Fitting a kitchen requires a great deal of skill and involves knowledge in the carpentry, plumbing, electrics and tiling trades. It is also essential to consult a Corgi registered fitter about air vents, gas appliances and boilers.
If you are fitting a kitchen yourself, you need to do an initial safety run. This includes checking for electrical cables and water pipes with a power and pipe detector. Also make sure that all power tools and leads are in good condition, and that you have the correct safety equipment for the job.
Get a piece of graph paper and make a precise, scaled plan of your kitchen. Measure in a clockwise direction, starting from the door, and note in which direction the doors open. Ensure that:
- You take the ceiling height at several points
- The kitchen is square by measuring diagonally or by comparing opposing walls
- You have marked on all existing power points, plumbing, gas supply, air vents, window sills, radiators and boiler
- You have checked dimensions
- You have noted space for your kitchen appliances
- You know what your walls are made of so that you buy the correct fixings for your units
Tried and tested designs
Most kitchens fall into four basic designs: a single line of units, a double line or galley, an L-shape, or a U-shape. You can transform your kitchen to suit your lifestyle by combining cabinets with layouts. And washing up is so much more pleasant with a view! So try and position your sink by a window.
Dos and don’ts for positioning washing machines, dishwashers and cookers
- Locate dishwashers and washing machines close to the sink so that water and waste flow can be connected easily.
- Put hobs and cookers in positions near worktops and sinks so that there is the least distance to carry hot pans.
- Allow at least 300 mm of clear space at each side of the hob to allow for protruding panhandles.
- Locate a cooker or a hob beneath a window where curtains could catch fire, or near electrical sockets.
- Put a cooker or hob near a fridge or freezer.
- Put an inset sink near a worktop joint or next to opening doors.
Wear and tear
Worktops are especially prone to wear and tear so try and go for the most durable surface you can afford. Laminate is cheap and comes in a variety of colours. Wood adds character but is susceptible to scratching and cutting. Stainless steel can be clean and stylish, while granite is the most expensive material but doesn’t scratch or burn and keeps its colour.
If you’re on a budget, you may be able to improve your kitchen simply by investing in a few new white goods and replacing or painting cupboard doors and handles. Many new appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers are also designed to be more eco-friendly and could save you money too.
When you buy a kitchen, make sure you ask for an itemized bill and don’t pay the full payment until you have received and checked all the items. Make sure you know the full terms and conditions of purchase and return. The wrong kitchen can be a costly mistake!
What about home insurance?
Contents and fixtures in your kitchen are covered under a Churchill home insurance policy. However, if you are fitting a new kitchen or extending the room, you should inform us, as your premium may need to change to ensure all the new contents is covered. You should also be aware that you may not be covered for any damage caused by DIY work you do so if in doubt of your ability, the safest option is to hire an experienced tradesman.