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How to become a bathroom & kitchen fitter

Reading time: 4 minutes

Kitchens and bathrooms are uniquely complicated rooms in our homes, and need people with particular talents to install them…

Tradespeople who create kitchens and bathrooms need to have a wide variety of skills and good vision - being able to take a room from an empty shell to a fully usable space.

Some tradespeople may specialise in fitting one or the other, but there are many transferable skills between the two, so often tradespeople can do both. Most of the time, the room in question will be having a full refurbishment, which could also mean re-plastering, decorating, flooring... so the more you can do, the more jobs you can win.

Demand for kitchen and bathroom fitters in the UK is high as people look to improve their homes. New kitchens and bathrooms can add a lot of value to a property if done well, while many homeowners will be looking for bespoke options that fit with their lives.

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A day in the life of a kitchen or bathroom fitter

Installing a kitchen or bathroom takes a reasonable amount of time depending on the size of the room and the size of the team doing the work, but in most circumstances it will take at least a week to do, and often more.

Lots of fitters enjoy the fact that they are going back to the same place, as they can set up your workspace how they like it, without having to start from scratch each morning.

The work can be quite varied. With both kitchens and bathrooms, you’ll probably start by stripping out what’s already there, a messy but satisfying job that leaves an almost blank canvas to work with.

Depending on the level of refurb work being done, plastering, pipework and electrics might come next, before some decoratingt, then you'll be ready to install the new suite or units. You'll probably have plans to work to, particularly in kitchens, that should lay out exactly where everything is to go.

Having fitted the new suite and units, there may be additional refurb work need, like laying a new floor and tiling walls and splashbacks.

If you’re working by yourself, knowing about basic plumbing and electrics is a must, otherwise you can use subcontractors, or have someone in your team who’s qualified to take on the work.

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Training and experience for kitchen and bathroom fitters

If you want to learn on the job you could look for local firms and see if they’ll take you on as an entry level employee, where you can learn the ropes and slowly build up your experience.

You might start off doing the most menial tasks on site, but you’ll soon see how the entire process works and begin to pick up the required skills.

Another way into the profession is through a college course. You may be able to find specific bathroom or kitchen fitting courses, but there also lots of other relevant options that will give you some of the skills you need, such as a Level 1 or 2 certificate in carpentry and joinery, or a Level 2 diploma in plumbing, or in fitted interiors.

To do a Level 1 course you’ll need two GCSEs or equivalent at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), while for a Level 2 course you’ll need two GCSEs at grade 9 to 3 (A* to D).

You might also want to consider an apprenticeship in a related trade like fitted interiors, joinery or tiling. It takes two years to complete an intermediate apprenticeship, with your time split between working on site and learning in a college.

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Salaries for kitchen and bathroom fitters

As with most trades, your earning potential as a kitchen or bathroom fitters scales with your experience. When starting out with a firm, you might earn in the range of £17,000 to £20,000.

This will grow over time, and once fully trained you might earn around £25,000 to £30,000, rising to around £50,000 for experienced veterans.

If you are self-employed or run your own business you can set your own rates and the earning potential is huge. High-end kitchen and bathroom refurbs can cost tens of thousands of pounds - the only limit is the amount of work you can take on.

A career in the trades