Kitchen Fitting Design & Tips

Welcome

Kitchen fitter tips is a website aimed at helping those who encounter problems when fitting their kitchen. It is here as a resource that should be used to help out when you run into difficulties with your installation. We will also detail how to plan and design your kitchen fitting, as we know how difficult this process can be. This website will be updated regularly with loads of tips on how to get the best out of your project, so check it out and have fun. Kitchen fitters tips is a huge fan and supporter of KLR Kitchens.

European Kitchen Cabinets

Nowadays most of us here in Northern Ireland have a fair idea of what a standard European kitchen looks like. I personally would describe it as unadorned, monochrome panels with clean joint lines. On top of this streamlined appearance, this type of cabinet is synonymous with accessibility and easy cleaning. But it does seem that the popularity of this type of cabinet is on the wane, with the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association reporting that the number of plastic-laminate doors being sold has plummeted by 20% in the last 5 years. This is somewhat troubling news to those of us who make their living from making European styled kitchen cabinets with plastic-laminate fronts. The reason their popularity had crept to such heights was due to their cost-effective manufacturing process which saw companies make huge profits on the back of selling hundreds of thousands of these units.

These cabinets do not require the making of face frames, there are no complex case-joints plus no nonadjustable hinges to fit. They literally are a dream to put together and the finished results are ultimately stunning. The construction of these cabinets is modular, as cases pre-installed with the required hardware can be put together easily. The specifically designed hardware is not only easy to fit but also allows for the installation of doors and drawers without having to remove any of the existing components.

Installing Cabinets

The demolition job has been complete and your room looks as far away from being a kitchen as any other room. You've got a clean canvas to work off, a baseline for the kitchen installation that is to follow. You've got your kitchen cabinets all boxed up and surely it’s just a matter of unpacking them before installing them, right? Well, no. First things first, check if all the required cabinets and components have been delivered, as the last thing you want to do is starting putting them together and have to stop because components are missing. This happens a lot more than you would think, so be careful and do a full inventory check on your recently supplied units.

Now is a good time to assess how flat the walls and floor are, as they may have hollows that are not evident at first glance. Any imperfections on the walls or the floor must be compensated for with your approach to the installation. There are certain guidelines that all carpenters adhere to; straight, plumb, square and level. If all of these principles are met by the conditions of the floor and wall you can count yourself very lucky indeed. For the best kitchen design Belfast can possibly give, just contact any of the approved contractors on this website.

Working Kitchens

You want your kitchen to perform well when you need it to, with this being the most important aspect of any successful kitchen installation. Regardless of how aesthetically pleasing your new kitchen might be, if it is impractical to use the design must be deemed a failure. The time it takes to cook a meal dramatically increases if all the elements required are not at hand. For example, if you have to continually carry vegetables across the room to the sink for washing purposes, the length of time taken to cook a meal will double. Would it not be a lot easier to unload all your groceries on to an island or peninsula in the middle of the room, rather than having to put them on the floor and needing to bend down to access them?

Over the years, you have probably got used to doing things in an inefficient way but this does not mean you should continue to do so. You will find that regardless of the kitchen design you opted for in the past, there will always be a more efficient way of doing things. There is a whole industry devoted to thinking up new ways of doing things and inventing new technology for the kitchen. Look around your kitchen as you are reading this and look for ways to improve your space, making your life a lot easier.

Kitchen Appliances

The first point of call is your appliances. Are your appliances modern, in terms of efficiency and speed? Do you constantly have to wait on your appliances when preparing food? Worse still, do you find any of your appliances dangerous to operate? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then the time has come to re-design your kitchen and install a new one. Electrical appliances evolve at a rapid rate, so you could find yourself with outdated equipment fairly quickly. If this happens it is best, to splash the cash and purchase new equipment now. For many people storage is a huge problem in the kitchen, as there always seems to be items cluttering up your counter tops. The advancement in clever storage utilities in the last twenty years has been astronomical. Nowadays, we can have plates that pop up out of the counter or shelving units that go right the way to the ceiling, as in modern kitchen designs not an inch of space is wasted.

It is true that kitchens invite conviviality, so why not incorporate this into your design? By including a breakfast bar or dedicated seating area adjacent to the kitchen, the cook can liaise with his or her guests while entertaining. There is a social element to the kitchen space which needs to be accounted for when planning your new installation. Balance between the social, food preparation and dining elements in a kitchen is essential but not always achievable. This should be at the forefront of any kitchen designers mind when trying to envisage a new kitchen concept.


The Kitchen Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash can be used to subtly set the colour tone for the room. It is important that you give this decision the attention it deserves and make the right choice for your kitchen. This article discusses at length the main approach to backsplash design, with the aim of helping you better understand this concept. A design that stands out can bring an air of sophistication to the room and leaves the kitchen itself akin to a work of art. The design of this kitchen feature represents a real opportunity for you to bring an element of glamour to your kitchen and give all those who enter it a feeling of luxury.



Complementing Neutral Colours
Neutral colours that complement each other, by providing very little contrast between the backsplash and the cabinets can be used to achieve a more traditional look. However, if you match this with modern kitchen units, such as frameless cabinets a contemporary look can be emitted. Varying the colours used only slightly, will give your kitchen an interesting look, which will be noticeable but unobtrusive to the eyes.

Bridging Multiple Colours
It is important when using various colours within a room that do not necessarily complement each other to have a colour which brings them together in a harmonious way. Dark colours, such as blacks and dark browns work really well for bridging contrasting colours together. It is good practise to have the units double up your efforts to bring colours together by adopting a similar approach.

Texture Building
Using texture to raise the presence of a backsplash is an effective way to achieve a modern contemporary look in your kitchen. Using vertical narrow tile offsets the kitchen units which frame them and adds depth to the tile work. Although thin tiles are not mosaic, they give off a similar affect and add character to the room.

Enhance Your Style
The tile work used can help reinforce the theme or style of your kitchen with relative ease. It is important to select tiles that not only complement the style of your kitchen but the overall theme of your home. Patterned tiles offset with oak cabinets will give your kitchen a period look which would be perfect for a stately rural home. Large rustic tiles with subtle colouring will give the kitchen area a traditional look.

Mosaic Tiles
If you have opted for kitchen units that are plain and understated, why not go for something more elaborate for your choice of tile. Mosaic tiles are an excellent way of bringing some life to the decor and provide the kitchen with some exuberance. This will only work if the visual effect of the cabinets and other features in the room are subtle and unobtrusive.



I hope after reading this article you have now a better understanding of how best to complement your kitchen style through the design of your backsplash.


Saving Money on Your Kitchen Installation

Deciding on how much to spend on your kitchen can be tricky. You will want to spend enough to get a quality installation but at the same time, you don’t want to break the bank. You will constantly hear people talking about how much they spend on their kitchen and some of the figures discussed are astronomical. It is enough to put you off fitting a new kitchen altogether and many people abandon the whole idea. With a new installation you can be as elaborate or as conservative as you like, as how much you spend is entirely up to you. If you are on a budget, I will discuss some approaches you can adopt to save money on your new kitchen and get the fitting of your dreams without overspending. Below I have tackled the main areas of kitchen fitting and detailed how to cut corners and shave money off the final bill.



The Appliances

The most costly kitchen appliance you will purchase is your cooker and hob. If you can re-use your cooker from your existing installation without detracting from the look of the kitchen, this will save you a significant amount of money. If you need to replace your range, ask yourself if you need a top of the range unit with 8 hob rings and a twin oven. It is very easy to get carried away when you are in a showroom but it is always best to purchase something that is practical for you. Ask in store if they have any reconditioned ovens that have been returned to them. These cookers will come with a huge discount and will be practically as good as new.



The Flooring

Hardwood flooring adds a stunning ambiance to any room and can really lift the overall look of a kitchen but can set you back a lot of money. A cheaper alternative is laminate flooring which costs a fraction of what hardwood floors will cost. Laminate flooring has evolved tremendously since it first came to fruition in the 60s. You can now buy laminate flooring that is indistinguishable from its genuine counterpart, giving you the look and feel of real wood floors. If you aren’t willing to compromise on hardwood flooring, then visit a wood reseller or liquidator depot, as they will have heavily discounted lumber.




The Countertops

The square footage required for you kitchen countertops really adds up and with granite or marble at over £100 a square foot, the cost of such an installation can be astronomical. Although granite has come down in price considerably in the last few years and is still falling, laminate worktops are a great alternative. Although they may not have the durability of granite, they can be quite stunning and can totally transform tired looking kitchen units.



The Kitchen Units

With any kitchen installation, the main outlay pertains to the purchasing of the kitchen units. To make this as affordable as possible it is always best to buy off-the-shelf units and fit your kitchen design around them. Bespoke kitchen units will generally cost you three times what off-the-shelf units will cost, even though they use the same materials and will generally look exactly the same. You can also save money by purchasing the fixtures for the cabinets separately, as many suppliers will always include the most expensive handles with their units. Even the most inexpensive of handles can still add a refined quality to the kitchen. It is all about taste and not just how much money you are willing to spend.

The Business of Installing Kitchens

The kitchen is possibly the most attractive element of a home when it comes to potential buyers. What can be achieved with a kitchen is not a concept everyone understands and it may even be harder for them to visualise this. It is the job of the professional kitchen fitter is to turn a dated kitchen into something much more amenable to the home owners or potential buyers. A professional kitchen designer can quickly visualise the potential of a kitchen and turn it into something masterful. The kitchen fitter has an important place in a rapidly growing home renovation business.

What is this kitchen renovation niche all about?

The kitchen and Bath association released figures indicating that consumers spend £18 billion on kitchen renovations each year. This is a staggering amount and by far eclipses any other internal renovation project. This figure does not even include the 1 million plus new homes built each year which further drives this amount up. The industry of fitting kitchens is large and very complicated, with a huge range of furnishings and fittings. When it comes to other rooms in the house, their function is largely governed by the furnishing elements of that room. These elements can be moved around easily and can even be moved from one room to another to change the function of the room. This completely contrasts the set-up of the kitchen, where the plumbing and wiring network is generally permanent.

To install a kitchen you need to be able to do more than just fit the cabinets, appliances and other furnishings. The kitchen installer needs to be a ‘jack of all trades’ and often subcontracts out various elements of the project to other trained professionals. They also need to meet their customer’s expectations, as well as adhering to the budget set out by client and remain profitable. The installers themselves to a large extent must efficiently run their business and keep their clients happy. Juggling these two attributes can prove very difficult which is why so many firms go bankrupt each year. They must completely manage each project from concept right through to completion and this is beyond many kitchen installers. To make sure kitchen fitters run a profitable company, they must possess the skills to quote a job accurately and leave very little margin for error. They must fabricate a written proposal, installation documentation, installer notes and keep records of all outlays throughout the project.

Consumer’s nowadays are looking for the best way to manage their kitchen installations and the efficiency of their projects is paramount.  Although DIY is very popular in today’s households, many people do not have the time to take on a project of this magnitude. They want a professional service that will install their kitchen with the minimum amount of fuss and most importantly, the minimum amount of disruption to their daily lives. A professional kitchen installer must meet these needs and provide a service that will keep their clients happy throughout the entire installation project.


Wiring an Electric Cooker


Plan the route the cable must take from the control unit to the consumer unit. If you have floorboards in your kitchen, it is best to run this cable under them and then bury the cable in the plaster as it rises up the wall to the control unit. Alternatively, you can enclose the cable inside plastic trunking and bridge it across the floor before channeling it up the wall.



Tools Required:
  • Stanley knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Pliers
Materials Required:
  • Control unit
  • Cooker mounting box
  • Screws and Wall Plugs
  • Plastic Trunking
  • Electric Cooker

Placing the Cables

You do not have to switch off the electricity supply at the mains until the point where you connect the cooker electric cable. It is important to get the earthing and bonding checked by a professional electrician. Prepare the area you will be routing the cables through, from the cooker unit to the consumer unit. From this point, lead the cable to the cooker connection unit located behind the cooker. Set the mounted box for the cooker control unit and, if you are fitting freestanding appliance, fit the mounted box for the connection unit. Punch through the knock-out slots in the mounted boxes so the cables can be fed in to the box. Lay down lengths of cable between the control unit and the consumer unit before laying a cable to the connection unit. Feed the cables in to the two mounting boxes but not into the consumer unit, as the electricity needs to be switched off at the mains for this step. Make sure you have left enough cable length at the ends to reach their individual terminals before preparing the ends for the connection.

Connecting at the Control Unit

The next step is to terminate the cables in the control unit and the consumer unit. The brown core must be terminated at the points marked ‘L and In’. Following this, terminate the blue core to the points marked ‘N and In’. Next, terminate the green and yellow earth cable at the terminal marked ‘E’. The cable leading out of the connection must then be connected into to the terminals in the plate of the control unit. The brown core cable must be terminated to the points marked ‘L and Out’ and the blue cable must then be terminated to the pointed marked ‘N and Out’. Again, the green and yellow earth cables need to be terminated at the point marked ‘E’. If you are leading cables to an oven and separate hob, there will be another two sets of cables to be terminated. Pair the cables together, matching in the colours and then terminate the cables at the correct points.

In the follow-up article to this post, I will detail exactly how to wire a freestanding cooker and connect it to the consumer unit.