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Widening an Opening for a New Refrigerator

Fitting a new refrigerator into an old kitchen can sometimes be difficult. In this kitchen, a wall had to be torn out and replaced to make the opening wider.

Fitting a new refrigerator into an old kitchen can sometimes be difficult. The surrounding cabinetry and walls often have to be adjusted. In this kitchen, a wall had to be torn out and replaced with a thin wood panel in order to make the opening wider. Then the upper cabinet had to be rebuit to fit the new wider opening. Here's how the team got it done.

Materials and Tools:
cold chisel
finish nailer
utility knife
level
pencil
miter saw
reciprocating saw
safety glasses
table saw
iron
one sheet 3/4" birch plywood
one roll edge banding
one outside corner
new cabinet

Steps:
1. Remove the upper cabinet and its hardware.

2. Before removing the wall, the team first checked that the wall was not load bearing.

3. Turn off the power at the circuit box. Cut a small hole into the wall so that the electric lines can be located.

4. Use a utility knife to score the wall along the ceiling line and adjacent wall. This prevents the drywall from tearing on the walls and ceiling that are staying in place.

5. Tear down the wall and then clear away the debris.

6. To make the panel, cut the birch plywood to size. Cut a hole for the electrical switch box.

Figure A

7. Apply iron-on edge banning to the outer (visible) side of the plywood.

8. Fasten the panel to the side of the back wall.

9. Install the new cabinet inside the opening, securing it into wall studs.

10. Install the trim and baseboard around the panel and upper cabinet (figure A).

Figure B

11. Install and rewire the electrical switch.

12. Prime and paint the panel to match the rest of the kitchen.

13. Slide the new refrigerator into the new, wider opening (figure B).

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