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First ever new kitchen questions

(14 Posts)
Madblondeog Wed 09-Mar-16 09:45:44

Very excited that I will be getting a new kitchen soon, I've read the lessons learnt thread and am happy on the whole with everything (like copious amounts of pan drawers and make sure the bin has a home) on there but have a few questions

1) Howdens - how do you actually arrange a meeting with them? Also, at the end what do you receive? A design? A list of what would be included?

2) We're possibly going to go down the Units Online/DIY Kitchens route but with any of the companies how hard is it to plan around getting appliances elsewhere? So we'd probably get them from or similar.

3) What ways can I cut costs as much as possible?

4) Flooring down first or last?

5) How do you actually decide upon the right company - what are the right deciding factors

6) Is it possible to get laminate counter tops now and change them at a later date?

7) Do companies come out and measure or do I need to do all that then take the measurements in?

Anything else I should consider?

Thank you, sorry it is so long!

AButterflyLightsBesideUs Wed 09-Mar-16 13:48:50


We are in the semi destroyed kitchen state at the moment, trying to coordinate different tradespeople to do the various jobs. Quite stressful!

We will be using DIY kitchens to get the units & worktops. No problem at all to get appliances elsewhere/keep existing ones. We are getting a freestanding range from Currys, and keeping our American fridge freezer and freestanding dishwasher. Appliances are generally standard sizes, and if you aren't integrating them, dead easy to just slot into appropriate size gaps.

For us, flooring is going down at the end. We have a hung floor and the gas/water pipes are under it so the floor can't go down until they are all routed correctly etc. Ours is a laminate wood effect floor so we will run it just under the plinths and to the walls, and then fit skirting on top.

Yes you can get worktops replaced further down the line, obv not a quick job as you will probably need the sink/hob out in order to do so, and if you have tiled your splashbacks then you risk damage to those when getting the worktop out. If you think you might want to do this, personally I would get upstand instead of tiles to make it simpler.

If you are getting someone in to design & fit your kitchen let them do the measurements! If there's a mistake you don't want it to be your fault. Lots of companies do free no obligation visits and design, make use of these to give you ideas. We did and are now going to order from DIY kitchens and fit ourselves. Just need professionals for electrics, plastering, gas and fitting patio doors. DH is perfectly competent for plumbing and carpentry and I am head painter.

Cost cutting - just keep shopping around. We started with looking at Wickes. Quickly found that for eg solid wood worktops, sinks, taps can be bought cheaper through online stores. DIY kitchens will cost us about £2k for units. Wickes quoted us £3.5k and that was at 50% off + 10%. The DIY units we've chosen are higher quality than the Wickes range (lacquered MDF vs vinyl wrap)
We had one quote of £2k for putting in patio doors and the second company quoted £1.1k so huge difference. Always get a second quote!

Check the quotes from kitchen firms, there was loads of stuff added on to our Wickes quote (in addition to the 3.5k) that we hadn't asked for and didn't necessarily want - drawer divider sets, bin systems etc. You can always go back and buy these things later if you decide you want them, but don't let them sneak a few hundred pounds onto your bill without checking every item and seeing if you actually want them - and if you do, are there are cheaper alternatives eg Ikea/freestanding/online?

Madblondeog Wed 09-Mar-16 14:16:20

Thank you Butterfly

I have no issues buying online and shopping around, I just worry that I will get myself in a mess and get for example, the wrong sink for the wrong base unit.

Have tradespeople in place already so that is good. I think on the whole we could do a lot of it ourselves but may take a lot longer that way.

Will call a few local companies to come out and do some designs, I'd ideally like to use the tradespeople I have in mind to do the fitting.

AButterflyLightsBesideUs Wed 09-Mar-16 14:23:59

Sinks usually say on them the minimum unit size required. Most 1 and 1.5 bowl sinks will fit in a 600mm base cabinet. Draining board just sits above the adjacent unit/appliance.

This is the sink I am after, and if you look at the dimensions it states minimum unit size. It can of course sit in a larger unit if you want.

Madblondeog Wed 09-Mar-16 15:16:22

Ah brilliant!

I think a few design visits and I should be OK, just would never hear the end of it from DP if I got it wrong (the piss taking would go on for YEARS!)

Ramona75 Thu 10-Mar-16 08:14:53

Planning a new kitchen is very exciting! I've asked most of the questions that you have asked below so I give you my answers:-)

1) Howdens only deal with tradesman, not the general public. I've seen a quote sheet from them before and my friends kitchen fitter was getting 60% off everything! But, my kitchen was cheaper and I got better quality units as well! They don't make a sound when they close.

2) Buy online definitely! Shop around and get the best quality you can as you have to spend many hours a day in the kitchen so you'll want it to be a place you love to be in. Get your appliances from Appliances online, they are good and it's all they sell, so they know what they are doing.

3) Buy online will make a massive saving. Also limited the number of drawer line units and buy wider units rather than lots of smaller ones and you'll save money there as well. This page helped me a lot to rain in the pennies.

4) Lay the flooring last as it will get damaged otherwise. But, put your base end panels last and obviously the plinth. This will hide any jaggy edges left from the cuts in the flooring.

5) Tough one. Look at reviews, people's comments and go and see them if you can. Make sure you're 100% sure before you choose.

6) Laminate top s are easy to change but you run the risk of damaging units, not to mention emptying all the cupboards, the mess you'll make having to resilcon and colour matching the joints on the worktops, put edging back on them and cleaning all the dust up. If you can, put the worktop on at the same time. It makes more sense and it's not that expensive.

7) Some companies will come out and measure up, and give you a quote but that quite is usually 2 to 3 times more that what you can pay of you shop around.
Hope that helps!

Madblondeog Thu 10-Mar-16 10:28:06

Ramona thank you, that's so helpful! I am thinking I would get the companies to do the designs and then pick my favourite to go online with and buy with.

MiaowTheCat Thu 10-Mar-16 21:34:00

We saved by shopping around like mad for appliances, sinks and the like rather than going for what the store we bought from offered (wickes). Their integrated appliances were eye wateringly expensive. We also got all our stuff in the sales, having done the initial planning visit in advance and having that saved ready to finalise at sale prices.

We're getting toward the end of it all with ours- having had a bloody nightmare with our builder being injured just when things were at the maximum chaos and mess stage and having to halt things then for a good couple of weeks, then the plasterer having an ill relative at deaths door so we had to find another plasterer at the last minute, and then one of our builder's power tools almost exploding on him! Should be done middle of next week finally so the end is in sight!

With the sink/worktops thing there are some limits on how close they can be to the hob and you also don't want it near any joins in sections of laminate- we were slightly limited in sink choice because of that (not that I give much of a shit as we have a dishwasher)- little things like that you find you need to consider on the way

langlandgirl Sat 12-Mar-16 14:13:39

wow Miaow - the stress is almost over! Do we get photos when it is done? grin

SweetpeaToadfoot Sat 12-Mar-16 14:19:32

Could someone link to the 'leasons learned' thread, please? smile

iyamehooru Sat 12-Mar-16 14:25:32

Things to consider

Socket placement, ensure you have at least 50% more than you think you'll need
Under unit lighting can be added later if wiring there already
Place for bin and recycling and tea towels, dog or cat bowls
Door openings on units and appliances left or right etc and their placement
What can you live without - ie waste disposal, wine rack etc
What is essential
Cooker good vent ideally needs to be on outside wall for external venting
Lighting needs to be good and positioned for sink, cooker
Tv aerial if appropriate

Hope that helps and good luck

Madblondeog Sat 12-Mar-16 14:31:06

Thanks all, much appreciated.

Very excited to start planning, have been writing a "must have" list today

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 13-Mar-16 07:56:48

External venting hoods are a must, John Lewis sell them & have a calculator so you know what air flow rate you need for your kitchen.

Ours was fitted by the home builder and is woefully inadequate, I think it's under 200 and our room needs 700 minimum (litres or metre sq per hour can't remember)

ExConstance Mon 14-Mar-16 16:55:36

After looking everywhere we could think of - Magnet, Howdens,Wickes, John Lewis, and hand made individual we eventually settled with an independent kitchen supplier. She held our hand every inch of the way, gave loads of advice and helped us choose some lovely very individual units. The kitchen fitter had contacts with plasterers electricians and plumbers and liaised with the floor fitter for us. It was time consuming and very dusty but I don't think we could have project managed ourselves and got such great results.

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