Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Kitchen Soffit Removal: Is it Worth it for My Renovation? | JSB Home Solutions

March 11th, 2024 | 4 min read

By Callie Lovejoy

Kitchen Soffit Removal: Is it Worth it for My Renovation?

You are living in the modern era of the 21st century where sleek lines and open spaces reign supreme.  But your home is stuck in the ‘70s with bulky and unsightly soffits filling up the space above your kitchen cabinets.

The question becomes: while you give the rest of your kitchen a brand new look, can and should you rip out those soffits and reclaim the extra space?

Here at JSB Home Solutions we have over 40 years of kitchen renovation experience and have seen our fair share of outdated kitchen soffits.  Our team can expertly walk you through the process of deciding whether or not removing your kitchen soffit should be a part of your kitchen renovation project.  By the end, you will feel confident in your decision to make your kitchen project the best that it can be, whether you work with JSB for your project or not.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is a kitchen soffit and what is its purpose?
  • Pros of Kitchen Soffit Removal
  • Cons of Kitchen Soffit Removal
  • 5 Steps to Make a Decision on Kitchen Soffit Removal

What is a Kitchen Soffit and What is its Purpose?


A kitchen soffit is a built-in space between the top of your cabinets and your ceiling.  Essentially, a cubby structured with 2x4’s and drywall. Kitchen soffits are often 12-18 inches tall depending on the height of your cabinets and ceiling. 

Soffits were popular as an aesthetic feature of kitchens in older homes and as recently as the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.  These soffits are used to fill space.  Sometimes, soffits can be used as a “chase” for services to run through that would not fit in the framing of a house.  Things like heating and cooling ducts, drainage pipes, water pipes, and electrical wires can all be found inside soffits.  Many times it is unavoidable, especially with plumbing because it is gravity-fed, requiring space for the pipes to drop and contents to run downhill.

Messy-Soffit-225x300Sometimes soffits are “borrowed” by tradespeople building your home and were never intended to house services.  Wires and pipes can be run in this empty space rather than within the framed wall to save time in the building process.  But this causes problems later if the soffit is going to be removed. 

Regardless of why ducts, pipes, and wires end up in a soffit, they would need to be rerouted to be able to remove your soffit.  Sometimes this isn’t a big deal and requires minimal extra work but other times it can be a major undertaking.  Weighing the pros and cons of kitchen soffit removal is key in your kitchen renovation planning phase.


Pros of a Kitchen Soffit Removal

There are several advantages to removing a kitchen soffit including additional space for storage, an updated look, and a more open feel to the space.  Soffits take up the space between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling.  By removing the barrier, you allow more room for taller cabinets with an additional shelf.  Or you could opt for display cabinets with glass fronts above your standard cabinets.  Your options are wide open on how to use this added height.


Soffit removal has the potential to change the entire aesthetic of your kitchen.  Where you once felt cramped and dated, soffit removal can give your kitchen an open, airy feel.  Your kitchen will look updated with clean lines and a more contemporary impression.

With these advantages, who wouldn’t be ready to rip out those kitchen soffits?  But before you sign on the dotted line to remove a soffit, some cons need to be taken into consideration.

Cons of a Kitchen Soffit Removal

While there are technically several disadvantages to removing a kitchen soffit, they all boil down to the cost.  Because there are so many unknowns as to what is hiding behind the drywall of a kitchen soffit, the cost at proposal to remove a soffit is often surprisingly high.  Ducts, pipes, and wires can all hide out in a kitchen soffit.  While they technically can be rerouted in many cases, you could be left seeing dollar signs pile up when all is said and done.


Removing a kitchen soffit is also a more invasive process than simply switching out cabinets and countertops.  There is an added risk of damaging materials that you want to keep and the project timeline will increase.  However, this also comes down to the cost to fix those damages and the cost of your time as you consider how long you will be without a kitchen.

To bring all this information together, follow these steps to determine if soffit removal is right for your kitchen renovation.

5 Steps to Make a Decision on Kitchen Soffit Removal

Remodelers should walk you through a plan of action similar to these five steps before guaranteeing soffit removal.

  1. Identify the soffit(s) that you wish to have removed. This is as simple as pointing it out to your contractor.
  2. Determine what is inside your soffit.  Without any visible clues as to what is running through your soffit, many remodelers will cut a hole in the soffit to explore what is hidden behind the scenes.  The hole can then be repaired if you decide against soffit removal.  If your soffit is empty, fantastic!  Jump to step 4.  Otherwise, continue to Step 3.
  3. Determine if the things inside your soffit can be rerouted.  Your contractor will be able to tell you what it will take to reroute any surprises in your soffit.
  4. Decide on a contingency plan.  Every kitchen soffit removal intent should come with a contingency plan, even if the soffit appears to be empty with an exploratory hole. There are just too many unknowns when trying to remove a soffit and peeking into one spot through a small hole is not a fail-proof system.  These unknowns are the source of the surprisingly high costs to remove “just some drywall and studs.”  You want this contingency built into your proposals so that you are prepared once your soffit has already been ripped open, just to find that you have to put it back because hidden items cannot be rerouted.
  5. Weigh the cost and time commitment with the storage and aesthetic payoffs. In the end, weighing the potential costs with aesthetic and storage upgrades can prove a very challenging decision.  Ultimately, you will have a beautiful new kitchen, even if your soffit remains.  Align your budget and renovation goals for overall project success.  If you want to add more storage to your kitchen through your renovation, you could accomplish this by removing your soffit and adding taller cabinets.  If soffit removal does not fit in the budget, then you know you need to find additional storage elsewhere in your plan.

So, can and should I remove my kitchen soffit during my renovation?

That kitchen soffit has become an eye-sore in your kitchen and you are ready to transform the look and feel of your space by taking it out of there.  Yet, is kitchen soffit removal money well spent on your project?

In the end, removing your kitchen soffit is only one piece of your kitchen remodel.  While an important decision, understanding the total cost of a kitchen remodel and the time commitment will help you in deciding whether kitchen soffit removal will fit in your overall project.

Consider all the other pieces that go into a kitchen renovation: cabinets, backsplash, sink, appliances, and more.  Does removing the kitchen soffit determine if your project becomes your dream kitchen?  If you want to see what is in your kitchen soffit, fill out the form below for an in-home consultation.