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Listen, I love a DIY as much as the next person, but sometimes, it’s okay to take stock of your skills and recognize when a task is just too much. Mastering new techniques and challenging yourself to learn how to use new tools is fun, but again, sometimes it’s not worth the investment and headache! Completing a project—or full renovation—is a journey. There’s nothing wrong with bringing in help along the way.

In the spirit of knowing when it’s time to call in a pro, we chatted with Ryan Rael, our go-to Semihandmade Customer Experience Manager, and Lauren Thompson, our BOXI Account Specialist, to hear from the people who know the process of working with our products best. Here are the six projects you might want to reconsider taking on yourself: 


Floating Shelf Installation:

Sounds easy, right? Not quite… A handful of features that make it a bit more hands on to install our products are purposefully done that way to ensure a custom fit for our customers—floating shelves included. According to Ryan, “Our floating shelf brackets do not come pre-drilled for lag bolts. We do this so you can ensure the holes are in line with the studs in your wall.” 

Making sure your shelves are installed around your space’s studs is important to ensure they stay in place and can hold anything you place on them. Two words: Safety first! This is especially important as our custom sizes go up to 92 inches long. The downside: “Tools required for assembly include a Drill, 3/8″ Drill bit designed for metal, leveler, and a stud-finder.”


Appliance Panel Installation:

If you’re thinking you can easily pop on your appliance panel, think again. It’s important to consider a few things ahead of ordering and when it comes to installation, precision is key. 

It’s important to understand cabinet types ahead of pressing purchase on your appliances themselves. IKEA and Semihandmade are a frameless, or full overlay, system. If you order an appliance suited for inset, standard, or full cabinets, you might not get the look you’re going for. “You want to ensure that your appliance panel matches surrounding cabinetry,” says Ryan.

And for installation, Ryan mentioned some appliance manufacturers help walk you through the process in a helpful manner, others not so much. “While some instructions are quite thorough, others are far too vague to understand.”


Scribing Custom Order Filler:

Your side panels, toe kicks, and filler help get that custom look we’re all going for by covering any inconsistencies on your walls and molding. Scribing is a fancy way of saying “cutting” these pieces, which is a more important job than you might initially think. These pieces are ordered and delivered in sizes larger than you need so that you can cut exactly to your needs for a perfect fit. Everything, including the angle of the cut, matters. 

According to Ryan, “This is important to use an installer because they will likely know the appropriate saw and saw blade to use. Similarly, since they are cutting to match existing imperfections, the cuts need to be extremely accurate.”


Hardware Drilling:

We already mentioned our products are designed to help you customize your kitchen to your style and needs, and hardware is a huge part of that. Which is exactly why our fronts are not pre-drilled. Think about all the styles of hardware and pulls you’ve seen… they all have different drilling and placement needs. 

“Hardware comes in all shapes and sizes and is truly an aesthetic decision. There is no correct way to install hardware,” says Ryan.”Meaning both placement and functionality can vary from project to project.”

Pulls can require one or two drill holes, and can be placed at the top, center, or side of the door. While this is an extra step you, the customer, has to take, it ultimately helps you get the exact look you desire.

The good news: This is an extremely easy task any contractor can nail in a matter of minutes. In addition to having the correct drill bit on-hand, Ryan also says, “They generally have a practice or templates to ensure the perfect fit and drilling.”


Full IKEA Box Assembly:

Your IKEA order and assembly differs from your Semihandmade order and installation. We recommend doing this one-hundred percent yourself, or relying totally on one contractor to do both. 

Why? Ryan says, “If an installer does the entire thing, they can ensure everything is done correctly. If there are any minor errors or something isn’t sitting right, there are so many moving parts that can impact the overall installation.”

Why is it important for your cabinets to be installed correctly? This may seem obvious, but Ryan reiterates, “This is the entire look and functionality of your kitchen. A poorly installed cabinet can lead to short and long term issues with your cabinets, countertops, flooring, and more.” 

Lauren adds that it’s beneficial to use the same General Contractor (GC) for all of your needs if you can, as they’ll be intimately aware of the needs and potential challenges that come with your project. 

She says, “If you hire a random installation company or service that is not in tune with where your plumbing or electrical is or needs to be, it can be problematic and cause extra work in the long run. It’s always best to try to have all the different parts of the job unified so that everyone is on the same page with all that needs to get done.”


Apron Sink Installation:

We already chatted with Lauren in-depth about what you need to know if you want an apron sink in your kitchen, but to make a long story short, with most sinks, you’ll need some cabinet modification to make the fit perfect. 

Ryan says, “Each apron sink has an overhang that varies from sink to sink, and will rarely have the exact width of your cabinet box. This will generally require additional support or cutting of panels/drawer fronts to fill the space surrounding the front of the apron sink.”

Another thing you might not have considered: Sinks, especially nice, high-quality apron sinks, are heavy and need to be sufficiently supported and secured. Lauren adds, “Pros know how to accomplish this underneath the sink and also use techniques that will allow for the most aesthetically pleasing install when you open the cabinet doors under the sink.” 

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