getting ready for your new kitchen, room preparation



Preparing the room.

What needs to be done.

If there are extension or alteration works.

The appropriate permissions will be required possibly for planning approval, and almost certainly from the building control section of your local council.  There will be fees charged for these applications and you will also require detailed scale drawings of the proposals which any show proposed structural alterations.  These will almost certainly have to be prepared by a professional.

Some alterations are more simple, such as the removal on an existing built in larder or store cupboard, or taking down a stud partition wall.  Anything minor does not normally require planning or building control approval, but check if you are unsure.

Removal of old kitchen

This one speaks for itself, but you need to take care if you plan to reuse or sell the kitchen which is coming out.  If it’s in reasonable condition there is a market for used kitchens, the units are a great addition to many garages and workshops, and also make a cheap option for a utility room.  There are always people renovating property also, looking for cheap kitchen units.  So if your old kitchen is in reasonable shape try selling it.  It’s a good idea to think ahead and show potential buyers the kitchen while it’s still in place, but of course you then need to take care when removing it.

Careful removal is a bit more time consuming, so if you are not doing this yourself you should discuss this with your installer when the job is being priced, to avoid extra costs or bad feelings.

Another possible consequence of hasty removal is possible damage to walls and other fittings in the room, so care is always advisable.  Try a screwdriver before resorting to a gemmy or a lump-hammer!

Think about your appliances too.  It might be possible to sell these, or you might want to keep some of them for your new kitchen, so treat them with care.


The easy answer is to order a skip.  A regular size skip will be quite big enough to accept most kitchens, but the units will need to be broken up.  Usually this is quite easy to do with nothing more than a heavy hammer, but worktops might present more of a problem, and might need cutting in length.  Appliances also can be bulky, so think about disposing of them.

While most local amenity sights are free to use for householders, anyone who looks commercial will be charged for dumping, so if you expect your kitchen installer to take appliances away in his van it will be completely reasonable for him to pass these charges on to you.

Walls and floors.

Existing wall and floor coverings will need to be removed.  Where these are tiled, the ease of removal will very much depend on the construction of the wall or floor and what adhesive has been used to fix the existing tiles.   Sometimes they come away easily, on other occasions they can put up a real fight and need to be removed by a Kango type power tool.

Where tiles have been removed you can expect the walls or floor left behind will need some repairs.  The extent of damage of course depends on how difficult the tiles were to remove, but normally on solid walls tile removal will result in some plaster also falling away, and in some cases the brick or blocks can be exposed.  With plasterboard walls you will often find that chunks of plasterboard come off with the tiles.

You can expect in almost every case that some repairs will be needed to make the walls and floors good again after tiles have been removed.  Budget for this and if the tiles come away cleanly you have a bonus!

For solid floors self levelling compound can be applied to level the floor and provide a surface suitable for tiling or other floor finishes to be applied.  On a timber floor the best method of preparation is to sheet the floor with either ply wood or a tile backer board.

In either case the floor should not be prepared for finishing until all the services have been positioned as this task usually requires sections of floor to be taken up.

You might want to build some additional walls or create some form of room division to suit your new kitchen design.  Once all the old units and any other old unwanted features have been removed, new alls or dividing sections can easily be built.


Next the plumbing, electrical and gas services will need to be prepared.  If you are planning to move anything around the services will need to be repositioned to suit the new layout, but even if the kitchen plan is staying as before this is your chance to ensure that the electrical supplies are all adequate and that plumbing is accessible.  If something has been less than ideal before, now you can put it right.  Where there enough plug sockets in your kitchen?  If not, now is the time to add an extra one, or two.

You may also find that some of the existing components are in need of replacement or updating.  A common occurrence is failure of the stop cock to actually shut off the water supply.  In many homes it might be years since the stop cock has been used, and like everything else the parts deteriorate.

Electrical services will need to be brought up to date and that means that all circuits in the kitchen will need to be protected by an RCD (residual current device).  If your existing consumer unit (fuse board) uses wired or cartridge type fuses these will not be acceptable under modern regulations and an electrician will be obliged to upgrade the consumer unit as part of the electrical works in the Kitchen.

All electrical and plumbing works must be carried out by a qualified person and any gas work must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered person. (The Gas Safe Register has now replaced CORGI)  Plumbing and electrical alterations in a dwelling are notifyable and subject to building regulations.  You can read more about building regulations and Part P here.



Any pipework or fittings required for the room heating plan should be installed now.  Boilers of various types are often found in the kitchen,  and these should be checked, serviced or replaced if necessary at this point while access is not a problem.  It might be that you are installing a new boiler in the kitchen area, and if so, now is the time to have that done.

Actual radiators will not usually be fitted at this time.  They would only have to be removed again to allow the walls to be finished or decorated, so the pipes and valves are put in place, but the radiators will be left off for the moment.

A word of caution.  It is a popular request to ask for a boiler to be built in within a kitchen.  It might be perfectly OK for this to be done, but it can cause problems with ventilation and air supply for the boiler.  Always check the manufacturers recommendations and never attempt to build in a boiler without seeking professional advice.  See more here


It is also time now to break any holes through walls which are required for ventilation or for ducting extractors or cooker hoods.  This is a messy job so needs to be done before the dust settles.  Again the switching for your extractor needs to be considered.


If you plan to change the lighting in the kitchen this should be started now.  Any holes needed in the ceiling for example and the wiring required for lights should be installed now.  If required switches can be repositioned, renewed or installed new as required.  Feature lighting for the new kitchen  needs thinking about now, particularly how the switching will work. 


Where the removal of internal walls, cupboards or other minor works have resulted in ceiling damage  this can be repaired and replastered.  It may just require patching, or filling in a few small holes, but this work is best done when the room is empty of furniture.  Sometimes the ceiling can be painted if required before the new kitchen is fitted.  It is unlikely to sustain damage during the installation and this will prevent paint being accidently splashed onto your nice new kitchen units!  Where required the walls should now be plastered up too, and the surface should be finished according to how it will be decorated.  If tiles are proposed there is no real need for finishing plaster, but this is essential where the walls will be painted or papered.   If in doubt have a smooth finished plaster surface applied to all walls.


You should find yourself now with a room ready for the new kitchen to be installed, with all the messy building work done and all the plumbing, electrical and gas services located in the correct place to suit the new kitchen plan.  In the building trade you will hear the terms “first fix” and “second fix”.  Your kitchen should now be “first fixed” with all the basic requirements in place and correctly located, ready for “second fixing” when the finishes and visible components are installed.

The time needed to reach this point naturally depends on the size of the room and the complexity of the job, but typically this stage will take between 1 and 3 days.  Do not expect any services in the kitchen during this time.  You water and electricity supply to the rest of the house should be working perfectly, but the circuits to the kitchen will be turned off.  Time to sample the delights of the local carry-outs!


brass bed

traditional basin

under oven

rain shower



vanity unit

belfast sink

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