Kitchen Cabinet DIY Tips – Why Is Toe Kick Molding Separate?

We continue our explanation of the somewhat dizzying array of different types of molding and accessories available for RTA kitchen cabinets. Today we’re looking at toe kick molding, which is an essential part of any professional-looking kitchen remodel. It does, however, beg a couple of questions, such as: “Do I really need this stuff?” and “Why isn’t this built in automatically?”

Do I Need Toe Kick Molding?

Well … probably, yes. The toe kick is the recessed area between the base cabinets and the floor. It may seem like a silly little design element, but actually it’s essential for comfortable use of kitchen counters. It provides an area for your toes to go while you use the kitchen, allowing your legs and waist to be flush with the front of the cabinets, and the countertop. This enables comfortable use of the entire depth of the counter.

Toe kick molding provides the same finished look to the back of the toe kick area as the rest of the cabinets. It also serves to protect the cabinet bases from damage from dropped objects, spilled food and liquids and, well,  kicks from people’s toes. While bare feet are unlikely to damage them, steel toed work boots and soccer cleats are another matter entirely!

Why Isn’t It Built In?

So if it’s so essential, why don’t cabinets simply come with finished toe kick areas by default? Well, not all floors are perfectly level, and not all cabinet bases are perfectly level either, since they’re assembled in your home, by you. An important step in base cabinet installation involves shimming the cabinets to make sure they’re all level at the top. This prevents stored objects from rolling in one direction, and provides the most stable surface for the counter to rest on. But those shims mean there might be a gap between the bottom of the cabinet, and the floor.

Toe kick molding to the rescue! Because it’s a separate piece, you can trim it to the exact shape you need, to make sure there’s no gap, and to ensure that your cabinets look like they were built into the house, not just placed on the floor like furniture.

Want to learn more about kitchen cabinets, including common pitfalls and how to avoid them? Check out The Consumer’s Guide to Buying Kitchen Cabinets today. It will help you avoid ripoffs and costly mistakes.

 

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