Please also see our project on Part P building regulations for more information on DIY electrical installation.
This project includes:
- Kitchen layout
- Kitchen services
- Quality of kitchen units
- Kitchen floors
- Kitchen cleanliness
- Kitchen decoration
- Kitchen ventilation
Kitchens and bathrooms are the major projects undertaken in the home, unfortunately, they are usually the most expensive also!
At Diy doctor we endeavor to make life a little easier for our users, and following our bathroom project will, in itself, save you a fortune. Kitchens on the other hand, are not usually such a straightforward proposition...There are thousands of suppliers, with thousands of new-fangled gimmicks and the confusion surrounding a replacement kitchen is horrendous.
Basically, there are two types of kitchen. The free standing kitchen, using Welsh dressers, kitchen chests and shelves etc, gives a lovely "old style" informal feel but carries the drawback of not completely utilising all the available space sometimes. A fitted kitchen can be designed (either in flat pack or custom built) to occupy every available inch of space in the kitchen, and lets face it, that's what most of us need!
There is little benefit here in talking about the shape of the room for an ideal kitchen. You are probably using the existing kitchen with a desire to revamp. The most basic kitchen design should use the triangle theory between Cooker/hob, fridge and sink. Keep the distance between them small and incorporate worktop between them wherever possible to allow food preparation and somewhere to place pots etc before the next operation in the cooking procedure.
Try and keep all existing plumbing and electrical points in operation. These two trades are the most expensive to employ and the most difficult to DIY. Look for a waste receptacle that can be incorporated into the design, a free standing bin is horrible, takes up space and rarely matches the decor. Work out, in advance, the best location for your foodstuff, cutlery, crockery, pots and pans, books, etc. It will help you plan the position of the cupboards and drawers. Remember you have to be "competent" to make any gas connections, please read our gas safety project. For information on beating hard water and limescale go to www.eddy.uk.com
Quality Of Kitchen Units
As mentioned, there are thousands of units etc, try and choose a shell which uses 18mm carcass timber rather than 15mm. This may be MDF or chipboard, it matters not, but look for good quality doors and shelves. Look also for units that stand on adjustable legs. The installation of thes is so much easier as very few floors are completely level. The hinges and drawer runners are also important. Make sure you test these on the display models. Door knobs and handles are easy to replace and relatively inexpensive. These can be changed on installation and can alter the effect of your entire kitchen. Another thing to bear in mind which makes a more usable difference is full extension drawers runners which allow the drawer to open fully, rather than the the 3/5ths or so of a cheaper option. They are usually at a premium due to the more complex double bearing runners from Germany, and only quality manufacturers will offer these.
The best time to lay your floor is immediately after the old kitchen has been stripped out and the plumbing and electrical work has been done. Tile or lay the complete area, the additional cost of tiles etc under units is negligible compared to the time it takes to cut around them. See our floor tiling project for help with this.
It will not matter how clean you and your family are. The natural greases and oil vapours from cooking etc, will accumulate on the work surfaces, behind the handles, on top of the extractor and so on. Choose a kitchen that is easy to clean. Natural wood is wonderful to look at, but requires a great deal of maintenance, can move a lot with the humidity found in a kitchen and is much less easy to clean than laminate.
Make sure your kitchen walls and ceiling arecoated with either proprietary kitchen and bathroom emulsion, an oil based eggshell or a similar coating that will resist the infiltration of moisture which can possibly lead to the spores of mould. Keep all tile splashbacks grouted with mould resistant grout and make sure the decoration can be wipeddown without damage.
Ventilation in the kitchen is essential. Provide a large, timed extractor fan if possible (see our projects page, timed fan installation, for instructions). Trickle vents are also helpful and every measure to avoid condensation should be employed.