Measuring Your Kitchen
Measuring Your Kitchen - Measure Twice, Order Once
(get it right the first time!).
Whether you are remodeling or building a new house, measuring your kitchen
is one of the most important things you can do (if not thee most important).
Measuring your kitchen right
ensures your project will continue smoothly. It also helps ensure you'll
have no added costs.
Before you even get a bid, unless a custom cabinet shop will come and measure
for you, measure your kitchen. Even if they are just close to begin with,
at least you have a basis for getting an accurate bid.
IF YOU ARE BUILDING A NEW HOUSE:
Your blue prints will give accurate enough
information so that kitchen cabinets can be planned and priced accurately.
Don't make the mistake of thinking your blue prints will be the final
measurement of your kitchen, they won't. Things (and measurements), no
matter how accurate your contractor and/or builder is, will change a little.
Even an 1/8" can make a difference on your cabinets and countertop fitting
When you are getting the initial bid, give your blue prints to your cabinetmaker or cabinet sales person.
will read them and get the information they need. Be sure to
give them to-scale prints. Copies that have been shrunk will not do.
If you are building the cabinets yourself, you must be able to accurately
read blue prints.
ONCE THE HOUSE IS UP
Once your stud walls are up and the roof is on, your cabinetmaker or cabinet sales
person, needs to go on-site and take accurate measurements of inside walls as soon as possible.
In the construction business, once the walls are up and the roof is on, you
need to measure your kitchen immediately. If you do, you'll have just enough time to order your cabinets and
get them there on time for installation.
You want to have your cabinets there when your home is ready for them.
Don't miss the boat and be waiting for cabinets (and waiting to get into your
house) because measuring your kitchen wasn't done when it should and could have been.
When measuring your kitchen, sheet rock does not need to be up. As a matter of fact, if you wait until
sheet rock is up, it's often too late to make sure your cabinets will be ready
when you need them.
Just make sure there's a note on your measurements - or the cabinet
salesperson's - that the measurements taken are without sheet rock. Sheet
rock is normally 1/2" thick. Example: if your cabinets are between
two walls, you will deduct 1" from the total wall length to get an accurate
measurement when you are measuring your kitchen.
If a custom cabinet maker builds your cabinets, they often need
four weeks or longer to actually build your cabinets (even up to two or three
months, if they indicate they will be longer than that, find another cabinet
maker). Their schedule will depend on how booked up they are. You
don't want to give them any excuse for delay, so make sure they know when they
can measure inside walls.
Real World Experience: When we had our custom cabinet shop in Wisconsin, we could
push out a custom kitchen in three weeks, once we did one in two and we only had
a two-man shop at the time, but that is really pushing it (actually, it was a
one man, one woman shop). We did maintain quality, but allow your cabinet
maker a month, at least, to get the job done. Keep in mind that
some cabinet makers may be stallers. If they are
taking longer than two months to actually built the cabinets, beware.
have an extremely intricate and difficult kitchen to build, it shouldn't take
even a custom shop that long (unless they are just booked up with other jobs). Obviously, if
you are building them yourself, take as much time as you need, because it will
take you much longer than a professional who has all of the equipment and room
GET ACCURATE (UP-TO-DATE) CABINET PLANS TO OTHER
SUB-CONTRACTORS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Another reason for measuring your kitchen as soon as possible is to get accurate kitchen
plans and dimensions for your electrician and plumber. The electrician and
plumber should already have a draft plan from your cabinet maker or cabinet
salesperson, but they should get revised plans as soon as the walls are up, with
complete and accurate measurements and any changes. This will ensure they
place their outlets and plumbing, etc., in the correct places. You want
this done before the sheet rock is on.
- Take final, accurate measurements of your inside
walls as soon as the walls are up and the roof is on your house.
- Make sure the measurements are taken before the
sheet rock is on (your cabinet maker or salesperson will know to deduct 1/2"
for sheet rock width, or 1" if between walls.
- If you don't measure as soon as possible, you may
be waiting for kitchen cabinets to arrive. This can be frustrating.
Kitchen cabinets are one of the last things installed in your home. By
that time, after three or more months of construction, you will
dislike any delays!! The only things that go into your house after the
cabinets are some trim work and the carpeting.
- Measuring your kitchen as soon as possible will help
ensure your plumber and electrician get final cabinet measurements when they
need them. You want them to be able to adjust fixtures where needed
before any sheet rock is on. Things can usually be changed after
sheetrock is finished, but it is much more of a headache, it can't always be
done, and will cost you more.
MEASURING YOUR KITCHEN WHEN YOU ARE
REMODELING AN EXISTING KITCHEN
- Draw out your kitchen layout on paper.
Include any doors, windows, etc. This does not need to be to-scale.
- Measure the entire room, wall to wall, and record
. Use inches, not feet (i.e. 110" rather than 9' 2") - your cabinet
maker or salesperson will only use inches when they are drawing out your plan.
- Go back and measure each wall, this time from
section to section. For example, from the doorway to the window to the
corner, etc. When you are measuring doors and windows, measure from
outside edge to outside edge of casing or trim work.
- Double check your dimensions by adding up the
individual sections of the wall. Make sure they match up with the overall
wall dimension. If they don't, re-measure.
- Record where switches, outlets, cold-air returns,
heat registers, etc., are and their measurements.
- If a window is above your sink, find the center
of the window (this will allow you to find where the center of your sink
cabinet should be - you want them to match - only rarely can you let the
center of your window and the center of your sink not
match for aesthetic reasons). Measure the window, divide by 2, mark it
(in pencil on the window frame).
Then measure from the end of the wall or corner to the center of the window
(where you marked).
This is where the center of your sink should be too.
- Measure your ceiling height, if you don't have a
vault. Measure at several areas in the kitchen, using the shortest
measurement as your final measurement.
- If you have a soffit (or bulkhead), measure at
several areas from the floor to the soffit. Again, use the smallest
- Measure the soffit's height and depth in several
places, if possible. Keep in mind that upper cabinets are usually 12"
deep. If your soffit is 13" deep, you will be able to fit the upper
cabinets under it, but will only be able to have a top trim that is 3/4" deep.
Do not run top trim right up the edge of your soffit if you can avoid it.
Nothing is ever completely square, so there will be points where your trim
will overhang your soffit if you try to run it flush.
Keep in mind: These preliminary dimensions
are to get quotes from your cabinet maker or sales person. Once they have
the job, they should come on-site and re-measure for you. Once they do
that, they are responsible for any inaccuracies. Some factory, or stock
cabinet companies, won't come out and re-measure. In that case, you
must be sure to do a great job of measuring your kitchen.
REPLACING AN EXISTING KITCHEN: ADDING OR
If you are adding or removing walls to an existing kitchen, you will most
likely have a contractor, builder, or designer helping you. They may need to
actually have a blue print. If so, go off the blue print to get
preliminary measurements for quotes (just like you would if you were building a
If you are doing the project yourself, you will have to guestimate where
walls will be, etc., and get preliminary dimensions and quotes. Be sure to
re-measure when all the walls, windows, and doors are where they are going to
There are the guidelines for measuring your kitchen.
You can Return to our Kitchen Cabinet Idea page from this
Measuring Your Kitchen page. See below for related links too.
And remember - HAVE A HAPPY KITCHEN!!! (you're off
to a good start if you measure your kitchen right!!)
Countertops for Kitchen Cabinets -
Kitchen Cabinet Idea - You can's afford
to miss this (if you want to save some money) - 20 Savvy ideas to consider
BEFORE you buy!