DIY Kitchen Bunnings, Building a Bunnings Flat Pack Kitchen
Tips before you build your DIY Bunnings Kitchen
Australian house prices are still hovering around their all time record highs and with the cost of buying and selling further increased by horrendous stamp duty charges, renovation is becoming the sensible alternative to a full home upgrade. If successful shows like The Block are anything to go by many homeowners are turning to DIY as their preferred method of carrying out such renovations. In this article I will discuss some of the key things to be aware of before tackling a DIY Bunnings Kitchen or indeed any of the many flat pack kitchen providers. This is coming from experience, I recently installed my Kitchen Bunnings style, with great success.
Why I chose to buy my flat pack Kitchen from Bunnings
There are many providers out there. They all have varying levels of quality, customer support, range, and locations but it is the last reason which really was the deciding factor for me. The fact that there is a Bunnings store just down the read is something I considered very handy as I would be purchasing my DIY Kitchen items as needed and not as one bulk delivery. I did this for two reasons. One, I don’t have the room to store an un-assembled flat pack kitchen for the duration of my renovation and two I was very unsure of what I would need and if my requirements would change. Not committing to the entire project in one go was a major factor to me. The other advantage of using Bunnings was that their stores are located in pretty much every suburb around my area, meaning if one store was out of stock it would be a quick trip to the next where my item would probably be found. There are many other flat pack suppliers and I urge you to shop around to find the best supplier to meet your needs.
Some Steps before you begin the Renovation
Many suppliers offer online tools you can use free of charge to workout the design of your kitchen. Such tools are probably the best place to start. Think about where you want to place the essential items such as oven/cooktop, fridge, sink, and dishwasher. Particularly those items that may need re-wiring or plumbing. If any of these tasks need to be done they will likley add to the overall cost because they will require the services of a licensed tradesperson. Also be aware that going from a gas oven to an electric oven can have implications on the loading your current fusebox can handle. Seek advice if this is the case, especially if yours is an old home. Our home was built in the 1950’s and could not support an electric oven and cooktop without considerable expense, so we went for a gas cooktop instead. Once you have an idea of what your layout will be and what flat-pack cupboards you will need go and visit your chosen supplier. Doing this will give you a good idea of available range and quality. If any items you perceive you may need are not in stock check with the store to find out the lead time if you should need to buy it. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a half built kitchen just because your cupboard doors are sitting in a shipping container somewhere. Whilst in the store you will be able to choose the style, colour and surface type of cupboard doors, and the bench top. You can also pick your fixtures, tiles and flooring. By this time you will have a pretty good idea of what you want your finished kitchen to look like.
A Quick Comment on the Kit Itself
I can only comment on Bunnings flat pack kitchens but I would assume they are all very similar in construction method. As far as the complexity of the renovation goes assembling the flat pack is by far the easiest part. If you have ever constructed a simple flat pack piece of furniture (Ikea as an example) then you will have no problems with this. In fact it would be the easiest of flat pack furniture to assemble. The box will typically contain pre-cut and pre-drilled panels of melamine particle board, the required screws, feet and instructions. It would take a few minutes to assemble one cabinet and once you know what you are doing it gets easier. Just be sure to read the instructions properly and double-check before constructing to make sure you are putting the panels together correctly. It’s usually not a problem to just disassemble them but it will obviously add time and frustration.
Building your Kitchen
One thing I struggled with when building my kitchen was the order in which I should do it.
Well, now that you know what you want the finished product to look like you can begin your DIY Kitchen build.
- Begin by removing the old cupboards, appliances and flooring. You should be now left with an empty room.
- If any new plugs, wiring, gas pipes or plumbing is required, very carefully measure and mark their location and have a licensed tradesman put the services in place. They will not necessarily be installing the actual appliance at this stage, just the mains access.
- Now is the best time to paint the room. There are no cupboards to work around or floor to worry about dripping on. It's always a good idea to paint the ceiling at this time as it will give the room a fresher look. I also took the opportunity to mark out where the studs were located as it helps with the fixing of the cupboards to the wall.
- Now the fun part, Begin installing your flat pack kitchen one cupboard at a time. I found it easiest to unpack and build each cupboard then pop it in place. At this stage we are not attaching them permanently, only making sure everything fits as it should.
- Once all the base cabinets are in place I begin the task of leveling them and ensuring everything is squared up. It is worth taking a little extra time here as nobody wants eggs rolling off their bench!! It helps to clamp the cupboards together to prevent the units from moving. After this you will install the hanging cupboards. Make sure they are level and are parallel with the floor cupboards.
- After you have checked and double checked your ‘carcass’ kitchen it is time to begin screwing it into the wall. Use your pre-marked stud locations and fasten using the supplied wood screws. Continue to check the level both parallel to the wall and at right angles to the wall just in case anything has shifted.
- Once done, you can install your bench top. If yours is a particularly complex bench it may be easier to pay a tradesman to do this step for you. However, if everything has been pre cut and the necessary fastenings have been supplied you should be able to manage it. I installed a laminated bench top and chose to cut and fit it myself. I was apprehensive about cutting the laminate at first but a small investment in a quality hand panel saw did the trick very nicely. I read all kinds of articles about how one should never attempt to cut laminate benches without a professional grade table saw (usually costing many thousands) however, I went with the advice of the Bunnings staff member I spoke to and had no problems. I was able to but two benches together and create a nice join.
- Now for the real fun. Fix the doors and handles. This is pretty easy and you will begin to see the kitchen take shape. I have also created a ">time-lapse video of me fitting the bench top and doors to one side of the kitchen.
- Next, call back the tradespeople if necessary and fit the appliances. Some you may be able to fit yourself.
- The floor and tiles can be fitted next. How you do this will depend on what options you go for and how handy you are. I wanted this to be as much of a DIY project as possible, so I installed our floating floor boards and tiles myself.
- The last step is to attach the kickboards. This is pretty simple, just follow the instructions. It is important to do this last as it will cover the edges of your flooring giving a clean finish.
This is a pretty broad outline of what needs to be done and there are many smaller steps within most of these, however, it should give you a rough idea of what order things will need to be done in which if followed can save a lot of time and headaches.
Be Aware of the Pitfalls
There are a few things to consider before starting your renovation and to keep an eye out for during the process.
- Is the room square? Probably not. If yours is an older house, the walls will probably not be square or flat. This will create problems when installing the cupboards and bench.
- Asbestos. Check for asbestos before ripping out or sanding any plaster or floor underlay. It was commonly used up until the 1980’s in Australia and can represent a health concern. If you have young ones in the home be particularly careful. I also invested in a quality asbestos face mask just to be sure. This is a good idea for any general sanding or cutting job asbestos or not.
- Is the floor flat. Once you have pulled up the old flooring, is what you are left with flat. If not make sure it is otherwise you will have all kinds of trouble later on.
- Bench height. Make sure your future bench height will be suitable for the height of the cook in your house. Also make sure it won’t interfere with any low hanging windows. This was a problem for us and restricted the height of our bench. You can see this in the time-lapse video.
- Waterproofing. I made sure all gaps and joints around the sink area (including inside the cupboard) received extra attention from my gap sealing gun. Kitchen cupboards and laminate benches are made of particle board which does not mix well with water. I took no chances with this as I don’t want my kitchen swelling in a few years time.
There are plenty of great resources online including Do%20It%20Yourself%20Kitchens:%20Stunning%20Spaces%20on%20a%20Shoestring%20Budget%20(Better%20Homes%20&%20Gardens%20Decorating)<img%20src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=infbar010c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1118031628"%20width="1"%20height="1"%20border="0"%20alt=""%20style="border:none%20!important;%20margin:0px%20!important;"%20/>%20">DIY kitchen books and knowledge is power in any DIY project. Installing a Bunnings kitchen (or any other DIY flat Pack kithcen) does represent a challenge but one that I can highly recommend. The results speak for themselves and the savings surely add up.