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Is it possible to put a new door in a kitchen wall whilst saving the kitchen units?

(12 Posts)
ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 15:18:35

We're in the process of buying a house (fingers crossed it all goes ahead) and are wondering if it would be possible to put a door in the kitchen through to the dining room.

At the moment, there's a long trek from the kitchen to the dining room. We thought to save money, putting a door between the two rooms rather than knocking down the whole wall down would be a good compromise. From my untrained eye, it looks to me like it's most likely a supporting wall (so knocking the whole wall down would involve an RSJ), and it's not straightforward either, as the floors aren't level.

What I'm imagining then is creating a door in the wall instead, with a step up to it (like in pic attached).

The problem is - the existing fitted kitchen units that are along that side of the wall are perfectly good - in fact they're lovely, and don't look very old. The work surface is a dark wood. I'm wondering then if it would somehow be possible to save most of the units (apart from the bits that are directly where the new door would be). Might a carpenter be able to saw them in half, perhaps?! (If there was a hopeful/naive emoticon, would use it now.)

The wood work surface looks expensive, and we'll have very little money left after the house purchase. So if we could even save the work surface, that would be something! Does anyone have any thoughts on whether this might be possible?

Minisoksmakehardwork Sun 19-Jul-15 15:22:37

Why a door? Would a serving hatch work? Less stress on the whole wall I would have thought.

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 15:40:49

The door is so that you could walk to and from the dinnig room with ease.

The kitchen is quite small so there's nowhere to sit down, so being able to get to and from the dining room relatively easily would improve it a lot. (At the moment you have to leave the kitchen and go down a corridor to get to the dining room - a real faff!).

I keep reading that it's okay to knock a whole wall down if it's supporting, as long as structural engineer sorts an RSJ. So I was hoping just a small door would be less stress for the wall.

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 15:49:53

More examples of the kind of door I mean attached.

If you imagine a row of fitted units along where the door is in these pics....would it be possible (in theory) to save any of them (bottom cupboards and/or work surfaces), before knocking the door through?

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 18:49:32

Giving this a wee bump!

wowfudge Sun 19-Jul-15 21:02:52

Do you want to keep a separate dining room longer term? If so then putting a door in could work providing you are not sacrificing too much space in the kitchen.

Would you prefer an open plan kitchen diner? In that case I would cost doing that job and reconfiguring the two rooms. You may find it isn't much more expensive and if you like the existing kitchen the units can be refitted to suit the new layout.

Does the current hall from kitchen to dining room lead elsewhere in the house? If not then consider utilising this space in an open plan kitchen diner.

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 21:11:41

I think open plan would be nice wowfudge but I was just scared off by the costs it seems to involve (knocking through the whole thing and making good). Our budget is really only probably about £1k, £2k at an absolute push (hence thinking a door only might be cheaper - especially if it turns out not to be a supporting wall).

The corridor from the kitchen to the dining room is in the centre of the house and leads off to other areas so we couldn't use that unfortunately. I wish there was a floor plan to post, but the EA doesn't provide one (annoyingly!).

PigletJohn Sun 19-Jul-15 22:00:27

you can cut worktops, though it is easier if they have not been tiled into place and can be lifted off the worktops. Usually they are just laid onto the units and retained with a few screws driven up from underneath. If the screws are visible it is fairly easy. You will find out if you screw the legs down for one unit so the feet lift off the floor and leave it hanging from the worktops by the screws. If it has not been screwed then the unit will sink down and you can pull it out. If you take out the unit where you want the cut to be you can observe what pipes and cables are in the way or have been threaded through the units. You can cut or smash the backs out if they are hardboard. If you take out more than one unit at a time, the worktop will probably sag, or perhaps fall off. Where there is a huge cutout for the sink or a hob it might snap.

If it has been screwed to the wall or the wall side of the units you will need a contortionist. Units are sometimes fixed to the wall with steel brackets to prevent them falling over, and the worktop may prevent you unscrewing them. They will probably be near the top. Or there may be screws into the wall from the back stiffener rail. The units may be screwed to each other through the sides to prevent them wobbling. The screws may be near the front edge.

Laminated worktops need a TCT circular saw which will not reach right to the wall, but a multicutter with a gritty blade, or some jigsaws, can do it. If you can find a skilled carpenter or joiner he will do it easily. Kitchen fitters charge high prices. A DIYer might or might not make a hash of it. Wooden worktops can be cut with a handsaw without blunting it. You want a perfect edge.

If, when assembling your kitchen, you bear in mind that you might one day want to replace the worktop, you can make your future life much easier.

Kitchen units are just boxes made of laminated chipboard in standard sizes, and you can swap any damaged ones for new easily enough. If necessary you can buy made-to-measure ones from people like Benjamin James. Have them made to fit any doors you already have. You might be able to get them readymade in the sizes you need. The holes for hinges and drawers might be in the wrong place.

The socket circuit cables probably run in the wall. You may be able to extend and run them under the floor. You will need an electrician. The pipes may be clipped to the wall behind the units. You will need a plumber. Plumbing, electrical and plastering work that has been performed by kitchen fitters and hidden behind the units is the subject of much merriment.

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 22:36:54

Thanks so much PigletJohn - that is very, very helpful!

There is indeed a built-in dishwasher and an electrical socket on the wall where I'd be hoping to put the door.

What order of trades person do you think if need to contact first for the whole thing?

Structural engineer first (to determine if a load bearing wall or not), followed by joiner, followed by electrician, followed by plumber?

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Sun 19-Jul-15 22:53:12

(Sorry to ask another question..!)

PigletJohn Sun 19-Jul-15 23:18:16

I'd have the plumbing and electrics done before the woodwork. Or at least before putting any new woodwork in, but take out the old first. The plumber and electrician can do an easier and neater job if they have access to the wall, so remove what you can. You can remove alternate units by unscrewing the legs and the fixing screws and sliding them out. Remember to include more sockets 150mm above the worktop than you think you need, and also switches above to supply sockets below, wherever you want, or might some day like, an electrical appliance.

ReallyNotAMorningPerson Mon 20-Jul-15 07:08:33

Thanks PigletJohn that's helpful.

Good point as well about the electrics - I'll remember to do that!

I might have to get someone in to do the removal as DH and I a bit hopeless on the DIY front (as you can probably guess from my questions).

Thank you for making the process so much clearer! flowers

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