How to install a wardrobe end panel between a floor and ceiling

In this article we will discuss in depth how to measure and cut a panel to fit perfectly between a floor and ceiling. As straightforward as this may sound there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account which may elevate this from a seemingly simple task to a slightly more involved one.

Marking-out the area for the panel installation

Using a tape and pencil, measure the position and mark on the wall surface where the inner and outer edges of the panel are to be installed – see Fig 1. We suggest that you measure and mark as many reference points as possible as this will give you a number of fixed datum or reference points. It will also ensure that when checking your panel in-situ you are always placing the panel in the same place.

With a spirit level joining up your reference points draw a plumb line (or lines if you are recording both inner and outer edges of the panel) from floor to ceiling. If you are installing the panel across skirting boards or ceiling coving, continue the vertical line(s) on these as well.

TIP

Use a sheet of A4 paper as a straight edge and curve it to the contours of the skirting board or ceiling coving to make drawing these lines easier.

From this vertical line mark a corresponding line (or lines) from the back wall across the floor, ensuring that it is marked exactly in line with the line(s) on the wall – see Fig 2. If you have a large set square you can use this to help you. This line needs to be drawn approx. 640mm long i.e. the width of the panel. If you are installing directly onto carpet mark this line using masking tape.

TIP

If you don’t have a large set square use a sheet of A4 paper to mark a 90 degrees angle off of the wall.

Carry out the same procedure as above mark the position of the panel on the ceiling. You should now have three reference points for where the panel is to be installed.

Checking that the floor and ceiling are parallel

Measure the height from floor to ceiling along the back wall and also this same height approx. 640mm away from the back wall, where the front facing edge of the panel will be – see Fig 3. Hopefully, these measurements will be the same or very similar. If they are not this means the ceiling is not parallel with the floor and any discrepancies will need to be taken into account when cutting the panel.

Checking that the floor/ceiling are level

To assess whether the floor, ceiling or both are level use a spirit level. First, lay it on the floor adjacent to the wall and in the same direction the base of the end panel is going to run. If the floor is not level add thin plastic, wood or card packers underneath the spirit level until the accurate horizontal level is found. Then, at the point where the front edge of the end panel will be situated, measure the height of any gap, ‘X’, between the spirit level and the floor surface, as illustrated in Fig 4. This measurement is the distance the floor is from being completely level. Transfer this measurement as a pencil guide line along the bottom edge of your panel.

Important Note:
If the floor drops away from being level as you move away from the wall, the difference in height (’X’) will need to be marked on the bottom edge of the end panel that will be nearest the wall – ie. so after cutting, the bottom edge of the panel will slope downwards away from the wall. Conversely, if the floor level rises above being level as you move away from the wall, the difference in height will need to be marked on the bottom edge of the end panel that will be furthest from the wall – ie. so after cutting, the bottom edge of the panel will slope upwards away from the wall.

Carry out the same procedure as above to check that the ceiling is level – you may need to make use of double-sided adhesive tape to hold any packers in place whilst you achieve a level line with the spirit level. As above, at the point where the front edge of the end panel will be situated, measure the height of any gap between the spirit level and the ceiling surface and transfer the measurement as a guide line along the top edge of the end panel, bearing in mind to transfer and mark any height discrepancies to the correct edge of the panel, as described in the note above.

Sloping, curved or angled ceilings

If you are installing an end panel where your ceiling is curved or angled please read our article How to fit and scribe a panel into a curved wall / angled ceiling, which goes into more detail about scribing a panel for such a situation. If your installation is going into the eaves then the following article goes into more detail – Installing wardrobe doors into the eaves of a loft room.

Installation over different floor types

If you are installing an end panel over a wood floor / hard floor it may be worth reducing one of the cutting guide lines by a couple of millimetres to allow for some ‘wiggle’ room when fitting the panel. If the installation is going directly on top of carpet then you may not need to do this as there will be some springiness in the carpet.

Cutting and installing the panel

Before making any cuts whatsoever to the end panel be sure to carry out all the measuring procedures described above and mark the panel accordingly with the necessary pencil lines to guide your cutting. This is to ensure you don’t simply cut the panel based on the floor-to-ceiling height as measured next to the wall, which, as we have seen, may not be the same as the floor-to-ceiling height as measured at where the front edge of the end panel will be positioned. It’s worth remembering the age-old carpenter’s maxim, “measure twice, cut once”.

However, when you are happy that your cutting guide lines are marked in the correct positions you can proceed to cut the panel – please refer to our article How to cut MFC with no chipping to achieve the best results.

When cut to height, place the panel in position. If all steps above have been carried out correctly the panel should fit neatly in place (see Fig 5.) and the front facing edge of the panel should be plumb. You may want to make some final adjustments to your cut edges using fine sand paper or a sander.

Scribing the panel to a wall

Once the panel is cut to height you may then have to scribe the back of the panel to the wall. We explain in detail how to do this in our article How to scribe a panel to a wall.

Safety check before fixing the panel

Prior to undertaking any drilling or screwing into the wall surface to fix the panel in place, check the area for any hidden electrical cables and/or water pipes.

Further information

We hope you find this article useful and if you have any feedback or questions please contact our Technical Team on 0800 035 1730.

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