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How long should cabinet install take?

Brandywine72
October 8, 2013

I have no idea how long it should take to have somebody reinstall these cabinets that you see in the picture below: Five hours? 10 hours? Two days? I am clueless. This picture is a "before". Our "after" necessitates reinstalling them in a slightly different order, and our walls are plaster, so I don't know if that takes longer than going into drywall. My question is about cabinets only NOT including countertop reinstallation.

Can folks toss out some general ideas on what they think?

(I am not asking because of price but just because I want to know what is a reasonable amount of time. The carpenter who is doing it is charging by the job, not by the hour, but it took him soooooo long to install the floor - 2 weeks! - that I am ready for today to be his last day if he is taking too long with the cabinet install. I might have somebody else who can probably do it faster. I just don't know what the reasonable amount of time is.

The carpenter who is here now is very nice but seems completely ADD. And, his nephew is here as his helper "apprentice" and I can hear him downstairs teaching him every single step of what he is doing, which is one of the many reasons why it is taking twice as long. This is driving me nuts. I want my kitchen back!)

Comments (15)

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    It depends on how straight and plumb your walls and floor are, the number of cabinets, the number of applied side panels needed, the amount of molding needing to be cut and applied, and a host of other things. For a simple small kitchen in a condo, you might be looking at a day's worth of work. For a more complex kitchen in an older larger home, you could be looking at a week. For a project where you are waiting on parts or pieces that were missing or damaged, you cold be half done for 6 weeks, and then finished up in a day or two. There are so many variables, and skill levels, that "average" doesn't exist. However, yours looks small and not too complicated. I'd have to say 2 days. 3 tops.

  • Brandywine72

    Hollysprings - Thanks for helping me understand what all goes into an installation. I can now see how there is no "average".

    Our kitchen is small. It is literally what you see in the picture plus the dishwasher and sink. Our house is very old and we took everything out to have foundation work done as well as a new ceiling put in because the joists needed to be reworked. So, with a new ceiling and new floor, I can see how they would need to do a lot of figuring to make sure the walls and ceilings are straight. Given the age of our house (1851) and the often sloppy work of the other contractors we had in here, I am assuming things are not straight! Still, the 2-ish day range is helpful. I had no idea what to look for.

  • mayflowers

    I have about the same number of cabinets as you and the install was two days or less with a two-man team.

  • jellytoast

    There is nothing wrong with having a little chat with your carpenter about wanting to get the job done faster. Training his employees should not interfere with a decent time frame for getting your job done. On the plus side, at least you are not paying by the hour!

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    Three of us installed (19) frameless boxes and (2) panels in (8) hours, from unpacking in the garage to mounted on the walls level and plumb.

    The electrician misplaced a ceiling can. We had to move it and do the repair too. (4) boxes before lunch, (15) after.

  • Brandywine72

    Thanks for your input. All these comments are so helpful.

    Well, it is the end of his work day and 4 upper cabinets minus the trim are in plus the range hood, which involved some finagling of wires and routing out the plaster wall. I think at this rate it will take him to the the end of the week to get it all together with touch ups, trim, and hopefully installing a temporary plywood counter.

    I had a talk with him this weekend about how long it was taking and that we were disappointed with the pace of things. And, we told him we were not going to sign another contract with him to do a second batch of work unless we saw a more rapid pace this week. He seemed crestfallen that we were unhappy; he really is a nice guy who aims to please but just misses the mark. (He is starting to remind me of the guys I used to teach in a prison work release program - good intentions but zero life skills.) We thought the threat of not giving him more work was a good carrot to dangle in front of him, but I don't think it is working and we certainly are not going to sign another contract.

  • badgergal

    The kitchen cabinets in my 11x12 kitchen plus a china cabinet in the adjoining dining room were completely installed in 10-1/2 hours and that included putting on the hardware. The cabinets were installed by four Amish carpenters and everything was a perfect fit so thy did not have to come back.

  • Brandywine72

    That is helpful to know Badgergal. It sounds like if you had 40 person hours for your kitchen, then it could take 4 days for my guy to install ours. He is doing the work himself, the nephew is his gofer but not really doing the work. Your kitchen looks beautiful. I have never seen cabinets like that. I live in PA... probably plenty of Amish carpenters around here too.

  • Brandywine72

    That is helpful to know Badgergal. It sounds like if you had 40 person hours for your kitchen, then it could take 4 days for my guy to install ours. He is doing the work himself, the nephew is his gofer but not really doing the work. Your kitchen looks beautiful. I have never seen cabinets like that. I live in PA... probably plenty of Amish carpenters around here too.

  • annkh_nd

    Our u-shaped kitchen, plus a wall of pantry cabinets, was installed by 2 guys in 1 day. Day 2, doors and hardware were added, crown molding installed, doors and drawers adjusted. Day 3 (just the morning), final adjustments were made, and the counters templated.

  • ogrose_tx

    It took a little over a day to do our very small kitchen, but I am thrilled with the results, and the granite people told me they love to work with this company as everything is always level, easy to work with... we're having granite installed on Thursday, am getting excited!

  • sunanda_thali0360

    badgergal, Your cabinets looks great. You must be happy with this. May I know where you ordered them?

  • badgergal

    Sunanda_ my cabinets were made by a local Amish cabinet maker in Wisconsin. They do not have a website or a phone. If you happen to live in Wisconsin and would like their contact info let me know and I'll look in my paperwork for it.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC

    To answer the headline question, I installed 5 cabinets with 2 fillers in 6 hours day before yesterday. This includes unpacking and hauling them in from the garage.

  • watchmelol

    I think the fact he is teaching his nephew step by step means your cabinets are more likely to be installed the right way with attention to detail. Beats a rush job by an over-confident installer who will cut corners just to get it done. If you're not paying by the hour, don't worry, be happy.

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