As a true Yorkshireman, I love a bargain. So saving money by fitting the kitchen myself was very appealing. When we had our first fitting quote back of almost £4K that sealed the deal. I could buy a load of awesome new tools, fit the kitchen myself and still be a few grand better off?! Sure, a bit of DIY/woodwork experience helps, but it’s largely a case of getting stuff level and fixing it in place. This is a relatively short summary of how it went. I may, one day, get round to doing a a few in depth posts on the process.
In case you’re interested in how we went about planning & ordering our DIY Kitchens kitchen & utility, have a peek at this post.
Like so many DIY jobs, spending some time looking at what you’re working with is key. This involved measuring up, checking variations in floor level, irregularities in walls, different wall types that would need to be fixed to etc.
We were pretty lucky in that the plasterers did an awesome job of getting the walls level and plumb. For the most part, the floor was level, but there were some dodgy areas. Nothing that the adjustable unit feet couldn’t sort out.
I used a laser level to mark the top position of all floor units on the walls.
This baby is definitely a must for a job like this and only cost £30. I got an irrational amount of satisfaction from seeing the laser light up dust on top of the units.
The last thing to do before fixing units in place was to make any adjustments. The back of the sink unit needed cutting out.
I also needed to make some pretty major changes to the units that sat against the kitchen pillar. The wall units took bloody ages and almost led to a nervous breakdown.
Onto the next stage.
Fixing the units in place
With all the levels set and units adjusted, it was onto fixing the units in place. I started with the wall units so that the the base units weren’t in the way. The laser level worked a treat, but having a 6ft spirit level was also really helpful.
I used Corefix dot & dab fixings for the wall units. They’re pricey for what they are but having confidence that our wall units won’t fall down in the middle of the night is priceless.
With the wall units in place, I lined the base units up with them to keep things symmetrical.
The corner where base units met was a bit tricky to get right but after cutting a corner post to size it looked smart.
I used L brackets and wall plugs to fix the base units and tall units against the wall.
The kitchen came with wee screws to tighten the units against each other.
Before whapping the doors back on, I fixed all the cups and knobs in place. I spent ages on this ‘cos one wrongly drilled hole would lead to a great deal of sadness.
With the units fixed in place, I moved onto adding trim, starting with the pelmets that sit on the underside of the wall units.
Having brand new, high tooth count blades for cutting these bits is key to get sharp cuts and avoid tear out.
For the pelmet/cornice I used mitre adhesive to join the sections before screwing onto the units with fixit blocks/screws.
Once the floor was laid, I added the plinths. These babies just clip onto the unit legs.
Where there were gaps between units and the wall, I added filler panels. If I was a proper person I would have scribed these and used a jigsaw to cut them out. But, the walls were very close to plumb and my £25 jigsaw wasn’t up to the task. A circular saw ended up doing a good job.
For the end panels, I either cut them down using my table saw or circular saw, depending on the end panel size. I then screwed them in place from the inside of the unit.
We hired a man to do most of the worktop work because I wasn’t confident doing the 90 degree join where the laminate changes direction. I did cut the island and utility worktops, which involved roughly cutting them to size with a jigsaw and then using a 1/2 inch router against a spirit level to give a clean cut.
After cutting the upstands to length, I fixed them to the wall with some adhesive and added some clear sealant at the bottom.
This was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this so it was pretty stressful and slow going. However, it’s not that complicated a process and I’d actually really like to do another! The key to doing a good job is definitely in the planning and taking time to set out properly.