Thursday, 14 March 2013

New Kitchen What?

You've decided to take the plunge and update that tired, most over used room in your home.  Yes, it can no longer wait, it's time to replace the kitchen. So you've scoured the internet, read the brochures and chatted with friends and colleagues.  Now you find yourself outside the kitchen supplier still with that nagging feeling:  "What should I ask?"

Here are a few tips on what to do when you first turn up.

Before you do go, research the facts.   There is no substitute for speaking with a little knowledge and it will allow you to discuss, extend and update your ideas with ease.  Forewarned is forearmed, and that's certainly true with kitchens.

Check the credentials of the kitchen supplier.  Don't look at the adverts or the glossy pictures as they are easy to obtain and produce.  No, ask for contact details of previous customers. The adverts are all well and good but be swayed by previous work.  A good kitchen supplier will be actively pushing this and may even hold coffee mornings at former customer kitchens to "show off" what they can do.
Discuss the quality! For longevity always go for quality cabinets and construction. Flat packs and hardboard may look good for a month or two but your kitchen should last you 10-20 years!   But how do you tell?  Well discuss the kitchen manufacturer with your supplier and have a good "poke" about the sample cabinets. A reputable supplier will be impressed if you start looking at the quality of construction before you look at the gloss!

Drawers should always be metal-sided with a solid base and back. These will take a lot of abuse over the life of kitchen so strong drawers are a must.  For instance Nobilia profi+ drawers at Kitchen Solutions Kent are rated up to 70kg!  Over the top?  Maybe, but, there again, we can't remember a customer calling for a replacement drawer!

Be personal!   Contact your suppliers and work with them.  Their job is to turn your ideas into reality so you'll need to visit them often.  A good kitchen cannot be designed in a single quick session so accept that many visits and lots of dialogue is a must. 

If installation is included in your order you can expect to withhold a percentage until everything is complete.  This will ensure that any missing items will be fitted before final payment is made.  If a company disagrees with this – just don’t use them! 

Speak to your kitchen fitter!  You'll need to discuss the time, date and key arrangements with them before they get to work.  And ensure they know what "success is" and raise concerns with the fitter as they appear, not at completion. 

Still unsure?  Come and start the journey at Kitchen Solutions Kent where we'll be more than happy to make you a coffee and discuss kitchens to your hearts content. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Anyone can do it, can't they?

Anyone can fit a kitchen, surely?  Well any builder, certainly?

Well, we at Kitchen Solutions Kent would soundly answer "NO! DEFINITELY NOT!".  Many of the problems we see, and are asked to rectify, are problems caused by inappropriate or poor quality fitting.   So what should you consider when looking to have a kitchen fitted?

Firstly, measure!  Measure all aspects of your kitchen; then measure them again, and then measure them again.  And when we say measure we mean measure to the millimetre.  Kitchen fitting is a precise art and the tolerances are to millimetres not centimetres.

Secondly, consider the quality of your walls and ceiling.  What are the wall and ceiling constructed of, are they sound and strong, and are they true and level. If your kitchen walls are not true and level it will be a devil of a job to install a quality kitchen so you may need to consider dry lining.  Also, is the ceiling level and is the height uniform across the kitchen?

Thirdly, consider who specifically is going to fit the kitchen and whether they are qualified? 

For the gas in the United Kingdom it is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work to be registered on the Gas Safe Register.  This will ensure they are fit and competent to carry out the work. 

For the electrics, consider that "Part P of the Building Regulations" came into effect on 1st January 2005.  Now any electrical work must be carried out by a qualified and certified individual conforming to "Part B".

For plumbing there is no legal certification at the moment but the government are considering such a move.  The sooner the better we say!  But the plumber will need to be able to produce high quality work in some very tight spaces.  There isn't a lot of room behind kitchen cabinets but that's where your plumbing will go.  

Finally, the cabinets themselves.  Nobilia kitchens units come fully built, no flat pack construction here.  But this also means you'll need carpentry skills to cabinet builder quality to treat the units with the respect they deserve.  And if your having stone or corian worktops the cabinets must be completely level.  There's no play in solid worktops so a few millimetres out of level precludes their fitting.

So anyone can fit a kitchen.  Certainly not.   This is a precision job needing gas and electrical certification, top notch plumbing skills and cabinet building carpentry talent. Have a long chat with your kitchen supplier or us at Kitchen Solutions Kent.  Who fits your kitchen will be crucial to it's overall success.