What to Consider Before Removing Kitchen Soffit | Ep. 168

Kitchen soffit above white cabinets.

Kitchen soffit, or furr down, was popular in kitchen design in the 1990s. The kitchen soffit is a closed-off area above kitchen cabinets. 

Nowadays, people want that space above the cabinets for extra storage, lighting or a space to display decor. 

White cabinets in a green kitchen with soffit above them.
Kitchen soffit or furr down: both are names for that enclosed space above kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen Soffit or Furr Down?

This enclosed area between the top of a kitchen cabinet and the ceiling can be called a furr down or a kitchen soffit. 

The term furr down seems to be more popular in the southern U.S.

Whatever term you use for it, it’s the space above kitchen cabinets that’s enclosed with about a foot of drywall. 

Its original purpose was to allow for easier access to kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen soffit with decor on display
Judy in Michigan wants to remove this kitchen soffit. (Photo by Judy Craver)

Things to Consider Before Removing

Whether you call it kitchen soffit or furr down, here’s what you need to consider before removing it.

If you want to remove the kitchen soffit, be sure it’s not protecting anything behind it. Sometimes, especially in a second-story home, contractors will use this space to hide plumbing, ductwork or electrical wiring. 

If you’re able to get into your attic and look above the area, see if the ceiling drywall continues or stops in that cabinet area. The vast majority of the time, the drywall will continue there to seal off the kitchen from attic heat.

Another thing you need to know is if the cabinets are attached to that drywall furr down. Half the time, they are. If you remove it, you’ll need to attach some extra screws to the drywall on the back of the cabinets to ensure your cabinets stay in place.

Also, think about the ceiling. Most likely, the ceiling under the kitchen soffit is unfinished. You might need to redo the whole ceiling to match the untouched hidden ceiling. 

If you want to utilize this extra space above your cabinets, here’s how to remove it

Skip to [17:36] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:

  • Retiling a Bathroom Floor
  • Resurfacing a Basement
  • Killing Mold Under a House

Best New Product

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Simple Solutions

Keyhole slot tip — Many electrical products, such as power strips, wall-hung telephones, and modem-routers, have keyhole mounting slots on the back to attaching to a wall.

However, lining up the mounting screws with the slots is no easy feat. Try this trick next time:

  • Make a photocopy of the back of the device (at 100 percent) then simply hold the photocopy in place to mark screw-hole locations with an awl or nail set.
  • Partially drive in the screws at the marks and then slide on the device. Perfect fit, every time!

Watch: Template for Keyhole Mounting Screws

Leather Conditioning Tip — Heat leather shoe with a blow dryer, then hand rub on mink oil or leather conditioning cream.

The oil/cream liquefies the instant it hits the heated surface, which helps drive it deep into the leather grain.

Heat the shoe in sections: toe, left side, right side, rear, etc.

This tip can also be used to condition leather gloves, boots, hats, and belts.

Alternately, rather than using a blow dryer, heat the shoes on the dashboard of a car on hot, sunny summer day.

Watch: Easy Tip for Leather Conditioner  

Question of the Week

Q: Should I re-face or paint the kitchen cabinets in my 1980s home?

A: Both processes, whether refacing or painting, will do the same thing — change the appearance of your kitchen cabinets.

Refacing is more expensive than painting. It requires installing new doors and drawer faces. Painting is just refinishing the existing cabinets.

It comes down to cost. Here’s how to reface kitchen cabinets and here’s how to paint kitchen cabinets.

Skip to [30:05] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Further Reading


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