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A kitchen with a project management package or a DIY kitchen, which will be more expensive?

Updated: May 18, 2023

If you’re planning to have a new kitchen, then the first thing you’ll probably have to decide on is if you intend to have a local company come to your home to design and install the new kitchen as a full package or purchase a kitchen and then organise any necessary room preparation and the installation yourself. Most of the big kitchen outlets do offer an installation service but we know this usually happens through third party companies, using different trades people to complete the work and a small google search usually comes up with plenty of horror stories so it’s no surprise a lot of people take the ‘purchase only’ option and organise the fitting for themselves. The question for today’s article is it worth paying the extra for the installation service of a small local independent supplier?

The primary factor in the decision will obviously be the cost. Typically receiving a full service from a company rather than organising everything for yourself may look at first to be more expensive, but is it? It’s worth noting at this point that in my experience, supermarket kitchen outlets typically sell kitchens that are much lower quality than what you can expect from an independent kitchen retailer. I’ll do another article on just how important and big these differences are on another occasion, but the cost saved when purchasing a kitchen from one of the big outlets is not just about the lack of service but also the quality and so longevity of the product.

In this article we’re going to explore if you will really save any money organising everything for yourself. In order to do this, I’m going to list what is typically involved in a kitchen installation before the kitchen is actually fitted. Obviously, there are variables, the client may be an electrician or a plasterer themselves but assuming that you are going to have to pay someone to do the work then is it worth paying a company to deal with the whole project or organise it yourself?

First off then, what’s involved when you buy a kitchen from a large kitchen outlet?

Getting a design done.

You will have some idea of what you would like your kitchen layout to be but the detail of just how it will fit is another matter. If you’re shopping with one of the big companies, then that company may have measured the room themselves or may be working from your measurements but let’s take a look at what the primary motivation of the designer will be. Bearing in mind that a large company typically takes no responsibility for any inaccuracies when the design becomes your kitchen which has been delivered to your home. If it does not fit, then it is your responsibility to return the components and get new ones. If these problems cause your kitchen fitter to lose time, then this may also cost you more money than you had budgeted for.

Now we know that your designer takes no responsibility for the kitchen fitting properly, we should ask the question ‘will they just allow me to have what I ask for in my kitchen just to get the sale, or will they challenge my ideas so the final design is a good mix of my wish list and a practical design that will offer longevity and a good user experience going forward’.

Kinder Kitchens have a vested interest in the design being accurate as their own fitter will bring the problem straight back to us, not to the client. I’m going to go into greater detail about design and sales in a later article but for now let’s just say that if the design from the kitchen supermarket is not accurate then it’s going to cost you money when the problems that accrued at design level crop up during the installation.

This article is about room preparation but if the design was incorrect then not only will you be taking components back, but your room preparation may also be wrong. All the points we are going to talk about below may be done incorrectly and you won’t know until you start fitting. The design is critical or the money you saved on a full service get spent on putting things right that were designed incorrectly.

Let’s run through the room preparation required.

1. Remove and dispose of the old kitchen, including making the gas, water and electrics safe.

2. Get the floor covering up and prep the walls for plastering.

3. Now the room is empty you can start with your installation. First job is to have an electrician booked in ready to go and this is up to you to organise and make sure they understand the kitchen plan. Every part of the kitchen that requires electricity needs to be first fixed in the correct location before plastering. For example, the under-lighting cables need to be sticking out of the walls in the correct place when it’s plastered, or you’ll be chopping the plaster out to move them later. The plan you get from a big outlet won’t give you the wall unit height or distance from the floor and that’s just one thing that can go wrong. Remember it’s an expensive error bringing a plasterer in to redo the work after he’s plastered just a few days ago.

4. First fix the water and gas. This is basically the same as electrics, you just need to get the gas, water and waste pipe in the correct place so when the fitter comes, he can get on with the fit. We always replace the water waste pipes as it’s always best to have a fresh start and get the fall correct so the sink drains well.

5. Plastering next. This is a simple enough job, just have a plasterer ready to go. They will either be patch plastering your walls or plastering all the walls and if you have changed the ceiling lighting then plastering that also. When Kinder Kitchens are doing a room preparation this usually happens on a Thursday / Friday, so the room has the weekend to dry out.

So that’s the room ready for your new kitchen this should take about a week usually. Now that’s done let’s talk about the cost.

You will need to cover the cost of the following people:

1. Someone to remove the kitchen and make the room safe.

(It’s best if you can get the same person who is fitting the kitchen for this)

2. A plumber for the first fix plumbing.

3. An electrician for the first fix, we’ll need him later for the second fix.

4. A plasterer for a couple of days.

With tradespeople charging from £200 to £350 per day depending on who you get and with materials rising at an alarming rate, it’s easy to see how expensive this part of a kitchen replacement project can be. The last thing we now need is for something to be done wrong, this can easily spiral or even double the cost with just a few mistakes.

When Kinder Kitchens produces a design for a new client, at the first quote stage we give the client an estimate of the room preparation cost. This is usually accurate, and it covers everything we have talked about so far, more importantly if you’re paying us then we have control and ownership of the project and we are fully responsible if any problems occur relating to your kitchen design. That’s not to say if we uncover an unforeseen problem in your house, it won’t cost you money. Loose plaster, faulty wiring and other things that relate to your home can’t be foreseen by us at the time of the quote, but we will take the time to explain the problem, discus the solution and get it put right. Our project managers produce accurate electrical and plumbing surveys to go alongside the kitchen design and we are using very experienced tradespeople that are doing kitchen projects week in week out.

Kinder Kitchens currently estimates in (2022) for an average 4m x 4m room:

Kitchen removal and first fix plumbing - £250.

Electrical work required for the installation - £700.

Plastering work - £700.

Skip cost for waste - £170

Gas pipe alteration and connection - £150

To have a full room prepped out for a kitchen in a week with no hassle and the knowledge that we have all the responsibility for less than £2,000 or run the risk of doing it yourself, I know what I would choose. I’m going to start an article on kitchen installation, cost and how to choose a fitter at a later date so look out for that if it’s a subject you’re interested in.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk about your kitchen project with us, then please contact us at:

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