Kitchen islands are a staple in every American kitchen! They are used for dining, prepping food, washing dishes, storing food, and so much more! But not every kitchen island comes with all these benefits, and sometimes you have to go the extra mile to re-do it.
There are a few ways you can do this. Of course, hiring a contractor is one, and is obviously the more expensive method. But have you ever thought of doing it yourself?
While it might seem like an intimidating and tedious task at first, with some guidance and the right tools, you too can build one. Granted, it will take a bit longer than getting one professionally built, but it has got its advantages too.
For example, you can build it however you like, with your own design and color, without having to consult or pay extra for every little thing. And of course, you get to save a lot of money in the process.
Without further ado, let us get to see how to build a kitchen island with sink and dishwasher, because having both simply makes work a lot smoother in the kitchen.
Why Should You Build Your Own Island?
Now a lot of you might be wondering why go through the trouble of building one since it is clearly so much work. Well, when building your own island, you get a lot of freedom and flexibility around how you want it to be.
You get to decide everything, from the size to the components you want to add or discard. We just spoke about adding a sink and a dishwasher, you might want one with a microwave and no sink, someone else might prefer just the island, it all varies.
But having this base idea of how to go about building it gives you an open canvas, so you can paint it as you like. Not to mention, it literally saves you thousands of bucks, which is not a very little amount.
Tools You’ll Need To Build A Kitchen Island
Of course, you don’t have everything at home when building a kitchen island. This is a project that needs a ton of stuff, new materials, lots of tools, paint, and just so much more. So having a list surely helps, and that is exactly what we will be providing here.
You can buy cabinets from your local store such as Lowes. This depends on what you want, and what you can find. Plywood cabinets can be found pretty easily, but wooden ones are hard to come across.
2. Wooden Blocks
You will need 2×4 wooden blocks. This will basically create the skeleton for the entire island. On one side will sit the cabinets, the dishwasher, and the sink, while the other side will create space for the seating area.
This is also required for extra support for the countertop, as the cabinets alone cannot support the countertop.
This can be wooden or made of fiber, depending on what you want and prefer. If your home has mostly wooden furniture and fixtures, go for that. And if you have a budget crunch or prefer fiberboards, that works too.
Once again, a personal preference. This can be a stone, marble, quartz, an epoxy DIY, etc. countertop of your choice.
You will need a bunch of tools to complete this project. This includes a power drill, a saw, screws, level, sanding equipment, industrial adhesive, and staining and painting supplies if required. You might need more things along the way if you decide on sudden changes or make mistakes, so keep the extra budget aside just in case!
How To Build A Kitchen Island With Sink And Dishwasher- The Process
Too many things to do and too many elements to handle means messing up becomes just as easier.
Having a straight guideline means you will be on track and have something to refer back to in case you forget. Follow this process, and while it won’t be easy or fast, it will get you to your destination- a wonderful kitchen island!
1. Protect your floors
As you will be working on your kitchen floor, there will be many things that will spill or heavy objects which will fall. It is better to protect the flooring before you get on with the rest of the project, that way you can also clean up easily after you are done.
You start the whole process by assembling your cabinets. Take out all the parts and the assembling details which will all be provided with the cabinets. These are usually numbered very precisely, so you will have no issue putting them together.
For all the parts, you can screw them together as instructed, and use glue as well if you would like the extra hold, or if you don’t feel confident with your drilling and nailing skills.
If you do use glue, you should let them sit for about a day or two for the glue to get settled, and then proceed. This mostly goes for parts like the drawers.
When you do assemble the cabinets, if you plan on coloring them, you can choose to leave the doors for the end, as this will make it easier for you to color them inside and out later on.
3. Center Structure
Once you are done assembling the cabinets, you have to move the center structure, which will be holding everything in place or centering them.
For this, you create 3 rectangles, where you use 2 for the ends, and one for the center and you do this with the 2x4s. The center will be different for different people, and will depend on the length of your cabinets.
On one side of this structure, the cabinets will go, along with your dishwasher. And the other side will be empty, as that will be the seating area. The side where the cabinets go should be deeper, as it needs to have a lot of space for the accommodation of the sink as well as the dishwasher.
On the other hand, the side where you aim to create the seating area should be at least 12 inches, which will allow for comfortable resting of the feet, without the knees hitting the island.
Then cut the plywood so that they can cover the exterior of this structure. Follow up with wooden boards on the two ends to give it a clean look. You can do this using wood glue and a brad nailer to attach them securely and cleanly. If you end up having gaps, fill them up using putty and then sand it all down for a smooth surface.
Leave it to set for 24 hours, and then follow up with a primer and paint of your choice.
Get your cabinets, and start assembling them. Screw them in place strongly, and if you need help, use a clamp to hold them into place while you do the drilling. This will ensure they are tight and right in their spots.
Go through the entire structure to check how things are in every corner. Check for loose screws or parts that need more fixing, more glue, or even more sanding. Check your cabinets, and drawers if there are any. Once you are done thoroughly checking, then move onto the countertop.
You need to check because once you install the countertop, it becomes pretty much impossible to go back and fix things below it.
Now comes the countertop. This could be any kind you want. Some people like classic old marble, while others prefer wood, and some people like to go creative and use epoxy instead.
For a marble countertop or a plain wooden countertop, you will need to cut out the bit where the sink will sit. And if you decide to use epoxy, then you will need base plywood first. The same thing has to be done here as well, which is cutting out the bit where the sink will sit.
To attach the countertop, use industrial adhesive, but also screw in the corners if you feel like it is not holding up properly.
7. Water Installation
If you already have a water line where you are working, then great! If not, you will need to get a plumber in to get this job done. But it always a good idea to check first if the lines work before you install the sink and the dishwasher, as removing them later on would be a ton of work.
Now you can put in the sink and the dishwasher in their designated spaces, and then connect them to their water sources. For the sink, use industrial adhesive as well as screws to secure it in place.
As the final step, check all the joints between the cabinets and the center structure, or the cabinets and the countertop, countertop and sink, etc. If there are any gaps anywhere, or any space where the ends don’t quite meet, then use a caulking gun and seal those spaces up.
You can use the color that your kitchen island is to match. And if you can’t find a match, then use a clear one, that will work too. This will seamless close up all the gaps so there are no rough edges or holes.
Leaving it as it is will increase chances of damage to the structure through those little gaps, as well as an increased chance of pest or dust collection.
When dealing with a project of this scale, you need time and patience, and lots and lots of safety measures. Things you need to keep in mind are:
- Having safety gear at all times. This includes goggles and a mask when sanding since it can release a ton of fine dust which is hazardous to the health. The same applies for when you are painting and staining the island, and fumes can enter your lungs if you are not well protected. Safety gloves and a first aid kit are essential too, as you will be dealing with lots of drill machines and saws which can be very harmful.
- Don’t do this with kids around. If you have got kids at home, send them somewhere else, or complete most of the tougher tasks elsewhere before you screw and attach everything down in the kitchen. This project will leave lots of nails, screws, dust, and other hazardous stuff everywhere, and you don’t want kids near that.
- Plumbing is a sensitive issue, and if you are not careful you might end up damaging the main pipe. If you are not confident in this matter, get a professional instead of attempting to do it yourself.
- Don’t build or order the countertop before you are done building the structure. This is because last-minute changes and mishaps can push you away from your initial blueprint by a few inches here and there. And this can have a big impact on how the countertop sits.
- If you buying cabinets that come in a unique color, first check to see if you can find that colored paint for the rest of the island. If you don’t, you will be stuck with an island that has mismatching colors when you see the cabinets and the rest of the structure. Of course, if you are not going with different colors, then that won’t matter.
Well, that was a very long and descriptive read. But if you want to know how to build a kitchen island with sink and dishwasher, then this much reading you will have to do! There are a lot of steps, which means just as many chances of making a mistake.
When actually building the island, we suggest you have the list on hand or printed out, so that you can refer back to it.
We would also like to warn you that this is no weekend project. In fact, it will take many weekends at that! But with patience and constancy, you will get an amazing island that fits your kitchen, your needs, color choices, and requirements, and will be within your budget. What else can you ask for right?