How to shift a dishwasher and add base cabinet under countertop?

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Hi, we moved into a condo in the fall that had been "renovated", but have found the work in the kitchen to be rather poorly thought out and poorly done. Chiefly, they positioned the dishwasher under the right half of the sink, forcing the sink to be shallow to accommodate the dishwasher, and the dishwasher to have a modified short top rack to accommodate the sink. This is driving us insane. Also, but less problematic for now, is that the cabinets were simply painted over, (not even refinished), and are pretty crappy.So, we want to get a new full-sized dishwasher and move it a foot to the right (where there is room), but this would create an opening under half of the sink that would need to have the sink cabinet expanded. We do not want to redo the whole kitchen, and will just live with cabinets that may not match 100% or simply be on a path to a future full transition.But, is there a way to safely do this without removing the countertop? I feel like I could simply knock out the cabinet to the right of the existing dishwasher, pull out said dishwasher, and then insert the new machine at the far right of the counter, but when I search online about removing cabinets from under a countertop, most people advise against it. I am not a handyman, but this doesn't look too daunting in our small kitchen. I am here to be either encouraged or dissuaded, as appropriate. The current dishwasher isn't even screwed into the bottom of the countertop (as I believe is supposed to be done), and the face of the cabinetry to the left of the dishwasher isn't even attached to the countertop at all (it is broken where the two meet). If you need clarification, just ask. Adding pictures as well.

q how to shift dishwasher and add base cabinet under countertop

To the left of the existing dishwasher. Face of base cabinet not attached to counter above.

q how to shift dishwasher and add base cabinet under countertop

Current setup. Want to remove the cabinet and drawer on the right, remove the dishwasher, and place a new dishwasher into the new space. A new cabinet space and door would need to be added in the newly vacant area currently occupied by the left side of the existing dishwasher.

q how to shift dishwasher and add base cabinet under countertop

Counter does not rest of the dishwasher already.

  5 answers
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Feb 15, 2019

    We replace our dishwasher a couple of years ago and it isn't attached to allow putting in a new one. Perhaps you can just remove the right base cabinet, move the new dishwasher into its rightful place and put the right base cabinet under the sink, it looks like it would work that way. You will have to open the back of the cabinet for the pipes to go through most likely. You may need to have longer hoses to connect to the lines of the dishwasher with the added distance where it will be, but it should work out. I would contact the realtor to find out who did the "renovation" and get them to fix it or pay for the shoddy workmanship that they did.

  • William William on Feb 15, 2019

    This is a little involved but it can be done. The cabinet is more likely screwed to the wall in the top back and maybe side. Countertop looks like granite and is probably caulked to the cabinet. Try to save the cabinet to use under the sink. Remove the door and drawer. Look for any screws that may be holding it to the wall and side. remove the screws. See if the counter is caulked to the cabinet. If so you can cut through the caulk with a razor utility knife. Remove the dishwasher. Measure the height of the countertop from floor to underside of the counter. You will need to make a temporary brace for the countertop. Take 2 2X4's and make a "T" the height of the counter. Insert the brace an inch or two from the cabinet side. Make sure it's holding the counter up. Now remove the cabinet. Take the cabinet and trim the back and sides so it slips under the sink. Use the drawer front as a false front on the cabinet. The drawer will be gone. You will need to support the countertop along the wall on the right. Use a 1X2 and screw it into the wall under the countertop. Then use another 1X2 and screw it vertically into the wall as a filler strip the depth of the cabinets. The dishwasher door won't rub against the wall. Measure the width if the new dishwasher and make a square frame out of wood boards and insert it on the left where the brace is to create an opening for the dishwasher. Also should be wide enough to to butt against the cabinet you moved. Screw or glue down to the floor and screw to the back wall. Now you can remove the temporary brace. Finally install the new dishwasher. I tried to cover everything and the sequence it should be done. Main thing is you don't want to crack the countertop. Hope this helps and good luck.

  • Shore grandmom Shore grandmom on Feb 20, 2019

    Honestly, I agree with William with just about everything. The countertops are probably glued to the back of the cabinets, too. But, if I were you, I'd save my money and do a complete reno of the kitchen. The poorly painted cabinets would be enough for me to want to get them out. Since the kitchen is small, it shouldn't be to expensive. When redoing the kitchen, I would remove the side wall that would be next to the dishwasher. It will give you an inch or two extra to play with. You could put a cabinet end to finish it off or a waterfall edge on the end of your counter. That would help open your kitchen up some, too.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Feb 21, 2019

    Take your time and Plan for “Murphy’s Law”.

    Check and see if an air-gap device is required, by Code, for the DW.

  • Alex Alex on Feb 24, 2019

    Great, thank you for all of the responses.


    I wonder if I can simply remove the face of the cabinets (and the bottom), as opposed to the entire cabinet frame. As it stands now, the counter is resting on the rear panel frame of the cabinet and the far right panel frame. It is this right side that would require support. However, if I leave the rear and right portion intact (the rear being against the back wall, and the right being against the right wall), the counter should remain supported on the ledges they create as it is now, would it not? It is the face of the cabinet that is falling apart anyway, and as you can see in the photo, isn't even in contact with the counter anyway.


    I could then just pull out the old dishwasher, insert the new, and then add a new bottom and front portion of the cabinet.


    I would likely still use a 2x4 or two to act as braces, but it isn't clear what they would be taking the place of in this scenario, because the countertop isn't really relying on anything that is being removed, except perhaps some weight on the cabinet face to the right of the current dishwasher, but it would remain on an 'L' shaped ledge even with that gone, and is counterbalanced to a degree where the countertop extends left past the sink anyway.


    Does this sound like a plausible strategy?