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I'm installing a dishwasher that is around the bend from the sink and plumbing. If you measure along the front of the cabinets it is barely 42 inches (3-1/2 feet), so it seems that running the plumbing under the cabinets would be economical. Alternatively, if I go through the cabinets, I'd have to run around the back which measures roughly 120 inches (10 feet).

The more economical route--under the cabinets--would involve cutting through the kick plates (toe plates) on all the cabinets and I just haven't see anybody do that. Going through the cabinets would be as easy as drilling holes at the back where each cabinet meets. That's four holes in total with no cosmetic surgery afterwards.

Are there any other considerations that ought to sway my decision one way or the other?

So far I see these pros/cons:

Under

  • shorter, no splices required
  • won't be easily accessible in the future which is probably fine since there won't be any splices
  • will require cosmetic work to restore the kick plate and lino covering

Through

  • will require drain hose extension and probably a spliced source hose
  • will be more accessible in the future
  • no extra cosmetic work
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I'll always vote for accessible plumbing, with or without splices.

If, in the future, something goes wrong (murphy's law!), then (1) you'll see it before it becomes a huge problem and (2) you'll save a fortune not ripping your cabinets apart.

If you have (or can engineer) easily removable toe kicks, then that would meet my standard for accessible.

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