Fitting a kitchen - help

Discussion in 'Other Trades Talk' started by Sean Hodges, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    I've stripped my kitchen down to bare walls, and I'm about to start preparation prior to fitting an IKEA flat-pack kitchen.
    Basically, I'm a competent DIYer, and I'm happy to do wiring, simple plumbing etc.
    My question is; are there any top tips or major mistakes I should know about?
    Anyone else fitted a kitchen for the first time and had any painful or expensive lessons they want to pass on?

    I'm planning to get the worktop supplier (Wey Plastics in Wandsworth) to cut the one post-formed joint, to avoid problems in that area.
  2. freequote

    freequote New Member

    I spend my working life fitting worktops in kitchens installed by diyer's.
    These are the most common faults I've noticed;

    Not level, in particular corner units.

    Not enough attention paid to the wall to front of unit measurement, should be 570 (ish), I have had them at 595, all that was need was an angled cut at the back.

    Units modified too quickly, only to realise it wasn't needed, then a botch to try and put it right.

    Be careful when you handle the worktops, they chip very easy, I had to replace 2 recently cost me £120, first time in a lot of years but still hurt.

    It's not rocket science take your time work in a logical order and you should be ok.

    Good luck.
  3. Self Builder

    Self Builder New Member

    Plumbing can be a little tricky with Ikea units - there's no service space behind. I have run it below the units in the past, but dont forget to leave space for the feet !

    Also make sure that your runs of units are square so that the worksurfaces will fit.
  4. CDRW

    CDRW New Member

    The IKEA flat pack kitchens differ from most others in that the back panel is nailed onto the back of the cabinet. Most other kitchens cabinets have the back panels recessed about 70-80mm in from the back of the cabinet. This feature makes it impossible to scribe the unit backs to fit uneven walls. It also means that you can't hide services behind the cabinets by cutting notches etc. into them; you have to plan ahead and sometimes build the services into the cabinets after installation.
  5. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    Much obliged. I'll take extra care with the corner unit, and make sure I get the units snug against the wall for the 57cm measurement.
    Don't expect to modify units (except holes for plumbing).

    I'm a bit worried about handling the 4m worktop. Judging by the weight of the bits I removed it will weigh 100kg or more. It will be a struggle to shift it while being careful to avoid chips.

    Incidentally I'm paying over £120 for an Omega 4.05m worktop - is that a reasonable retail price?
  6. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    I had already realised about the flat backs on IKEA units and I am currently trying to smooth down the very rough walls a bit.
    I guess I'll have to compromise between getting then far enough back and bringing them forward to compensate for the dodgy wall.

    Luckily I'm not having any fitted machines; free-standing fridge-freezer and stand-under-worktop dishwasher in kitchen (washing machine & tumble drier in another room).

    To get the downlighter cables down from top of wall cabinets to their base I plan to shave a corner off pairs of units where they go against the wall to create a channel down the back.

    The power supply for the extractor I will simply run inside the cupboard above.

    I had a freestanding cooker before - I will use the cable from that for my new worktop hob, and install a new cable(and circuit breaker in the consumer unit) for the oven in the unit on the other side of the room.

    I am lucky enough to have a hatch giving underfloor access (80cm high) so cables and pipes are easy to fit. Otherwise I don't think I would have had the nerve to attempt this!
  7. freequote

    freequote New Member

    Sean, I would strongly advise against trying to move the worktop on your own, they are real backbreakers, you will almost certainly need a hand to get them into the final position, if they are going between two walls.( that's never agood idea anyway).

    A little on expensive side at £120, I pay retail price £93
    & they have only just gone up from £87.
  8. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    Get help in for the worktop.
    Cutting the joint is easy - hire kit for £40. Easy to do the joint and cutouts for sink (hob?) in a day. Lots of advice on these forums.

    As far as running services go what I did was to fit 5cm batons to the wall behind the sink unit, and then buy a 665 breakfast worktop with one postform trimmed off by the suppliers (for free), giving me a 650 deep worktop, with 50mm space behind the units for services.

    Any integrated appliances - they can be tricky as quite often they do not fit perfectly and you need to alter the cupboard structure accordingly.

    Fitting the floor first or later? I would advise first, but then put all your cardboard from the cupboard boxes down on the floor to protect the surface while you're working.

    Plan the whole thing before you start in detail. Get the order things need to be done right. It will stop you having to do certain jobs twice.

    As far as worktops go - you're fitting Bushboard worktops aren't you, so go to their site, click on the supplier finder, get some phone numbers and try a few. I had mine delivered from 100 miles away and it worked out almost half the price of a local supplier! Then again I do live on the outskirts of London so not surprising!

  9. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    This is a bit worrying now.
    I measured the IKEA base unit and it is 60cm from back to front of door.
    The worktops I was planning to buy are the standard 600mm deep ones, giving no overhang whatsoever.

    The same company also sells 665mm deep versions of the same worktops. Should I get those?

    What is the recommended overhang of the worktop?

    Incidentally I wasn't planning to move the things on my own - my father will help. I was just concerned that two of us might not be enough!
  10. Thermo

    Thermo New Member

    i have to say thats why i avoid ikea stuff like the plague, they seem to use very odd dimensions and plans these swedish. Still look at sven, suppose we should know, hes used enough odd plans in his time!
  11. Bitty

    Bitty New Member

    If the Ikea base unit carcase is 600mm deep, then the doors will add a further 18mm to this!

    The amount of worktop overlap isn't critical, but a slight overhang, 5- 10mm (beyond the <u>doors</u>) looks good (and keeps spills off the front).

    I'd be tempted by the 665 worktops (are these double-ended, ie 'breakfast bar type?). Rather than have them trimmed down to give you the exact overhang required, I'd keep them as deep as possible and space out the base units from the wall using an appropriately-sized batton. You'll appreciate the extra worktop depth, and it might even give you a services gap at the back.

    Other tips: Mark out the height of the base units on the wall and draw it all the way round using an <u>accurate</u> spirit level. This makes it easier to get the right level when adjusting the legs.

    If the floor slopes by much, decide if you'll need to trim sections of the plinths to fit, or simply fit them tight against the floor leaving a varying gap at the top - this will be out of sight unless big. It all depends how large the variation is. Try and avoid having to trim the plinths if possible because it's a sod of a job and you'll lose the protective cover.

    On a levelish floor, make sure you set the plinth gap (leg height) of your units using the <u>actual</u> plinth height! I know someone (ok, me, a long time ago...) who set the base unit height according to the <u>instructions</u>, and then had to plane 5mm off of all the plinths...
  12. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    This is all excellent advice. However, I just realised that if I bring the units forward the bit that goes round the corner will be too long.
    At the moment I have units that are just the right length to go between two walls, then round the corner and up to the edge of the doorframe. If I move the long length a few cm out from the wall, the other bit will extend beyond the doorframe.

    At the moment the best option seems to be to buy the 665mm worktop and have a bit cut off the back, to make it (say) 625mm deep.

    To dmacd; as I said in the previous post, the carcase-plus-door depth is 600mm. Thanks for the tip about the plinths.

    I'm starting to feel that I should have paid someone to do this job for me. Hey ho, you live and learn.
  13. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    another point to check

    if your floor is uneven youve got to work out
    the high points and low points
    youve got to work it out so at the low points
    the plinth fits within a couple of mill
    and towards the high point you of course
    will need to trim the plnth

    big all
  14. Bitty

    Bitty New Member

    Hi Sean.

    I'm relieved to hear the 600mm depth includes the door!

    In this case, the standard 600mm worktop should do the job - it's ok for it to be 'flush'. However, if you are intending to fit wall tiles as a splashback to the worktops, you could bring the worktop forward by 6-7mm easily if you wanted to, leaving the gap at the back to be covered by the tiles.

    Just make sure that the unit+door doesn't come out <u>further</u> than 600mm due to possible 'wobbles' in the wall; it's important to keep the front line of the units straight.

    Stick with it. I know it can be a sod if you don't have a working kitchen for a few days (or weeks...), but it'll be worth it! Take it easy. Think through every step beforehand. Have lots of cuppas. Keep everyone out of earshot...

    Another point:

    Position a run of base units in their exact places, and adjust the legs of each unit so they are all <u>individually</u> level with your marked line before screwing the units together. Also make sure each one is <u>vertically</u> 'plumb'. (If you screw them together first, they can affect eachother and it might seem as if your row is nice and level, but once you put weight on it you might find that some legs aren't carrying the weight they should...)
  15. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    Brilliant - I hadn't thought about using the thickness of the tiles to give me the 6-7mm.
    I'll also be sure to spend lots of time getting the base units set up properly before starting to bolt it all together.
    Over the weekend I did all the wiring, ready for the floor tiler to come in an do his stuff. He took me by surprise this morning, by turning up bang on time(!)

    Luckily my wife (and kids) are with her mother for the whole of August, so just me to feed with takeaways while she's away.

    Some more questions (I've got a million of 'em);
    Why is it not good to have a run of worktop between two walls (someone said this above). That's what I'm planning.
    What do you do for tall units when the wall slopes outwards at the bottom? ie If I push the unit flush against the wall, the top will be 4cm+ away from the wall.

    I removed some of the plaster and improved the situation, but I wondered if I should use wedge-shaped battens, and then devise a way to cover the gaps left?
    Or should I just bite the bullet and rip off loads more plaster?

    These old houses (Edwardian) have so much history that refitting things gets pretty complicated.
  16. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    Nothing wrong with running worktops between two walls Sean.

    Always have three options with units and walls -
    1) Grind out the wall - it's hidden so who cares what it looks like
    2) Fit filler piece at the top
    3) Cut into base of cupboard - understand this is not possible with IKEA so you are left with 1 & 2 - if all your base units are going to be in the same position then I would fit filler piece. As long as the gap between the exposed side of it and the wall is small enough to be covered by tiles you are in the clear.

    Sorry - just read the rest of your post. Whatever you find easiest. Depends on where the gaps are going to be - how easy it is to rip off the plaster. Covering stuff with tiles is easy - trying to cover up gaps with anything else gets tricky. Whatever - make sure your tall cabinet is vertical!

  17. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    Oh - and check your corner angle for the worktop joint if you are still getting it pre-cut. If it ain't 90 the joint will not be perfect and the further from 90 it is the worse the joint will be.

  18. jasonb

    jasonb New Member

    The main thing to consider when setting the height of your carcases is the size of any appliances that have to go underneath or a cooker/range that need to finish level with the top of your worktop. These sizes cannot be altered unlike a plinth.

    Does your tall unit have a separate decorative side panel, these often have an allowance for scribing to the wall (not sure what ikea supply)

    If you think your Edwardian house is a bit out of plumb, I am currently fitting a kitchen into a cottage, parts of which date back to the fourteenth century, wattle and daud walls don't give a very good fixing! Still no problem with worktop widths as its all granite cut to template.Here's what it looks like stripped out

  19. freequote

    freequote New Member

    It was me who said about a worktop between two walls.

    The reason is it's highly unlightly the walls are parallel, which can make it difficult to get the top in, the temptation is to make it smaller which then means the other tops will not fit the walls properly when the joints are done.

    If you are doing a U shape, it's better and easier to do one of the legs first with a female joint, then the bottom with a male one end and female the other, leaving a male on the other leg.

    You can somethimes have a problem with the sink being too close to the joint but most times this can be got around.
  20. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges New Member

    I think I should be OK with the long section of worktop between two walls. I had realised about the potential problem of sliding it into place. I'm not doing a U-shape - just an L with a short leg.

    There will be a free-standing dishwasher to go under the worktop, so I'll be sure to set the height with that in mind.

    To check the 90 degree angle - what's the best way to do it? I don't have a huge try-square, so I guess a bit of trigonometry is in order. If I measure lengths of 30cm and 40cm along the walls, it should have a 50cm diagonal if it is square.

    My sink and fitted hob won't be a problem, as it is at the far end of the long run, away from the joint.

    The worktop company said that they don't usually put biscuits in the joint, as they believe it is strong enough without. Should I pay the extra and get them to put them in?

    Finally, the kitchen I dismantled had transparent rubbery stuff in blobs under the worktop, where it rested on the units. Is this a recommended substance when fitting kitchens? (There were also lots of screws, so it seemed a bit overkill).

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