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We installed some new cabinets, in our kitchen a few months ago. We started on one side of the kitchen at the appropriate hight to hang the crown moulding. However, we hung the cabinets level across the entire kitchen, and because our house is 25 or 30 years old, and probably due to some shoddy workmanship, we found that the ceiling was not, in fact as level as our new cabinets. So on one end, there is not enough room to nail in the crown moulding to the top of the cabinets and i believe that there will be a gap in fact on the very end.

Is there any way to 'build up' the cabinets to the appropriate hight on one side? Has anyone dealt with this issue? What i am trying to avoid is re-hanging all the cabinets. Besides if we did that, say 2 inches up. Then the one end of the kitchen would be too high, and the crown would starting to interfere with the doors of the cabinets.

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2 Answers

A classic approach in cabinetry is the use of filler strips. These are pieces of wood, matched to the finish of the cabinets that are used to fill gaps, usually between cabinets. Often the horizontal spacing does not work out to exactly the width of standard cabinets (especially in renovation work). You design to the standard sizes slightly narrower than the overall, and then add a vertical filler strip between, or at the end of a cabinet, to fill the gap.

The same principal can be used to fill a gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling that will then give you a horizontal surface to attach the crown molding. A strip will probably have to be tapered to fill much of the gap, but it does not have to come down to a point because the molding will cover much of the gap. The strip can be glued into place,since it is purely cosmetic, but be careful when nailing in the crown.

The biggest question will be finish. If the cabinets are painted, you may be able to buy a filler strip from the cabinet manufacturer and run it horizontally instead of vertically.

For stained cabinets, you can do the same, but the grain will run perpendicular to that of the cabinets. It is a matter of taste as to whether that is acceptable to you.

You also could put in a homemade filler strip (plywood, clear poplar, mdf) and paint it to match either the cabinets or the the crown molding. If yo paint it to match the crown, the effect will be that the crown looks like it is a bit deeper at that point, but probably will not be noticeable.

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I have dealt with this on a few kitchens and every time it is cutting out the top of the molding so it fits the ceiling. There are certain styles of molding that this would be much easier to do or look better. It is the bottoms of the cabinets that need to line up not the gap between the top and ceiling.

The alternative is to buy crown molding that fits in the smallest gap. And then like bib said - add filler strips to the wider gaps. I do not think moving the cabinets is part of the equation.

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