The Kitchen Rip-Out and Replace
With services and electrics already in place, this can be a straightforward project
For many people, a new kitchen means ripping out the existing kitchen first, whether it is falling to bits, is rather old-fashioned or has a layout that just does not work. In some respects, replacing old with new is fairly straightforward — the pipework and wiring that goes hand-in-hand with kitchens will probably already be in place, for example.
Of course this scenario also has one extra job that the other routes to achieving a kitchen discussed over these pages do not — you have to get rid of what is there before you can begin. You should take care when taking out the old kitchen, so here are some things to consider:
- Ripping it out, damaging walls and potentially pipework and wiring will only mean more time and cost afterwards.
- You may find that there are some items worth salvaging and if you are on a budget, reusing the existing unit carcasses if they are in a reasonable state of repair could save you money.
- Most of the ripping-out stage, including removing old units, can be carried out on a DIY basis.
Perhaps the most disruptive part of this type of project is that you will be without a kitchen for a period of time. If you have a utility room that offers a sink and additional space in which to locate your fridge and freezer then you can make use of these. You will also be at an advantage if your cooker runs solely on electricity as it can be moved to a temporary location more easily than one that runs on gas.
You should also bear in mind that a rip-out and replace will not simply be a case of replacing like with like. A new layout will likely mean a new lighting scheme too, additional electrical sockets and new flooring. You should not forget that if you plan on having a larger cooker, you will need a higher spec extractor hood — in fact many old kitchens lack adequate means of extraction leading to condensation.
On the plus side, you should have a good idea of where the natural light enters the room, how you use the space and what does and doesn’t work with the current layout — meaning you can get your new design spot on.
Redesign tips from Graeme Smith, Senior Designer at Second Nature and Metris Kitchens
- Don’t assume you have to stick to the same layout and configuration of units.
- There is always scope to enhance a layout, be it replacing a table with a multifunctional island or a run of fitted units with a freestanding dresser — this opens up the space and creates a bespoke design to reflect your personality.
- You may wish to review the key appliances in the kitchen, perhaps opting for a range cooker in place of separate oven and hob, or a statement fridge.
- If you are planning to relocate appliances or the sink, ensure that the services will work with the new arrangement.
- Water supply pipes, waste and wiring may need to be moved;
- Additional sockets will need to be put in place;
- A new lighting scheme will be necessary;
- Your new kitchen plan will be constrained by existing windows and doors;
- You will have to be without a kitchen sink, cooker and dishwasher for a (hopefully) short period of time.
The Kitchen Extension
The perfect blank canvas for your new kitchen
One of the main reasons people decide to extend their homes is down to wanting a bigger kitchen — the side return extension or rear single storey extension are favourite ways of gaining this new space. The beauty of this type of situation is that you get to start from scratch, designing not just a new kitchen but a whole new space.
Kitchen extensions are not only a great means of gaining additional room but also present the perfect opportunity to improve your existing spaces. Opening up a middle room to become one large area with the new kitchen, or using your new kitchen as a way of drawing light into otherwise dark spaces, are popular options — but not without issues that will need careful consideration.
Open plan spaces are a good case in point. While they have many good points – allowing you to be part of the action while cooking, keep an eye on the children and add to a general feeling of space and continuity – there are also drawbacks.
- Cooking smells need to be addressed through efficient extraction.
- A separate utility is a must if your mealtimes are not to be ruined by the noise of the washing machine resonating throughout the room.
- Kitchen clutter needs somewhere to hide too.
Choose an extractor designed to minimise noise as well as smells — Siemens make one that uses magnets rather than screws to reduce vibration. On the subject of noisy appliances, choosing a boiling water tap over a kettle reduces noise, as do integrated dishwashers.
Aim for a breakfast bar with a raised section to act as a visual barrier between your kitchen and other spaces in this layout too — it will provide somewhere to conceal all the mess that goes hand-in-hand with cooking and preparing food.
The Extension Rules
The key issues here lie more with the extension than with the new kitchen itself. Once you have found an architect or house designer and like their plans, you should have a good idea of whether the proposed extension falls under Permitted Development, or if you need to apply for planning permission — in which case your architect can submit plans for you.
Bear in mind that regardless of whether or not you need planning permission, you will still need to obtain Building Regulations approval. You can choose between a local authority inspector or private approved one which may be quicker.
If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property, you may also require approval under the Party Wall Act. Not only does this refer to work that may affect a wall that stands on either side of a boundary of land belonging to two or more owners, but also to works with foundations within certain distances of said walls.
- Unless your extension falls within Permitted Development, you will need to submit plans and wait for approval before you can begin work;
- Open plan spaces need careful planning if they are to work well;
- A structural engineer will probably be required if you are opening up spaces and removing load-bearing walls.
The Kitchen Relocation
Often a slightly trickier option, but usually worthwhile
There are instances where it can be a good idea to move your kitchen from one room to another — for example, to take full advantage of a particular view, a bigger space that is currently not used. You may alternatively want to move it to one that receives more natural light during the day when it is often needed in kitchens.
“If there’s an integral garage which tends to be a dumping ground, rather than used for parking the car, then this may be just the space to create your new kitchen,” suggests Graeme Smith, Senior Designer for Second Nature and Metris Kitchens.
Although the common solution for those looking to add space to their homes is to create a rear extension and house a kitchen, dining and family room within the space, have you considered moving the kitchen to the front of the house instead? Perhaps you live on a busy road where traffic noise is an issue while you are trying to relax in the living room, or maybe you get passers-by peering in while you are watching television. But there are practicalities involved in this type of kitchen relocation.
The main expense here lies in bringing the utilities – the water, the waste, and maybe the gas – to a different area of the house where there has been none before.
Bringing water in should not be too much of an issue — plastic plumbing is flexible so it can be run through voids in the floor and around corners in a way that can be harder or more time-consuming to do with copper plumbing. Waste tends to be more problematic. Not only will you have to consider your sink, but also a dishwasher and perhaps a washing machine too. Where your drains are located will play a large role — in semi-detached houses they are often to the side of the house, but if they are at the back and your new kitchen will be located at the front of the house, then getting a large pipe to and from the right points can be tricky.
If you need a gas supply, floorboards will in all likelihood need to be lifted, or channels made in concrete floors. None of this is impossible, but will undoubtedly add to costs that would not be incurred if you chose to keep your kitchen in the same spot.
- This option usually causes the most disruption to those living in the property — you will temporarily lose two rooms of the house, rather than just one, and it can be hard to contain the mess;
- Utilities will have to be brought into the kitchen;
- Getting the waste out to the drains from an area where it was previously not an issue can be tricky, messy and expensive.
Main image: Dave Barbour