Easy Summer Project: A Kitchen Island!

Consider building a kitchen island if you’re looking for a quick and easy summer remodeling project. It’s a great addition for any homeowner who simply loves to cook and entertain.. Start on it Saturday morning and finish it by Sunday night. It’s a simple project that doesn’t take too many tools or materials. Not only that you can construct it in a nice air conditioned kitchen away from the summer heat.

What makes a basic kitchen island? Two 24 inch cabinets, three pieces of 5/16″ width bead board, about 16 feet pine beaded board and about 16 feet of both shoe and base molding, and tile or laminate for the island’s countertop. You’ll also need hardware, caulking , clamps along with miter and circular saws. Everything else you should have in your tool chest. Some people also add towel racks as well and these are easy to attach.

The first step is to remove all the doors and drawers from your cabinets. To make both doors swing out from the center, reverse the swing of the right hand side’s door. Measure and mark with a carpenter’s pencil (or just a regular pencil if you don’t have the other). where the screw and hinge locations will go on the opposite side . You may need an extra set of hands for this. Drill pilot (guide ) holes in these locations while filling up the original holes with putty. Sand smooth. Now use your circular saw and carefully cut off the flanges on both cabinets, Doing this will make them flush when they’re positioned side by side. Don’t cut into the side panels. Remember to keep one flange cut to cover the cabinet’s seam. Apply a generous amount of construction adhesive (you can buy this at any big or little hardware store) to the side of your cabinets where they will be joined. Now push them together. Let the adhesive dry thoroughly. Now attach 1″ wood screws into the inside panel of one of the cabinets. Repeat for the other.

The next step is cutting two pieces of the beaded board. Cut these equal in length from the cabinet’s tops to the top of the toe space. Cut the remaining piece of beaded board equal in length to the distance from the top of the cabinets to floor. Beginning on the one side of the joined cabinets butt the groove edge of the shorter piece of this up against the cabinet’s remaining flange. Glue it into place and repeat with the other side.

Cut two more pieces of the beaded board equal in length to the distance from the top of your cabinets to the top of the toe space. Cut the remaining pieces of beaded board. equal in length to the distance from the cabinet’s top to the floor. Beginning on one side of your joined cabinets, butt the groove edge of the shorter piece of the beaded board up against the cabinet’s flange. Glue this piece into place. Now repeat with the other side. Use your circular saw to trim away any excess bead board. It should be flush. Apply the board to the back of your cabinets by aligning the center of the beaded board piece with the cabinet’s seams. Glue this into place. Continue gluing the bead board to the back working outwards. Use a level to ensure squareness. Again, as before, trim away any excess , using the circular saw. Make sure you ‘have set it to work with the level of the board.

Now you have to apply the island’s base molding along the sides and front. Measure and cut accordingly, mitering the corners for a tight, exact fit. Drill small pilot or guide holes before nailing to prevent the wood from splitting. Attach it, using construction adhesive and finishing nails. Measure and now cut the shoe molding. Again you have to miter the corners. Attach the molding with construction adhesive and the finishing nails. Glue the flange strips to the cabinet’s front along the seams. Hold in place with clamps until it dries.

Now you can stain the island to match your existing cabinets. Fill any seams with caulking. Let thoroughly dry before staining. Remember to paint both the island’s interior and exterior as well as both sides of the doors. Put drawers back. Install hardware on all drawers and doors. You can install your towel rack now as well.

If you decide to go with laminate then place it on top of your new island to get a general idea of what it is going to look like. You may have to trim away some excess. You may also need to trim away the lip to make it flush. Adjust your saw’s depth to prevent any cutting onto the laminate’s top. Turn the material upside down to cut. Now take a chisel to remove the lip’s ends. Use your construction adhesive or a very strong epoxy to adhere the countertop to the island’s top. After it dries attach 1″ screws through the corner braces of the cabinets into the laminate’s underside.

If you decide to finish in tile , then first of all lay out the tiles in the desired pattern. Sand the top of your island. Remember to clean off any dust or debris, using tack cloths for this (paper towels just won’t cut it here.). Now place an edging strip just around the island’s perimeters. Spread a thin set mortar and then set your tiles into it. Press them in firmly, using some force. Use plastic spacers to ensure an even grouting between the tiles. Remove them once the tiles are firmly set in , At this time you can remove the edging strip guide and add smaller tiles all along the edges. “Butter” the backs of these pieces with mortar, setting them next to the already laid tiles. Allow the entire island top to set over night. Grout the next day using a grout float, filling in and evening out the gaps. Use the float again to scrape away any and all excess grout.

You’re almost there to finishing your kitchen island. The last but equally important step is installing the corner molding. Measure the two back corners of your island, cutting the prepainted molding to fit. Drill pilot or guide holes in it to prevent any splitting. Apply the molding by using construction adhesive and small brads. . If you want attach four small casters to the island’s bottom for easy moving.

You now not only have a new kitchen island but completed an easy summer project. The good thing is that it will last you though the warm weather and beyond. The best thing is that you only spent a weekend constructing it. You have the rest of the season to enjoy it!

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