Friday, 11 February 2011

Important Kitchen Design Tips For Newcomers to Kitchen Remodelling

Important Kitchen Design Tips For Newcomers to Kitchen Remodelling


If you are planning a kitchen remodel for the first time then I really appreciate how stressful it can be. Apart from the many ranges and styles of kitchens available online and in free brochures to get ideas and inspiration from there are some harsh realities that you need to know. Unfortunately, having done a number of kitchen remodels the later far more successful and easier than the earlier ones I have learned a number of things which I think are vital for those new to kitchen remodelling need to know if they want their kitchen remodel to be a fairly simple operation. I list the key factors of a good kitchen remodel as follows:

Plan, Plan, Plan and plan again

Most of you will read this and probable say but I already know that and you are right. However, there is real thorough planning where you cover every possible detail and plan for potential problems which is differing from having a few ideas in your head, alot of kitchen ideas and a basic kitchen plan. Believe you me the planning process of kitchen remodels is so important that it will not only save you time but also money and stress.

When planning you kitchen remodel you need to think about the following:

1. Plumbing:

Where do you want the sink and washing machine to be?

Is the existing piping in the right place for the sink and washing machine to be fitted exactly where you want it now?

Also, is the pipe work dated (if the property is old) and in need of updating?

Does the pipe work have the necessary stop taps in case of an emergency in which you need to lock off the water supply for a particular area?

This may seem like a stupid and simple question but I am amazed at how many homes and even small businesses such as take aways have few stop taps and some cases just the mains stop tap. If you don't have sufficient stop taps in the kitchen and have a problem such as leaking pipe it means you will have to lock off the mains system cutting off all the water to the home which means no hot water, central heating and running water until the problem is fixed. I learnt the hard way during my first kitchen remodel when a pipe burst in the kitchen during a very cold spell and I had to turn off the mains water stop tap which also caused further problems with the central heating due to the drop in temperature and the freezing of pipes! 

Does your gas point need to be moved due to fitting your hob or gas appliances in another part of the kitchen?  

A friend of mine, who in his rush to move into his new home, decided not to take my free advice about planning his kitchen remodel throughly and in detail, informing me 'I don't have the time, I'll get it sorted, no worries, may be next time'. As he solely focused on getting his kitchen fitted and relying on advice from a small kitchen business he had not planned the necessary steps for his pipe work to be fitted exactly where he needed it. In his old kitchen his cooker was in the corner where as in his new kitchen he was installing his new hob on another wall in the middle. This meant that his gas pipe needed to be moved. However, in his rush to have his kitchen fitted he had his floor tiled so the kitchen could be fitted on top of the tiles before moving the gas point to the other wall where the new hob would be. Where the pipe should have been fed under the floor boards to the new location it had to run along the wall which caused more work and complexity when fitting the kithcen units thus costing more time and money.

Should I use copper or the plastic easy fit piping?

Copper may cost more but give me it any day over plastic piping. I have seen on a number of occassions plastic pipes cause so much damage due to the push joints on plastic failing where copper would be so much more superior as a material. Also when pipe work can be seen copper looks so much nicer than plastic!

Do I have an extractor fan fitted with carbon filters or an extractor fan connected to a pipe which sucks in air from outside?

An extractor fan which uses air from outside is much better and more cost effective than using an extractor fan with carbon filters that must be changed regularly to be effective. However an extractor fan which sucks in air from outside needs a pipe that leads to an external wall and therefore should be on an external wall or very close to one otherwise you will see a pipe above your cabinets which doesn't look particulary appealing. This is where using an extractor fans with carbon filters excel they can be placed anywhere. If you are not bothered about the additional cost of changing carbon filters and plan to have it in a location away from an external wall then it is the better option.

2. Design:

Are my kitchen walls in a good enough condition to simple paint them?

I have seen kitchen walls in my time old and even recently plastered that have more bumps and bends then a country valley! Such walls needed to be rectified and made smooth and flat by a good plasterer before you paint, or should be tiled. I have seen people paint on walls that are not straight and flat in the hope that the paint may cover up somehow the uneveness of the walls! It doesn't work! Replaster or tile!

Are my tiles cheap ceramic tiles or heavy duty porcelain tiles which need super diamond drill bits to drill through?

I love Italian porcelain tiles. They are thick, strong and robust. They will last a life time and still look beautiful however... Thick porcelain tiles Italian or otherwise are a nightmare to drill into. I have wasted so many drill bits along side other work collegues that I am sure we made the DIY stores we frequented rich just because of our purchasing of drill bits! Cheap ceramic tiles break often so buy extra as you will need them!

Do a use cheap paint to safe costs or do I use expensive paint?

I was ask this recently what is the difference between cheap and expensive paint. What is the difference? It depends on the quality of the product not the price? I buy alot of paint from a paint recylcing place in my home town which will mix whateever colors to your taste using expensive and cheap paints. I have found that they are as good as expensive paints that are branded as top quality. What I always do in order to use less paint especially on newly plastered walls is wash the walls with PVA bonding mixed with water and then add a little PVA glue to the paint so I use less coats of paint, saving time and money.

Lighting

If you have a small kitchen do not go for dark coloured units especially if your lighting is limited. If you have large windows which allow you alot of sunlight then you can consider having darker cabinets. Spot lights really help in kitchens which lack natural lights and reflective surfaces such as the high gloss kitchen units also help to create the effective of more light due to their reflective quality.

Workmen

Please, please use professional kitchen fitters or joiners who have sufficient experience and show you examples of their work. Don't be fooled there is a huge difference between a professional kitchen fit and a standard kitchen fit done by the local joiner or your friend. Somone who specialises in fitting kitchens will be much better than someone who fits kitchens sometimes, hangs doors, builds bookshelves etc.

Also, if you are using tilers, plasters and plumbers ask to see there work and ask around about them. I amaze at how poor the level of quality and service is being offered by so many workmen. I have suffered dearly financially due to poor workmen. And finally, if a workman is cheap beware! Cheap price poor quality! And don't pay all upfront! 

Kitchen Units

There has been so much said on this subject that I have very little to say. Work with a good kitchen designer to produce the kitchen the way you want it in terms of style, use, space and comfort. Read some of the other blog posts on this blog which discuss this more detail.

Hope you enjoy this article until the next;

Al




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