Cabinets, Drills and Walls

Whenever you are planning to drill a wall to install a cabinet check out the following before starting anything.
  1. How thick is the wall that the cabinet will be hanging on? There have been cases of drills going through to the neighbour's home. Weak walls also pose a physical danger.
  2. What material is this wall made off? Gypsum boards and hollow brick walls may not be able to take the weight of large hanging cabinets.
  3. What is the weight of the cabinet? The weight of the cabinet and intended content will determine the mounting technique, screws used and cabinet body design.
  4. Is there an electrical wire hidden in the wall? The installer can get electrocuted or killed by a live wire. The installer may inadvertently cut off an important electrical supply or security line. The makes later investigations difficult. 
  5. Is there a water pipe hidden in the wall? A leaking pipe caused by a wayward drill can cause extensive damage. Repair work can cause further damage.
  6. Is there a gas line hidden in the wall? A punctured gas line by a drill is by far the most dangerous. There maybe no immediate visible damage. People have been killed by gas slowly leaking into the room while asleep.
  7. Is there an aircon gas line in the wall? Document the path of your aircon ducts during installation. A punctured line is a messy affair to fix. Unlike an electrical line an entire new gas line needs to be laid.
  8. Is there an aircon drainage pipe in the wall? Damage to an aircon drainage line may be result in any obvious visible signs. Wall dampness may result. If the cabinet covers the damp area after installation you might notice damage only much later. 
  9. Is there a sewer pipe behind? Damaging sewer lines can be costly and inconvenient. Especially those that are shared by neighbours in the same block of flats.
  10. Is this the right time to drill? Be considerate when drilling. Chose a time that will not bother your neighbours. 
  11. Have I protected any furniture or items nearby from dust? Get a drill with vacuum cleaner attached if possible. If not cover everything near by. Red dust from brick walls can permanently stain certain fabrics on sofas, curtains and other furniture.
  12. Is there any wallpaper planned for this wall? For small shelves you might want to install the wallpaper first. For large cabinets the wallpaper can come later. Installing bulky cabinets can damage very delicate wallpaper.
  13. Is the wall damp? Before you start drilling and installing your cabinets check for dampness. Address the dampness first before proceeding with any works.

Once you know the answers to these questions you decide on the following
  1. Where to drill.
  2. No of screws needed 
  3. Types of screws and rawplugs
  4. Cabinet Design 
  5. Project Plan
  6. Redirecting utilities and services 
  7. Wall Strength Suitability 
  8. Take remedial action for dampness
A little planning and investigations can be prevent bigger issues later.

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