How to fit kitchen units
Creating a new look for your kitchen is a great chance to stamp your personality onto the busiest room in your home. Before you start, draw a detailed plan on graph paper and double-check your measurements. Base and wall units come in standard sizes, and will form the basis of your kitchen. But as products can differ, make sure you read the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.
Tools materials required
Think afresh and experiment with different layouts, combinations, finishes and colours before you make your mind up about your new kitchen.
If you’ve got enough space, an island can become the focal point of your kitchen. It can give you an extra work surface or can house a cooker, hob or sink.
Combinations of units
Units come in a wide range of styles and dimensions, and you can combine them in any number of different configurations. Experiment to see what works for you.
Interchangeable unit doors let you create your own unique design. Why not be bold and try some accent colours? You can easily change them in the future if you want to.
Why not include some space-saving ideas to help keep your worktops clear and your cupboards and drawers tidy? You could fit pull-out shelving or wire racks to your base cabinets, which are very useful for all those odds and ends. And you could add an integral swing bin too, which opens automatically when you open the door.
Top tip – Stay cool
The latest side-by-side fridge freezers have lots of clearly visible storage space, and can give you a ready supply of cool water and crushed or cubed ice on tap. They need a mains water supply.
Top tip – Wine cabinets
These provide the perfect storage conditions for white and red wines, and you can set the temperature to suit either. Some even have two independently-controlled temperature zones.
A rotating corner carousel is a great way to make the best possible use of your available space.
How to fit kitchen base units
Always start by removing your old units and disconnecting your power and water supplies. It’s also a good idea to finish any preparatory work you need to do on the walls and ceiling before you start fitting your units. So try and put the first coat of paint on the walls and ceiling before you fit your units, and the top coat after they’re in place.
Safety first – Gas and electricity
Any fitting or moving of gas appliances must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered professional. Modifications to plumbing or electrics must be in accordance with the Wiring and Building Regulations. If you’re in any doubt, get advice from a professional.
Using a spirit level as a straightedge, mark a horizontal guideline on the walls level with where the top of the units will go. Line them up with any existing appliances that you have. Don’t forget to allow for the legs when you’re working out the height of your units.
Starting with a corner cabinet, put together the base units and move them into place. Rotate the legs of each unit to adjust the height until it lines up with the pencil guideline on the wall. Use a spirit level to check the run of cabinets is level.
Clamp adjoining cabinets together to hold them securely. Wrap masking tape 20mm from the end of a 3mm twist bit as a depth guide. Drill between the two hinge holes, through one cabinet and 4mm into the next, stopping when you reach the tape. You’ll need to do this at both hinge positions. Next, screw the units together using the 25mm screws supplied.
To turn a corner with a run of cabinets, you’ll need to fit a corner post – otherwise there’ll be an ugly gap. Screw two brackets at the top and bottom of the inside face of the central post of the cabinet that goes into the corner.
Insert two 30mm screws through each bracket from behind, into the corner post. Then drill two pilot holes through the side panel of the next unit, 13mm in from the outer edge and steering clear of the hinge positions. Next, screw 30mm screws through the holes and into the corner post.
You’ll then need to attach each base to the wall with two brackets. Start by marking the drilling positions in pencil on the wall and cabinet. Remember to check for any pipes or cables before you drill into the wall. On solid masonry, use a drill with a hammer action and masonry bit – and wall plugs too. On plasterboard, use plasterboard fixings. Drill a pilot hole into the cabinet and secure the bracket with a 15mm screw. On end panels, angle the screws slightly downwards so they’re easy to get to.
How to fit kitchen wall units
Wall units hook onto brackets – and you’ll need to fix these to the wall securely.
First, measure up from the top of the base unit and mark the bottom edge of your wall unit (make sure you allow for the thickness of the worktop). Then use a spirit level to mark a horizontal guideline on the wall, stretching as far round as your wall units will go. Draw another line marking the top of the wall units. Then consult the kitchen plan and draw vertical lines where the cabinets will meet.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions to find the right position for the wall fitting brackets. Each unit will need two brackets – one in each top corner. Hold a bracket in place and mark the position of the fixing holes. But how you fix the brackets to the wall really depends on what kind of wall you have.
Hook the wall cabinets onto the brackets and use the adjustment block in the top internal corner to position them accurately. Put a spirit level across the top of the cabinet and turn one screw to level it straight, then place the spirit level against the front face and adjust the other screw until it’s vertical. Check at this point that the units are level with each other.
How to fit a plinth to the bottom of your kitchen units
Adding a plinth around the bottom of your kitchen units will give you a neat finish and make cleaning easier. It’s held in place by special brackets that clip to the units’ legs. Or you could look out for the latest plinth lock fixings, which attach the plinth ends to nearby panels and give a very tight, secure fit.
Measure the distance of the run of units corner to corner, and cut the plinth to fit. Lay the plinth on the floor next to the front edge of the units and, using a try square, draw lines level with either side of each leg.
Next, hold a fixing bracket between the two lines and use a bradawl to make a starting hole. Screw the bracket in place parallel to the bottom edge, using the screws supplied. Then fit the other brackets in line with each leg along the length of the units.
Slide the plinth clips into the brackets, then clip the plinth into place by simply pushing each bracket onto the legs of the unit.