Why Is Cabinet Toe Kick Molding Separate?

Toe kick molding 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 Cabinet 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. Without it, your feet would bump into the bottom of the cabinet and you’d have to stand back from the counter to work. Cabinet toe kick 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.

Why Isn’t Cabinet Toe Kick Built In?

So if it’s so essential, why don’t cabinets simply come with finished toe kick by default? Well, not all floors are perfectly level, and not all cabinet bases are perfectly level either. An important step in base cabinet installation involves shimming the cabinets to make sure they’re all level at the top. This prevents anything 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.

Cabinet 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.

Can I Get Away with Cabinets without Toe Kick?

Technically, yes. Cabinet toe kick is a cosmetic piece that gives your cabinets a finished and professional look. On the other hand, without it your kitchen cabinets will look unfinished. That’s not good news if you ever decide to sell the house or want your friends to stop asking if your remodel budget fell short.

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 rip-offs and costly mistakes.

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