I will be building the kitchen cabinets in my new house, I'm thinking on the following steps:

  • Brick base (about 10-15 cms);
  • Wood structure for cabinets and coutertops screwed to the base and the drywall in the back;
  • Installing the cabinets themselves;
  • Installing the countertops (supported by the wood structure and not the cabinets).

I've never done kitchen cabinets before and I'm really unsure on how to plan it all. Especially since I want to use granite stone for countertops and they are quite heavy.

EDIT: In the editing I somehow removed the question.

Is a brick base the recomended pratice in my case (support cabinets, appliances, and heavy countertops)? Are the any other alternatives?

Also, I think of separating structure and cabinets, is that normal pratice or they should they be built as a unit?

EDIT: I live in Brazil, here construction of houses is made from only bricks and mortar, drywall is alien here (I will be using it and I'm having a hard time to explain it to engineers and general contractors) and so are many techniques associated with it. In Brazil people usually affix the counter-top IN the wall (using steel and concrete) and then make cabinets below it. I want to part with those construction methods, I find them colonial, dated and inpractical.

  • 2
    What is your question? Oct 16, 2012 at 20:32
  • 1
    You will be building the cabinets? Or you will be installing the cabinets? Squaring cabinetry and doors is no simple task. Even journeyman can have difficulty. Sometimes the tools and material to do it passably are cost-prohibitive.
    – Matthew
    Oct 16, 2012 at 20:49
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    Bricks might be typical in Brazil. In North America, though, I can't say I've ever see such a thing. Most cabinets are plywood 'boxes' that have integrated bases and are designed to accommodate the load of the counter top directly.
    – DA01
    Oct 16, 2012 at 21:22
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    LOL, we do indeed have different cultures. Here a mop is a rarity and in most cases regarded as bad at cleaning, squeegee and rags are the norm, with lots of water. In kitchens and batrooms people usually hose until there's a layer of water on the floor. Oct 16, 2012 at 23:40
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    Yes, I believe it's more common in Europe for cabinets to be more like furniture (legs, not always attached to structure). That's a good option.
    – DA01
    Nov 8, 2012 at 8:14

3 Answers 3


I have built many islands using top cabinets - they don't have bases. The easiest way to add a base is with some 2x4s (or 2x6s for height). You will just build a simple rectangle with bracing for each cabinet. I guess you could build a big rectangle for a row of cabinets but I have been down that road and it won't be traveled again.

Basically you just need to decide how you want this to look. Do you want a ledge (common in america) or do you want it flat? Ahh and then the last thing. You will need to put on a face plate on this section that matches the rest of your cabinets. If you are going to have a 4 inch ledge... no big deal just make sure all of your rectangles project at the same depth. But if you want it flat then you really have to be precise and take account for the depth of your face plate.

About Brick. I wouldn't even think about it. Brick gets its strength from being surrounded by other brick - kind of like tiles. I don't see it being strong enough on its own to handle the weight, movement, or whatever unless you build a solid brick brick. Also you are going to deal with a ton of other issues like how do you secure the brick to cabinet and how do you keep the bricks even across all cabinets... Can brick be done? For sure. But expect a ton of time and it will need a few rows for sure - and I am not sure what you plans are if it isn't close to level.

Another alternative is get some screw in cabinet legs... we buy them at IKEA here.

  • After some research I'm partial to wood as a base too. The only problem I see with it is "what happens if water get is there somehow?", this water will be traped by wood, that could cause wood rot, mold, and harbor bacteria. How can I deal with that? May 8, 2013 at 12:14
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    It would take a lot of water over a pretty long time period to have these issues - if it really bothers you then paint the bottoms totally. If they are painted they should last longer than cabinet bottoms or subfloor. 90% of cabinets in America have wood bottoms. I know in Europe they like legs but a lot of that has to do with them taking the cabinets with them.
    – DMoore
    May 8, 2013 at 16:09
  • This wood is pressure treated? I know in US in normal to buy treated dimensional lumber, here this is not so common (but I still know a place that does that). one final question, does it matter if I use flooring and tiles below and behind the cabinets, can I leave them out? May 8, 2013 at 19:42
  • Pressure treated wood would work here. You would need to let it sit for a couple weeks before installing though. I always tile below if I have the chance. If you don't then you can't change out cabinets easily.
    – DMoore
    May 9, 2013 at 4:03

I prefer granite stone for countertop. Make sure you polish the surface and make it sloped and scupper to drain water. You can polish the front edge to be round, so that you won't be hurt. You can also attach another round strip to the front edge, to prevent water or mince falling off.

You do not need to affix the countertop in the wall, you can drill iron strips as the supporting point in the wall, and place a vertical granite stone in the middle of the countertop. Supposing your countertop is less than 2 meter, and its three edges are next to the wall. Otherwise, you can have another two vertical granite stone at two ends.

Under the countertop, you can have some Ikea stuff. Movable units are suggested. Because you can easily clean the basement. Open units are suggested too. As you will forget something long after you place them in the deep.


In North America the usual construction is to make each cabinet independent.

In my kitchen each block of cabinets is on plywood frame that lifts the cabinet off the floor for the toekick. Doing this by block means that the top of the cabinets are perfectly even.

The top of the cabinet isn't solid, but has a couple of 4" wide strips that are part of (and level with) the front and back edges. Screws from here attach the counter top.

I chose not to attach mine to the wall, so that I can move them to clean under them, fetch out dead mice, repaint the back wall.

I have butcher block counter tops, which we really like. Being wood, they expand and contract with weather. These I didn't fasten to the base cabinet. They are heavy enough to not move easily. But three times a year I wax them. Being able to pull them forward a couple inches, slide them sideways a couple inches allows me to wax edges and ends. Once a year I flip and do the underside too. In 15 years of variable temperature and humidity they haven't split.

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