I’m going to share my tips on how to install a flat pack kitchen so it doesn’t look like a flat pack.
We love flat pack kitchens and the main reason is that they are incredibly fast.
You can head into the store in the morning, take your kitchen home, be installing in the afternoon and have it finished within a day or so.
Here are 9 of the tips and strategies that we use in order to get a quality installation.
1. Choose The Right Type Of Kitchen For The Project
Obviously, there’s significant variation between the companies. You’re not just limited to Wickes and B&Q, there are oodles of flatpack companies. There are a lot of companies that are importing units from China, (incidentally, almost all flat packs come from Italy now). And some of them are great products. They’ve got thick 16mm backs and versatile modules.
So have a look around before you make the decision to buy your kitchen, and make sure you’re getting the most appropriate product for your project.
2. Choose An Experienced Installer
Please don’t use a general builder to install your flat pack kitchen, unless that builder has extensive experience in flat packs.
I have found that builders generally have an attitude problem to flat packs, they think they’re rubbish. And so they treat them as such and do not take the time to optimise the features of the kitchen.
You need to get someone who’s put in a lot of flat pack kitchens, and who knows how to install a flatpack kitchen. Do your due diligence on them. Have a look at their work and make sure that it’s up to scratch.
3. Factor In The Installations Costs
Generally speaking the installation costs for a kitchen flat pack is around about £100 per unit, including the filler pieces and kickers, etc… So make sure that you factor that information in because often you think it’s a cheap kitchen. Until you factor the cost of installing a flat pack kitchen and you’ll find that it’s not quite so cheap. And that may sway your decision to go flat pack or not.
4. Mind The Gaps
A custom made kitchen is going to be made to suit the dimensions of the room. A flat pack is made up of modules, you need to make those modules work in your space. So how those gaps work really makes a difference to the look.
Big gaps (and cover panels) are negative. Take the time to plan the modules to minimise gaps will make a difference. Rather than ending up with a great big gap on one end of the space, you might want to center your cabinet, so that you split the gap.
5. Use All The Cover Plates Provided
Usually, there is a lot of small components supplied as in cover plates for hinges and over screw holes. They often end up in the bin. You want to make sure that they’re all used. If you open the cupboard doors and there are gaping holes that haven’t had their cover plates put on. It will make their job look amateurish.
6. Modify Units For A Custom Solution
Your installer can cut down a cabinet to fit a space. Take note that you can modify the depth, but not the width (because you can’t cut down the doors) of a cabinet. I have found this information useful when creating an island bench, where a pair of 600mm back to back cabinets (1200mm) was just too big. So we cut down one side to 400mm which meant our bench ended up 1000m wide.
Most flatpack uses good quality German hardware. The kitchen installer needs to take the time to adjust the drawers and doors, so that they are centered in the module and works well. Otherwise, your kitchen will end up with uneven gaps around your doors and drawers.
8. Finish Your Kitchen With Bulkheads
A bulkhead can either be an MDF or it can be in gyprock, and what it does is it basically closes up the space between the top of the overhead and the ceiling. It’s a very important piece of the kitchen installation to make it look finished and look like a quality job. Therefore also much easier to keep clean, because you eliminate the horizontal cabinet top for the dust to collect on.
9. Run The Flooring In Under The Kicker
This is particularly relevant on floating floors in the kitchen. Often flooring installers will use a bead around the edge of the floor against the kicker, and it’s not a good look. It is best to get the kitchen installers to leave the kicker off, so that the floor can go in under the cabinets. Then they can install the kicker afterward, so it can sit directly on top of the floating floor to get a great finish.