DIY Kitchen fitting advice

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by ME69, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. ME69

    ME69 Member


    I've bought a kitchen and had a kitchen fitter lined up to fit it for me, however due to delays on some building work I'm also having done I'm going to lose that booking.

    It now seems unlikely that I'll be able to get a kitchen fitter in before Xmas, so am thinking about doing it myself. I'm no tradesman but a reasonable DIY'er. This kitchen is costing me a fortune so I dont want it to end up looking naff, but I'm running out of other options.

    The kitchen has come from, all the units are pre assembled with doors fitted. Granite worktops being fitted by someone else.

    There are 10 base end panels, 1 island back panel, 5 high end panels, a couple of infills and a corner post that needs making that will all need cutting. Its the accurate measurement and cutting of these that worries me a bit.

    Should I be worried? Any other likely issues I am likely to encounter?

    I've got a circular saw, but would be happy to spend some money on something better that will hopefully make straight lines fool proof - what would you suggest for this? I've got 60m2 of engineered oak floor and new skirtings through to do afterwards so will get some use out of it.

    Thanks for any advice, either way.
  2. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    All in the prep.

    I set up a laser, then go around the room surveying the floor to find the lowest point. This is where you set the initial height of the base units.
    You also need to take into account what flooring is being fitted, if being done afterwards.

    Are electrics and pumbing first fixed?

    Also, you don't need many tools to fit a kitchen, although a laser level would be very useful purchase.
    WillyEckerslike likes this.
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    If floor is concrete & screeded, would then put down a leveling compound first,only need to be a few mm's, will loose any discrepancies in floor, make installing units & oak flooring easier.
    ME69 likes this.
  4. gpierce

    gpierce Active Member

    Accuracy in my opinion comes down to patience, and being able to accurately read a tapemeasure. I've worked with a reasonable number of people who can't seem to make millimetre accurate tapemeasure readings. Take your time and accuracy shouldn't be a great issue.

    When cutting finished surfaces, you need to give some thought to how the cut is made. If you wanted to trim 30mm off the top of an end panel for example, there are 4 ways you could make the cut. From the finished side, from the unfinished side, and going from the front to the back, or back to the front. Usually only one way is correct. You always want the blade to be cutting the finished side first, and you always want to be cutting into a finished end, not out of it. So for an end panel for example, cut from the backside (as a circular saw or jigsaw cuts on the up, so the blade is cutting into the finished side) and cut front to back.

    A circular saw will do the job just fine, with a decent enough blade. A tracksaw is the ultimate tool for panel cutting on jobs, and whilst I agree with that, don't believe that you can't do this with a circular saw. I used a circular saw on all my kitchen fits until I got my tracksaw just last week - the tracksaw makes a perfect cut quicker, but a circular saw is capable.

    If you did want a tracksaw, maybe take a look at the Titan one. I've not used it, but a guy on YouTube called Peter Millard did a 'festool vs cheap tool' video on the titan vs the festool, and although the Festool was the better saw, only by a hair. The tests he did were also using the stock blade that came with the saw, so maybe look at getting the titan tracksaw if you so wish, and add a decent blade like a Freud.

    Overall advice would be take your time and try to think a few steps ahead. Will you be able to get screws into one thing when another thing is fitted? Do you need electrics moving before any units go in? Is that surface mounted pipework behind the dishwasher giving enough clearance?

    Stay organised, keep the site clear of rubbish, keep all the fittings, screws clips etc in the unit they are meant for to avoid having screws everywhere, and you should be able to do a good job. I honestly find that fitting a kitchen well comes down to 50% strategic thinking about the order of things, to make sure it all comes together accurately.
  5. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
    ME69 likes this.
  6. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    Great piece of advice to someone that is a DIY'er. Although i fit kitchens every day of the week, whenever you fit a kitchen the end result is always down to forward planning. It's not something i think about much because it's automatic to me, but for a first time fitter it is THE most important thing. As gpierce said, don't run any pipes behind any integrated appliances, run them as near to the floor as you can. I would say though, keep all the fixings in the top draw of a draw pack rather than in each unit. Just makes it tidier still and only one place to go to all the time. If you are going to take it on yourself, the money you save on the fitter will get you any track saw you like.......................go for it :D
  7. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    Time spent planning can save you a lot of grief,even do a dry run setting out units in their places can help if it's your first time installing a kitchen, you can then spot any issues.
    I use to keep all fittings in one drawer, but contents for each unit in seperate marked bags.
    ME69 and candoabitofmoststuff like this.
  8. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    A couple of speed clamps will help if you need to add to the tool list. Clamping units together makes it easier to join them and adjust the feet. They're also great for holding end panels in place prior to fixing. Agree on the usefulness of a laser level. It will also prove invaluable when you come to tiling (if applicable). I think the thing that scares most people is cutting and joining worktops and you've got that covered. Oh, you will probably need a set of holesaws as well to make neat access points into service voids and through the units.

    Good luck and kudos for having a go.
    ME69 likes this.
  9. ME69

    ME69 Member

    Thanks for all the replies - sounds encouraging.

    I've a couple of specific questions...

    1. The base units come with 150mm legs that are described as +10/-20mm, and I've got 150mm plinth. Does this mean that in order to fit my 14mm thick wood floor (+3 to 5mm underlay) I'm going to need to trim the plinth?

    2. I've planned for end panels for either side of the washing machine / tumble drier, which make it a fairly tight fit. My previous kitchen fitter planned on taking some of the service void off the back of a run of units to account for it, but one of those units is a freestanding tumble drier - have I got space to start reducing the depth of the units or will the tumble drier then stick out? We are talking about 25mm. Or would I be better skipping the end panels? The cabinets are door colour.

    3. How thick will plaster likely be? The walls are getting a skim over where the tiles were, which will be replaced with just upstands. Just thinking about how the pre skim measurements will change.

    4. I've got a little 12v Bosch Pro circular saw, would some guide rails for that make it sufficient?

    Not significantly moving any plumbing so that wont be an issue. Electrician is booked for first fit, and plastering will be done as a part of the other building work.
  10. You need to fit the floor before you fit the kitchen.
  11. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    You will nearly always have to scribe the plinth, even with wood flooring. Just set your legs to 170mm at the lowest point on your existing floor and scribe as required. You will be fitting to the walls after it's plastered so don't overthink things. Don't reduce the depth of service voids if you can help it, they are there for a reason. Without seeing a plan with spot on measurements it would be hard to say on the internet though lol.

    NO, you has saved a fortune doing it yourself...................................get a proper track saw :D

    By the way, if you are having an underslung sink you will need to rout out the thickness of the sink lip off of the base unit underneath it before the Granite is templated.
    ME69 and CGN like this.
  12. ME69

    ME69 Member

    I was intending on fitting the units direct on the concrete floor, then running the floor under the plinth? I dont want to floor all the way to the walls at £30m2!
  13. gpierce

    gpierce Active Member

    It's not uncommon at all to have to trim plinth down, and if the floor is uneven you may want it to follow the profile of the floor. As Deleted member 11267 says though, floor first. I can be done after, but especially for DIY.... do the floor first.

    With your tumble drier, measure it. If it's having a door in front of it, spend a minute checking a few details. Do the knobs on the front add to thickness. Do any buttons stand proud of the front in the on / off position etc, and then measure the back. Don't forget to look where on the wall the socket is, and account for any thickness of the plug. There is no yes or no answer to this one.

    Plaster is around 3mm, often a bit thinner. I usually count 3mm for skim if it will ever make a difference.

    A plunge saw or track saw looks similar to a circular saw, but is not the same, I doubt you can just buy guide rails for it. Havign said that, a level clamped to the workpiece to act as a guide can be fiddly, but I did that for a long while before I had any better kit. My biggest concern may be the power of your 12v saw, and if it can handle the cuts but the majority of what you are cutting will be 18mm MDF or Chipboard so it may be slow, but should get there.
    ME69 likes this.
  14. ME69

    ME69 Member

    Thanks again everyone.

    Can anyone recommend a laser level?
  15. CGN

    CGN Screwfix Select

    One of the first things I ask when fitting a kitchen is 'what's going on the floor?'

    Unless the flooring is already fitted, then you have to fit to take into account the finished floor level. If there is not enough adjustment in the legs, then cut some packers out of ply. I personally like to have atleast 5mm gap at top of kickboards. What is important, mentioned in my first post, is that you start at the lowest point with regards to setting unit height. At least that way, you have the option of trimming your kick boards.
  16. kitfit1

    kitfit1 Screwfix Select

    You don't need a laser level. Just a very good 1m level for leveling front to back on base cabs and a very good 1.8m level for your wall lines.
  17. Tom86

    Tom86 Member

    o_O why?
  18. Doall

    Doall Active Member

    Easier fitting end panels that way. All move and tucked under imho
  19. Dr Bodgit

    Dr Bodgit Super Member

    If its just the end panels, why not fix 99% of the kitchen in first allowing for the thickness of the floor, put floor down then do end panels.

    If I had a concrete floor I'd certainly prep/level it before hand.
    KIAB likes this.
  20. KIAB

    KIAB Super Member

    And the smooth leveling compound makes a great note/sketch pad, I use to use a marker pen to note down things, & you could never loose the notes, unlike when written on paper.:rolleyes::D
    Dr Bodgit likes this.

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