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My wife and I were talking about various methods of adding cabinets in our basement. There are currently 1x2s spaced on 4' centers supporting drywall where we would put the bank of cabinets. The spam is approximately 12 feet, with five upper cabinets. One of our clever ideas (or dangerously daft) was, quite frankly, to avoid permitting and inspection by building a freestanding stud wall with a short platform base for the lower cabinets so they sit above the vinyl tiles. They're heavy cabinets and fit the space exactly, so we're theorizing they wouldn't move due to both weight and friction. That is our minor concern. Our major concern is whether the weight of the top cabinets would eventually cause it to lean.

The non-engineering-minded-enthusiastic-theorists in us have determined this to be pretty sound. The responsible-adult-minded-pragmatists in us say it's a really bad idea and we should just tie the thing in properly and be done with it.

Thoughts? Condemnations? Guffaws?

Thanks in advance!

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A lot of the strength of a wall comes from it being anchored at both the top and bottom. If you only have it anchored at the bottom, your concern that the wall would lean or fail entirely is well-founded. Building a false wall is not a terrible idea, it just needs to be built correctly to handle the expected load. You could also attach directly to the (presumably) concrete block walls using appropriate fasteners and methods.

I would double check that you would even need permits and an inspection. Cabinet installation is not something that usually does, even in basements.

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  • Thanks for the reply. I was surprised (especially since we live in Wild Wyoming) when I called the city, I was informed we would need a permit for the stud wall, even though it's non-load bearing b/c we'd attach to the foundation. The basement walls are slabs, also requiring city participation. The other thing I thought might be useful would be to add a leg on each end and in the center of the cabinets, but that's awkward. I've also considered screwing the stud wall and top cabinets into the floor joists, but leaving the bottom unattached from the foundation. Then I could call it temporary. 😉
    – TPB
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 0:55
  • @TPB ah, I thought you meant the permit was for the cabinets themselves, not the extra wall
    – mmathis
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 1:04

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