People in the 1900s liked to build boxes above their kitchen cabinets to hide the gap between the ceiling and the cabinetry top.
What is the Box Above the Kitchen Cabinets Called? The box above the kitchen cabinets is called a soffit or a bulkhead. It hides the ductwork, plumbing lines, and wires or covers up the space. However, you can give it a stylish look by turning this gap or soffit into a new design. You can add crown molding, furr downs, more cabinets, trim, paint with well-matched color, and other modifications. The total average cost of its removal is between $125 to $310, and the time is almost 2 to 3 hours.
Most people install it because it is necessary, but some do it for aesthetic reasons. You can use various canny ways to disguise this gap.
As a result, it appears to be larger, brighter, and roomy. This article will also cover the method to remove these bulkheads without damaging the wooden structure.
Definition of Box Above Kitchen Cabinets
It’s a boxy framework between the upper cabinets and the ceiling, disguising plumbing pipes, HVAC ducting, wiring, and other mechanical or filling spaces.
It has a famous name as soffits. But some people call it a bulkhead because of its boxy structure and bulky shape above the shelves.
What is the Purpose of Kitchen Soffits?
Although soffits are the need of the kitchen nowadays, people usually design these to create an aesthetic look.
Its primary purpose is to cover up the pipework and connections for other utilities, including water, electricity, and ductwork for other ventilating devices. You can get easy access if you need any repair or modification.
The ceiling height of each home is different and has no particular standard size compared to the cabinets.
Consider this idea to fill the gap between the top of the shelves and your ceiling height.
Sometimes this space results from wrong dimension calculation, and other reasons can be people deliberately creating it as a storage area to put things over it. These can be baskets, extra boxes, or decorative objects.
What are the Drawbacks of Soffits in the Kitchen?
Although the soffit covers the space above the cabinets, it makes the kitchen appear small.
In addition, while removing it, there is a chance of damage to the cupboard and walls because of their unified structure.
They might be tough to manage if they expand too much into your space. In addition, dust can build up in the ducting and plumbing systems.
It limits your access to wiring and other pipework. Therefore, it is challenging to do the maintenance work without removing these structures.
Moreover, any fault or defect, especially water leakage, will not be visible to you until it damages the walls due to seepage and woodwork. Therefore, people don’t prefer it and can go for other options to cover this space.
How to Make Boxy Space Above Cabinets Look Good?
You can make the boxy space above the cabinets seem attractive in various efficient ways and give it a fresh aesthetic look.
One alternative you can use is to extend the upper cabinet to the ceiling. They will reflect the existing ones in height, giving the impression of a larger kitchenette.
If the space between the ceiling and the top cupboard is not small enough, use trim to cover it. It provides a more integrated look and reduces the chance of dust accumulation.
You can disguise this area with a furr down from the ceiling, in which you can reduce the overhead height by using drywall and framing to build a dropped ceiling.
It can appear clumsy at times, but how you use it to create an appealing and modern style is all up to you.
Another option you can use is to add a new row of cabinets to get a refreshing look.
It is best to use a glass door for the front cupboards. It is a better option for increasing storage space and storing frequently used goods.
Another way to make this boxy space look good is to add crown molding. It is a more versatile option and provides a better look and customized setting. It is a better idea to hide a wide area.
The wall of that boxy space should paint in a color blended with the cupboard. You can also use this area to display artwork or store items.
You can also use a remodeling method to add a column and a different but complementary color scheme to the soffit, transforming it into a new design that blends in with the design.
Are Kitchen Soffits Out of Style?
In the 1990s, this style was more prominent in homes. However, people’s preferences change with time, and these soffits have become outdated and unattractive.
Sometimes it can destroy the aesthetic look of your cooking area. Some people continue to build in their homes, but many do not prefer these.
It becomes an undesirable feature with the growing demand for open floor plans.
People do not like those protruding top edges of the cabinets.
Its out-of-style appearance makes the area appear smaller, so removing unnecessary space while designing a new one makes it appear spacious and large.
Renovate this area according to your preferences, style, and design. Moreover, their bulky appearance is also undesirable for the modern design standards of compact homes.
How to Remove Soffits in Kitchen Without Removing Cabinets?
First, you should gather all the essential tools, including a reciprocating saw, hammer, small pry bar, large pry bar, and utility knife.
Next, you should disconnect the power source and verify it with a voltage detector.
Make a hole the size you need to check what’s inside and what you need to do. If it is empty from the inside, its removal is easy.
However, if it has ductwork, plumbing lines, and a few wires, take care during the removal of soffits.
Mark these areas to face the minimum damage before proceeding with the work. Another step is crown molding removal.
Cut the crown molding from the top and bottom through the caulk to reserve it for future use.
Next, access the bottom of the crown molding and scrape it from one side to another using a small, thin, flat pry bar.
Disconnect the wires and remove the light fixture. Use a safety gear and break the drywall with the hammer or sheetrock.
Use the reciprocating saw to cut the vertical board horizontally, approximately 2.1 x 3.9 in size.
Therefore, you will use crown molding to cover small and unnoticeable damage to the tops of the cabinets.
The ceiling area covered exposes when you remove it, and you have to repair that part. Add patches or paint with the same color to hide it.
How Much Does it Cost and Take Time to Remove Kitchen Soffits?
The material cost for the soffit removal can be approximately $0.24 per running foot, with a variation of about $0.23 to $0.28.
So, the total labor and material cost is approximate $7.20, ranging from $3.99 to $10.42.
As a result, the average cost of removing 24 running foot installations can be about $225 varying from approximately $125 to $310.
Removing these cabinets is time-consuming and takes about 2 to 3 hours.
What is the Average Dimension of Standard Soffit?
The distance between the floor and the soffit can be approximately 85 inches. Therefore, if you install 85 inches of cabinets, add 13 inches more.
The standard dimension is 12 inches which is 2 inches more than a kitchen cabinet.