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carly

@telus.net

[Serious] Building Code as it pertains to Height of Kitchen Cabi

Is there a limit to how high upper kitchen cabinets can be mounted above the counter? I bought a new place, was blinded by all the glitz in the model home and missed that the cabinets have been mounted at 24" above the counter top. These are normal, 30", three shelf style of cabinet.

The builder is saying that it is legal and is the "new style".

Comments, pls.?

NCRGuy

join:2008-03-03
Ottawa, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL

Re: [Serious] Building Code as it pertains to Height of Kitchen

said by carly :

Is there a limit to how high upper kitchen cabinets can be mounted above the counter? I bought a new place, was blinded by all the glitz in the model home and missed that the cabinets have been mounted at 24" above the counter top. These are normal, 30", three shelf style of cabinet.

The builder is saying that it is legal and is the "new style".

Comments, pls.?

Building codes are generally to manage safety issues, not style.

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
reply to carly
said by carly :

The builder is saying that it is legal and is the "new style".

The new style of padding his pocket so he doesn't have to pay for crown molding above maybe.


Wolfie00
My dog is an elitist
Premium
join:2005-03-12
kudos:8
reply to carly
As already said, I don't believe there's anything in most building codes pertaining to that, although you don't say where you are so we don't even know what is applicable. But I'm pretty sure that no building code applies. They deal with things like stove clearances, electrical, and other such safety issues.

The interesting thing is why they would do this or why you're so bothered by it. The builder isn't really saving anything, unless raising the cabinets lets him entirely eliminate building the soffits over the top, which may be the case. But it does give the kitchen a more airy look and gives you more clearance for appliances. It might also give you the opportunity to build some nice under-shelf lighting to enhance that airy look even more! The only real downside is that things might be a bit harder to reach on the top shelf.

I saw somewhere that a common standard for counter-to-bottom of cabinet clearance is 18". I just measured mine out of curiosity (fairly new house) and they are 19 1/8". It's not something I would ever have even thought about normally.
--
"Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do." --Wendell Berry

Viper677
Certified Home Inspector

join:2012-03-22
Toronto
reply to carly
said by carly :

Is there a limit to how high upper kitchen cabinets can be mounted above the counter? I bought a new place, was blinded by all the glitz in the model home and missed that the cabinets have been mounted at 24" above the counter top. These are normal, 30", three shelf style of cabinet.

The builder is saying that it is legal and is the "new style".

Comments, pls.?

Did you not get a PDI done on your house?
--
Certified Home Inspector
Certified Level 1 Thermographer


carly

@telus.net
reply to NCRGuy
Thank you NCR Guy for your comment. In a way, this is a safety issue. The kitchen includes an OTR microwave and because it's attached to a cabinet that is higher than normal, the bottom of the microwave ends up being at eye level. Consequently, I would be removing hot/boiling dishes from over my head while standing on a stool. (I'm 5'3" - not unusually short for a female.)

That is why I was hoping the code speaks to a maximum height the cabinets can be mounted.


carly

@telus.net
reply to Wolfie00
You bet it's harder to reach! Can only reach the bottom shelf. Need a stool to reach the 2nd shelf and a step ladder to reach the top shelf.

So, it may look nice, but for me and other average height females, it is not functional at all. I either have to have it reno'd after I'm moved in (the builder states "he does not do custom work") or find myself a tall room mate!


carly

@telus.net
reply to Viper677
If by PDI you mean in inspection, no, I didn't. This is a new townhouse and is currently under construction (which is why I felt it was reasonable to have the builder mount the cabinets at a normal height).

Unfortunately, I didn't notice the height of cabinets until after I had signed on the bottom line & plunked down a sizeable downpayment (too much to walk away from).


Link Logger
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
Calgary, AB
kudos:3
reply to carly
I had to have my cabinets raised when I put in a gas stove, so you might want to check that as height requirement is different depending on what kind of stove you have (at least it is was I live, Calgary Alberta).

Blake
--
Vendor: Author of Link Logger which is a traffic analysis and firewall logging tool


carly

@telus.net
reply to NCRGuy
I just came across a site listing kitchen design rules (Starcraft Construction) one of which said that the bottom of a microwave should be no greater than 54" from the floor. With the cabinets mounted 6" higher than normal, this results in the bottom of the microwave being 62" from the floor. (As mentioned, given I'm 63" high, you can see the problem.)

Are you or any of the rest of you aware of a code that stipulates the maximum height for a microwave?

(And thank you to all of you for your helpful comments.)


ArthurS
Watch Those Blinking Lights
Premium
join:2000-10-28
Hamilton, ON
reply to carly
Check the installation manual for your OTR microwave, it should stipulate at what height it should be installed. Get the model# of the microwave, and search for it with google.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to carly
said by carly :

I just came across a site listing kitchen design rules (Starcraft Construction) one of which said that the bottom of a microwave should be no greater than 54" from the floor. With the cabinets mounted 6" higher than normal, this results in the bottom of the microwave being 62" from the floor. (As mentioned, given I'm 63" high, you can see the problem.)

Are you or any of the rest of you aware of a code that stipulates the maximum height for a microwave?

(And thank you to all of you for your helpful comments.)

I checked my own kitchen, which was redone last year. The microwave is 56" from the floor. The cupboards (with drop valence) are 16" above the counter. I'm 6' and I find the microwave is something I am careful about (and always use a Nomex OveGlove)
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to carly
I don't remember the distances but for a gas stove there *IS* a minimum distance from the stovetop to the underside of an OTR microwave specified in code.

Some ranges have high output burners for two or more burner locations and since most microwave ovens have a lot of plastic, they can become susceptible to melting/distortion due to excessive head from below, not to mention a fire hazard.


joeblow3

join:2000-12-27
London, ON
reply to carly
Sounds like the townhome is in progress and the kitchen is not done yet. Have the cupboards installed lower as to your requirements. It should not cost anything to mount them lower.

Viper677
Certified Home Inspector

join:2012-03-22
Toronto
reply to carly
said by carly :

If by PDI you mean in inspection, no, I didn't. This is a new townhouse and is currently under construction (which is why I felt it was reasonable to have the builder mount the cabinets at a normal height).

Unfortunately, I didn't notice the height of cabinets until after I had signed on the bottom line & plunked down a sizeable downpayment (too much to walk away from).

Yes, by PDI, I meant pre-delivery inspection.

Did you try asking the builder if he can mount it where you need them? Are they charging you extra for that?

If it was a safety issue then they would not do it to begin with (considering that builders know better not to mess with codes). If it is a comfort issue for you then you should have them do it your way.

This is why is very important to get a pre-delivery inspection done so these types of things are inspected by the home inspector. Some people think that a home inspection is not important for new built homes which is not correct.

If you think that this is a safety issue then contact a local reputable home inspector who does PDI and discuss this with him/her.
--
Certified Home Inspector
Certified Level 1 Thermographer


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to carly
OP - I'm not sure where you're at, your city (or provience) may have different codes, but this will give you a start with the OTR question... (for those that hate math and/or metric - 750mm is about 30") Some municpalities cut the clearance to 24" or even 18" for electric ranges; but gas cooktops are pretty consistant at 30".

For the rest of the upper cabinets - there's minimums, but I've never seen a max height referenced.

------------------
9.10.22. Fire Protection for Gas, Propane and Electric Ranges
9.10.22.1. Installation of Ranges
(1) Reserved
(2) Clearances for and protection around gas, propane and electric ranges shall be not less than those provided in Articles 9.10.22.2. and 9.10.22.3.
9.10.22.2. Vertical Clearances above Ranges
(1) Except as provided in Sentence (2), framing, finishes and cabinetry installed directly above the location of the range shall be not less than 750 mm above the level of range burners or elements.
(2) The vertical clearance described in Sentence (1) for framing, finishes and cabinets located directly above the location of the range is permitted to be reduced to 600 mm above the level of the elements or burners provided the framing, finishes and cabinets,
(a) are noncombustible, or
(b) are protected by,
(i) asbestos millboard not less than 6 mm thick, covered with sheet metal not less than 0.33 mm thick, or
(ii) a metal hood with a 125 mm projection beyond the framing, finishes and cabinets.


donoreo
Premium
join:2002-05-30
North York, ON
reply to carly
I am not clear....are they too high or too low? I would prefer them high rather than wasting that space at the top to collect dust.

Oxidd

join:2010-02-24
Pierrefonds, QC
reply to carly
Usually when you put cabinets that go up to the ceiling, you don't raise them higher. You put longer cabinets (42 inches instead of 30).

Thats probably what the builder wanted to do but didnt know about that part.


carly

@telus.net
reply to joeblow3
The townhouse is under construction so one would think the builder would be agreeable to install them lower, but they refuse to do so. Their position is that they are not a custom builder and 24" above the counter is how they installed the cabinets in the rest of the townhouses & thus I have to accept their design.

I was hoping to find something in the building code that would force him to install them lower. So far no luck on that.


donoreo
Premium
join:2002-05-30
North York, ON
said by carly :

The townhouse is under construction so one would think the builder would be agreeable to install them lower, but they refuse to do so. Their position is that they are not a custom builder and 24" above the counter is how they installed the cabinets in the rest of the townhouses & thus I have to accept their design.

I was hoping to find something in the building code that would force him to install them lower. So far no luck on that.

How low do you want them? Just goolging shows 18 to 24 as standard.
--
The irony of common sense, it is not that common.
I cannot deny anything I did not say.
A kitten dies every time someone uses "then" and "than" incorrectly.
I mock people who give their children odd spelling of names.


Carly

@telus.net
reply to Oxidd
Thank you for that comment. If I end up having to replace my cabinets, using a longer cabinet may well be cheaper than having to redo the fridge cabinet and the pantry so that all of them line up across the top.


Carly

@telus.net
reply to donoreo
They are way too high ........ can only reach the bottom shelf unless I use a stool (2nd shelf) and step ladder (top shelf). It also results in the OTR being at eye level (62" above the floor).


Carly

@telus.net
reply to Viper677
Thank you for your comment regarding PDI's. I live in Vancouver and I don't think that's a common practice, but I absolutely will research it. I'm a big fan on Holmes on Homes and lots of what I've seen is scary and I don't have that kind of expertise.


donoreo
Premium
join:2002-05-30
North York, ON
reply to Carly
said by Carly :

They are way too high ........ can only reach the bottom shelf unless I use a stool (2nd shelf) and step ladder (top shelf). It also results in the OTR being at eye level (62" above the floor).

If there is no code violation, and it does not look like it, and they are already installed, I cannot see the builder moving them without you paying for it.

As for the PDI, it is a good idea. We did one on our new house, but did not have an inspector, we just went through with the builder and pointed out all the mistakes. We should have got a proper inspector. He was a dick too. He would not write down something my mother in law pointed out unless one of us also said it.
--
The irony of common sense, it is not that common.
I cannot deny anything I did not say.
A kitten dies every time someone uses "then" and "than" incorrectly.
I mock people who give their children odd spelling of names.


elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
Reviews:
·VMedia
said by donoreo:

said by Carly :

They are way too high ........ can only reach the bottom shelf unless I use a stool (2nd shelf) and step ladder (top shelf). It also results in the OTR being at eye level (62" above the floor).

If there is no code violation, and it does not look like it, and they are already installed, I cannot see the builder moving them without you paying for it.

As for the PDI, it is a good idea. We did one on our new house, but did not have an inspector, we just went through with the builder and pointed out all the mistakes. We should have got a proper inspector. He was a dick too. He would not write down something my mother in law pointed out unless one of us also said it.

A lot of builders won't let you bring a third party in with you to do the PDI. That's a builder I would avoid.
--
No, I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake.......


joeblow3

join:2000-12-27
London, ON
reply to carly
This sounds like unacceptable building practices.

Approach the builder and discuss it, write a registered letter requesting the uppers be located within general acceptable standards. Then if you still get no where I'd start screaming. E-mail, write, visit the model home and have an open/heated discussion when other potential customers are there, visit the building site everyday keeping them on their toes on every aspect of the build, contact your lawyer.

Nothing worse for business than a current customer openly complaining in public when other customers are there.

My upper height is fine I have a 10-12 inch space above them, this looks great and provides for display of fancy items. You don't need a bulk head or the uppers to the ceiling.

Experience tells me to keep on top of the builder because if they screw something up they do not take the initiative and fix it until the homeowner complains. Their mind set is it isn't wrong unless the homeowner say it is, maybe.

Good Luck


Carly

@telus.net
Thank you, Joe and again, thank you to everyone for your thoughts & suggestions. From everything I've heard, it seems that there are no codes that refer to maximum heights of cabinets or OTR microwaves.

I will take your advice about sending in a registered letter citing accepted practices to the builder and in addition, I will explore the possibility of bringing a PDI inspector with me when I do the walk through.

Again, thank you, everyone.