DIY Kitchen Island Tipping Concerns

Andy Boyer
3 days ago

I'm making a kitchen island with a butchers block counter top (48" L x 30" W x 1.5" T), the weight of this block will be ~60lb. The overhang where we will eat will be 13.75" so 16.25" will be supported by the cabinets themselves. I will also be buying heavy duty L brackets from Centerline brackets that will support an additional 10" of BB. The heavy duty L brackets will be screwed into a 2x4 frame that is attached to the base (2x4 frame with 3/4" plywood top that the two cabinets sit on top of).

My concern is that even with the L brackets the island has a risk to tip. I would think that the L brackets attached to the 2x4 frame which is attached to the base would be enough to prevent tipping but I'm not sure if it needs legs.

As a final side note for a number of reasons the island can not be anchored to the floor.

Comments (20)

  • millworkman

    "As a final side note for a number of reasons the island can not be anchored to the floor."

    Then I honestly do not think you will even stop it from being a tipping hazard unfortunately.

  • Andy Boyer

    Even with legs? Why is that?

  • PRO

    Legs won't make it any more stable. If you can't anchor it to the floor (or don't want to), then counterbalance it with concrete blocks on the floor (over felt to protect the floor) and lag into the concrete (counter to blocks) and that would be a possibility to consider.

  • branson4020

    It will need legs or a couple of hundred pounds of ballast . But why can't it be anchored to the floor? You can use something like 3M VHB tape so no drilling necessary.

  • catlady999

    This is a question of mass and geometry. As long as the center of gravity is over the base, it will not tip. The L brackets provide support for the BB so it doesn't break off, but add to any tipping problem because their weight shifts the center of gravity away from the base. The danger arises when something or someone pushes on the overhang with enough force to equal the weight of the cabinets. How much do the cabinets and framing weigh and how large are your relatives?

    You are probably safe but legs will eliminate this hazard by greatly increasing the size of the base.

  • PRO

    You don't secure a wood top to a cabinet using L brackets. Just place the top on the cabinet and screw the top to the cabinet from the inside. No reason to overdue something. The cantilever is no problem on a 16"

    I thought this island was pretty clever for eating and working.

    deep cabinet.

    If you cannot secure the cabinet to the floor and you are concerned about tipping, then you have to counterweight the cabinet.

  • GreenDesigns

    The principle of the lever multiplies the force applied to the overhang to increase the tipping point, even if it’s weighted at the bottom. It’s a seesaw, with the pivot point off center. That multiplier of force allows even an 50 pound kid to overcome a 130 pound kid on the other end.

    Leverage cannot be overcome without fastening the island to the floor. The solution is to either not have an overhang, or to fasten the island to the floor. Or to map out the route to the emergency room and emergency vet for the quick visit.

  • catlady999

    GreenDesigns - The pivot of a seesaw is that the base is a small footprint and the weights of the ends over distances shift the center of gravity.

    If the frame and cabinets weight 200 lbs and the BB adds 32.5 lb to that side, you have 232.5 over the base and 27.5 lbs of BB plus the weight of the L brackets not over the base. When your 250 lbs brother-in-law pushes down on the overhang to get up, we get into the danger zone depending on how much of his weight transfers to the overhang. When the weight on the overhang exceeds the weight over the base, it tips.

    When you add legs to the overhang, the base now extends out that additional distance and all the weight is over the base. Yes, it will be stable. Mankind has used legged tables for hundreds of years.

  • GreenDesigns

    You’ll need s lot more than a 15” overhang for the create of a table with legs and stretchers to work in a design. Otherwise the space loss isn’t workable. There are s lot of parts to any island design. Including the required electrical outlets, and aisle clearances.

  • functionthenlook

    I don't know if this helps, but this is my island built by a carpenter for me from an cabinet I already had. . The top is 45 × 26 × 1 3 /4 and is formica which is lighter than your BB. They basically put it on a 2 x 4 frame. Mine is movable but it would work the same without wheels. It does not tip. The wheels are locking, but we never lock them. It doesn't move with everyday use.

  • Andy Boyer

    Sorry not sure how to reply directly to a comment.

    @Functionthenlook great thank you! Maybe I can add some side supports like you have to increase the size of the base and decrease the cantaliever portion without having too much affect on the area for the knees!

  • Andy Boyer

    @GreenDesigns I'm not sure what you mean when you're talking about space loss. The legs would be small and still under the overhang and wouldn't take up much space. On the bright side the island doesn't need any electrical or plumbing!

  • functionthenlook

    Andy my overhang is 13 inches. The carpenter gave me 3 choices. Legs, a solid side piece or the triangle piece. I picked the triangle piece for more leg room to get in and out of the counter height chairs.

  • GreenDesigns

    Islands REQUIRE electrical outlets. It’s not called the National Electrical Code for no reason. It’s applicable everywhere.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    The only way to get around that is to have a moveable island not attached to the floor and I would need to know why you can’t attach it to the floor

    Andy Boyer thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    Lots of armchair physics here. Either this is attached to the floor WITH legs or it can not have a large overhang to sit at. Unattached to the floor it will slide besides tip so legs are out without both the cabinet and legs secured to the floor. Having such a narrow cabinet (15" deep) will look silly besides being dangerous even without the overhang.

    Children die in US kitchens every year from unsecured items like islands or ranges tipping - so be careful. As Scottie on Star Trek might say:

  • Andy Boyer

    @Patricia Colwell it can't be attached to the floor because I'm renting the house and i would rather not mess with their floor because I'll probably take the island with me. And if I somehow damage the floor and they need to re do them, then nobody in that situation would be happy. If you have a suggestion to attach to the tile that looks like wood (no grout line) I'm definitely all ears!

  • PRO

    BUY one of the moveable islands I have posted. They are guaranteed to be stable

  • cd7733

    Please add legs under the overhang that are also attached to the base cabinets! Your current design on a moveable island WILL TIP.

    Think of your moveable island as a table with base cabinets for legs on one side. It will be safe and stable with storage and seating!

    Incorporate a similar leg support into your design:

    3 to 4 inch legs should work along with a 4 inch wide frame.

  • Andy Boyer

    Update: Thank you everyone for your input. I found some nice heavy duty hairpin legs that I'll install to prevent tipping. It won't be anchored so I suppose it's technically possible someone could manage to tip it but I don't have any kids jumping on top of the table so I can't imagine a circumstance where we could manage to flip this. Thanks!!

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