Soffits are spaces shaped as boxes that serve the purpose for ventilation placed in different rooms, but mainly the kitchen, as they also serve in covering the piping and wires over the walls. They basically bridge the gap between the cabinets and the ceiling. Soffits are placed above cabinets in the kitchen, and are made from cardboard, drywall, or lumber scraps. If a problem arises in the kitchen in any wiring or plumbing, the soffit is usually the first place to be removed as they are mainly installed to conceal the plumbing, duct work, and electrical lines running through the kitchen. It boxes the mechanical and the electrical items that would be revealed otherwise. In order to remove it above the kitchen cabinets you will have to break it apart from the side first to see if it is empty or full of wires and duct pipes. If so, there may be some difficulty, and the following method is applied in removing it:
Things you will need
- Sharp knife
- Hand saw
- Skinny pry bar
- Dust mask
- Eye goggles
- Work gloves
- Open the kitchen cabinets below the soffit, and empty them.
- Place a drop-cloth over the kitchen counter under the cabinets as removing the soffit will make a mess. Wear all your safety gear, which include the work gloves, the eye goggles, and the face mask.
- Turn off the power to all the circuits that are in the kitchen cabinets. Remember to double check with a voltage detector (we used the Greenlee Non-Contact Volt Detector).
- Look for retaining screws in the cabinet. These screws are present for holding the cabinets to the soffits. With a screwdriver, remove the screws.
- With the help of someone, hold the cabinets as they are taken apart. If the top of the cabinet is glued to the soffit, use a sharp knife to scrape it off.
- Knock a hole the size of a basketball into the end of the soffit. Shine the flashlight inside to see what is within the soffit.
- Mark the locations of the exhaust pipes, the wires, or the plumbing pipes within the soffit to avoid damaging them as you remove the soffit above the kitchen cabinet.
- Use a saw (according to the type of material the soffit is made from) to cut the soffit. You should use a flashlight around dark corners if the soffit is hidden or covered. If there is a crown molding above the soffit, use a sharp knife to cut through the caulk and score the top and bottom molding.
- Repeat the step above on all sides of the soffit, taking care of not to cut the wires within. You may need to use the skinny pry bar and hammer to get the base of the crown molding removed. Usually, the molding is nailed to the soffit and not to the ceiling. Begin working from one side, and then move up till the end of the soffit over the kitchen cabinets.
- Remove the soffit once it is cut and pull it off from the ceiling. Use the hammer to break the drywall or the sheetrock and keep a check on the wires and plumbing pipes in the area. Ensure the wires are not live when you uncover them.
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