Are you a good DIY'er, or are you going to get tradesmen in to install your dream kitchen? Can you live on take-away for a week (or more) and who's going to rip-out and dump the old kitchen? These questions and more in this issue...
Kitchen Installation - Section 1
Who's installing it – you or professional tradesmen?
- If you have the time and ability, installing your own kitchen can be a great money saver. Basic kitchen installation is within the scope of most competent DIY'ers – your only stumbling blocks might be plumbing and electrical work. The advantage of course is that the more you can save on installation costs the more you can afford to spend on the kitchen cabinets and appliances.
I wouldn't skimp on worktop installation though if you need two pieces jointed, as this job requires specialist tools and a fair degree of skill. Likewise don't attempt any work involving gas yourself and leave the electrics to a professional unless you really know what you're doing.
Contact tradesmen – arrange visit and quotes based on plan
- If you're not able to install the kitchen yourself then shop around for contractors and don't necessarily take the first quote you get. If you can, go with a recommendation from friends or neighbours. Some kitchen fitters may be able to undertake most aspects of the jobs themselves without having to get several different contractors in – if not, see if he can recommend guys he's worked with before.
Arrange timescale and agree it with all contractors
- Based on your plans, contractors should be able to give you an accurate idea of costs and how long their work will take. If you are 'project managing' the installation then it's important to make sure each trade is there when you need them. To give you an idea of timescale, we would normally expect to have an average kitchen completed from 'rip-out' to decoration within a week using professional tradesmen. In the upcoming INSTALLATION section I'll tell you the 'order of work' so you can organise who you need and when.
Can you survive without a kitchen? (Stay with family or make the take-away your second home?)
- Depending on the size of your kitchen, the scale of the work being done and who's going to be installing it, you may be without a kitchen for anything between 1-2 weeks (or more). This won't be so hard if you live on your own or are a young couple maybe, but if you have a young family it may be more difficult.
Almost certainly you will be without cooking and dishwashing facilities for at least a few days while the old kitchen is being removed and the new kitchen installed. Again it comes down to how well the install is managed, but most people can make do with a kettle, toaster and microwave as bare essentials. Otherwise see if you can stay with friends or family or get to know your local take-away's J
A great time for a clear out!
- There's no better excuse for a clear-out than getting the kitchen re-modelled. Like most people, there will be stuff in your cupboards that hasn't been used in ages. Apply the 6 month rule – if you haven't used it in that time, bin it or give it away. There's a good chance that you will be buying new utensils, accessories and small appliances to match your new look kitchen anyway.
Out with the old… Who's removing it and how will you dispose of it?
- Another area to save costs if you're able, is to rip-out the old kitchen yourself. As long as you take suitable precautions and where a pair of gloves and safety goggles it can be very satisfying.:-) As well as saving some money, you may actually be able to sell your old units and appliances if they're in good condition (you'd be amazed what sells on eBay or within your local free-ads paper). If you have a reasonably sized kitchen I would recommend hiring a skip for all the materials, then it's someone else's problem to dump it.
One last thing, don't forget to take some photos before you take out the old kitchen – it's very satisfying to compare the Before and After shots, particularly if you've done the installation yourself.
- If you leave the removal to your kitchen contractor/fitter you may find that they are unable to dispose of old refrigeration appliances and that you will have to arrange this yourself with the local authority.