Installing Drawer-Type Dishwashers

Drawer-style dishwasher units don't always require a cabinet, but attaching the faces and installing controls can be tricky. April 18, 2006

I have installed many single dish drawers, but I am working on a job now that will have the stacked version. Do I even need to build a cabinet? Looks from the specs that it just sits on the toe kick. In the plan, in sits between two cabinets.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
We have a single unit Fisher Paykel in our shop right now. This one has a panel over it to make it look like a cabinet. But it doesn't. The literature calls out for a 9mm gap at the bottom of the panel and a 5mm gap at the top and sides. The adjacent cabinetry that it is supposed to blend into has a typical gap of 2.5mm. Another thing that will sneak up on you is the control switch that has to be mortised into the front panel. This switch relies on a compression fitting to stay in place so the hole has to be perfect. We added something for the hassle factor but we did not see this switch coming. I posted the dimensions below in case you are interested.

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From contributor B:
After you do the first one, it's not so bad. Just figuring out how the panel comes off is a pain the first time. The last one I did, the installer mounted the drawer front too high beneath the DW, which did not allow the air gap. Luckily I caught it before it did too much damage as steam came out the bottom. The controller badge is not hard to install - two holes and a good sharp chisel. They are a great item and you can expect to see more and more of them.

From contributor M:
I recently installed one of the stacked units. I had to retrofit the unit into an existing space where a conventional D/W had been. You don't necessarily need a cabinet for the stacked model. It sits on the floor on adjustable feet. You do need, however, some solid structure on either side so you can anchor it to prevent tipping when it is loaded and the drawers are pulled out. As mentioned, installing the drawer fronts is a real pain. Plan on some extra time for installation. It also attaches at the top rail like a conventional unit. Maintain all the proper gaps around the doors, and have fun.

From contributor U:
The first Fisher-Paykel Dish Drawer I did was pretty bad, but since then, they have modified how the control badge is installed, and I now prefer them over all other dishwashers.

When integrating with European cabinetry, you really can make them blend in. The double model does not require any type of cabinetry below, and does not have to have toe material to match the cabinetry, but they have a very good method of adding a piece of toe material to an adjustable bracket that really does make a great finished look.

The picture below shows the double dish drawer to the left of the sink. The one thing that we as cabinetmakers notice is the 8mm reveal between the two panels, but every one of our clients love the way they look (single or double), they just don't notice the larger reveal.

The way they are attached to the cabinetry on either side makes them rock solid, and solves the problem of needing to attach a dishwasher to a granite countertop.

Click here for full size image

Click here for full size image

Photos by True32 Custom Cabinetry