FITTING A NEW KITCHEN – Where to start

Your new kitchen units have been delivered and the kitchen area is ready for the install, but where do you start ?. The first job to do is check the level of the floor, wherever the highest point is measure up 870mm and mark the wall, this measurement allows 720mm for the base unit and 150mm for the plinth. From your mark draw a level line using your spirit level across the wall(s), this is the guideline for all your base units, now measure up from the 870mm mark to the bottom of your wall units (this measurement is down to personal preference) , I would suggest 400 – 440mm, from this mark draw a level line across the wall(s), and finally measure up from the mark to the top of the wall units i.e. 720mm, and once more draw a level line across the wall(s). Now double check your lines are all level.

Create a space where the units can be assembled, some of the unit flat-packs can be very heavy, so get assistance when lifting them, use the cardboard packaging to cover the floor to stop the units from getting scratched, and keep all the hinges and coloured blanks in a box for later. Assembling the first unit using the instructions can take a while, but once you have an assembly method the rest will go together quite quickly. If you are using a battery drill / driver without torque control take care not to over tighten screws, it is sometimes safer to use a screwdriver for the last one or two turns.

If your kitchen is in a ‘L’ or ‘U’ shape start fitting the units from the corner working out in both directions. Before fixing the wall units I prefer to place the first base unit levelled up and in position, then I mark the wall with a vertical line from its edge so I have guideline for the wall units so they will line up with the base units. Wall units usually come with two fixing brackets each, when you have assembled the wall unit, measure where the fixing brackets need to be in order for it to ‘hook on’, transfer the measurements to your wall and fix the brackets securely, I normally drill the fixing(s) at a slightly downward angle as this reduces the chance of the fixing ‘pulling out’. Use good quality fixings and in the case of plasterboard, use cavity fixings where the brackets don’t land on a wall stud. For peace of mind on a plasterboard wall I always fit additional angle brackets between the wall studs and the top of the wall unit so I know I have a good fixing, they may be a little unsightly but they are usually out of sight and can be painted or papered over, at least you know the wall unit won’t become a base unit overnight !. Mount each wall unit checking them with a spirit level and making sure the edges are flush as you go along, they are adjustable via two screws inside either top corner of the wall unit, one screw raises or lowers the unit, the other pulls the unit tight against the fixing bracket and locks it in position. At this stage don’t worry about any small gaps between the wall unit end and the wall itself.

As I explained earlier in this post, start installing the base units from the corner ( if you have one ), make sure each unit is level before moving onto the next one, use your 870mm level line as the guide, The sink base unit will of course require holes drilling to allow the water / waste pipes through to the bottom of the sink unit, Don’t fix the units to the wall until they are all in position and you are sure they are all level. Most flat-pack kitchen units come with two male / female bolts that can be fitted between each unit, these usually require a hole drilling of approximately 5mm dia through the sides of the units, but when fitted hold the units together and keep the edges flush ( drill new holes for the bolts, don’t be tempted to use existing ones as they may be for drawer runners, etc ).

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