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My contractor is giving me the runaround. I really like the guy, but I feel like this is unacceptable. My new cabinets look off because of it. What should I do?

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Pictures would help us see how "unlevel" it is and suggest workarounds. – auujay May 20 '14 at 19:45

First, let's assume the cabinets and floor are level and the ceiling is not. I would have taken the time to shim the strapping on the ceiling before installing the new drywall or ceiling tiles. This is standard procedure in a good renovation project. Normally, one would shoot a laser around the room and level the ceiling as a first step in the process before cabinets were installed. Depending how far off and how long the wall of cabinets are, it is very difficult to camouflage an unlevel space between the upper cabinets and ceiling with trim. Can you give us some pics or measurements of the offending area?

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The reality is the floors, walls and ceilings are rarely perfectly flat. Most of the time it does not matter too much but certain things like cabinets, counters, and bathtubs frequently need to installed on flat surfaces and adjustments must be made.

If you have room you might think about installing some molding to hide the ceiling issues.

You say the kitchen was gutted, did they take out the old ceiling and change the existing ceiling joists? If not, the ceiling not being level is probably just how it was originally (before your "gut remodel"). If the had to change the ceiling joists then I would expect the ceiling to be pretty flat.

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"Change the ceiling joists"?? Yikes.. That is a pretty major structure modification, which could easily double the cost of a typical kitchen reno. The typical way to level a ceiling is with strapping and shims, which would easily take under a day for the average kitchen, and not involve any structural engineers.. – gregmac May 22 '14 at 1:07
I didn't mean to imply that you had to change the joists to level a ceiling. I was trying to get at the "blame" side of this question. My point was if they were doing any work on those joists you should expect the end result to be level. If all they did was take down drywall (or maybe just put holes in it for wiring and leaving the rest up), then it really depends on how for "off" it is. – auujay May 23 '14 at 13:18

There is little excuse for an out of square room, that has been completely gutted, to remain out of square during a remodel. Most kitchens have headers and doorways, to break up surface continuity to adjoining rooms. And the cost of ripping some 2x4's, is greatly offset, by how much easier it is to finish the job afterwords - not to mention the appearance aspect, come payday.

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