Your main considerations here are:
- Do you have the time? – be honest with yourself here. If you already work a 40 hour week, plus an hour or so commuting each way every day, do you really have the energy to come home and start assembling kitchen units? If you’re planning on just doing it at the weekends, how many weekends is it likely to take (in my experience, things often take longer than you first imagine). I’m not trying to put you off here – just be realistic.
- What’s your skill level? Most aspects of a kitchen installation can be handled by a competent DIY’er. If you can use a measuring tape and a spirit level you’re half way there. However there are certain tasks where you should employ a professional – gas being the obvious one. To get a gas hob and/or oven hooked up in the UK is going to cost you around £70 to £100 and should be done by a Gas Safe certified engineer. Don’t risk doing this yourself. Otherwise, basic plumbing is worth tackling especially as the advent of plastic ‘push-fit’ pipes and connections have made connecting sinks & taps that much easier. (Never be tempted to use these type of fittings for gas!)
- Do you have the necessary tools and equipment? At a minimum, you’re going to need a measuring tape, spirit level, cordless screwdriver, hammer and saw. These are just the absolute basics, various other power tools will make your job a whole lot easier. Also, if you see yourself doing more of this DIY thing, then buy the best tools you can afford (try the likes of Screwfix.com for great deals on this kind of kit).
This is where you have to consider not only how long the project will take, but if you can get by for that length of time without a functioning kitchen in the house – most folk can only put up with microwave meals and take-away’s for so long.
Can you create a make-shift cooking & cleaning area (even by saving a couple of the old kitchen units, worktop and a washing up bowl)? Your personal circumstances are going to be an influence here too – do you live on your own, do you have toddlers who need food made up and bottles sterilised or do you have teenagers who are going to need a decent meal when they come home from school?
If you feel you may struggle to complete the kitchen in a reasonable time-frame do you have friends or family who could help out, or can you allocate some of your budget to hiring professionals?
Depending on your choices here you may find you can achieve some significant savings if you shop around. The internet has made the whole marketplace much more transparent which is a good thing for the consumer. Try specific searches on Google etc for ‘cheap kitchens’, ‘discount kitchens’, etc.
Remember though that price isn’t everything; delivery time may be just as important to you, especially as suppliers often quote 4-6 weeks for delivery. Instead try to look for suppliers who can deliver from stock.
Talking of delivery times, particularly for appliances, check that your online supplier actually has the items in stock – some sites offering the deepest discounts, carry very little stock and just order direct from the manufacturer when they get an order, which can add considerably to your delivery time – check first.
If you do choose to buy online, look for user-friendly sites and try to avoid those that require you to specify every single, individual component e.g. the kitchen cabinet, the door, the handle, the hinges etc – much easier to find a site that allows you to buy each kitchen unit with one click. That way, there’s much less chance of you forgetting anything.
Okay, that wraps up this quick guide on planning your DIY kitchen installation. For more help and advice remember to download our FREE Kitchen Design & Installation Guide.