When it comes to replacing your existing kitchen, one of the most significant costs after buying new kitchen units is paying a professional kitchen fitter to install them. Therefore, homeowners are increasingly starting to consider fitting their kitchen themselves.
As the heart of the home, your kitchen is a space that is used every day, so a good design and proper fitting are essential – after all, you don’t want to be living with mistakes made during the fitting process for the next decade.
However, with a keen eye for detail, a knack for precision and a fair amount of patience, it’s certainly possible for a non-professional to create a kitchen to be proud of.
With this in mind, we discuss the pros, cons and whether you can fit a kitchen yourself.
Is it easy to fit a kitchen yourself?
While fitting your own kitchen isn’t for a complete novice, it’s perfectly possible for someone with decent DIY skills to fit a kitchen themselves.
Indeed fitting a kitchen can be a fairly straightforward task if you are happy to take your time and do your preparation properly. However, it will depend on the complexity of the project and how large your kitchen is. Remember, for as long as you are working on it, your kitchen may be out of action, so it can be worth bearing this in mind if you want the project to happen quickly.
Additionally, some tasks such as moving electrical points or changes to gas installations will need to be carried out by a certified professional, so you will need to build both the costs and the time of this into your kitchen refurbishment project. It is wise to engage these services before you start so that gas engineers or electricians can get to work at the right time and not delay your kitchen installation.
Planning your kitchen layout
The key to any successful installation is the proper planning of your kitchen layout. At this stage, it is worth considering how you like to use your kitchen and if there are any major changes you wish to make to your existing kitchen layout.
Be sure to take into consideration the shape and size of your kitchen and where you may wish to place things like appliances, your sink and any additional features. Think about how you like to move around the space – for example, do you want to have your sink by a window to have something to look at while doing dishes? Is your fridge a snazzy design that you want as a focal point?
We have put together a full design pack and video to enable homeowners to fully plan their kitchen themselves – allowing them to save on costs and follow a super straightforward guide to make sure you get your plan right from the outset.
View the kitchen design guide here.
How to create a floorplan for a new kitchen design
To measure up for kitchen units, precision is essential. Just a small error can seriously impact the end design and layout of your kitchen, and the last thing you want to live with is a mistake that will either cost you money to fix or that you end up being irritated by on a daily basis.
Start by creating a floor plan. Map out your kitchen’s shape and mark the major areas where things like your windows, doors, and anything you are not planning on moving are located (e.g. a boiler or sink). Be sure to include whether doors open inwards or outwards as this form part of your design.
Use a measuring tape to measure the room’s width and length and get your floor layout. Then measures the wall height, windows, door spaces etc. Be sure to measure the widths of windows and doors from the outside of the frames.
You can use our kitchen planner to help map out your floor plan.
Create a wall plan for your kitchen
When it comes to planning your kitchen – make the most out of your cupboard space is key to creating a room that gives you the storage and access you need. Therefore it’s vital to create your wall plan (a plan of what goes where on your kitchen walls) as well as your floor plan.
To get started, measure each wall’s height and the width and height of any doors, windows or archways. Be sure to include measurement of distances from floor to window – and top of window to ceilings.
Measure the width, depth and height of any fixed fixtures that could be an obstacle, such as your boiler, a fixed extractor etc.
Removing your old kitchen
Before installing your new kitchen, you will need to remove the old one, so make sure to allow for a reasonable amount of time to do this.
Start by removing all the doors, drawers and shelves of your kitchen units, followed by any screws which are adhering to your worktops with the base units. Kitchen units are generally straightforward to remove, but if they’ve been there for a very long time, it may be necessary to use a hammer or similar to knock the units apart.
Disposing of old kitchen units must be done correctly, so consider whether you are able to take them to a recycling/disposal centre or whether it may be prudent to either hire a skip or pay for a specialist removals company to take away your old kitchen units.
What tools will I need to fit my own kitchen units?
While the tools needed may vary depending on your kitchen, it’s likely that you may need some or all of the following.
- Lump hammer and claw hammer
- Spirit level
- Tape measures
- Marker pens
Of course, the tools required may depend on the nature of your installation.
How Long does it take to fit a kitchen myself?
The amount of time it will take you to fit your own kitchen will hugely depend on factors including the size of the kitchen, the number of kitchen units being fitted and the complexity of the changes you are making to your kitchen.
For example, simply replacing your kitchen doors is a very different proposition to a complete kitchen makeover, including a brand new design.
On average, it takes a kitchen fitter anywhere between 2 – 5 days to install a new kitchen. As an amateur, you are likely to find this may take a little longer – so do prepare for your kitchen to be out of action for some time.
When should I choose a professional to fit my new kitchen?
While fitting your own kitchen is most definitely possible, it’s certainly not for everyone and will depend on how confident you are that you can do a job.
Of course, the more complex your kitchen design, the more likely it is that it would be wise to choose a professional kitchen fitter to get involved.
It’s also worth taking into account that, while you may save on fitting costs – what other “costs” there may be in fitting your kitchen yourself. There are obvious costs such as purchasing or hiring specific tools if you don’t already have them and paying for the removal of your old kitchen (which often kitchen fitters will quote for). There are also less obvious costs, such as – how much it may cost you to have your kitchen out of action for a longer period – or dare we say, how much it may cost to replace something if things go wrong.
Here at Kitchen Warehouse, we provide the majority of our kitchens in an easy to install flat-packed design, which is created to allow for easy installation. We also have a range of rigid kitchen units (not flat packed) which are ready to install.
We want your kitchen to look its very best and provide a series of tools and videos to help you overcome any common problems in installing your kitchen units which you can view here.