Author Topic: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?  (Read 2035 times)

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Offline Bugsysiegals

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How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« on: January 12, 2021, 10:30 AM »
I can't seem to find any information on standard technique of building a ladder base / plinth for base cabinets to rest upon and best way to affix the cabinets to the base ... do you all just wing it and build something from 2x4' and screw the base to it or is there some method to be followed here?

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Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1054
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2021, 10:47 AM »
I think the idea is to build the base however you like but have cross members supporting each cabinet side. If the base is flat the cabinets just rest on it. Screw the cabinets to each other through their sides and the entire bank of cabinets through their backs hitting studs. You could attach the base to the substrate of your floor after shimming it level using L brackets.

The base is just there to provide a flat, level surface for the cabinets to rest on. If your floor was flat and level across the room, you wouldn't set the cabinets on the floor and screw them to the floor would you?

Find your high spot in the room from the floor. That's your target to bring the low spot of the base up to level using shims as necessary.
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Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4160
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 11:27 AM »
I build a ladder base using the straightest Douglas fir members I can find, sizing each base to be 1" shorter on each end than the run of the cabinets (to allow for toekicks custom cut to cover and protect the end fir pieces), and 6" narrower (front-to-back) to accommodate irregularities in the wall run as well as to allow for a solid 5" deep toekick area (to accommodate a custom-cut toekick).  I cut the width of the ladder base to make the finished countertops 36" AFF.  If the cabinets are to be in an area where the floor is frequently wet, I cut the toekicks to sit 1/8" up off the finished floor to prevent water from soaking into the finished toekicks, and in some cases, I'll use Azek (vinyl) trim boards to be non-absorbent toekicks.  All ladder bases are leveled using shims before being screwed down (I use pocket screws inside the base frame).  Cabinets are screwed down to the ladder base crossmembers, and to wall studs and shimmed as needed to accommodate wandering walls, as @DynaGlide mentioned. 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 11:33 AM »
    I use plywood for the ladder base. I find that  2x lumber is just not straight enough. Especially when the goal is to make something flat, level, and square.  Depending on the size of the unit and install situation some or all of the ladder members might be double thick.  I always double the plywood at points where cabinet boxes meet so that I have a more forgiving attachment point.

    I screw the boxes to the base, and to each other. Attachment points of the base and cabinets to the wall and or floor just depends on the situation.

     Plus what sparktrician said.  In general I make the base a little shorter and narrower than needed. That allows wiggle room.  I also use pocket holes to attach to the floor. I drill a whole bunch of them even if I am not sure I need them. That way they are available wherever a screw may be needed all along the frame.

    Seth
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 11:37 AM by SRSemenza »

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 820
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2021, 01:39 PM »
Thanks guys, much appreciated. 

With regards to fastening the cabinets to the ladder base, I assume you just screw through the bottom of the cabinet into the base?  Will a drywall screw do or are you using some other screw/washer combo?

Offline SRSemenza

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Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2021, 01:51 PM »
Thanks guys, much appreciated. 

With regards to fastening the cabinets to the ladder base, I assume you just screw through the bottom of the cabinet into the base?  Will a drywall screw do or are you using some other screw/washer combo?

Yup, I just screw through the bottom into the base. I try to place them out of sight as much as possible and then cover or fill the holes.

Seth

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2021, 03:32 PM »
Thanks guys, much appreciated. 

With regards to fastening the cabinets to the ladder base, I assume you just screw through the bottom of the cabinet into the base?  Will a drywall screw do or are you using some other screw/washer combo?


I use GRK R4 screws or pocket screws.  Drywall screws are too brittle.  YMMV... 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 820
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2021, 04:57 PM »
Thanks guys, much appreciated. 

With regards to fastening the cabinets to the ladder base, I assume you just screw through the bottom of the cabinet into the base?  Will a drywall screw do or are you using some other screw/washer combo?


I use GRK R4 screws or pocket screws.  Drywall screws are too brittle.  YMMV...

Perfect, thanks!

Offline Packard

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Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2021, 04:48 PM »
I never knew that they were called ladder bases.  I made mine from plywood.  I used confirmats to go into the edges of the ply.  I Leveled the frame and then covered it with a sheet of plywood. 

But this design seems much more logical:https://www.mdcfurnituredesign.com.au/old-school-vs-new-school/

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4160
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2021, 06:30 PM »
I never knew that they were called ladder bases.  I made mine from plywood.  I used confirmats to go into the edges of the ply.  I Leveled the frame and then covered it with a sheet of plywood. 

But this design seems much more logical:https://www.mdcfurnituredesign.com.au/old-school-vs-new-school/


It looks from the photo that you're using MDF to construct the ladder base.  Bad idea if you're going to be working anywhere near potentially wet areas, like kitchens.  If you get MDF wet, it soon disintegrates into sawdust.  That's why I prefer solid wood, like Douglas fir.  YMMV... 
- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 421
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2021, 08:22 PM »
I always called them plinths, I make mine from 3/4" plywood glued and screwed.  I level them up really tight and then the cabinet installation goes quick and easy.  I also prefer building flat based cabinets without toekicks as I find I get better utilization out of a sheet of plywood building 30-1/2" tall boxes.

Offline Bob D.

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Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2021, 09:35 PM »
I always called it a base.

I use a method similar to Sparktrician, and make my bases out of 2x4 framing lumber that I square up before assembly. When I have made cabinets for the basement or garage I use PT 2x material. I place a cross piece at the junction of each cabinet unit. One 2x on edge is wide enough to support the side of both units.

To anchor to the base frame to the floor I use pieces of 2x4 about 6 inches long that I lay flat at each corner along with additional anchor blocks located as needed front and back that I screw to the floor. It it's concrete I use 3" TapCon screws. I then shim and level the base and screw through the base into the anchor blocks. The shims remain and get cut flush with the face of the base frame.

For the kickboard I use a cover board that gets finished but recently I tried something that worked out pretty well. I had a length of black laminate just under 20"W x 96"L which was left over from a project. So I applied that to a piece of Patriot 1/4" SurePly and ripped it into 3-1/2" (or as needed) wide strips that I then used construction adhesive to stick to the face of the base frame. This makes a hard, easy to clean surface that doesn't get scuffed by shoes and should never need refinishing.

That was back in 2014 and it still looks like new. I used it twice since then and it's worked out well.
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Offline xedos

  • Posts: 482
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2021, 09:01 AM »
I think that’s because separate bases are non standard.

The traditional U.S. way is for the cabinet sides to extend the floor and the Europeans use leg levelers.

I’ve never understood the reluctance here for the use of leg levelers, especially in favor of a ladder base system.   

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 475
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2021, 01:00 PM »
Personally I like the idea of leg levelers? I think it is more adaptive.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 820
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2021, 03:21 PM »
I like the idea of leg levelers if you’re going to make some drawers or hide some LED drivers underneath but it’s probably harder to get everything leveled than one solid base for multiple cabinets.

That said, I’m not sure how much they were, but these seemed pretty slick if you’re doing leg levelers ...
« Last Edit: January 30, 2021, 03:24 PM by Bugsysiegals »

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 297
Re: How-To ... Ladder Base / Plinth?
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2021, 04:54 PM »
You can get an ez-level for the American style sides, which doesn't require a special tool.

I used them on my kitchen pantry cabinets, which did not have a toe kick because I wanted the sides to extend all the way to the floor for a cleaner look.

https://www.ez-level.com/