Save yourself for awkwardness of lugging an ironing board around the house by installing a built-in ironing center between the studs in a utility room or kitchen wall. Equipped with drop-down board, electrical outlet, timer, light, clothes hook, and storage shelf, this ready-to-install cabinet makes a bothersome chore much easier.
Installing the cabinet will take about half a day, but providing electrical service may take a while, especially if you need to add a new circuit.
Before you begin, check local electrical code requirements. If you have any doubt about your ability to wire the center, hire a licensed electrician to do the job.
Plan the Location
Designed for recessed mounting, the cabinet requires an opening measuring 14 ¼ inches wide and about 48 inches high. The wall must be a standard 4 ½ inches thick or thicker. You need at least 16 inches of wall space on one side of the opening to accommodate the door’s swing and 47 inches of open floor space in front to accommodate the open ironing board. When closed, the cabinet projects 2 ½ inches into the room.
Decide how high above the floor the ironing board should stand. This determines how high above the floor to start the opening. See the manufacturer’s chart for the appropriate measurement for your specific ironing board cabinet.
Cut the Opening
The ironing unit must be installed between two wall studs that have a 14 ½-inch space between them. Use a stud finder to locate studs, or use a hammer and nail, taking care not to make test holes outside the area where the unit will go.
Once the studs have been located, lightly draw the outline of the cutout on the wall. Use a keyhole saw or reciprocating saw to cut it out. You will actually use the studs as guides, holding the saw blade against them as you cut, to make straight vertical cuts. Do not saw too deeply, or you may poke a hole in the other side of the wall.
Install the Electrical Service
Check the label on your iron to see how many amps it pulls. You may be able to grab power from an existing kitchen circuit, as long as doing so will not cause you to overload the circuit. Or it may be necessary to install a new 15-amp circuit. Consult an electrician if you are unsure about this step.
Shut off the power at the service panel. Fish cable from a nearby lighting outlet, receptacle, or new circuit into the ironing center opening. If you need to run cable across studs, cut notches and install protective metal plates wherever there is danger of hitting the cable with a nail. Leave two feet or so of extra cable hanging out to make sure you have enough to work with when you install the cabinet.
Install the Cabinet
Cut short pieces of 2×4 blocking to fit horizontally between the studs, and install one at the top and one at the bottom of the opening. Check the size of the opening and make adjustments by adding a 1×4 piece, if necessary.
The ironing cabinet has at least one knockout hole for the electrical service. Punch one out and install a cable clamp. Pull the cable into the cabinet and tighten the clamp to secure the cable. Set the cabinet in the opening, then plumb and shim to fit. Use a small square to see that it is not out of square. Otherwise, the unit may not operate smoothly.
Starting a foot from the top, drill pilot holes every 2 feet or so along the sides and bottom of the cabinet frame. Drive screws through the frame into the studs. Test the ironing board and make adjustments, if needed, by shimming.
Strip the cable sheathing then the ends of the wires. Connect the wires to the pigtails in the bottom of the wireway of the ironing center and install the cover. Restore power and test the receptacles.
Trim around the center with cove molding, mitering the corners and driving finishing nails. Set the nails and fill the holes. Repair the wall where you ran the cable. Stain and apply a clear finish, or prime and paint.