DIY Network

Install a Dumbwaiter: Get Started

Host Paul Ryan shows how to prep an area for a dumbwaiter. Use these step-by-step instructions to cut out an opening in the floor for the dumbwaiter shaft.

More in Remodeling

  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Demo a Spot for the Dumbwaiter Shaft

Begin by finding an area in the home to install the dumbwaiter (Image 1). You’ll need to have an electrical outlet 12" away from top of the dumbwaiter shaft.

Clear out and demo an area for the dumbwaiter shaft (Image 2). It’s best to pull out drywall with your hands rather than a saw, as there may be wires or plumbing directly under the surface and you don’t want to cut them.

Step 2: Drill to the Basement

Make a reference mark for the back of the dumbwaiter and probe and drill a hole through to the basement, to figure out exactly where to make the hole.

probe and drill hole through to basement

Step 3: Determine the Back Reference Line

Measure out from the concrete wall to determine the placement of the dumbwaiter (Image 1).

Transfer the measurement to the floor so that there is a reference line for the back of the dumbwaiter (Image 2).

Step 4: Make Marks and Cut Through the Floor

Once the back reference line is determined, use the spec sheet (Image 1) that came with the dumbwaiter to make the rest of the marks so you can cut out the floor to fit the dumbwaiter.

Use a circular saw with a segmented diamond blade to cut through the tile (Image 2). If possible, follow the saw with a vacuum as it is a dusty job.

Once through the tile, use a reciprocating saw to cut through the plywood sub-floor (Image 3).