Readying Your Kitchen for an Installation
Preparing your kitchen for a new fitting is half the battle and it is a very important process that must be given a lot of thought. The aim of this article is to discuss all aspects of the preparation process and will stand you in good stead for the coming remodelling.
Removal of the Old Kitchen
This stage of the preparation process should never be rushed, with a consistent methodical approach being best. Even if you are not re-using any of the furniture or fixtures, it is not a good idea to go in with a sledge hammer and pulverise everything. If your kitchen is very old and some demolition work needs to be carried out on the ceiling, ask your local building authority to assess whether asbestos has been used. Asbestos is highly toxic when inhaled or ingested and it can be fatal, so be very careful. You should allow yourself at the very least a few days to carry out the work and it should be noted, that your kitchen will be unavailable for use at this time, so make alternative arrangements.
Using an electric screwdriver undo all the supporting brackets that are holding the units in place and lift the kitchen units away. If the units are wedged into place, use a small to medium sized crow bar to pry the cabinets from the wall. Do not apply too much force, as this may cause damage to the wall, especially if the supporting wall is a stud or plasterboard wall. Before removing the sink, turn off the hot and cold water supplies at the main valve unit. Following this remove the support brackets for the sink and unscrew the supply pipes and waste, before attaching stop valves to the exposed pipes.
Assess the Plumbing and Electricity Lines
Now it is time to assess whether or not any changes are required to the existing plumbing or electricity set-up. It is always a good idea from a financial and practical stand point, to fit your new kitchen around your existing wiring and piping but if this is not the case now is the time to make the required changes. It is much easier to amend this infrastructure before the new kitchen units and appliances have been installed. Check the original plans for the kitchen as this will let you know exactly where the plumbing and electricity outlets are located, then check for the route locations of the wiring. Electrical and plumbing work can only be carried out by a certified professional, so do not undertake this work unless you have the necessary qualifications. More often than not, it is best to employ an outside contractor to undertake this work. Due to the fact we have carried out this work before the new kitchen has been installed, we have complete control over where the electrical and plumbing outlets can be housed. The pipework for any built-in kitchen appliances can be set as close as possible to the wall at this stage, leaving you with a more efficient use of the available space and will also help these appliances be flush with the surrounding cabinets.
Checking the Rooms Physical Infrastructure
Before any kitchen units are installed, you must check the quality of the surrounding walls to make sure they are stable and more importantly, that they are able to withstand the pressure of supporting the new kitchen. The plaster may need to be patched or the walls may need to be re-plastered altogether. In a worst case scenario, you may have to put up new stud walls but only do this as a last resort and always seek the advice of a professional before doing so. Do not be tempted to hide unsightly plaster work by tiling the surface, as this may hold for a couple of years but there is no longevity in this fix. If you really want to tile your walls, make sure they are fully re-plastered first, as this will stop the tiles from lifting away. This also applies to the flooring, as tiling should never be a quick fix for masking unsightly or structurally unsound surfaces.
I know this is a lot to take into account but if you can carry out this work to the standards outlined above, you should not have any issues with your new kitchen installation project.
Cutting Laminate Worktops
When it comes to kitchen countertops, the popularity of granite is
soaring but installing it is a job for a professional carpenter.
Finishing the worktop so that it blends in seamlessly together can be
very difficult but laminate worktops can be installed by anyone. I will
outline in this article exactly how to fit a laminate worktop and give
it a finish that would make any carpenter proud.
Tools required for the job:
- Spirit level and plum line.
- Hammer action drill.
- Worktop jig saw to cut the mitre joints, making the joint perfectly tight (a loose joint can look very unsightly).
- Electric screwdriver.
- Circular saw.
Cutting the Worktops
First off, measure the front of the cupboard to the wall, checking the depth of the kitchen units. Generally standard worktops are 60 cm deep, which will give you enough room to scribe the edge of the wall if it is not perfectly plum. Once this has been completed, lay two pieces of wood, with one of the edges overlapping the other. Make a mark where one edge meets the front of the other edge. Now clamp the worktop to a set of trestles and the use the jig to clamp the worktop in place. It is important that the jig is facing the right way up and that the angle is right for the cut. If you are unclear on how to use the jig and get the angles right, check the manufacturers instruction manual on how to do this.
Use the jig saw to cut the worktop following the line marked out by the clamped jig. It is important that you take the appropriate safety precautions and always take your time when using any saw. At this point, turn the worktop over and then re-clamp the jig into place to cut the bolt holes. You will normally have to make at least 3 bolt holes for a standard sized countertop. Cut out half the depth of the worktop for the bolt holes, cutting slowly making sure not to split the laminate countertops.
It is very unlikely that your wall will be completely straight, so the chances are you will have to scribe the wall to even out. Lift the countertops on top of the resting joints and check for gaps against the wall. The majority of these gaps will be covered by the thickness of the tiles for the backsplash. Now measure the overhang at the front edge of the countertop and make a note of it. Move the countertop so that it has an even 4cm overhang the whole way along the surface. If the gaps left after the tiles have been placed are visible to the naked eye, scribe the countertop to allow for the defect in the wall. Use the jig saw to cut away the correct amount from the worktop after drawing a cutting line on the worktop. Once this has been completed, slide the countertop back into place and check that it is perfectly flush. If the fit is not perfect, use a piece of wood moulding to hide those unsightly gaps. Use a bead of sealant along the top of the moulding to water proof the joint.
Tools Required for Kitchen Fitting
Fitting a kitchen can be an arduous task and it is not always possible to have every tool for the job. Then process involves carrying out demolition on the old kitchen, setting the water pipes, fitting the electricity lines and then finally fitting the new kitchen. The tools required to fit a kitchen are not expensive and once the installation has been completed, you will be able to use them on other DIY projects.
The first job that needs to be carried out is the demolition of the existing kitchen. To remove the kitchen units and cupboards a crowbar will be required. You will need a small crowbar and a larger one to free more stubbornly secured furnishings but if you only have one crowbar that will be fine. A paint scraper can be used to remove any glue or silicone from the walls left behind after the units have been taken out. This scraper can also be used to fill in any holes or cavities in the existing plasterboard with plaster-filler. A claw-hammer for removing any flooring or wood trim is required but it also can be used for driving in nails to secure the new cabinets. A rubber mallet can be used to gently hammer the cabinets and flooring into place but a rag wrapped around a claw-hammer will suffice.
A kitchen can be fitted without using power tools but the whole process would be a lot more difficult. A reliable hammer-action drill plus a good quality set of drill-bits are required for tightening and loosening screws. A hole-saw attachment is required for drilling holes for water pipes and electrics through the back of the kitchen cabinets. You may need a number of different sizes depending on the variation in the width of hole required for the piping. A chop saw is useful for cutting the trim at the base of the cabinets but this again is not an essential tool to have. More heavy-duty cutting tools are required for fitting a granite or marble top but I would not recommend carrying out this task without the aid of a professional.
Electrical and Plumbing Tools
Before advising on what tools you require to fit electrical and plumbing fixtures, I need to point out that this work legally can only be carried out by a certified professional. A phase tester is the first tool that you will need, as this will tell you whether the wires are live or not. Wire cutters and strippers are a must when fitting sockets or working with cables, as this will help you neatly cut the wires. For the plumbing element of the job you will need a monkey wrench, pipe cutters and plumbing tape to securely fit piping that will be leak free.