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Replace a Counter Support Panel Near a Dishwasher

August 24th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Some kitchen cabinet layouts have support panels that hold the counter up next to the dishwasher. Replacing these generally requires removing the appliance. What you will find is that the support will be screwed into the top on the inside of the dishwasher opening. Sometimes they will be secured to the back wall as well.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Hammer
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Drill With Various Bits
  • Caulking
  • Putty Knife
  • Glue
  • New Panel
  • Sanding Block with Sandpaper
  • Belt Sander
  • Temporary support
  • Razor Knife
  • Chisel

We will be looking at three possible methods of replacing the counter top support.

Method 1-Adding to the Existing Panel
In some mild cases of water damage around the lower section of the support, a new panel can be added without taking the old one out. This type of repair can only be accomplished if there’s enough of an overhang on the countertop to allow you to simply attach an additional support panel to the side of the existing one.

If you choose to use this method, first hire a plumber to remove the appliance. Then, you will need to place a temporary support in place while you cut the water damaged area off of the bottom of the existing panel. Do this with a reciprocating saw. Then you can fasten the new panel to the existing one and fill whatever areas that need to be filled with new wood. Next, re-laminate certain areas as necessary. I hope this makes sense. Every situation will be different depending upon your cabinet end panels original installation and design.

Repair Method-2
If the water damage is minimal, you can chisel and sand the panel down and re-laminate it.

Replacement Method-3
If you need to replace the countertop support completely, follow these steps:

  • Have a replacement panel fabricated
  • Remove the dishwasher
  • Install a temporary support
  • Take out the screws that are holding the existing support panel to the countertop.
  • Unscrew any fasteners that are on the back wall
  • Remove the existing support
  • Install the replacement panel

Important Tips:

  1. You will need to consider how the flooring is in this area. Have your new replacement dishwasher support panel fabricated to accommodate how the flooring is.
  2. Don’t try to remove the panel without taking the dishwasher out. This could damage the countertop, floor and the appliance.
  3. Hire a plumber to remove and re-install the dishwasher.
  4. You may need the belt sander to fit the dishwasher support panel to a crooked wall or floor area.

You can hire a professional cabinet company to handle the project if it seems to be more than you want to take on. All-in-all the job should take about three to four hours to complete by a professional. If you try to “do-it-yourself”  who knows how long it may take.

I’ve replaced many counter top supports located near dishwashers through the years. It is a job that requires a certain level of finish carpentry skill. If you are not familiar with some of the tricks of the trade, save yourself a lot of headaches and just hire someone who knows how top replace water damaged support panels in dishwasher areas of the kitchen.

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