turn the valve off in case of a plumbing issue!

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1368 posts in 1278 days


#7 posted 01-29-2017 08:40 PM

Carol,

1” x 2” ledgers should provide adequate support of the countertop if firmly attached to the walls and the back wall ledger runs the full width of the back wall. However, attaching the countertop to the ledger could be difficult with on ¾” of ledger material available to catch the fasters. But if the countertop is attached from below with some figure 8 or zip clip fasteners into a narrower groove in the ledgers, this problem would be overcome. Unfortunately, using the figure 8 or z clips would require moving the washer and dryer out of the way if the countertop ever had to be removed. The alternative would be a wider ledger like EugdOT suggests.

I do not believe that two layers of plywood are necessary. The continuous back and side ledgers will support the plywood well. The front edge banding installed on-edge along would support the front of the plywood and reduce sagging. The wider the front edging, the greater the resistance imparted to the plywood against sagging, but a 1” x 2” is likely sufficient. My preference for installing the front edge banding would be to mill a rabbet in the edging that is deep enough to conceal the plywood’s raw edge. It would be glued in place with no biscuits or fasteners.

There is another option that provides support to a single layer of plywood and covers the raw edge; ¾” aluminum U channel. I found this product at the home center, painted it white, and attached it to the plywood with bugle head screws in countersunk holes in the aluminum from underneath. It has done a good job of supporting our pantry shelves (shorter than your counter top). However the aluminum U channel creates about a 1/16” – 1/8” lip on the upper surface. An advantage of the U channel is that it makes trimming the countertop to fit between the two walls during installation much easier. The countertop can be trimmed and fitted as a flat surface and then the U channel installed.

Even though you did not ask, I thought I would offer some gratuitous comments concerning the overall project. The countertop depth is 28-1/2”, the depth of the washer and dryer. Unless there is provision to recess the water and dryer connections into the wall, the front of the dryer will likely set between 34-1/2” to 37-1/12” out from the back wall. If this is the case, then the countertop will not extend out to the front edge of the washer and dryer unless the countertop depth is increased.

If the front of the washer and dryer ends up about 37” from the wall, accessing the upper cabinets could be difficult. Some additional framing to stand the upper cabinets further off the back wall would provide greater accessibility to the upper cabinets.

Another thought concerns accessibility to the back of the washer and dryer for maintenance. It may be necessary to access the back of the washer or dryer at some time in the future, for example, when it is time to replace the old washer hoses or clean the dryer lint pipe. If the countertop cannot be removed easily, getting to the hookups would require pulling the washer and dryer quite a distance out from the wall.

My last comments relates to cutting and installing the countertop. In my home, the walls rarely form ninety degree corners and the walls are not flat. As a result, a rectangular countertop almost never sides into place without presenting gaps. Making a template that conforms to the walls could be beneficial when it comes time to cut the countertop to fit. Cutting the ends of the countertop at a slight bevel can sometimes help the countertop drop in place while minimizing damage to the side walls and make scribing it to the walls easier.

View Carol's profile

Carol

62 posts in 871 days


#8 posted 01-29-2017 10:05 PM

great advice, all, thank you.

as far as accessing the water and electric for both appliances, the counter wouldn’t have a permanent install. i’ve thought a lot about how to make sure it’s stable but still moveable. what i finally came up with was drilling a hole in the ledger boards on each end, about 4” from the front. then installing a steel dowel under the countertop. the dowel only needs to be long enough to keep the counter from moving by accident. if i keep it to a single piece of 3/4, i can lift up the front of the installed top by myself and move it to the center of the room, allowing quick emergency access.

if i need to actually move the washer or dryer out, it should be easy enough to lift the countertop off the dowels, and slide it totally off the ledgers and remove it from the room.

jbrow , i hadn’t even thought about the corners of the walls not being square! what a great idea to come up with a template to i can scribe and bevel the new counter to fit!

both the washer and dryer sit about 5” away from the wall, unfortunately. both will be proud of the counter about 4”, which i think will look ok since that’s the depth of the control panels.

as it stands, as nice as the wall cabinets look, i can only reach the first shelf. i need a step stool to reach any higher, but the stuff i store there i rarely need.

wasted space, i know, but i like the way it looks :-)

if i had a router table i’d be making rabbets and dadoes…but alas…

on the learning curve side, however, i found out what can happen if i don’t clamp down a piece of wood well before i cut slots for biscuits. luckily, my chop saw was between the flying wood projectile and my window :)

-- Carol

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1363 posts in 1174 days


#9 posted 01-29-2017 10:12 PM

This is a project just begging for a torsion box type shelf. The span would be no problem and the shelf could be a lot lighter.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1368 posts in 1278 days


#10 posted 01-30-2017 01:15 AM

Carol,

One way to get some extra room behind the dryer is to install a Dryer Box. This box fits inside the wall cavity and gives the flex pipe somewhere to go when the dryer is shoved against the wall. If the back of the dryer sets against an outside 2×4 wall, it is probably not a good idea. But if the dryer backs to an inside wall about 4” less depth would be needed for the dryer.

http://dryerbox.com

View clin's profile

clin

1025 posts in 1354 days


#11 posted 01-30-2017 03:20 AM

1×2 supports boards are plenty. 80 lbs is trivial given you’ll catch at least 4 studs allong the back, and some on the sides. Keep in mind a typical upper cabinet is held on 4 screws and loaded with dishes etch is much heavier.

A standard counter top construction will be fine to span the two 30” openings. That’s pretty similar to a kitchen counter top over a dishwasher. It will have a bit more tendency to sag because it won’t be screwed down at the sides.

My biggest concern is whether you’ll catch studs on the sides towards the front. At 28” deep you are only assured of catching one stud. There will be one in the back corners. If the studs were placed relative to that wall, you’ll have one ~16” out, but the next is 32” and past the front of the counter top.

You could extend the ledger boards past the front. Or use a much wider ledger board like a 1×4 that would still support out to the front, even though it is only screwed at the back, and at 16”.

Of course, if the studs are referenced from another wall, you might get lucky and have one closer to the front edge.

-- Clin

View Carol's profile

Carol

62 posts in 871 days


#12 posted 01-31-2017 04:51 PM


ok, here’s the carcass between the washer and dryer. i have a problem screwing it to the wall – there’s no stud. since this is a pretty heavy, solid cabinet that will have a counter on top of it, can i just use drywall anchors?

i’ve already removed the shoe and baseboard behind the cabinet so it’s flush against the wall. it’s perfectly level front to back and side to side (yay!).
if i had known (face palm) there was no stud, i would have made the cabinet less deep, put a long cleat attached to studs, then screwed the cabinet to the cleat. moving it out from the wall isn’t an option.

maybe run a cleat on either side? then use pocket screws to connect the cabinet to the cleats? if i choose this route, i’ve got to pull the washer and dryer out by myself…not my first choice :/

-- Carol

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7741 posts in 2365 days


#13 posted 01-31-2017 09:07 PM

I’d use an icepick to make 3 holes in the back of that cabinet. 2 high and wide and one about 12” down from the top. Pull cabinet out and use this type anchors where the icepick has marked the wall. Slide cabinet back in and install screws. The weight of the counter top and the anchors will keep that little cabinet from moving. These anchors come in metal or plastic, I prefer the metal.
.
.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View jerryminer's profile (online now)

jerryminer

951 posts in 1800 days


#14 posted 01-31-2017 10:13 PM

Carol—

Any of the suggestions above will work. I’ve been building and installing cabinets professionally for about 40 years.

With a narrow cabinet like that, I would suggest getting it anchored to the floor as well as the wall (or at the least, anchored to the wall at both top and bottom). Something as simple as a 2×4 screwed to the floor behind the toe kick with a couple of screws through the toe kick and into the 2×4 would go a long way toward keeping everything stable.

At the wall, drywall anchors would work, as would a ledger on either side of the cabinet screwed to studs as they occur. An angled screw through the side of the box into the ledger will lock in the cabinet (as would a small angle bracket if that’s easier). Once the top is on and attached, everything will be locked into place.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1368 posts in 1278 days


#15 posted 01-31-2017 10:13 PM

Carol,

I would think using wall anchors to attach the cabinet would not be the best choice. If the drawer(s) are loaded with heavy stuff, repetitive opening and closing of the drawer(s) could cause the cabinet to try to rotate downward toward the floor or otherwise cause the wall anchors to work loose from the wall.

Three alternative options come to mind for attaching the cabinet. The first is to attach the cabinet to the floor. This would involve attaching one or more 2” x 4” length of lumber face down and stacked one on the other up to the underside of the cabinet bottom. These 2” x 4”s would be attached to the floor. The cabinet can then be attached to the floor via the 2” x 4”s through the bottom into the floor cleats. This assumes a cabinet bottom that is ¾” thick (1/2” may be thick enough) and the bottom is well attached to the cabinet sides and back.

The second option is to attach a piece of 2” x to each side of the cabinet flush with the back and on the outside of the cabinet at the back. If each of these wings is wide enough to overlap a stud, then once the cabinet is positioned, the 2” x wings can be screwed to the wall.

The last option, which would be my preference, is to install low and high furring strips running from wall to wall on the back wall, securing the furring strips to back wall. The cabinet would be then attached to the furring strips. Since furring strips are ¾” wide, your cabinet would set an additional ¾” out from the back wall than in your original plan. But it looks to me like there is enough space at the front of the cabinet to accommodate this ¾” offset.

Unfortunately, the second and third options would require pulling the washer and dryer away from the wall.

View clin's profile

clin

1025 posts in 1354 days


#16 posted 01-31-2017 10:39 PM

Since your going to put ledger boards on each side to support the top, I like Jerry’s idea to screw into these. And his idea to anchor to the floor.

If you were going to attach the counter top with screws, I wouldn’t be too worried about it at all. But since you’re planning to have the counter top float, so it can be removed for access behind the appliances, I think you need to make sure that center piece is solid without the top adding support.

Also, it wouldn’t be that hard to modify the back of the cabinet to have clearance for a full length ledger board that you can screw into.

-- Clin

View Carol's profile

Carol

62 posts in 871 days


#17 posted 02-06-2017 06:56 PM

progress so far:
ripped pine to 1×3 for cleats and attached to studs. picked up drywall anchors for base cabinet; bringing the base out 3/4” isn’t an option. i’ll attach the top of the base cabinet to the existing cleats on either side with pocket screws.

i had already coaxed the washer out to replace the old lines with stainless steel, and brought the dryer out to blow out the vent, then took some motrin and pushed them back into place.

it wasn’t until i threw a level across to check the cleats for level that i noticed the front tops of the both appliances looked wonky…sure enough, each was so far out of level i’m surprised they haven’t walked themselves right out of the room!
after leveling the washer (finally!), i discovered my cleats are now TOO LOW and my base cabinet needs to be a whole inch taller…

i just made a whole new batch of mess for myself…

-- Carol

View jerryminer's profile (online now)

jerryminer

951 posts in 1800 days


#18 posted 02-06-2017 07:11 PM

Carol—-

Take a breath. You’re going to be OK.

Cleats are too low: you can either remove and re-install, or add a ripping on top. Easy peasy.

Cabinet too short: add a ripping to each side on the bottom and cut a new “toe kick skin” for the front. Done. No one will know that your 5” toe kick was supposed to be a 4” toe kick!

I’ve made mistakes WAY bigger than this, and I’m a professional!

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Carol's profile

Carol

62 posts in 871 days


#19 posted 02-06-2017 08:06 PM

i’m just so disgusted with myself, not even bothering to make sure the appliances were level to begin with…and so freakin tired of doing all this by myself…stupid washer!!! stupid dryer!!!

ok, so i’m good now lol

back in the laundry room moving the cleats, and my appliances won’t walk (actually, i don’t know that they ever did or i was just dang lucky it was so slight i never noticed).

since i don’t have more oak for a taller toe kick, i might just make a pine top for the base and rub a little stain in. since the countertop trim will overhang the base cabinet by 3/4”, i’ll never know it’s there unless i’m down at eye level with the counter.

thx jerry :-)

-- Carol

View Carol's profile

Carol

62 posts in 871 days


#20 posted 03-06-2017 01:39 PM

done! finally! raised the cleats after leveling the washer and dryer. extended the top of the base cabinet. primed/painted/sealed the counter and “backsplash” which hides the outlet and hookup box.
ended up just resting the counter on the cleats—it’s not going ANYWHERE until i remove it. best of all, the fam actually uses it to fold their laundry lol
the backsplash is simply 2 pieces of birch screwed and glued in an “L” shape, resting on top. to access the hookup/outlet, just pull the backsplash away, drop it on the counter, and pull both pieces away from the wall.

-- Carol

View jerryminer's profile (online now)

jerryminer

951 posts in 1800 days


#21 posted 03-06-2017 11:29 PM

Looks great, Carol!

Thanks for sharing.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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