How to fit a kitchen splashback

Splashbacks are becoming increasingly popular.  They are an easy way to inject life and colour into a simple, monotone kitchen without overpowering it.  The most popular form of splashback is the glass version, however, tiled splashbacks can be used as well.

The items you will need before you begin are as follows; neutral colour silicone, silicone gun, tile spacers, drill and rawl plugs (only if you are screwing it on), cloths, warm soapy water, tester pot of paint that matches the colour of the glass, and a small paint brush.  Make sure that the wall is even before you begin, any bumps or dips of more than 2-3mm should be addressed prior to fitting the glass splashback.

Before you begin using your tester pot of paint, paint a strip of colour onto the walls anywhere that there may end up being a small gap.  By doing this you make the gap less noticeable as both wall and glass will be the same colour.

Apply circular blobs of silicone onto the reverse side of the glass; about 20mm in diameter should do it.  Repeat the process of the entire surface keeping the blobs about 100mm or so apart and not too close to the edges.  Now press the glass into place and if feels a little ‘bouncy’ anywhere, remove the glass and apply some more silicone at that point.

Use tile spacers to ensure there is an expansion gap around the edges of the glass, especially if it is close to wooden surfaces or cupboards as these can expand when warm.  Once the glass has been fitted, leave it for a full 24 hours before removing the spacers.  You can now seal the splashback with a clear silicone sealant and wipe the surface down to make sure it is clean.


Painting kitchen cupboards

One of the cheapest ways to transform a dated kitchen that has wooden cupboards is to paint them. Any style of wood can be sanded down and painted in an array of beautiful colours to give it a new modern look and a whole new lease of life. If the original cupboards are good quality, solid wood and well made, it is worth the effort, but you must take care to do it properly.

First, give the cupboards a good scrub down, getting rid of any greasy residue on the surfaces to be painted. Then get rid of any old varnish with sandpaper. This also scores the wood, which helps the paint bond to it. Choose your paint carefully as there are many different options available. Consider durability as well as colour – many paint manufacturers have a specific, hard-wearing ‘cupboard paint’ range. Also, a matt or eggshell finish is much more fashionable than gloss.

There are two essential things you should do in order to get a good, even finish. Firstly, apply the paint in several thin layers. This may require the paint to be thinned down, and it will certainly take longer, but it really is worth it to achieve that professional look. Secondly, always use a roller rather than a paintbrush, as this avoids telltale brush strokes. If you follow this advice, you will end up with a professional paint job and kitchen cupboards that look as if they cost thousands of pounds.


How to Remove a Kitchen Sink

Removing a sink is easier than you may think.  In most cases, this is something that can be done without having to call in a professional. 

If you have a cabinet underneath the sink, you will have to remove the doors to gain access to all parts of the sink; this should give you easy access to the water supply line under the sink.  Shut off the water valves and drain all excess water.  Place a bucket under the sink and disconnect the water lines.

You will also have to disconnect the drain line.  Use a bucket here as well and loosen the plastic nut from the drain pipe.  Also loosen the nut in the side of the P-trap.  Completely remove the trap and empty the water in the bucket.  Remove the clamp from the hose by using a screwdriver.

Remove any screws that are holding the sink in place and pry the sink away from the counter with a putty knife.  You will have to do this around the entire sink to loosen the seal.  Once this is done, you should be able to remove the sink from its position in the counter with no problem.

When the sink is removed, you will have to remove the tap by loosening the plastic nuts from beneath the sink.  Completely remove the tap and save all hardware in the event you wish to use the same tap with a new kitchen sink.


Clearing out an S-bend

Blockages in the sink are a common problem in most households, as food waste has a habit of getting flushed down if you fail trap it first.  Hot candle wax and grease are common culprits, as these cool and solidify once they are in the drain.

Try using a plunger first, which often does the trick.  If this has little or no effect, look under the sink and you will find that the wastepipe is attached to some sort of trap, which often resembles a bottle.  This is simply unscrewed to gain access to the waste pipe.  Be careful to place a bowl of some sort beneath the trap to collect water when you unscrew it and dispose of any trapped inside.

Once the trap has been completely removed and drained of water, take a piece of old wire and jab it into the trap to push out any blockage.  A coat hanger, straightened out and with its end bent into a small loop, makes the ideal tool for this job.  Once the rubbish has been dislodged, clean the trap by flushing water through it and then replace it into position under the sink.

This will usually be enough to get rid of any blockage under the sink, but in the unlikely event that it does not resolve the problem you can use the wire again to probe the branch pipe as the blockage may be further along.  Once everything has been fitted back into position, run fresh water and detergent down the sink for a few minutes, to ensure the pipe is completely clear.


Choosing the Right Blinds for your Kitchen

If you are considering purchasing blinds for your kitchen, there are several things you need to take into account before you go out and buy them. 

Considering that the kitchen can be one of the most difficult to clean rooms in the home, it is essential to base one of your key criteria on whether the blinds are easy to clean.  The ability to cope with a range of odours and condensation is another key factor when choosing kitchen blinds.

One of the most practical types of kitchen blinds is the Venetian.  Venetian blinds are generally lightweight, making them simple to keep clean, as all they need is a quick wipe down after you have been cooking.  It is best to avoid the heavy wooden styles, as they generally do not take too kindly to steamy environments.  In fact the steam and condensation usually found in kitchens can actually start to the rot the wood.  Light woven or metallic style Venetian blinds are generally recommended for such environments.  Not only do they look great, but are less likely to soak up the heat, condensation and smells that are typical of any busy family kitchen.

Roller blinds are great in the kitchen, as they are completely moisture resistant and most importantly, make it easy to control the amount of light you let in.  You can even choose fire resistant roller blinds for extra safety; they are especially useful if you have young children.

With so many different styles, sizes and colours of kitchen blinds available, selecting a look that suits your kitchen should be quite straightforward.


How to Plan a Kitchen Renovation

So you have made the big leap and have decided to renovate the kitchen. Excellent. If this is as far as you have got in the decision making phase, no need to fret. Here are a few guidelines that should get you going in the right direction.

First thing’s first. How do you currently use your kitchen? Is it a busy room that hosts many family meetings, are you a serious cook, or is it used as a place to enjoy some quiet time in the morning over a coffee and local paper? This is important because if you’re looking to simply improve the function of your kitchen, it will not be necessary to revamp the entire thing, saving a lot of money.

You also need to seriously consider the time factor. How much time do you have or how much time are you willing to sacrifice to achieve this new look? Being without a kitchen can be stressful, but then so can having one that does not function well.

Are knocking out walls and extending the living space of the room part of your plan? If so, not only will a contractor be required, you will no doubt require planning permission and will need to comply with building regulations.

What is your budget going to be? Are you replacing appliances or just painting and doing minor renovations? Is this project something you had hoped to do yourself, or will you need a contractor? Doing it yourself is definitely cheaper, as long as you know what you are doing. A professional contractor may cost more but can most likely have the job finished much sooner.


Planning your Kitchen

Fitting a kitchen is a bespoke DIY project. It can often be worked on separately from other DIY projects, given the clearly defined parameters of the kitchen area. Since the kitchen, like the bathroom, is one of the key spaces of a property, it is one of the first to be viewed by many prospective tenants or buyers. A well-fitted kitchen, in this respect, can boost the value of a property quite dramatically. Also, of course, it is a highly functional area, meaning it can be improved for one’s own use and comfort, as much as for others.

Before commencing with the removal of existing features, plan the new kitchen fully, ensuring it is fully budgeted for, and that everything will fit. Given the functionality of the kitchen, it is best to leave sufficient space for a working environment. Space between the sink, cooking area and a fridge or freezer should not be too cramped or uncomfortable.

You may consider bringing in a professional architect to help you plan your kitchen, although it could be more than sufficient to draw a plan of the new space yourself carefully. Other professional help could be useful for any plumbing or electrical jobs. If done fully on a DIY basis, ensure that the water and electricity is switched off before work is done.

Appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine may be optimally placed close to existing plumbing work. Also, it is counterproductive to place a cooker or oven next to a fridge or freezer.


DIY Tips – Fitting a kitchen

At first, fitting a kitchen may seem an impossible task, like suggesting you pop out and climb Everest, but increasing numbers of perfectly ordinary people are tackling jobs like this to save money in troubled economic times. Like anything else in life, you need the right positive attitude to begin this sort of project.

Preparation is everything when fitting a new kitchen, so putting effort into the design phase will save headaches in the long run. Get all the detailed measurements worked out before picking up the new items, or removing the old kitchen units.

Start the installation of the new kitchen in one of the corners, with the cabinets, before moving on to the worktops, following the instructions that came with the kits. Install the end parts of worktops first, if they come in three parts for a corner bench, and after that install the inset sinks and taps.

The amount of plumbing you will need to do will largely depend on the sink and the types of taps you are putting in.

As with all DIY, whether it is installing a kitchen, installing a bathroom, painting, plastering or laying underfloor heating, safety is always the first priority. Do not even think of modifying gas appliances, which should be tended to by someone with CORGI registration. Get in touch with a qualified electrician if you are in any doubt about your competence there.

Remember that most alterations you make to a kitchen now have to be certified in line with building regulations.