Kitchen Fitting

I think Ive more or less decided to take the plunge and fit my most of my own kitchen.
Im starting totally from scratch having never undertaken a job like this before. As I understand it the bulk of work is flat pack assembly - this is something that I can do. So the plan is to do all that stuff myself and sort out the plumbing and then get someone in for what I perceive to be the more difficult work such as cutting the work tops etc. Any thoughts?
Whats involved in cutting the plinths and cornices? Ive cut laminated surfaces before and chipped the laminate which is something I want to avoid this time. Is there any there any technique to doing this to get a good cut?
I was thinking about buying a compound mitre saw as Ive got loads of flooring to lay plus skirting and architrave - using it for the jobs and I could always sell it on Ebay at the end. Does the high speed spinning blade guarentee better cuts?
Cheers,
CM.
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Hi Charles,
Having recently fitted my own kitchen for the first time the info. below might be useful. No idea if it's right or not, but it worked for me and the finish is good. It's not complicated fitting a kitchen providing you think everything through and don't rush it. Be prepared for it to take around 4 times longer than you think it will take. If you're not a fairly competent diy-er though, pay someone to fit it for you! :-)

For starters, check you've got EVERYTHING and nothing's damaged from square one. Work out exactly what you need to build every unit and make sure everything's there. The biggest delays I had were due to making umpteen trips to B&Q to pick up missing handles, replacement units etc.
I started with the floor units at the highest point in the room with the legs screwed in as far as they go. Get your first unit *perfectly* level. Mark a level line along the wall for each subsequent unit and work to that, extending the legs for each subsequent unit as necessary to make up for the floor not being level (which it almost certainly won't be). Make sure you don't extend the legs beyond the height of your plinths! If you keep everything perfectly straight and level you shouldn't run into any problems. Once you have your base units in you can use them as a guide to get appropriate positioning of the wall units. If you've got room dry-fit all of the base units so you can sort any unexpected problems before they're bolted to the wall. Also make sure the units aren't so far away from the wall at any point that you'll end up with a gap behind your worktop. The doors etc. are a piece of cake.
If you've got corner joins in the worktops you're probably best paying someone to do them unless your handy with a router or have a few spare bits of worktop to try the joins on. If you want to do it yourself it'll cost around £30-40 to hire the kit (worktop jig, router, bits etc.). If you don't have any joins you can do the worktops yourself quite easily - you really need a circular saw with a sharp blade though.
Seal cut edges of ANYTHING that's likely to get wet with polyurethane varnish.

If you're using a jig-saw make sure you've got new sharp blades. Cut with the display side downwards so the face is being cut on the up-stroke and you should get a perfect cut. The cutting stroke should always be *towards* the display side, if that makes sense.

You'll *need* a compound mitre saw (or at least an electric mitre saw of some description) to cut the cornice & pelmets. It's nigh on impossible to get a good join otherwise. Cut them to exactly the right size, glue the corners together with contact adhesive and then fit with conti-joints or whatever. I found this bit to be one of the trickiest jobs since even the electric mitre saw I borrowed wasn't giving perfect 45' cuts! It was a cheap piece of crap though and in future I'll hire a decent one.
That's about it! As I say I'm no kitchen fitter so doubtless there's better ways of doing all of this - worked for me though! :-)
Andy
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Pecanfan wrote:
<snip informative and useful advise>
If I got a compound mitre saw (im possibly being thick here) what would I need the jig saw for?
On the mitre saw what sort of blade to I need to get good cuts?
Also, how did you put the cupboards on the walls - this will probably be obvious when I take the old ones down?
Last question - whats a conti joint? Is that like the block you can get with all the screw holes in it?
Bare in mind Im starting totally from scratch here!
Cheers,
CM
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You'll need a jig saw for all the awkward cuts - holes in worktops for sink etc., scribing end panels and plinths to the shape of your wall / floor if necessary, cuts to let pipework through backs of units, boxing for pipework (if required) etc etc. I probably used a jig saw more than any other tool - it was a particularly awkward kitchen though.

A bog standard blade will do providing it's sharp.

These are much easier than they look - as Mitch says, get the mounting brackets fitted in vaguely the right place and then use the adjusters built into the unit brackets as necessary.

That's the one!
http://www.screwfix.com/sfd/i/cat/50/p1399250_l.jpg
Sure you'll be fine. My kitchen was B&Q too and the assembly instructions provided were surprisingly clear - much easier than your average IKEA flatpack! :-) You'll have to report back with your findings!
Andy
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Pecanfan wrote:
<snip>

Looks like I had better get a jig saw as well !

This is the sort of thing I thought I might need...
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?cId 1401&tsx369&id˜832#
... which I can then use for all my other skirting and architrave jobs as well. Or did you have a different idea of what I needed ? All these seem to say e.g. 8 inch or 10 inch Mitre saw etc - what does the measurment apply to ?
<snip>

No doubt Ill be "reporting back" before then with lots of messages for help !!!
Cheers,
CM.
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Pecanfan wrote:

Worth having a look at Readers Digest or similar DIY manual for the basics. IMO best to do the floor first as that goes under wall units With the base units, don't fix anything to the wall till they're all bolted together and level. Sounds obvious but... Then (and only then) put a batten up to support wall units while you're getting them lined up. Big help, especially if you're working alone. Fix the units but don't tighten. Make the gap 18" between worktop and wall units if you can (3 x 6" tiles). Tall units in the line may not give you that option. Make the worktop to plug socket height 6" if you can. Again, don't fix base units till that's done. As I say, read up a bit first. However well you plan, kitchens are always a nightmare but the snags are invariably to do with plumbing so you might escape the worst.
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Stuart Noble wrote:
<snip>

This is going to be my biggest problem.
Despite being advised not to Im going for Laminate flooring in my kitchen as the colours will compliment my choice of kitchen very nicely. What I want to avoid is laying the laninate up to the plinth and then using edging strip. Therefore what I propose is as follows:
- The base units come on legs so put them down where required (I presume - B&Q base units come on legs). - Lay the floor up to the legs of the base units say less 30mm. - Cut the plinth to take into account the height of the flooring.
Problems I can foresee are ...
- Will need to lay laminate under dishwasher and washing machine so that when I push them into position they dont drop down the lip generated by the laminate to the concrete floor.
- Problems with water which will certainly get onto the floor at some point. Even with click together laminate can I seal it with say PVA in the joints when I click it together?
Cheers,
CM.
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Charles Middleton wrote:

I've never used laminate flooring myself so won't comment on its suitability for a kitchen (my guess is that it would be horribly susceptible to water though?). What I would say is that Carpetright do (or did) a floor vinyl which is patterned as laminate flooring; I've used it myself and it looks very good (quite apart from being practical in the kitchen).

That would certainly be the way to lay vinyl. IMHO the decision as to whether you put down the whole floor covering right under the units, or to put the units in first as you're proposing, depends on the relative longevity of the floor covering versus the kitchen - ie which will need renewing first? Eg, if I were laying yorkstone flags, I wouldn't use your method, whereas for cheapo vinyl, I would.

Yes, I'd lay it right to the back of the gap there. In that regards, whatever type of floorcovering you use, you need to be careful not to damage the floor while trying to manouvre the machines in... a Useful Tip passed on to me by a kitchen fitter is to lay a flat piece of plywood, exactly the same width as the washing machine gap but a foot or so deeper, immediately in front of said gap and stand the machine on that. You then slide the plank into the gap with the machine standing on it; you can then of course apply as much force as you like to the front edge of the plank with worrying about tipping/jamming/breaking the machine or damaging the floor. Once it's fully home, you just slide the plank out again.
David
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Charles Middleton wrote:

Put them on pieces of ply.
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Yes, B&Q units come with legs.

30mm is quite a gap! Lay the floor as close to the legs as you can. The plinth clips (which fit onto the legs and make fitting the plinth incredibly easy) and plinth itself are barely 30mm wide.

That's what I did, but with slate floor, no probs (apart from scribing the plinths to the shape of the slate floor, which was a bitch :-) ).

Don't bother - just put the dishwasher and washing machine on some old bits of wood to raise the legs above the height of the flooring. I ended up glueing some old bits of mdf to the floor.
Andy
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Charles Middleton wrote:

Bear in mind that it doesn't take an experienced fitter long to knock together a few flatpack units - the skill and effort is fitting them all in place so they look good; apart from that, round my way they all buy the units from Howdens (= MFI units), ie already assembled anyway. So don't imagine you'll make a huge saving just by presenting a kitchen fitter with all the units built but not fitted.
I'd say one of the single hardest things to get right, versus the impact it makes overall on the kitchen, is the worktop - notably fabricating the right angle joints in the corners with a router (= butt and scribe joints, or something similar?) - something I can't do and will always get a pro in to do. I fitted a kitchen before Xmas and did everything but fitting all the worktops, for which I paid a joiner about 130 quid (IIRC) which was well worthwhile IMHO, in terms of quality of the finish and time saved.
If you do your own plumbing that's a big saving obviously, considering a plumber's charges.
David
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Lobster wrote:

<snip useful advise>
My plan was to assemble and fit the units to the walls etc and then get a joiner or similar to do the worktops. As you say this will be money well spent. Although Im confident to assemble flat pack (required as its coming from B&Q) im not confident in doing the surfaces.
Plumbing will be done by myself and a friend who's a qualified plumber as the advisor.
Electrics - in a nutshell (to avoid reading loads of part P posts) I need new sockets plus spurs for extractor and cupboard and under cupboard lighting. Can I do that myself?
Anything else I need to look out for?
Cheers,
CM.
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Charles Middleton wrote:

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Charles Middleton wrote:

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I'm just in the process of fitting my own B&Q kitchen and have to say I've been pleased with the flat pack stuff - no missing parts or damage and the brackets for the wall fittings are great - they allow you to move the unit up, down, left, right and in and out once hanging from the bracket (also supplied) on the wall - perfect for dodgy walls!
Kitchen electrics require fitting and certification by a professional - if you don't you could have trouble when you sell the property and or if it burns down and your insurer does some digging...
I had a new ring circuit, 5 sockets, 4 spurs, cooker, hood and hob all fitted, plus undercupboard and ceiling lighting for £500 - well worth it. Bear in mind you'll need to factor in the time for sparky coming back to connect it all up and the initial work before you start fitting the kitchen.
I would suggest you get a compound mitre as Andy suggests - and a circular saw will ensure accurate and neat worktop cuts. I got both from B&Q for £20 each any they have been fine. I did my own worktop joins (two 90 degree ones) - and it was nerve racking and I did the cuts with a handsaw - took a while but looked great when done. £100 to have it done by a joiner is worth considering though in terms of time saving alone (took me a full day to do the two myself).
If you're having the kitchen from B&Q and they have been round to measure up then they should supply you with a drawing that has all the measurements on - these can take a bit of working out (particularly for the blanking bits used to fill any gaps in non-unit size rooms! - hint you usually have to cut them yourself to size from supplied end panels). B&Q warehouse are also good in that they stock quite a lot of units etc in case you need something else / make a mess of one - might be worth checking before you choose the kitchen if the one you want is one they keep stock of (we went for gloss white which is an in stock item, though we still had to wait 4 weeks for delivery...?)
Finally, bear in mind that it takes a long time to do unless you're an experienced fitter and it creates a lot of mess and inconvenience (washing up in the bath!). But if you are prepared to live with this you can save a fair amount of money and learn some useful new DIY skills. B&Q quoted me £2.5k to fit my kitchen - with tools and electrics it's cost me around £600, so personally I think it's worth the £1900 saving.
Trust this helps - let us know how you get on.
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mitch wrote:

Thats good to hear !

I'll get a pro in for this then.
<snip>

See my last reply to Andy to see if I have got the right type of tool in mind.

Ill probably get someone in for this. Can any joiner do this sort of thing? This is the thing that really needs to look "right" so I dont want any screw ups with it.
<snip>

Im only at home on weekends anyway so it wont inconvenience me too much. Plus it will give me something to do!

Cheers - will do!
CM.
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mitch wrote:

No, you can certainly diy it, but you need to submit a building notice to the council and have them (or, more likely a council-approved professional) inspect it. Part P and all that.
Cost of doing the above may or may not make it more cost-effective to get a sparks in to do the work.
David
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