I wouldn't advise starting on a new kitchen as an early DIY project.
There are a lot of different skills required, including carpentry,
plumbing, electrical, painting and decorating. Depending on the
project you might also have to introduce changes to the central
heating system (as in moving or resizing a radiator or boiler).
There are also quite a few gotchas in terms of regulations, load
sharing, circulation, heat transfer and so on. None of these should be
too daunting on their own, but taken together it would be easy to run
May not be exactly the same thing, but when I was pregnant with my first and
we moved into a house with virtually no kitchen, had virtually no money, but
needed a kitchen in a hurry. We bought a kitchen that was being ripped out
of another house, had been expensive but good just didn't suit new owners.
Electrics were no problem as we both have a "feel" for it, and hubby has Msc
Electrical Eng too. Everything else was new skills for us and we managed
OK, with the help from one other inexperienced pal. Kinda need 2 heads for
spotting problems and 2 sets of arms to assemble.
We had no problem putting the cupboards together and mounting the wall
mounted ones. Getting the worksurface level took a bit of time. Cutting
out the sink hole was "fun" as we didn't have good tools and ended up using
a couple of hacksaw blades and gloves. Not recommended. Get some good
tools or borrow from a DIYing friend.
Tiling was a slow pain, but we made a smashing job of it, even though I say
so myself. One disaster with this: got masking tape to protect the work
surface, don't know if it was faulty or we got the wrong type or some
reaction, but it stuck like superglue to the surface and took months to get
off. Guides to tiling are simple and good. (Shouldn't have done IT, the
rate that tilers charge, you'd be a millionaire by now :( )
The plumbing bits were OK but pipes were more or less in place, so it was
just a matter of connecting up. Having said that, things leaked for months
on and of and we discovered plumbers tape which was good, and a bit of brute
force to make a tighter seal.
Aforementioned mate was holding the work surface when he slipped and he cut
his finger on the very sharp laminate surface. When I rang home hubby told
me he cut the top off his finger, and when I asked where he was, he said he
was driving himself to hospital! Hubby got his ears warmed for not taking
him, but later discovered he had cut the top OF his finger, not cut the TOP
OFF his finger. Still should have taken him..
So watch for laminate surface - its like a blade!
Alternatively to all this hassle you could go for the new type of kitchen
furniture, which basically comes as modules that can be rearranged. All you
would have to worry about is plumbing, electrics and tiling. Its very
fashionable with the expensive German designers and Ikea do a really nice
hope this helps
Although, this might be because the Germans tend to take the kitchen with
them when they move. Bolting it down might hinder this. Personally, I prefer
proper plinths. Otherwise, it gets really manky under the units. Well OK, it
always gets really manky under the units, but if you don't have plinths you
get to see the mank.
I fitted an entire kitchen with the help of one other, involving
rewiring, flooring, patching walls, tiling, most things you can
think of. It was a success in the end, but I wouldn't do
everything myself again because it took too long.
I liked Suz's suggestion about doing the tiling yourself.
Made me think that a good approach for you, (and for me in
the future) would be to pick a few of the jobs that are
less demanding (i.e. unskilled or the kind of thing you
can pick up without making expensive mistakes), and get
a pro to do the rest. You will save money even if you
just do some little bits yourself.
Here's some suggestions on things you might want to attempt:
- removing the old kitchen units
- stripping any old wallpaper, doing any preparation on walls
- doing any necessary prep. for a new floor covering, e.g.
laying plywood sheets.
- tiling. If you have a good eye and are patient, you will
be good at tiling, I promise.
Only try fitting worksurfaces yourself if you have seen
it done before and are confident. Otherwise it is possible
to go very expensively wrong.
Good luck with it all
This seems to be the trend in all the design mags. Smooth streamlined
fitted kitchens have been around for a few decades now, so there is a
reaction to move the other way. A lot are based on the ubiquitous grey/
wood, stainless steel/wood theme though. Geordie has described a way of
doing a more traditional look that I'm sure is great. I'm a great believer
in the magic of a paintbrush. I just redid a dresser that would have hit
the skip otherwise, using deep red, cream, gilt and wood stain. It looks
great. I followed the instruction on www.scumblegoosie.co.uk but used left
over paint and old junk furniture. Can't believe how well it turned out!
One bit of advice I'd give - leave a lot of time to do the whole kitchen.
As pointed out there are a lot of skills needed. My hubby was being driven
by a hormonal maniac with severe nesting instincts and it still took us six
A big book of how to do things with pictures (as IMM would say), although
much giggled at in here, is great when your knowledge is zilch.
Glad I'm in with the trend, though neither SWMBO or I have never
bought a design magazine in our lives - that we like something is
quite enough for us. Given the price of such magazines, I'd rather
buy tools or wood - and oddly enough, so would SWMBO.
When diy-ing you're right about time though - we planned for a
fortnight and it took 6 months - half of that on finicky final
touches, trims, etc. But the result will almost certainly outlive us.
If that sounds a long time, a neighbour spent 8 months just waiting
for a national firm of 'specialist kitchen designers' to get their
fingers out. I'd just as soon do it myself than rely on so many of
the 'tradesmen' I've met - at least then I know who to blame at the
end of the day.
Thanks for that scumblegoosie url - I hadn't heard of them before and
there's some interesting stuff on the site.
Although quite new to DIY i fancied fitting my new kitchen myself (2
months ago). Firstly, i made full use of MFI and B&Q's vertual kitchen
design services to find out what i wanted and where, i then shopped
around and bought the units from someone else. For fitting, there are
plenty of good tips if you hunt around the internet including
www.kitchen-buyers-guide.co.uk/diy_preparation.htm which together with
a little common sense helped me to make a good job of our kitchen.
I wouldn't, not for a first attempt at DIY...
I've moved into my first flat about 2 months ago. I hadn't really done
any DIY, but hey how hard can it be, I fix my car and motorbike when
they break and after all I'm and engineer!! (well a software engineer,
but still and engineer!!)
My plan was to start with the kitchen, but after getting the keys
changed my mind.. we did the front room, what a nightmare!! thanked
god I hadn't started with the kitchen..
just about to finish the second room which looks pretty good, learning
from the mistakes in the front room, and almost finished the hall,
again looks good, still learning..
But now I am going to do the bedroom, then it's either the bathroom or
kitchen, hopefully by then I wont be making silly mistakes..
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