Ask a Tradesman
Kitchen Fitting Question
What makes a quality kitchen?
We are soon to move into our new flat and would like to redo the kitchen. We have been to a large number of suppliers and designers starting at the Ikea end and going via Magnet to the Smallbone end of the scale.
We have been told a bewildering number of contradictory statements and before we can decide what we are after I need to know what actually makes a quality kitchen. For example:
1) We have been told by many designers, that it is necessary to have a certain amount of MDF/Chipboard in the carcass of the cabinetry in order to maintain the structural integrity of the kitchen where wood would expand and contract due to heat and moisture. Please can someone tell me a) is it necessary or advisable to have some of the cabinetry made of mdf etc and b) can anyone recommend a supplier of solid wood cabinetry (pref sustainably sourced from UK)
2) Simple question yet one which causes many arguments. Are Blum Hinges better or the traditional type (what I would call knuckle)?
3) There seems to be a big difference of opinion over what the following terms mean.
If anyone could clear this up I would be most grateful.
We have a fairly limited budget but don't want to skimp on build quality. We are looking for a company that would come and talk through ideas with us and take care of the fitting/electrical hookups and finally guarantee their work.
We went to one supplier who stocked Neptune Kitchens which seemed to fit all our criteria but they only guaranteed their work for a year.
Any thoughts on these questions and any other tips would be very gratefully appreciated. After a month of looking we are no closer to deciding. This seems to be a minefield.
Many thanks to you both. Apologies for late response as we have just completed the move. This info is most helpful
Ignore chipboard, but mdf is stable and flat. Solid wood units do exist but are not stable, they warp like all wood does, but this is made worse be the large flat areas.
Wood veneered mdf or the cheaper foil version is probably the best practical solution and is used in furniture. Doors are different, they are smaller and not flat uniform surfaces so can be a little less stable. So, doors can be mdf or solid wood.
Any good qulity hinge that open more than 90 deg is fine, soft close is nice.
Free standing means all parts are standing on the floor or screwed to the wall, a bit like furniture in a room. Fitted means the kitchen is cut to fit the exact room, so it might fit around a chimner for example, or under beams etc. Bespoke mean it has been specifically designed and made to your kitchen, so the unit size would be adjusted to fit exactly.
The key to a good kitchen is first of all design, this includes everything including lights, extractor, door knobs, work surface, everything. The next key is to supply that within your budget by working backwards. The suppliers you list vary massively in cost and what you really want is a very nicely designed kitchen with WOW factor that you can afford and is very durable.
Hope that helps.
Answered 31st Jul 2012
First of all I would not recommend Neptune as its made in China and is of poor quality and there is little variance in sizes. If you are looking for that type of look ie contemporary paint/laquer finish then use accompany such as Sherwoods or Charles York, both are based in Nottingham Both of these companies offer inframe and layon doors, solid timber drawer boxes on soft close runners and both guarantee the quality of their products, like Nepture they come at a price. If I can be of assistance in design /installation do not hesitate to contact me
Answered 21st May 2015
All timber and timber based products such as MDF or Chipboard are to some extent liable to movement in service due to variations in humidity, and also to some extent, temperature variations.
It is all a question of affordability.
Most kitchen manufacturers use MDF or Chipboard due to ease of working and also that it is pre-finished with laminate or melamine faces. Solid timber or timber based sheet materials such as Plywood or Blockboard are perfectly suitable for cabinet interiors once they have been lacquered or varnished, but would be more costly and normally available only through a bespoke manufacturer.
Hinge type depends on type of door. Butt(knuckle) hinges would be normally used for a traditional type kitchen with inset doors. " Blum " type or similar hinges are used for lay on doors, where the doors sit on the face of cabinets.
Concur with Paul Albright regarding fitted/freestanding/bespoke kitchen types and the initial design/specification as the being the key to a successful project. Also important that you make certain that the kitchen fitters are competent. A nice kitchen can be ruined if poorly fitted and particular attention should be given to plumbing and electrical works. These should be carried out by individual accredited tradesmen.
It can often be more economical to employ a local cabinetmaker/joiner with experience in this area of work, rather than using in-store or studio kitchens.
Hope it all goes well for you
Answered 2nd Aug 2012