Re: Wondering about doing a new kitchen

Chris wrote:

Don't?
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Although I suppose, to be fair, most kitchen fitters haven't a clue about that one. ;-)
Christian.
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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 into difficulty.
PoP
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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 one.
hope this helps Suzanne
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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.
Christian.
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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. - painting - wallpapering - 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
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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 weeks.
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.
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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.
Geordie2
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wrote:

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.
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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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Just found this in my wanderings http://www.almostimpartialguide.co.uk/kitchens/diy_preparation.htm

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