There are two rooms that can make or break the sale of a home; the bathroom and kitchen. People expect a lot for their money these days, so these spaces must be of a high standard.
If the kitchen in your home is looking tired and worn, you can replace it yourself. You will need the help of an electrician and a gas engineer for some of the work, but most of it you can do. The secret to a successful project lies in your ability to plan well and stick to it. You must make all of the decisions before starting work so that nothing will hold the project back. The materials you intend to use should be on hand and ready to go it as the job progresses. That sounds easier than it is because you always come across an unexpected complication.
Do you think you can install a kitchen? It might not be as hard as you think. Here is how to go about it.
To begin with, you should find out what you want from your kitchen and how you would like it to look. That sounds easy, but you probably don’t know what options are available to you. I suggest you visit as many showrooms as you can, to look at all of the assembled examples out there. Everybody is different, so don’t be surprised if you find some of the kitchens ugly and garish. Do you fall into the camp that prefers a traditional cottage design with a modern twist or would you prefer a contemporary example that looks like it comes from another world? You must make a firm decision on the cabinets and worktops as well as the appliances and lighting.
When you settle on the kitchen, you must fit it into the space you have available. I find the best way is to draw the room to scale on a large piece of paper. Then I draw the units to the same scale on more paper and cut them out. Then it is a simple case of arranging them on the plan of the room until I find the best solution. Take your time and think about it for a few days, even when you think it is perfect. If you make a mistake here, you will have to live with it for a long time.
The process for fitting the kitchen is straightforward if you take it in logical steps and don’t try to cut corners. Use it as a guide and adapt it where you need to.
- Turn off the water supply at the incoming stop tap and strip out the old kitchen. Don’t worry about causing damage to the walls or floor. You will have to repair them later. It is all part of the procedure. Cap off the hot and cold water pipes with compression fittings so that you can reinstate the water supply to the rest of the house.
- Run new pipes to where the new sink and appliances are to go. You will need hot, coals, and drainage for them. If the sink is on the opposite side of the kitchen to the old drains, you will have to bury a waste pipe in the floor.
- Employ a gas engineer to move the supply for the cooker if necessary.
- Employ an electrician to install the first fix wiring for your modern kitchen. There is a lot to think about; you should have considered it at the planning stage.
○ Most designers use recessed LED fittings from Wattlite and other reputable suppliers online. The modern downlights don’t clutter the ceiling on the way that horrible fluorescent light did.
○ All kitchens these days feature lights under the wall cupboards. They are an attractive solution to lighting up the worktops when you are preparing food. In the evenings, they give a gentle effect to make the place look warm and cosy.
○ You will need socket outlets for all of the new technology in the kitchen. When you think about it, there is quite a lot. Even a gas cooker with electronic controls needs a power supply.
- Make the walls good with plaster. It is not as easy as it looks, so pay a professional if you need to. Use concrete to repair the floor and then trowel on a thin layer of a self-leveling screed.
- Install the wall cupboards first. They come with adjustable mounting brackets that you fix to the wall with screws. Laser levels are cheap these days, and they will give you a perfect line to follow to make sure that the cabinets don’t slope.
- Start fixing the floor cupboards in place. You must make sure that they level, or the worktops will not fit properly. Screw them to each other and them back to the wall.
- Cut and install the worktops next. You must learn to use a router and a worktop jig if you are to do a professional job. That is a complicated subject that I don’t address in the scope of this article. I will cover it in my next piece.
- Complete the tiling next. Work diligently and accurately to make them perfect. Any mistake here will spoil the rest of your labours. The tiles are on full view and mistakes are obvious.
- Tile the floor. Work from a central line outwards so that the tiles around the edges are cut to roughly the same size. Having a row of small tiles on only one side of the area looks odd.
- Call the electrician back to connect all of the lights, sockets, and other things. Now the kitchen will look special.
- Get the gas engineer to connect the cooker.
- Mount all of the doors and drawer fronts onto the units. It is the last job so that none of them suffers any damage.
It all seems so easy when you read a set of simplified instructions, but each part will present problems that you must overcome. The project is often hard work, and it creates a lot of dust and dirt that will find its way into the rest of the house. The work is physically demanding and frustrating when things don’t go to plan. Having said all that, you can save a fortune by doing it yourself. You also get a lot of satisfaction when you see the finished kitchen. I hope you have the confidence to take this project on. It is rewarding and might increase the value of your home; not that you would sell after all that work.