Back Button

The Framing Process of a Dishwasher

Pamela Gardapee

Built-in dishwashers don’t have finished sides and must be installed in between cabinets or two walls so that only the front of the unit shows. Before installing dishwashers, you must prepare the opening for installing the unit. Without proper framing, you run the risk of damage to the dishwasher or to the area around the unit.

The Opening

The opening for the dishwasher must meet the specific size requirements for the dishwasher. Generally, the openings should be 34 1/2 inches high from the floor to the bottom of the countertop and 24 inches deep and wide. The back wall of the framed-in area cannot have any wires or pipes running along the wall. The walls or cabinets on each side of the framed area must be perfectly plumb and square so the unit will fit perfectly inside. The opening where you install the dishwasher must have at least 28 3/8 inches out from the front of the dishwasher so that there is enough room to open and close the door. The floor in the opening and the room floor must be even with each other.


After the opening is prepared, the plumbing is installed. You will install the hot water line, hand shut-off valve, waste tee and drain hose. The waste tee is installed on the sink piping and the hand shut-off valve is installed under the sink so it is easily accessible. The hot water piping and drain hose are run through the opening wall on the left side of the dishwasher close to the floor.


An electrical outlet must be installed on the rear wall of the opening if there isn’t one already. The wall outlet should be dedicated so that you can cut power to the dishwasher at any time if needed.

Fitting the Dishwasher

Remove the dishwasher from its box according to the instructions. Add any trim pieces to the dishwasher if the unit comes with trim. Set the dishwasher in front of the opening. Connect the water line and drain hose to the back of the dishwasher. Plug the power cord for the dishwasher into the outlet on the back wall of the opening. Slowly push the unit into the opening three-quarters of the way by grabbing the sides and pushing, but never use you knee on the door to push the unit into the opening. Install the countertop brackets on the top of the dishwasher.

Push the unit into the opening the rest of the way after the brackets are installed. Center the unit in the opening. Use the leveling legs on the front bottom of the dishwasher to adjust the height so you only have a 1/2-inch gap between the countertop and the controls.