KITCHENS FROM £15,000
Fitted Kitchens in Huddersfield
Daval Kitchens are rightly considered experts in the design and installation of fitted kitchens in Huddersfield, so if you are considering purchasing a new fitted kitchen in Huddersfield or the surrounding area, then a trip to visit us in our Huddersfield fitted kitchen showroom could be considered essential.
Why Are Fitted Kitchens So Popular?
For many years British consumers and house builders have expressed a strong preference for fitted kitchens over an assemblage of freestanding kitchen units. Time and again fitted kitchens are the preferred choice. To understand why this is the case it is helpful to understand exactly what is meant by a fitted kitchen and recognise their many benefits… As you will see from our guide below, our in-depth understanding of the exacting requirements for designing and installing fitted kitchens elevates us to the obvious choice for discerning clients in Huddersfield. At the same time through our dedicated focus on customer service and attention to your design needs, we can assure you of a superb experience from concept to completion of your new kitchen project- and beyond.
What is a fitted kitchen?
‘Fitted kitchen’ is the term used to describe a kitchen installation wherein the kitchen units, cabinets, cupboards, and appliances are mechanically fixed to neighbouring units, as well as to the kitchen’s walls. This should produce a level, secure finish, with an exact and seamless fit. Any unaligned kitchen cabinets would instantly spoil the visual impact of the kitchen, and also impair use, so it is vital that a fitted kitchen achieves balance and security. This brings the kitchen together for a unified and continuous kitchen look, along with comfortable and easy kitchen use. It takes a skilled designer to exact this precision but even more so to produce a faultless fitted kitchen with an efficient space-maximising layout that meets all the kitchen owner’s personal needs.
What Are Freestanding Kitchen Units?
The alternative to a fitted kitchen is ‘freestanding kitchen units’ which are exactly that- each kitchen unit sits on the floor without being fixed to the walls of the building, nor to neighbouring units. Inherently this can leave units prone to tipping, sagging, and even failure. Instead, fitted kitchens offer a far sturdier method of installation; By being fixed to both the fabric of the building (i.e., fixing to the wall) and screwing each kitchen unit to adjacent cabinets, the mechanical loads are more evenly spread, and therefore more stable, compared with freestanding kitchen units.
Design Benefits of Fitted Kitchens
With few exceptions, interiors designers, architects and professional kitchen designers will usually favour fully fitted kitchens for clients’ homes. Beyond the improved structural integrity covered in detail below, there are many substantial design benefits to choosing a fitted kitchen over a freestanding kitchen design: –
- Fitted kitchens maximise space, which means more storage availability, as well as more easily accessible kitchen storage.
- Aesthetically, fitted kitchens achieve a more seamless design, with banks of cabinets forming clean, uninterrupted sight lines.
- The structural properties of fitted kitchens provide more flexibility for kitchen designers who want to include features such as overhangs, cantilevers, and open unit features.
- The availability of internal kitchen fixtures and fittings from specialist manufacturers is far greater for fitted kitchens. For example, convenient kitchen pull-out larders, corner unit solutions, and kitchen tambour units, are all easy to integrate within fitted kitchen designs.
- Most kitchen appliance manufacturers have extensive ‘built in ranges,’ purposely designed for a seamless integration within fitted kitchens. There are few who could argue a dishwasher concealed behind a fitted door is less favourable than a free-standing lump of stainless steel or white plastic! And even beyond the aesthetic benefits, there are compelling ergonomic reasons for integrating kitchen appliances within a fully fitted kitchen. For example, a mid-height oven that is accessed whilst standing is far easier and safer to use than one which requires bending to floor level. Similarly, a hob recessed within a worksurface can be set back to reduce the risk of a pan falling on to the floor. Whereas with a freestanding cooker with a hob top, there is obviously no adjustment on this.
- Practical offerings such as fitted plinth neatly finishes a kitchen with its sleek appearance. It is also simple to remove, allowing easy access at otherwise hard to clean areas; this reduces the possibility of dust traps, or worse, a home for pests such as ants or mice.
Custom Fitted Kitchens
An experienced and proficient kitchen designer knows that all people have varying personal wants and needs, and as such all kitchens should be designed on an individual basis. Use of space is fundamental within any kitchen design but no matter the shape or size of a room, a fitted kitchen must be designed according to the tastes, habits and needs of the individual or family that uses it. It may be that a family requires space for both relaxing and dining, and so a kitchen island or breakfast bar with seating is best suited. Alternatively, more storage may be essential within a small kitchen space and in which case a larder cupboard, wall unit, or carousel which maximises corner space will enhance the layout. Any kitchen design solution must be practical and functional; but equally important is that it fills the allocated floor and/or wall space neatly and seamlessly, whilst complimenting all other fitted furniture and kitchen appliances present. This creates a highly desirable visual aesthetic. For such reasons the best fitted kitchens are heavily design dependent, relying on the skillset of an experienced designer (as well as quality of cabinetry and installation) to unify the design.
Plinth Feet for Fitted kitchen Base Cabinets
A freestanding kitchen cabinet typically has legs with small adjuster screws that wind in or out to achieve the correct level when sat atop the kitchen floor. With this style of kitchen, it is not usual for kitchen plinth to be fitted, and the result is a small gap between the bottom of the kitchen unit and floor. Some consider this an additional storage space, where most worry it will become a hard to clean dust trap. Conversely, a fitted kitchen cabinet has at least four circular feet with a minimum diameter of 50mm, each with large adjustable screw threads.
Fixed within large load bearing bases the kitchen cabinet is well supported, and the weight atop the floor is spread over a larger area compared with a freestanding kitchen unit. This reduces the pressure on the floor, providing greater resilience against cracked tiles or the warping of floorboards. Plinth is then fitted to conceal this leg system from sight. Quality kithen plinth such as that used by Daval Kitchens has a compressive plastic tube attached to a U-section that fits along the bottom edge of the plinth. This tubing prevents water ingress, which could pool out of sight and damage to the floor, as well as causing swelling and distortion of the plinth.
Service Voids for Fitted Kitchens
The mechanical fixings we speak of here are usually large screws or bolts that attach the kitchen cabinetry directly to the wall, or else the use of a timber baton affixed between the kitchen cabinet and wall. The latter is more commonly used, because by spacing a cabinet off the wall a ‘service void’ is created. This allows for hot and cold-water pipes, gasp pipes, ‘waste pipes’ (for the water that drains via the sink) electrical conduits, etc, all of which can be routed and fixed to the walls. It is good practice that both hot and cold-water pipes are insulated. In the case of cold-water pipes, insulation helps prevent condensation from building, forming into droplets and then dripping off the pipe onto whatever is below. Over time this can cause accumulate damage such as rotten floorboards and joists. Hot water pipes should also be insulated to prevent unnecessary heat loss.
When planning a fitted kitchen, care should be taken to ensure shut off valves for water and gas pipes are in an accessible place, and if necessary, cut an access panel. Failure to do this could mean having to remove a unit(s) in the case of a leak or flood, which poses the risk of damage.
Fixing Fitted Kitchen Base Units and Tall Units
Whether through direct fixing, or via a timber baton, a key aspect of a fitted kitchen is it being fixed to the kitchen wall. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the mechanical attachment via bolts or screws to a strong point within the kitchen wall transfers load into the fabric of the building. To better understand this, consider the idea of a freestanding chest of drawers tipping over when too many drawers are opened at once; it is the mechanical fixings which prevent this from happening within a fitted kitchen design.
Secondly, mechanically fixing kitchen cabinet units to the wall is key to achieving and maintaining a square and level fitting. As floors are rarely level, an experienced kitchen installer will use a laser line to identify the ‘highest point’ of the floor. They will then mark a starting point on the wall, corresponding to the kitchen designer’s specified base unit height. Setting the laser level to this point and projecting it across the kitchen walls, the kitchen installer can then fix their baton to the walls at exactly the right height.
Fixing A Fitted Kitchen Baton
A good quality fitted kitchen baton will be square, graded and treated, such as British Standard roofing timber which is rated to be stood upon by a roofer during construction of a house. It’s extremely important at this point that the correct kitchen ‘anchorage points’ are identified by the installer. One method is to tap the kitchen wall’s plasterboard to discern a change in sound resonance; this indicates the presence of a timber or metal stud behind the plasterboard. The alternative method is to use a good quality multi-detector to identify the difference between metal studwork, a water pipe, and live electrical cable. A well-anchored, square and level baton provides the structural fixing for the fitted kitchen units and space for a service cavity. It also provides additional support for the kitchen worktop above dishwasher units, and behind sinks and hobs, where there is often little support from the cabinet tops themselves. Again, better support ultimately means a longer, problem-free lifespan for your newly fitted kitchen.
Once the kitchen baton is installed, the kitchen base cabinets and tall cabinets can be positioned as per the kitchen design, and each adjusted to level square in three planes. An expert kitchen fitter achieves this with a combination of spirit levels and lasers, adjusting the graduated kitchen feet to achieve level square. The kitchen cabinets are then clamped to each other and fixed to the baton via brackets and screws, before being secured to each other. For the latter, it is best to hide the adjoining screws by positioning them underneath hinge bases and at the back of the kitchen cabinet out of sight. Once this process is complete, the kitchen base and tall units are ‘fully fitted’, securely anchored to the wall via the baton and to each other. This effectively spreads the mechanical load, reducing the stress on any single cabinet and maximising the life span of the kitchen.
Installing Wall Units in Fitted Kitchens
With the absence of a floor, quite obviously the mechanical load of a kitchen wall cabinet must instead be fully transmitted into a wall. This means the correct fixing is essential for ensuring the fitted kitchen cabinets remain square and stable for the full lifespan of the kitchen. A pack of 10 cabinet brackets and mountain plates can easily be found online from places like Screwfix for as little as £6.98, meaning your cabinets would be held to the wall by fixtures costing only 69p! Alternatively, for Daval fitted kitchens we use kitchen cabinet wall hanging brackets from leading manufacturers such as Blum and Grass. Their fixtures include zinc plated steel, and loadings over 100kg per pair. We also recommend using a continuous plate rather than only a small section. This allows for multiple secure fixings into the wall as opposed to just two. Yes, this is a more expensive approach, but we believe the relatively small additional material and labour costs are wholly justifiable by the increase in kitchen stability afforded by this system. Where it isn’t possible to fix directly into solid timber/metal stud or brick, hollow wall anchors can be used. However, this should be in addition to as many solid fixings in the rail as possible, and never on their own. If this isn’t achievable, consideration should be given to removing kitchen plasterboard and fixing solid timber noggins to provide a suitable fixing.
Who Makes the Best Fitted Kitchens?
There is no straight answer to the question of who makes the best fitted kitchens as this depends on many factors. Highly reputable kitchen manufacturers use top quality components in the production of their kitchens- but this is only half the story! It is the skill of the kitchen designer which greatly determines the useability, ergonomics, aesthetics and practicality of any sound kitchen design. Furthermore, the skill of the kitchen fitter, the tools they use, the process they work to, and the quality of the consumables used such as screws and brackets is also key. This determines how well the kitchen is actually fitted, how effective mechanical loads are transmitted into the walls and floor of the building, and how square and level the kitchen units are. This is why it’s essential to research the skill of the kitchen retailer rather than just the product they buy and sell. Unlike a retailer such as a clothes shop, the outcome for any new kitchen project comes down to the supplier’s ability to design, source and install- not just buy and sell.
How much does a fitted kitchen cost?
How much a fitted kichen costs depends on a multitude of factors ranging from the size of kitchen to the selection of fittings, and the type of kitchen appliances specified. For example, a cheap kitchen cabinet made with low grade chipboard, a cheap vinyl door and low-quality hinges, would be a fraction of the cost for a kitchen cabinet made from high quality materials, and with a ceramic kitchen door finish from a globally renowned manufacturer. Similarly, a laminate kitchen worktop from a Chinese producer would cost far less than a worksurface made from DEKTON, which is an ultra-compact surface from Grupo Cosentino; whilst expensive, this is also very beautiful. For a good quality fitted kitchen for a standard size home, you can expect to pay from £15,000. If you want to include a kitchen island and kitchen appliances from a manufacturer such as Siemens, Miele, Inc. or AEG, as well as branded quartz worktops, expect to budget from £25,000 – £40,000. And if you want an even more luxurious kitchen finish from a top-quality British or German kitchen manufacturer you can expect to pay in excess of £50,000.
Start Your Kitchen Journey
Visit Our Daval Huddersfield Fitted Kitchen Showroom
Remember, the ultimate success of any newly fitted kitchen involves a combination of factors from design through to quality of build. As the Daval Kitchens team manage all of this in house we are confident in producing high quality, elegant and inspiring Huddersfield fitted kitchens that our clients love living with. Visit our luxury showroom for expert advice and discover our fantastic range of bespoke fully fitted kitchen furniture.