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Help with ID of screws in kitchen cabinets


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I need some help trying to ID if this is a Drywall screw. I think it is and the builder is saying it is not. The owner voiced her opinion very strongly that I could not back it out to look at it.

My client who was birddogging me the entire inspection is actually the one who pointed it out to me. He found them when he first looked at the home earlier in the week.

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Doesn't matter. It's a cone head, not a pan head. Manufacturer's don't like cone heads that penetrate the wood. They typically call for a larger pan head screw.

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The upper kitchen cabinets appear to be fastened to the wall with drywall screws. Dry wall screws do not have sufficient shear (sideways) strength, especially after the cabinets are loaded down with dishes, etc. The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer's Association www.kcma.org typically requires the use of specific fasteners to hold these cabinets on the wall. The cabinet manufacturer for these cabinets can better explain the proper fasteners to use for these cabinets. Ask to see the cabinet installation instructions that are shipped with all cabinets.

Most manufacturers have this or a similar warning in their installation instructions:

CAUTION:

Do not use nails to install base or wall cabinets. Use the recommended screws. Using nails or drywall screws will void the product warranty and may allow cabinets to fall from the wall.

Repair / replace as needed to comply with the manufacturer's instructions.

I note that I've never seen any cabinets mounted like this fail, but then, I've never seen a dryer fire either and there's 15,000 of those every year.

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Did you get a shot of the manufacturer's sticker on the door under the kitchen sink or bathroom sink.

The code at the bottom of that sticker will show you who the manufacturer is and they can put a kabosh on it just from your picture.

http://kcma.org/Homeowners/code_search

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Could be a drywall screw, but more likely a general purpose screw (maybe GRK?). They are much better than drywall screws, but are still brittle. I would not recommend them, but it would depend upon the cabinet manufacturer's requirements whether they are acceptable.

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Do folks regularly check the type of cabinet installation screws?

Just curious.....

No, but I do check if wall cabinets are loose and from now on, thanks to Erby, if a cabinet is indeed loose I'll check if the screws are panheads.

Marc

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My daddy said a smart man learns from his experience, but a truly smart man learns from other peoples experience.

This was one of those "truly smart" things. Though I admit, occasionally, I still have to hit my thumb with a hammer to make sure it hurts.

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Do folks regularly check the type of cabinet installation screws?

Just curious.....

I started about 6-8 years ago right after I walked into a home and the cabinets were laying on the floor and countertops. One corner failed and it pulled the rest off the wall. This is when I learned about the pitfalls of using the wrong fasteners. In my market I'm in homes where the kitchen cabinets cost as much as some German luxury cars.

Don Lovering did a good article in the ASHI Reporter several years back on cabinets that covers what to look for.

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I ask because we never use the stuff the cabinet mfg's. supply or spec. Stupid pot metal screws can't handle the torque of going into old growth lumber and they break halfway in, even with a pilot hole.

I use Tapcons sometimes, or those "construction screws" with the green torx drive, or my favorite, the Roberts drive 3" drywall jobs that are about a #10 or 12 shanks. Don't overdrive, and they work.

Yeah, heresy. I've found it's a whole lot more important how the cabinets are fastened, not what the fastener is. They all go in different.

I don't think I can recall ever seeing nails.

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Now ya done it, Scott. I started lookin and I don't like what I see. [:(]

We got a round head sheet metal screw with a washer, a counter sink wood screw, and at the bottom a drywall screw.

Oh well the cabinet is too close to the wall anyway. At least the screws are acessible. [:)]

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I'm curious again.

Does the simple presence of drywall screws trigger a comment in the report?

What about ledger lags? Would folks question them?

I'm asking because, as someone that still installs a lot of cabinets and works with others doing the same, I don't know anyone that uses the stuff that the Mfg's supply. We all use those big Roberts drive drywall screws, ledger lags, and tapcons on occasion.

I have found 2 dryer fires, both smoldering lint in foil slinky connectors.

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And the island to see if it's going to tip over.

This, from the ASHI article was rather humorous: "retard cabinet departure".

I would have probably said "Keep it from falling".

I saw it too. Retard departure. Ok.

The useful item in the article is the note about impact resistant glass.

The rest of it kinda left me wondering.

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We write improper fastening about 100 times a year. Nearly always it is a "drywall" screw or a bugle head. Now that we check every cabinet, we find a fair amount of splitting and it is common to find one or two fasteners missing or not installed. Base cabinets never get checked except for face rail joints.

One of our inspectors lost his house because of a dryer fire. mylar vent matl.

We started checking after we found most new house inspections had poorly or incorrectly fastened wall cabinets.

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I find cabinet problems a fair amount, but fastener type doesn't play into it too much unless it's something really stupid like Kogel's pic.

Most of the stuff that's actually important can't be determined in a home inspection. How do we know if the fastener is even engaging lumber? Did the guy pull hinges and fasten the uppers together, hiding the fastener under the hinge? How long are the fasteners? Is the hanging rail reinforced?

Lacking an ability to provide quality control on job sites, Mfg's spec out their stuff as a shot in the dark control. Knowing everyone uses drywall screws someplace gives them an out if something goes wrong.

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Just think of the weight in a typical kitchen cabinet full of dinnerware. In one of our cabinets we have 12 place settings of Fiesta ware. I would venture to say that it is probably around 60-70 lbs, then add in the weight of the cabinets and I bet we are close to 100lbs in just one cabinet.

Base cabinets fail as well. Have you ever seen or wondered why the granite countertop looks like it is pulling away from the wall? Most likely the cabinets are pulling away from the wall due to the weight of the granite. I have also seen where the weight of the cabinets and granite tops are not supported properly in the crawlspace or basement.

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I'm not disputing that cabinets fail. I know that drywall screws can shear off. Then again, we've tested a few things where a single drywall screw holds up under >200 lbs. There's much more to consider than the fastener.

Everyone can report anything they want, and sticking to what the mfg's. say is pretty safe.

OTOH, the idea that cabinet installations fail because of the single fact of drywall screws is a stretch. If folks put it in their reports, fine with me.

I do happen to be aware of dozens of kitchens installed with drywall screws that can support Elisio and Miguel hanging on them (combined weight of about 500 lbs.). Making or breaking an installation on the fact of a drywall screw doesn't make any sense to me. All the stuff that plays into how cabinets actually perform isn't addressed in the ASHI article; it's pretty rote stuff out of a brochure. I thought his pointing out the impact resistant glass thing is important.

It's another chapter in my increasingly bemused observations about HI's having not a clue about actualities and practicalities of building stuff and how stuff actually holds together, or doesn't.

Again, if folks report drywall screw fasteners, fine with me.

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. . . I thought his pointing out the impact resistant glass thing is important. . .

Well, then, you'll be distressed to hear that it's an error. During the review process, the Tech Committee allowed the reference to safety glass to stand because it seemed to meet the letter of the code. After publication, someone wrote to challenge the idea of safety glass in that location. The Tech Committee asked the ICC for an interpretation and they said that it wasn't necessary for most cabinets. Garet, who was chairing the committee that year, wrote a clarification for The Reporter:

http://www.ashireporter.org/HomeInspect ... Glass/1507

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Distressed? Hell no. I'm glad. Beaming, in fact.

I've tried to maintain an appropriate mantle of concern to mollify the safety scolds for years. Now, knowing that cabinet glass doesn't have to be safety rated, I can dismiss the entire boring dung pile of an article.

Retard departure from the wall...... Where do we find such men?

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