article was written and distributed by the Federation of Master Builders, the building industry's largest trade organisation, representing
over 13,000 small and medium-sized companies throughout the UK.
Updating your Kitchen
The kitchen is increasingly becoming the cooking, dining and living space with many people restructuring the huddle of rooms
which were once kitchen, utility and dining room into one large, light living space. Some are going even further by opening the
room up into the garden and using glass walls and roof lights to maximise the light.
Those who like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen or have families will be keen to have a practical and functional kitchen,
which may require a large area for dining and entertaining.
Even with a small space the kitchen is still the hub of the house so it's worth thinking about comfort as well as utility -
consider creating a different area at one end for relaxing in - use book shelves, comfortable chairs, rugs different lighting and
flooring to create the right mood.
Most of us are working to a budget and may want to save money by doing much of the updating ourselves but there are some jobs
where you will need the professionals:
Don't attempt to knock down walls yourself. If it is a supporting wall it will need to be replaced with an RSJ (reinforced steel
joist). Even if it is not a supporting wall you will need to ensure that the work complies with building regulations. Use an experienced
builder to get the job done. He can help you with planning and building regulations and can work with a structural engineer and/or
an architect to make sure the job is completed safely.
If you need any plastering work done don't skimp on this - It's worth spending on a professional to achieve an excellent finish.
This is a tricky job and although makeover programmes make it look easy it can look terrible if it is done badly. If you are
redoing the flooring consider asking your builder to put in under floor heating for you. This has the advantage of not taking up
valuable wall space, it is inexpensive to install, economical to run, there is no maintenance and the heat distribution is total.
It can be installed under almost every floor type, wood, tile and laminate making it ideal for refurbishment projects.
Tiling is difficult and time consuming. It is one of the most visible areas of the kitchen and done badly it can ruin your new
Gas and electrics
Moving or changing utility points (water, gas and electrical) will add to the cost of the project, but it is well worth making
sure you have a good supply of well placed electrical points. Make sure you use an approved electrical contractor. To find an approved
electrician in your area visit www.findabuilder.co.uk containing details
of approved electrical contractors. If you are moving or installing a gas boiler or cooker, make sure the installer is Gas Safe registered.
There are 45,000 Gas Safe installers in the UK and many of the FMB's 13,000 members are also Gas Safe registered.
© 2003 Federation of Master Builders.