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When to Use Closet/Garage Cabinet Legs On Your Closet System

What Are Cabinet Legs/Leg Levelers & How Are They Used?

Cabinet legs, also called leg levelers, are used to raise cabinets and closet systems 4 — 7-1/2 inches off of the floor. They provide up to a 1 inch range of adjustability per side, and are great in instances when floors are not level. They are typically made of some type of plastic.

cabinet with leg leveler/cabinet leg
Standard garage cabinet leg used in a typical garage installation

This makes them perfect for use in garages and basements where you are almost always assured that the floor will be uneven due to a general pitch towards a center drain, but they have other uses as well. Cabinet legs are recommended in any below grade application, as they limit possible water damage due to seepage. This means that closets and organization systems destined for the ground floor in split levels, garden apartments, finished basements and any installations on a cement slab — even if it is covered by carpet — are candidates for these garage cabinet legs.

A suspended closet system is another way to get your organization system off the floor, but cabinet legs will often hold more weight.

In their raw form, garage cabinet legs/levelers are very utilitarian looking and not at all attractive. This may be fine for the garage or unfinished basement, but no one wants them in their living areas. Special order cabinet legs are available to solve this problem. These cabinet legs can be categorized into two types — those that are designed to be covered or hidden and those with a decorative appearance intended to add to the design.

  • HIDDEN GARAGE CABINET LEGS: This type of cabinet leg is concealed behind the toe kick. They can be tricky to install, but when done well, it is nearly impossible to tell that the closet or organization system is using cabinet legs to raise the system off the floor. However, if disaster strikes and moisture wicks into the cabinet or wood components due to seepage, only the toe kick will be ruined and need replacement. This is a fairly simple and inexpensive way to prevent damage to your custom cabinetry. It is definitely recommended practice for organization systems used in finished basements or other below grade locations. Some homeowners prefer them in bathrooms as well, due to the high humidity and proximity to water.
    Note: If you have four feet of water in your basement or other major flooding, cabinet legs will not help you and you will need to talk to your insurance company.
  • Basement organization system uses hidden cabinet legs to keep cabinets off floor
    Special order garage cabinet legs are hidden behind a toe kick in this basement storage system. Example from the portfolio of Lynn Casanova >
  • DECORATIVE CABINET LEGS: Whether sleek and modern in appearance or old fashioned looking, this type of cabinet leg is meant to be seen. They can be made from plastic, metal, or even plastic that looks like metal. Different styles are available (special order) to match various decorating schemes. An organization system that uses legs is considered to be a floor based system, because it rests on the floor. The levelers/legs can be used in a garage or below grade installation to prevent moisture damage or compensate for uneven floors, however, many people simply like the look and will use them anywhere in the home.
  • closet island with decorative cabinet legs
    Closet island in a walk in closet with a mid century modern vibe uses cabinet legs on the closet island as an accent piece, although the rest of the closet system is a more typical floor based system. See Project >

If your cabinet design uses foot levelers/cabinet legs, it is important to understand how they support the weight of the casework, and the correct way to install them. In a typical cabinet, the weight of the entire unit and its contents is pulled down the side partitions towards the floor. The greatest need for support is on the bottom edge of the side partitions. Incorrectly installed foot levelers could compromise the cabinet's load bearing ability, resulting in failure and potential repair work, so it's important to always follow all installation instructions. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to hire a professional.