Refitting your kitchen? Here’s what you need to know

The term kitchen services covers a wide range of different facilities. Kitchen service companies offer virtually every different type of improvement or renovation you could want done, from planning to refitting your kitchen. They will also usually provide all the amenities that you could need, including dishwashers and extractor fans, and they will also usually fit these for you. In general, they offer any type of service you require for your kitchen.

What type of facilities are offered by kitchen services companies?

  • Planning. This is the first step if you want a completely new kitchen or if you simply want some of it renovated. The agent will come to your house and perform research by measuring the kitchen and existing appliances. They will then ask you what you would like in your new kitchen, and will show you existing designs and previous kitchens they have fitted. From this they will be able to get an idea of how you would the kitchen to be and what appliances you would like in it. The kitchen services agent will then produce a design which they hope will match what you want. This design will include what colour and style cabinets, floors and surfaces the kitchen will have.
  • Supply and fitting. The kitchen services team will supply you with all your kitchen cabinets and work surfaces. Often they will provide you with the floor if you have asked for this to be changed as well. Many services offer packages of kitchen cabinets and worktops, so that they come pre-fitted. This means that the planning involved in the kitchen will not be as freely creative as it would be if the kitchen was individually supplied. However, this option of kitchen supply is much cheaper and companies will often provide deals. The kitchen services agent will also fit the kitchen for you. These two prices are often calculated together so that the kitchen services company where the kitchen was purchased from will always be the one that fits it for you.
  • Installation of the kitchen also refers to appliances, electrics and plumbing. If you are going to have a dishwasher and/or washing machine in your kitchen, then the fitters will also install these when they are fitting the kitchen. They will make sure that these appliances are correctly plumbed also, as well as any sinks or additional taps that may be used. The installers will also manage all the electrics within the kitchen, for example if you are having spot lighting or any lights fitted underneath high cupboards, as well as all electric sockets. In general, many kitchen services companies do not supply appliances such as washing machine and dishwashers and these often have to be purchased separately from electrical stores.
  • Decoration/painting. If you wish to have any special decoration or effects on your kitchen cabinets then the kitchen services company will often supply a decorator to come and do this for you. These will sometimes be “in-house” decorators so will only work for this company, otherwise the agent may be able to recommend someone for you and this will often be cheaper than if you try and find a decorator yourself. If the kitchen you bought was a “fitted” kitchen and the decoration is fixed then this will be at no extra price. However, if you are designing the motif for the cupboards and surfaces yourself then this can often be quite costly.
  • Kitchen services companies will also often supply floor surfaces, for example laminate floors, tiles or wood etc, and install these also. The agents will also supply and install any skirting which needs to be fitted; the situation of the cupboards and appliances will greatly manipulate where these will lie. They will also often supply and fit any doors leading in and out of the kitchen.
  • Kitchen cleaning services. These include ventilation ducts and air extraction systems. Some kitchen services companies will offer deals on these systems when you buy a kitchen from them, or a discount for fitting. In general, the majority of kitchen services agents will supply and fit these cleaning systems and will also perform any electrical works or fit any extraction devices which the appliances may need. As these systems are still relatively new and are not common to all kitchens, they are slightly more costly than other appliances.

Where can I find a kitchen services company?

  • Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out about a kitchen services company. From this you can guarantee that the company can supply and fit a kitchen well and to the standard you are looking for. If you wish to design your own kitchen, then this way of finding a company is excellent as you can find out how helpful and useful they were in the design process.
  • Many companies will advertise, especially when they are having a sale. It is best to visit a couple of companies to compare prices and to see what each one offers before you choose which one to buy from.
  • Most kitchen services companies base their showrooms and shops in industrial estates. The majority of these are walk-in so are easily accessible. If you are designing your own kitchen make sure you ask to see pictures of previous kitchens they have designed and fitted.

How much will it cost?

Kitchen services have a vast range of prices. If you are going to buy a package, fitted kitchen these can usually range from £2000 to £10,000, although companies often offer sales and discounts at various points throughout the year. If you buy the kitchen parts separately this will cost you more in total, but will give you greater freedom of choice.

Worktops prices depend on what type you choose; wood tops are around £20 - £30 per m2 whereas manmade fabrics are usually around £5-£7 per m2. The price of a cooker is completely depended on how large it is and what features it has, thus they can range from around £200 - £1500.

What qualifications should I look for?

There are no set qualifications that any of the sales people or fitters need to have, at present, and you should be guided by experience instead. Fitteres will generally bring qualifications from other jobs; obviously the plumbers and electricians need to have the appropriate NVQ/SVQs and you should check with the company that they do. However, you could also opt to do an apprenticeship with the Kitchens Bedrooms Bathrooms National Training Group if you'd prefer further training.

What should I ask my kitchen services company?

  • How long will it take to supply the kitchen/can I have the kitchen fitted before…? (This is mainly appropriate if you are having an individual rather than pre-fitted kitchen).
  • How long will it take to fit the kitchen?
  • Will you perform all plumbing and electrical works that need to be done on the kitchen?
  • Do you supply your own decorator for the cupboards and surfaces?
  • What is included in the package of the kitchen and what will cost extra?

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