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How to Design a Practical Fitted Wardrobe

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 09/07/2019

Wardrobes have a tendency of being always piled up with clothes, and various other items.

For many people it is a problem to fit newly bought items in their wardrobe, and yet, new clothes and accessories need to be bought and stored somewhere!

So, if you are facing this kind of problem, why not try to make the best use of space by opting for a fitted wardrobe.

This will help to gain more storage space and be able to store more items.

Unfortunately it is common for people to have poorly designed wardrobes which do not make proper use of floor space and wall space.

If you would like to start afresh, we hope that the following guidelines on how to design a practical fitted wardrobe or closet will guide you to make good choices.

Read on to learn more, or use the jump links below to hop to a chapter that interests you:


Chapters

  1. Evaluate Your Needs
  2. Organisation is Key
  3. Ergonomic Design
  4. Drawers or No Drawers?
  5. Add Extra Storage
  6. Smart Shoe Storage
  7. Avoid Unnecessary Spending
  8. Be Flexible & Practical
  9. You Don't Have to Fit Everything!

Evaluate Your Needs

It is important to start by planning carefully.

Consider your needs, the number and types of items you need to store away in the wardrobe, and the space available in that room.

If you have a completely blank wall at your disposal, it might not be really necessary to use it all up.

First of all it will end up being unnecessarily costly, and you might even end up with unused space within the wardrobe.

That space could have been left for other furniture, decorations or simply floor space for more spaciousness.

So, you should try to ascertain the storage space that you really need.

This includes planning the hanging space you require, and the number and types of shelves.

Organisation is Key

You may be amazed at how much space you could end up saving, and making, if only you organised your clothes and any other items properly.

It is highly recommended that you take the time to group clothes according to size, so that you do not waste space when they are tucked away together in the wardrobe.

Also, consider the best height for the top rod.

The higher this rod is the more space you will then have to store underneath it.


Ergonomic Design

How often did you end up on the floor rummaging through items stored at the base of your wardrobe?

How much bending down did you end up doing?

Unfortunately this is a common problem with many who fail to take into account the importance of designing a wardrobe ergonomically.

An ergonomic design will not only prove to be more practical and convenient, but it will also enable you to find things more easily while keeping your wardrobe neat and tidy.

These are some smart tips you should bear in mind:

  1. It is best to place shelves right above hangers to gain more storage space.
  2. Shelves should be positioned about 10 inches apart.
  3. It is also recommended to have shelves which are not more than 14 inches deep as otherwise you will end up having items falling at their back.
  4. When a shelf has a width of 12 inches it is generally the best option as most folded clothes will fit nicely and tidily in that space.

Drawers or No Drawers?

Funnily enough while drawers may give the impression of helping you be more organised, in many cases they end up being a big no no with wardrobes.

First of all drawers take up a considerable amount of space which would have been more spacious if it had been left for a normal wardrobe door.

In fact if you were to think of it you would notice that drawers in reality restrict the wardrobe layout and waste space.

Only small items can be stored in drawers.

These include socks, underwear, and scarves.

All of these could be more easily stored in bedside tables or dressers.

Any folded clothes like sweater and t-shirts will also fit more easily and neatly on an open shelf rather than inside a drawer.

You would also be able to see them more easily.

Also, drawers end up increasing the costs involved to build a wardrobe.

So in reality they might as well be avoided.

Add Extra Storage

If you have a relatively small space you will need to use every storage possibility to the full.

In these cases it is recommended that you avoid folding clothes, but rather stick to hanging them.

A deep space in a wardrobe is best used for hanging clothes, rather than folded clothes which you cannot access easily because they end up falling towards the back.

A practical option is to include deep drawers underneath beds.

These can be used for shoes. Drawers should be left to other furniture such as a dresser, where they can accommodate small items like underwear and socks.


Smart Shoe Storage

For small rooms avoid storing shoes inside your wardrobe.

If however you want to cram them inside your wardrobe make sure to opt for a practical way to do so.

Shelves for shoes should be at mid-height so as to enable you to see them easily.

Shelves which slide out can be very convenient for shoes.

Also shelves used for shoes do not have to exceed 12 inches in depth.

Avoid Unnecessary Spending

While shopping for the material needed to build your practical fitted wardrobe you might be tempted to buy accessory storage devices.

Instead of spending a considerable amount of money on these supposedly innovative storage options you would do better with racks.

These can allow you to make good use of space and they are ideal for ties, belts and scarves.

Be Flexible & Practical

Try to make your wardrobe as adaptable as possible.

Different seasons call for different clothes and accessories.

So, why not do away with shelves for a while so as to use hanging rods.

As long as the holes for the rods can be used for the shelf supports, you can change from one to another easily.

Top shelves will come in handy to store off-season clothes and gear.

You Don't Have to Fit Everything!

While the wardrobe is the biggest furniture piece in your home, avoid being tempted to tuck away everything in it.

There are other rooms and other furniture at home.

So invest in simple shelving systems for other rooms in your home to store certain items there.


10 Top Tips for a Successful Kitchen Design

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 11/06/2019

The kitchen is literally the hub of the home.

Therefore when you start to think of designing your new kitchen, you need to ensure you're going to make the right choices and decisions long term.

No one wants to be changing their kitchen every few years.

If you come to think of it, you and your family will be spending thousands of hours in the kitchen until you remodel or change it sometime in the future.

So it is imperative to choose well in terms of aesthetics as well as functionality.

Read on to discover our Top 10 Tips for a Successful Kitchen Design or jump to a chapter using the links listed below:


Chapters

  1. Proper Planning
  2. Efficient Layout
  3. The Kitchen Triangle
  4. Appliances & Power Sources
  5. Kitchen Cupboards & Storage
  6. Countertops
  7. Flooring
  8. Lighting
  9. Air
  10. Refuse

1. Proper Planning

The importance of planning ahead is crucial.

You cannot just go and pick the first kitchen that you like and have it installed.

You need to think through key aspects, such as the space available, your needs as a family, and practicality considerations.

A U-shaped kitchen might be the most common option as it offers various advantages, but it may not be the best choice for your room.

An L-shaped kitchen or a linear design might actually prove to be better in some cases.

You should make a list of the most important aspects and factors to consider so as to discuss them with the interior designer or kitchen manufacturer.

2. Efficient Layout

Your kitchen is where the family gathers for meals, but it is also where most family members meet up at other times of the day too.

You thus need to make sure that the kitchen design is kid-friendly, accessible and practical.

Wide walkways are recommended, especially near the cooking zone.

Ideally the cooktop should not be near high traffic areas as this could help in avoiding spills as well as increase safety since there is less chance for a handle to be caught or tipped.

The fridge on the other hand should not well accessible to all, including any passers-by.


3. The Kitchen Triangle

This is an extremely important aspect of kitchen design.

You will need to make sure that there is minimal space between the fridge, the sink and the cooker.

You cannot afford to move around from one to the other while they are located too far away from each other.

They should be placed in close proximity and in the layout of a triangle for maximum efficiency and practicality.

4. Appliances & Power Sources

When planning a kitchen you will need to devote some time thinking about the appliances which you plan to have, and where you will be placing them.

These decisions will allow you to plan the locations where you will need to have power sources to plug them in.

This includes gas and/or electricity lines.

As a general rule of thumb it is best to install multiple outlets along the kitchen backsplash.

Another useful tip with regards to kitchen appliances is to avoid placing appliances in corners as this could prove problematic for accessibility and practicality.

5. Kitchen Cupboards & Storage

Cabinets should be allowed enough door clearance. This also applies to appliance doors.

While corner cupboards may seem to be very spacious, generally they are not that practical as they are too deep and lack ease of accessibility.

Even if you have plenty of storage space you may end up in situations when you still do not have room to store everything.

From utensils and cookware, to kitchen supplies and dinnerware, you shall be storing a lot of items in your kitchen.

So you need to make it a point to plan your kitchen well so as to have plenty of space available.

  • Overhead cabinets going right up to the ceiling could offer a welcome storage space for those kitchens where floor space is somewhat limited.
  • Adding some shelves to combine storage and décor is another good idea. Here you can place certain key utensils, as well as spices, oils, and pots and pans which you tend to use often.
  • At times drawers work out to be better than cupboards for certain items.
  • While storage space is important, you need to make sure that there is enough space for all of the appliances, including small ones, which you might wish to have in your kitchen. These would otherwise end up cluttering the countertops and reducing space for other tasks.

6. Countertops

The surface area of the kitchen will be used as your worktop to prepare food, serve and do everything else!

Regardless of the amount of countertop space you will have, there may be times when it will not suffice.

Examples being when you have guests for dinner, or maybe when you have a party and there are more dishes and stuff lying here and there than there usually are.

You may thus wish to add more counter space by adding a kitchen island, if there is enough floor space.

Another important tip is to make sure that there are proper countertop spaces next to the cooktop, the microwave, and the fridge.

This is generally referred to as landing space that is the area where you will be placing items when using these appliances.

While discussing your kitchen countertops it also needs mentioning that the material you will be choosing is also important.

Make sure that the surface area is not only about aesthetics, but practicality.

Choose a material that is easy to care for and maintain.

Matte finishes do not look as dirty as glossy ones.

Also, avoid grouting or any material that could scratch easily.

7. Flooring

Slip resistant and easy to clean flooring options are recommended.

Remember that kitchens are prone to spills and stains.

So you need to choose wisely when you choose your kitchen flooring.

8. Lighting

The kitchen is a room that needs to be appropriately lit.

You should consider the most energy efficient type of lighting, as well as its positioning.

For instance, you do not want to have the lights placed in a way that they end up casting a shadow on your worktop rather than illuminating it properly.

Under cabinet lights are generally recommended.

9. Air

Bear in mind that your kitchen is a place where there is going to be a lot of moisture as well as odours.

You need to ensure that there is proper ventilation.

Should this be somewhat limited in terms of apertures make sure to invest in a good range hood.

10. Refuse

Easily overlooked, you need to allow space for trash disposal and recycling in your kitchen.

This is the place where most waste is generated.

Built-in bins may be the best option if it is possible to incorporate them.

Otherwise do make sure that there is enough space for garbage containers or bins.


How to Make an Upholstered Headboard using MDF

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 08/05/2019

An upholstered headboard is simply ideal if you want a more aesthetically pleasing bed, which is also more comfortable and useable.

If you like sitting up in bed to read at night, you'd much rather have an upholstered headboard to lean against, instead of a hard frame or a bare wall.

If your bed does not have such a headboard, you can make one yourself quite easily.

In this article, we're going to explain how easy it is to make your own upholstered headboard with just a few materials and basic tools.

Read on to find out more or use the links below to jump to the chapter that interests you:


Chapters

  1. Materials Required
  2. Tools Required
  3. Cutting the Headboard Shape
  4. Cutting the Padded Foam
  5. Adding Upholstery
  6. Attaching Buttons
  7. Wall Mounting
  8. Finishing Up

1. Materials Required

In order to make a headboard, the most practical option is to use a sheet of plywood or MDF.

It is recommended that the thickness of the MDF or plywood sheet is at least 12.5mm (half an inch).

Either material is sturdy enough for the job, but not too thick to make cutting or shaping too troublesome.

Naturally, the width and height of the headboard will depend on the size of your bed.

A good quality foam will be needed, and it is important to have enough to cover all the surface are of the headboard with some wastage.

Padded foam that is 50mm (2 inches) thick is the best option.

This type of foam generally comes in sheets that are 600mm (24 inches) wide, so you'd typically need two sheets to cover an entire headboard.

Next, suitable fabric plus two or three layers of quilt batting will be needed to cover the headboard, as well as have some overlaps on each side so as to wrap it comfortably to the back of the panel.

When it comes to the fabric you use, make sure it's a material that's not susceptible to creasing.

It's always best to iron it well before attaching it to the headboard.

Many people like to use buttons to decorate an upholstered headboard to give it a classic finish.

In this instance, prong buttons are ideal.

2. Tools Required

There is no need to have a lot of tools to complete this project, so even a basic DIYer should be able to do a good job of making a headboard.

The most important tools and equipment to have available are:

  • a jigsaw to cut more easily and effortlessly
  • a sharpie or a marking instrument
  • a large ruler or a yardstick
  • drapery cord
  • buttons (optional)
  • wood glue
  • adhesive spray
  • a staple gun and staples
  • a flexible ruler or a template (to outline the headboard shape)
  • cleat hanger
  • screws
  • electric drill

Also, if the headboard is going to be mounted to the wall wall, cleats will be required.

3. Cutting the Headboard Shape

If the shape of the headboard is going to be rectangular, then all that's required is a pencil and a long ruler to draw a guiding line around the MDF sheet.

To ensure your lines are exactly 90º to the board, use a square to mark your edge lines.

Then with the jigsaw fitted with a fine toothed blade, it's fairly easy to cut along the marked line to create the final headboard shape.

If you have a more elaborate design in mind, it's best to prepare this on a template first using some firm cardboard or a sheet of hardboard.

This will make it much easier to create the shape and cut more precisely.

If you want to create an arch style headboard for example, it's best to use a compass to accurately draw the top circular edge.

Then trace the templated shape onto the board with a pencil and cut as necessary.

4. Cutting the Padded Foam

The next step is to cut the padded foam.

Roll out the foam onto a clean floor or a solid flat worktop, and then place the cut-out headboard on top of it.

Trace along the edges of the template using your marker pen or sharpie so that you have an exact shape drawn out.

Once you have a completed shape marked out, start cutting the foam along the line.

Once the foam shape it cut, spray adhesive onto both one surface of the foam and onto one surface of the solid MDF or plywood headboard sheet.

Then carefully stick and press down the foam directly onto the headboard sheet, making sure all edges line up accurately and neatly.


5. Adding Upholstery

The next step is to add the quilted batting layers over the foam.

Cover the foam side up with a couple of layers of stretched quilt batting, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles as you go.

If any persistent wrinkles appear, trying steaming them out with a steamer or an iron but do not let the iron touch the surface or burn the material.

Once in place using the staple gun, attach to the headboard along the edge at the back with staples, all the time making sure that it is pulled taut as much as possible.

After you've completed stapling the quilt batting, it's time to attach the finishing fabric.

The process is pretty much the same as attaching the quilted batting.

Simply cover up the headboards front facing panel with your fabric, and then flip it over to allow you to staple the fabric securely to the back.

If possible, have someone help out at this stage of the upholstering process.

Where there's areas where the quilting or fabric needs pulling tight, the staples can be removed quite easily and reset, although it's best to avoid this and hold everything firmly in the first place.

It will also ensure you end up with a neater finish.

6. Attaching Buttons

A popular design with headboards is to incorporate buttons for that classic, elegant look.

It's best to mark the headboard where the buttons are going to be attached to make sure they are positioned accurately and most importantly, spaced apart equally.

For best results, use a drill with a small sized drill bit to make the pilot holes.

Try to make the drill hole depths as consistent as possible.

Drilling may cause some foam to be left. This can easily be plucked out before continuing.

Then finally, the buttons can be attached tightly with drapery cord to the back or alternatively, attached with a strong glue.

7. Wall Mounting

There's various ways to mount a headboard, but with a cleat hanger things are a lot easier.

Simply attach one part to the wall and the other to the headboard.

If your walls are solid concrete, use suitable wall anchors and if your wall is a stud wall, locate the studs and attach using wood screws.

Then attach the other part of the cleat hanger to a suitable place at the back of the headboard, ensuring it will sit at the right height.

Screw the hanger to the back of the headboard using suitable wood screws and then hang your headboard into place!

8. Finishing Up

After you've mounted the headboard to the wall, sit back and marcel at your newly elegant bed arrangement.

And of course, try it out and make sure it's comfortable to lean against and practical to use.

You will be amazed at the huge difference a DIY upholstered headboard will make to a bedroom.

It's a relatively simple and cheap project to complete, and it's not going to take too long either.

The best news is, if you were to check how much it would cost to purchase an upholstered headboard and compare it with what you end up spending to make one yourself, the difference is huge.

So why not give it a go?

Order some plywood or MDF sheets, and make your own stunningly beautiful padded headboard.


What is a Wall Bed and Why Get One?

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 09/04/2019

What is a Wall Bed or Murphy Bed?

A Murphy bed, also known as a wall bed or pull down bed is a practical sleeping option for bedrooms.

One end of the bed is hinged so as to enable it to prop up vertically either against the wall, or into a closet space.

This kind of bed was named after William Lawrence Murphy, who patented this kind of bed in the early 1900's.

Murphy beds are still very popular nowadays, especially since many properties are particularly small in this day and age.

Thus Murphy beds are ideal when it comes to freeing up space, and making the most of the floor space.

Wall beds will have the mattress attached to the frame of the bed to ensure that it is held in place even when the bed is pushed up vertically.

Nowadays wall beds are far easier to push up thanks to torsion springs or piston lifts that take the bulk of the weight.

Find out more about uses, advantages and disadvantages of wall beds and Murphy beds below in the following chapters.



Chapters

  1. Why Install a Wall Bed?
  2. Advantages
  3. Disadvantages
  4. Horizontal Single Wall Bed
  5. Horizontal Single Shelf Down Wall Bed
  6. Horizontal Single Shelf Up Wall Bed
  7. Vertical Double Sofa Wall Bed
  8. Study Single or Double Wall Bed
  9. Bunk Beds
  10. Conclusions

Why Install a Wall Bed?

When it comes to choosing the type of bed you will have in your bedroom, it is important to take into account space considerations.

In most bedrooms the bed takes up most of the floor space, leaving little room for other furniture and to move around.

That is why in such cases it is highly recommended to consider opting for a Murphy bed. Murphy beds are widely used in studio apartments and flats.

When the bed is not in use, it can be pushed up against the wall freeing up floor space to be used during the day.

These beds are also ideal in children’s’ rooms as during the day the floor space which would otherwise have been occupied by the bed, can be used for playtime.

Advantages

Some of the main advantages of Murphy beds include:

  • Murphy beds are very practical, thanks to the fact they can pull up against the wall, leaving the floor space for other uses when not folded down.
  • ideal for cases where space saving is a must.
  • some Murphy beds serve a dual purpose nowadays. This is because some styles include other furniture, such as shelving, drawers or a table.
  • the bed can be tucked away into a closet too.
  • the mattress is attached and so it is safe.
  • there’s no box springs.

Disadvantages

Some drawbacks of Murphy beds include:

  • unless properly installed, these beds could become unsafe.
  • since there’s no box springs, wire mesh is generally used in the mattresses, which reduces the bed’s comfort and may not be as supportive as a normal bed.
  • simple styling as there’s no headboard, footboard or bed rail, so there is practically nothing aesthetically unique about a basic wall bed.
  • some people will not like the job of having to pull down and fold up the bed on a daily basis.
  • not suitable for older people who may find it hard or strenuous to pull the bed up and down every day.
  • Common Wall Bed Styles

    Horizontal Single Wall Bed

    One of the most popular styles of wall beds is the Horizontal Single.

    This type of bed, takes up little floor space and it folds up horizontally. Thanks to a side piston lift system the bed can be opened easily and effortlessly.

    Horizontal Single Shelf Down Wall Bed

    In this style the bed will also fold horizontally, but beneath it there is a desk.

    So when the bed is in use the desk will basically become a shelf that slides down, since it will be on the upper side of the bed base.

    A very practical bed, which serves dual purposes and is perfect for teenagers’ bedrooms and study rooms.

    Horizontal Single Shelf Up Wall Bed

    In this case the wall bed will fold horizontally, but the shelf on its base will protrude upwards.

    A very practical design ideal for study rooms, which also looks very stylish.

    Vertical Double Sofa Wall Bed

    This is a very popular design for wall beds.

    The vertical double sofa wall bed is installed in bedrooms as well as living rooms, because the bed converts into a sofa during the day.

    Since this is a double bed, the sofa is of a decent size generally because it is a comfortable two-seater.

    This bed solves the problem for households where one cannot afford to place a sofa permanently due to limited floor space.

    Study Single or Double Wall Bed

    This bed converts into a worktop or desk during the day when the bed is not required.

    A very convenient solution for small bedrooms and study areas, this style can be either with a single or a double bed.

    Needless to say, the bigger the bed, the more spacious the desk can be.

    Bunk Beds

    Bunk beds are very popular in kids’ rooms, so this style is convenient and practical since the two bedding system will often be integrated with a wardrobe or shelving system.

    The beds can be folded up when not in use and so during the day the floor space can be put to good use, such as for playtime.

    Conclusions

    Even though Murphy beds were invented over a century ago, they have evolved into modern, contemporary furniture pieces as many manufacturers revamp and rethink the whole concept of wall beds by incorporating the bed with modular cabinets.

    Nowadays you can find wall bed systems in different styles, materials and colours.

    Many can be custom made according to your specific room measurements or preferences.

    Common options include having a sofa, shelving system or desk to use when the bed itself is pushed up against the wall or into a dedicated cabinet space.

    Murphy beds or wall beds are widely used and their popularity will not fail because they are extremely practical and convenient.

    With practical furnishings becoming increasingly popular due to home becoming smaller, wall beds make for one of the best space-saving options around.

    Many apartments have small rooms, with very limited floor space.

    But thanks to a wall bed, you can free up otherwise disused space and make your home more adaptable and practical to your needs.

    Whether the wall bed is temporary for guests to stay on or to make your rooms feel bigger and more useable, a wall bed is a great space saving solution.


    8 Tips to Designing the Perfect Galley Kitchen Layout

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 07/03/2019

    If your kitchen area is narrow or limited for space, sometimes the design and layout choices you have are extremely limited.

    Long narrow kitchens are a prime example and in this instance, a galley wall kitchen is most likely the one and only solution.

    You may feel as though this limits your ability to be creative and integrate a number of features that a larger room allows. But with some ingenuity and creative thinking, a galley kitchen can in fact be a great success.

    If you're yet to design your galley kitchen, this article explores 8 key considerations to making it work perfectly, whether you're a budding chef, a parent with a growing family or someone that likes to entertain friends and family.

    Find out more about galley kitchen layouts below in the following chapters


    Contents

    1. Maximising Space
    2. Single Wall vs Facing Walls
    3. Positioning Appliances
    4. Choosing Suitable Cabinets
    5. Tall Cabinets & Storage
    6. Appropriate Lighting
    7. Door Styles & Colours
    8. Eating & Socialising
    9. Conclusions

    1. Maximising Space

    The very first and integral part of designing the perfect galley kitchen is to maximise your available space.

    You should favour using tall units, wall units and shelving to capitalise on the space you have.

    Use as much ceiling height as you can, as this is less likely to impact on the usable floor area and give you that all important storage every kitchen needs.

    Stacking integrated appliances such as ovens and microwaves on top of one another is a great space saver too.

    Coupled with the use of pale colours and minimalist cabinets styles, you can create a more spacious look, and remove the corridor feel galley kitchens invariably have.

    Make sure you have ample lighting too, whether natural or artificial.

    This is essential to help enhance the kitchen layout and soften the look, giving a greater sense of openness.

    2. Single Wall vs Facing Walls

    If you only have a single wall to work with, you will really have to think wisely about placement of cabinet, appliances and preparations areas.

    It may seem like the impossible, but there are numerous examples of single wall kitchens that look stunning and really work.

    In this situation, try to place bulky items at the extreme ends of each wall.

    The refrigerator can be tucked away at one end whilst the oven and microwave can be placed at the other.

    This approach ten leave the maximum amount of worktop space available to create a suitable preparation area, and to integrate a sink and drying area.

    If however, you have the option to build your kitchen on two opposing walls, you thankfully have a little more flexibility to play with.

    One wall can be designed as the cooking area whilst the other can be the cleaning and prepping area.

    The key is to make your kitchen easy to move around, whilst being practical and useable.

    Try to visualise how you'd like to use the room and the placement of appliances, cabinets, sinks and refrigerators will become more obvious to you.

    3. Positioning Appliances

    When choosing your appliance positions, a smart tip is to avoid placing them close to windows or even worse, in front of them!

    Appliances are bulky, so they'll easily block a ton of natural light. This will make the room feel gloomy and small.

    Another tip is to install your oven near or next to the sink on the exact same wall as each other.

    Ensure that your refrigerator and high hanging wall cupboards are parallel to each other for easier manoeuvrability. Leave at least a meter between the sink and the oven.

    Having the fridge within reach of the oven and sink is ideal to maximise space and the food preparation triangle.

    4. Choosing Suitable Cabinets

    The type of cabinets you choose will make your kitchen more visually appealing.

    Many people are now choosing contemporary style slab cabinets that typically have inset handles.

    These types of doors help to give the kitchen a sleeker look and of course, limit snagging handles on clothing as you walk past them.

    Many cabinets come in a smooth gloss finish which helps to bounce light around the room, as well as give a cohesive finish that spreads across the length of the room.

    Cabinets without handles will make the room feel longer and larger, whilst handles can become a nuisance if you brush into them when moving from cabinet to cabinet.

    Cabinets with handles are now considered a little old fashioned. So if you want your kitchen to be modern and sleek, handleless is the way to go.


    5. Tall Cabinets & Storage

    As previously mentioned, tall cabinets are a great storage problem solver and can help use maxim space where no space seems available.

    It's important to place cupboards and cabinets in a galley kitchen carefully to ensure you minimise overcrowding.

    Too much will make the room feel cramped, but a few well placed full height cabinets with make the room feel taller and useable.

    Every kitchen no matter the size needs to feel roomy enough to move around, whilst offering all the practicalities you'd expect.

    Cabinets that feature pullouts, pull downs and clever integrated storage will maximise every inch of space you have, without feeling you have to cram as much in as possible.

    6. Appropriate Lighting

    In a room that feels small, light is your best weapon to making it feel spacious.

    Make sure you allow as much natural light to flood the room as possible. So never block windows or place tall units or appliances adjacent to window openings.

    As far as integrated lighting is concerned, install lights wherever possible.

    As well as ceiling lights, experiment with integrated lights such as plinth floor lights, down lights onto counters and even shelf lights.

    These look especially good during darker days or nighttime, where you can really illuminate the best features of your new kitchen and enhance the look to create a stunning visual experience.

    7. Door Styles & Colours

    In a galley kitchen, you'll want to choose a design and colour scheme that emphasises or creates the illusion of space.

    Light and neutral colours are more suitable as they tend to bounce light around. Dark colours tends to make rooms feel smaller.

    Not only will your cabinets choices affect lighting, but your countertops will too.

    Granite and quartz surfaces are highly polished and again, will bounce light around the room.

    Cheaper laminates and butchers blocks may be a more economical option, but they seldom help to make a room feel more spacious.

    8. Eating & Socialising

    Whether you regularly entertain or like to spend time in the kitchen enjoying breakfast or a light snack with the family, getting this aspect right is critical in a narrow kitchen.

    On a single walled galley kitchen, its hard to find areas to sit and relax but there are clever ways to achieve this.

    You could install a small narrow bench seating area along an adjacent wall or even integrate a folder table that is only used temporarily.

    If the room allows, you may even be able to integrate a small section of countertop that hangs over one edge or at 90 degrees to the main work area.

    By doing so, you can use a couple of stools and have a cosy seating area to enjoy drinks and small bites.

    With a little imagination, there are ways to achieve all the must have's with a little compromise here and there.

    Conclusions

    It's fair to say that a galley kitchen is a difficult space to redesign.

    With so few layout options as your disposal, it does seem like there's little that can be achieved that hasn't already been done before.

    But don't despair. Modern kitchen units offer so much more storage and a style options that they do free up space that older units were incapable of.

    Sometimes it's not just about the actual space available, but how you use it.

    With some small adjustments and clever placement of the essentials, you can still create a stunning galley kitchen that ticks all the right boxes.

    But following just some of the suggestion above, you should be able to create a galley kitchen that does all you need and more.


    7 Tips to Designing the Perfect Single-Walled Kitchen Layout

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 07/02/2019

    If you're planning a single walled kitchen layout and think your design options are limited, then think again.

    In this article, we explore various ways to make a single walled kitchen work and look amazing!

    Ultimately, a kitchen spread over just one wall can actually turn out to be more practical and affordable than you think.

    Getting Started

    Planning the perfect single walled kitchen requires a lot of care and attention, as space tends to be limited. In fact this type of kitchen layout is generally used when one has a very small or compact kitchen.

    There's various things to take into account, including the space available, the room layout and which one is the most practical wall.

    So, let's take a look at some very simple tips and tricks anyone can follow, which will help you design the perfect single-walled kitchen, and still manage to achieve a stylish finish with the feeling of space and functionality.


    1. Add a Kitchen Island

    When restricted to a single wall, you can easily add more counter space by installing a kitchen island.

    Obviously, make sure you have enough floor space to achieve this.

    Assuming there is, a kitchen island is the perfect complement to a single-walled kitchen.

    A kitchen island sits parallel to the kitchen wall and helps to enhance the overall layout, creating extra counter space and storage space.

    If floor space is limited, you can opt for a narrower island, which is still very practical.

    If a fixed island is a non-starter, there's also the option of a portable island, which can serve as a breakfast table, bar, or cooking area.

    Both add more practicality and counter space and look amazing.

    The kitchen island can also enable you to establish the working triangle in your kitchen. While the sink and refrigerator can be placed along the kitchen wall, you can have the oven and cooktop installed within the kitchen island.

    2. Buy Suitable Appliances

    Choice of appliances is another important consideration.

    The appliances will need to be located along the same wall, with the refrigerator possibly being positioned as a standalone unit on a separate wall.

    Make sure you choose appliances that are suitable and complement the scale of your kitchen.

    Shop for compact ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and warming drawers, and keep in mind the need for models which are less noisy.

    The colour of the appliances should complement the colour of your kitchen cabinets.

    3. Clever Positioning of Appliances

    Once you’ve chosen the right appliances, they need to be carefully placed to improve efficiency. You do not want to end up walking from one end of the kitchen to the other several times.

    There are different layout options that work well in a single-walled kitchen:

    Option 1

    It may be best to go for an arrangement where the sink is placed in the centre of the kitchen. In that way there will be countertop space on either side of it.

    The refrigerator can be placed as a stand-alone on one end of the room if the wall length is not too large. Otherwise it should be placed closer to the centre.

    The oven and hob should be installed within the island, which will be parallel to the sink.

    In this way you would have an efficient workflow as you would have established a working triangle.

    Option 2

    If a kitchen island is not a feasible option, this may be the best layout for the appliances.

    The refrigerator can be placed at the far end, with a sink right next to it and worktop space on each side.

    Beneath the sink you can place a dishwasher.

    The oven and hob can be placed on the other side.

    Option 3

    At the further ends of the kitchen you could have tall units.

    In these units there can be the oven in one side, and the fridge freezer in the other.

    4. Add a Focal Point

    If you're aiming for a simplistic design, you may want to incorporate a focal point to showcase in your kitchen.

    This will make your kitchen look more inviting and cosy.

    Common options include a stone feature, a bold coloured feature wall such as a splash back, or some statement shelving.

    You'll be amazed at the difference such small details make, and it'll help draw attention away from the otherwise plain design that the kitchen may need to be constrained to.

    5. Add Some Open Shelves

    You could add some open shelving within the frame of the kitchen itself, to move away from a design that is made up solely of cabinets.

    6. Appropriate Cabinets

    Your choice of cabinets are a key element in a kitchen.

    Certain cabinetry styles look better when used on a single wall. These include:

    Minimalistic Cabinets

    Minimalist style cabinets achieve a look that is ideal for a single-walled kitchen.

    The sleek lines promote an efficient look, which also increases storage space.

    These cabinets are very popular with those who prefer modern styling, an all-white or open concept.

    They also help the room to feel bigger, brighter and more spacious.

    Rustic Cabinets

    Rustic themed kitchens can still look fabulous if you adopt a single walled layout.

    It's highly recommended to utilise crafted wood for different elements in the room, including the cabinets, the drawers and the flooring.

    You will love the warm look this brings to your kitchen.

    Retro Style

    A retro style is another great look for a one-walled kitchen.

    The single line counter looks great and it is a neat choice for those who prefer a simplistic design.

    7. Colour Palette

    Colour choices are of utmost importance in any kitchen. You want to choose a colour that makes the room look spacious and bright.

    These are some of the best options when it comes to a single wall kitchen.

    Classic White

    White was, and remains, a very popular colour choice for kitchens. The bright and clean look that a white kitchen achieves is incomparable.

    Your room will look airier and more open. So this is the perfect choice for those who are worried their kitchen is too small and may feel cramped.

    Vibrant Bold Colours

    If you want your kitchen to look and feel warm, opt for vibrant colours.

    Cheerful and bright colours such as green and yellow can make a kitchen look truly fabulous.

    These colours are generally complemented by some neutral tones to make the kitchen look more open, despite the fact it's spread along a single wall.

    Monochrome

    A great choice for those who want a minimalistic, clean-looking kitchen which is modern in style.

    Two-tone lack and white units and countertops complement one another beautifully in a kitchen.

    Sometimes you will find greyish backgrounds or features added in too.

    Advantages of a single walled kitchen

    A single walled kitchen offers various advantages.

    • It is a more affordable option.
    • With fewer units you can achieve a more efficient workflow.
    • Everything is within reach.
    • The space available is used well, and there is no loss of space as in the case of huge corner cupboards, which are difficult to access.
    • It is a more sociable layout that promotes an open-plan arrangement.
    • Increases a sense of openness in the room.

    Disadvantages of a single walled kitchen

    Unless it is properly designed, a single walled kitchen could pose some drawbacks;

    • Lack of counter space since a good percentage of it needs to be taken up by the sink and appliances.
    • Certain activities and tasks are more efficiently done if there is an adjacent worktop available.
    • More prone to clutter.

    Possible solutions

    These problems can be overcome:

    • By including a kitchen island so as to add more worktop space.
    • You could also use pullouts and pan drawers for more storage space.
    • Door storage racks can be very useful.
    • Store certain supplies or items in stackable containers to make the best use of the space available.
    • Opt for tall cabinets that reach to the ceiling to use wall space efficiently.
    • Purchase compact appliances.

    Conclusion

    These are just some tips and tricks, which can help make your single wall kitchen look truly unique and fabulous.

    At the end of the day, you can be as original and innovative as you want to be as the kitchen is the heart of your home, and it deserves to look and feel great regardless of its size or layout.


    7 Tips to Designing the Perfect L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 07/01/2019

    L-shaped kitchens have always been among the most popular.

    The shape helps to maximise worktop space, while retaining the much sought after open plan design that many homeowners love.

    L-shaped kitchens are versatile and they allow you to have all you might need close at hand while you are cooking. Moreover, if you have an l-shaped kitchen, or have used one, you know that this design allows the room to feel more spacious.

    An L-shaped layout works well with both traditional as well as modern cabinetry, and should there be any structural demands in the room, such as, a large window or door, or sloping ceilings, you can still work your way around them with some careful planning.

    Considering all of these benefits, let us elaborate on some tips which will help you design your L-shaped kitchen.

    1. The working triangle

    You might have heard of this expression sometime or other.

    When planning kitchens, designers place a great deal of importance on creating a working triangle, which basically means that the distances between the sink, the oven and the refrigerator are well thought out.

    These are the three most important elements in any kitchen, and you want to have a comfortable distance from one to another to avoid useless movements to and fro.

    An L-shaped kitchen design generally makes the creation of the working triangle quite straightforward.

    2. Logical movement

    Planning is key, and this is even more important in such an important room as the kitchen is in any household.

    In the kitchen you are going to have people coming in and out, grabbing a snack, sitting at the table eating, preparing a meal, opening the fridge, and so on!

    So you need to be aware of the importance of considering the traffic flow in your kitchen while you are designing it.

    This includes considering the entry and exit points, where you should place the table, whether there is enough place to include an island, as well as the sight lines.

    3. The Island

    L-shaped kitchens are generally complemented by an island in the middle of the room.

    While this increases worktop space even further, it can also improve your working triangle as the hob can be placed in the island, and be right in the middle of the room.

    Islands will also offer more space for storage needs.

    4. Integrating custom features

    You will want to make the best use out of the space available, and this implies taking the time to design the layout of the various cupboards and drawers in your kitchen, as well as any open shelves.

    Consider different storage options and custom features which will help you to satisfy your personal preferences and storage needs, while maximising the space available.


    5. Tall units

    Wall cabinets are very popular in kitchens nowadays, including l-shaped kitchens.

    With tall units you will be making the best possible use of the wall space available, and this increases storage possibilities, which in turn helps to reduce clutter from your worktop.

    6. Corner cupboard considerations

    With an L-shaped kitchen you are inevitably going to have a corner cupboard.

    Such cupboards tend to end up being rather under-utilised because of the depth that they will have to have.

    Plan well what you could place in this cupboard. Naturally you cannot store essential items that you will be using often.

    However for certain items that are used on a seasonal or occasional basis, a corner cupboard can be perfect as it is spacious by nature.

    You might also wish to install racks that move outwards so as to reduce the need of having to kneel down and fumble into the deepest parts of the corner cupboards.

    7. Improving small spaces

    An l-shaped kitchen design helps you to maximise the efficiency and use of space even if the room is rather small.

    Besides being practical, it can also be aesthetically pleasing, and with some considerations you can even make it look spacious.

    For instance, try to include open shelves to reduce the crammed look many cupboard doors next to each other might lead to. Make sure to choose light colours and to mix and match the cabinets and drawers’ positions.

    Hi-gloss units make a small space look bigger too. You could also hang a fixed rail below bottom shelves and cupboards so as to hook up any saucepans and pans to them.

    This reduces the need to store them inside the cupboards, leaving more space for other items, equipment and utensils.

    Conclusion

    An L-shaped kitchen can be very compact and practical. With careful planning you can design a beautiful and comfortable kitchen for your home, which will be literally the hub for your family.


    How to Build a Fitted Wardrobe Using MDF (Step-by-Step Guide)

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 09/11/2018

    How to Build a Fitted Wardrobe Using MDF (Step-by-Step Guide)

    What if we told you it was really easy to build your own fitted wardrobe using MDF?

    Even better, how would you feel if we told you it can be done in a single weekend?

    Yes, it's true!

    In this article, we're going to share with you how it's done... simply!

    Most bedrooms have a common problem – too many items to store, and not enough storage space!

    This leads to a lot of clutter and items stored in all sorts of impractical places. If you are in this kind of situation and would gladly like to do something about it, then continue reading...


    How to build a fitted wardrobe yourself

    A fitted wardrobe will help you make the best use of your limited space, and you will not have to spend a fortune making it

    You could fit a wardrobe underneath a staircase, or in a small corner of a room, enabling you to gain more storage space.

    You can also customise it just the way you like, making it easier to complement any existing furnishings or colour schemes

    It's fairly simple to build a wardrobe yourself by using affordable MDF boards.

    Just go through the following steps to see for yourself.

    1. Determine the Space

    You will first need to decide where you intend to place your wardrobe.

    Measure the space so as to plan it out.

    You will want to make maximum use of the height available, especially if your floor space is limited.

    2. Set Your Dimensions

    Once you've measured up your space, you will then need to set out the overall dimensions of the wardrobe.

    Ideally there should be a width of about 50cm per door, or double that for a double doored wardrobe.

    Make sure you consider the way the doors will open, and the layout inside the wardrobe.

    Remember... it's always a good idea to think about the types of items you intend to store in your wardrobe.

    This will enable you to plan properly in terms of number and types of shelves, hanging space and drawers.

    So... always plan ahead!

    3. Get the Right Tools

    You will need to have the right tools to make the job as easy as possible. Never try to cheat. Tools make light work!

    You will need:

    • measuring tape
    • good quality screws at various lengths
    • a saw
    • an electric drill
    • electric screwdriver or impact driver
    • a wood plane
    • wood glue or suitable adhesive

    4. Define Compartments

    You will need to spend a considerable amount of time planning on paper

    This is to make sure that you define all the compartments that there will be inside the wardrobe, as well as the various panels and parts you will have to have for each and every one of them.

    18mm MDF panels are ideal for the outer parts as well as the inner compartments, whereas 12mm wide panels can suffice for the door panels.

    When going to buy the MDF boards, make sure to take the dimensions of all the individuals parts with you as most timber stores will cut them out for you, saving you a great deal of time and effort.

    Smaller cuts can be easily done at home with a handsaw, but the longer cuts are much harder and time consuming unless you have a good quality jigsaw or circular saw.

    You will need to start off by setting up the outer frame of the wardrobe.

    Reinforce the joints of these outer structure panels with corner brackets as well as screws.

    When this structure is in place, you can then move on to the smaller parts, that is, the various inner compartments.

    5. Shelves & Drawers

    Make sure to mark all the panels and parts as this will make it easier for you when you start forming the drawers and compartments.

    It's a good idea to create grooves which will allow you to slide the required panels inside easily, before screwing them up to the horizontal panels above and below, or to vertical ones on the sides.

    Make sure everything is properly aligned.

    Drawers can be constructed really easily.

    Measure up the four parts, glue them to one another, and finally screw them up together.

    Attach the runners on the sides, and insert into the wardrobe to see that they fit properly and align well.

    You may wish to install a front panel for more sturdiness and to install the knob more easily.

    Shelves are even easier to make than drawers!

    All you need is panels, and the side fittings to place them onto when inserting them into their rightful places inside the wardrobe.

    And finally, install the doors! Your wardrobe is practically finished!

    6. Materials & Finishing

    With regards to materials, you will need plenty of MDF boards cut to the required size.

    MDF is smooth, so there is no need for sanding, other than at the edges where the cuts have been made.

    7. Hardware & Handles

    You are going to need many screws.

    Try to choose screws that do not make a very large hole when fastened to the panels.

    You will also need drawer runners for drawers.

    You will need knobs or handles for drawers and for the wardrobe doors.

    Corner brackets are recommended for more sturdiness, and you will also need brackets for the shelves.

    And that's practically it... you're virtually done!

    As you can see it is really easy.

    All you need are some basic tools, affordable materials and hardware, and some forward planning!

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow our guidelines, watch this amazing video uploaded to YouTube by Charlie DIYte for really helpful instructions on making your own fitted wardrobe using MDF sheets:


    10 Common Kitchen Design Mistakes You Need to Avoid

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 15/10/2018

    When it comes to kitchen renovations it is always best to consult experts and professionals that understand the different elements and features of a strategic design. There are certain rules that are generally followed when it comes to designing the layout of your new kitchen. This is an incredibly important area and it must be designed properly. If you are planning on renovating your kitchen or beginning from scratch, this article will outline how to avoid the top 10 design mistakes that too many home owners have make.

    The following outline will give you 10 common mistakes that you will want to avoid at all costs. Your kitchen is an integral room in your home, so be sure to follow these suggestions as you continue reading below.

    1) Lack of Traffic Flow

    Being able to access all the different sections of your kitchen is important and leads to a better functioning area. You will need to design the right layout that optimises the space available to you. You want a fully functioning cooking area that allows for good workflow and is easy to move around.

    2) Unused Storage Space

    There is plenty of different things in a kitchen and you will undoubtedly need plenty of storage space. Be sure that everything is organised and that your food preparation areas are clear of clutter and allow space. You can use the walls to hang objects or you can increase cupboard space and even install vertical cabinets. There are many different options available to maximise storage space. Just look at the different options out there and be creative.

    3) Poor Lighting

    Every kitchen needs to provide good lighting as there are many tasks that are involved with food preparation. Adding illumination can add beauty to your cooking area but it does not need to be a dramatic effect. Ensure that you have a safe working area that is properly lighted for preparing food.

    4) Low-Quality Kitchen Items

    You will want to purchase items that will last for a long time and won't break down from wear and tear right away. Purchasing items at a discount or using poor quality products will only cost you more money. Kitchen environments provide a lot of wear and tear so invest in quality items to save money instead of wasting it on inefficient tools you will need to regularly replace.

    5) Bad Ventilation

    Having a kitchen that stinks up the entire house with the foods you are cooking is not ideal. You will want to ensure that your kitchen is well ventilated and using range hoods will circulate air. Also adding a window can help with fumes, whilst decent ventilation extends the life of your appliances and will fill your home with fresh air and fewer odours.

    6) Using an Inappropriate Kitchen Island

    Having the wrong kitchen island or having it in the wrong location causes more trouble then it solves. It may, in fact, cause clutter and hassles with manoeuvrability and cooking. Make sure you choose the correct shape and size that won't obstruct the kitchen or interrupt traffic flow.

    7) Bad Garbage Systems

    You will need an optimised solution for dealing with trash management when it comes to your kitchen. Your cooking area can end up looking dirty and even smelling bad if this is not managed appropriately. You need cleanliness and having proper garbage disposal is necessary. A good idea is to use a container that has a cover or hide it in the cabinet.

    8) Changing the Kitchen Layout

    Some people will make a final decision on what they desire and then they keep on making changes. You will want to stick to your design plan and meet your requirements. Changing your ideas and layout will only cost more money. Be sure to pick a plan that you can stick with that you will appreciate.

    9) Following Trends

    Some homeowners will choose to follow a certain trend or style just for the sake of it. Unfortunately once the trend has changed, your kitchen will look outdated. If you cannot redesign and refit your kitchen regularly, then you should use a timeless design that works for you. It is a good idea to use a general theme and to avoid overspending on appliances based on trends.

    10) Not Seeking Consultation

    If you are not a design professional, don't try to do the work yourself. You can save money and ensure proper workmanship by hiring professionals to get it done for you. You can also hire consultants for design ideas and to really get the kitchen of your dreams. Also, pick a budget and stick to it and be flexible for best results.


    How to Design a U-Shaped Kitchen Peninsula

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 13/09/2018

    Choosing a U-shaped kitchen peninsula can be a great addition as an ideal option for those who are looking to change the look and layout of their kitchen. When peninsula kitchen designs are utilised, they offer many of the same benefits as an island that includes extra storage space, more workspace for food preparation, as well as a place to socialise with family and friends. A U-shaped kitchen peninsula can fit in almost any kitchen location and this article will enlighten you to the various complexities involved with designing a U-shaped kitchen peninsula that brings better functionality to your cooking area.

    There are 5 key points that we will examine on how to build the best U-shaped peninsula possible. Continue reading below to gain much-needed details that you should know before choosing to incorporate this feature into your kitchen design:

    What is a Peninsula?

    The first thing you will need to know is what exactly a U-shaped kitchen peninsula is. They are very similar to a kitchen island in the sense that they are a unit that provides a worktop and storage space. However, instead of standing freely in the middle of your kitchen, a U-shaped kitchen peninsula is attached to three walls and have a distinct shape. They are accessible from one side and are an extension to help separate open space in the layout of the kitchen. A kitchen island is accessible from all four separate sides which differentiates the U-shaped peninsula.

    1) Pros & Cons

    There are plenty of positive and negative attributes in choosing to implement this design in your kitchen design. They definitely offer you more counter space and since it is connected to walls there is more storage space that can incorporate extra cupboards and drawers. Another positive attribute to a peninsula is that they fit in smaller kitchens as well as bigger ones. The negative attributes to a peninsula are that they can take up needed space and room and they have less room for other people. They are also more expensive than other peninsulas and islands.

    2) Planning the Layout

    You will be limited only by your imagination and the available space you have in your kitchen. There are a few methods you can integrate a U-shaped peninsula into your overall layout. You can use it to define a room that helps define zones. They can also be used as a place to eat for breakfasts and casual meals. You can even add a peninsula to an L-shaped kitchen to create the surface area of a U-shaped peninsula. You can also incorporate kitchen appliances within the design.

    3) Sink & Hob Positions

    Another thing that can be implemented into the design of a U-shaped kitchen peninsula is where you position your hob as well as the sink. It is common for home designers to have the sink and the hob to be in a position directly opposite from each other so they are easily accessible while doing things such as food preparation and cooking. Be sure to have all of the necessities of your U-shaped peninsula to be close to each other for better fluidity and economy of time, motion, and space.

    4) Symmetry & Balance

    The benefits of U-shaped kitchens give you the distinct opportunity for symmetry with a design that is well balanced. You don't want to compromise the integrity or usability of your kitchen but many homeowners enjoy a clean and balanced aesthetic by incorporating beautiful symmetry. You can easily incorporate kitchen appliances into the symmetry or you can also deviate from a typical design. Your home is entirely unique as you are and building your peninsula will be dependent on the space and structure you have to work within your kitchen area.

    5) Maximise Counter Space

    Whatever size kitchen your home may have, a benefit of a U-shaped peninsula will give you extra counter space that you can use. It can be utilised for preparing food and can even serve as an area for eating breakfast or even socialising with family and friends. Having more counter space will also offer a much cleaner and less cluttered working area.

    A U-shaped peninsula is a great way to improve your kitchen.

    With a U-shaped peninsula design, you give yourself much more room for flexibility in designing the final layout. There are plenty of different possibilities and variations on what you can achieve when using this design plan. Be sure to utilise the suggestions above that are right for you and your kitchen needs.


    6 Common Practical Uses of MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard)

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 06/08/2018

    Medium Density Fibreboard is a specially engineered product that is created from wood fibres.

    It is a dense product and has many different uses in a variety of industries.

    Fibreboard is a sturdy product and is often covered with a veneer and it can also include secondary raw materials such as fibres from sugarcane and wood chipping.

    This is an incredibly versatile material to work with and this article we'll share with you the different practical uses for MDF and what you can do with it. 

    Furniture

    To begin with, many different furniture companies utilise specially measured MDF boards and if you have ever purchased an inexpensive piece of furniture like a bookshelf or an entertainment centre, then chances are they may be constructed from MDF.

    Many different inexpensive furniture pieces are constructed from low to medium-density fibreboard because this particular product is easily produced and is economical, which lowers the cost of manufacturing and production.

    Using low-density fibreboard typically reduces the costs associated with producing furniture and it is a very common material that is used in the creation of prefabricated furniture.

    Companies like IKEA and other big store companies offer products that are built from this material.

    Cabinetry

    Another thing that medium density fibreboard is known for is home interior cabinetry.

    It's most common to find cabinets made of fibreboard and then finished with solid wood laminate on top.

    Home interior products like kitchen cabinets and shelving units are typically built from MDF and this also includes doors, mouldings and sometimes even flooring such as wood effect laminates.

    There are many different applications that can be integrated with using medium density fibreboard and these are only a few examples of how it is used in home interiors.

    Fire Resistance

    One interesting use for medium density fibreboard that many people may not be aware of is for its fire retardant capabilities.

    Certain buildings and structures require the use of fire retardant MDF in their construction.

    This type of fibreboard is known to be used in the construction of commercial buildings which include stores and offices and other buildings that must meet certain building regulations and requirements for safety.

    Some homeowners choose to use fire retardant MDF in the construction of their homes as well as to provide further protection from any possible fires spreading.

    Vapour Repulsion

    Medium density fibreboard can also be utilised as a vapour barrier and insulation for both homes and commercial buildings.

    This is because it has a durability and treatment that makes it an excellent vapour barrier when used with other vapour repellant products.

    This type of wood is able to deal with long periods of moisture and drying out without being damaged like shrinking or going through the process of rotting.

    It can act as a vapour barrier and it can also offer insulation and prevent heat loss which would ultimately help with lowering heating costs and electrical bills.

    Soundproofing

    This may not be as widely known, but fibreboard can also provide soundproofing and lower the ability of sound to travel.

    Many speaker manufacturers use medium density fibreboard or particle board because it absorbs sound and prevents vibration from inside the speaker casing.

    This wood product can also be used in media rooms, walls of apartment buildings and offices as well as floor underlayment to help minimise sound disturbances and noise pollution.

    Many different contractors and building companies use MDF for this particular purpose during construction for the application of reducing noise and sound traveling.

    Roofing

    Another interesting fact about the versatility known for fibreboard is its use for around the home both inside and outside.

    Fibreboard can be used for all sorts of housing needs including roofing materials for low sloped roofs.

    MDF is an excellent material that can be used as backing for shingles of any kind of roof.

    You can also use it as sheathing for walls inside your home.

    MDF is incredibly durable as well as flexible which gives it numerous applications when it comes to a family home both in the interior and exterior.

    Ultimately medium density fibreboard is a top-notch solution with many different uses and things that it can be used for.

    This list of common practical uses of MDF is just a short example and there are plenty of more uses that MDF can be utilised for.

    It will continue to be a cheaper option rather than purchasing timber products such as plywood and with its numerous uses, it will always be a well known and widely used material in the fabrication of furniture all the way to the construction of buildings and homes.


    How to fit a laminate or wooden kitchen worktop

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 06/07/2018

    Make your countertop a perfect fit every time

    Preparation

    Before proceeding, it is assumed that your kitchen floor units are fully installed, are fixed in their permanent positions and have been adequately levelled to prevent any issues with fitting the worktop correctly. If not, please ensure you have sufficiently levelled the floor units and secured them in place before attempting to fit a kitchen worktop.

    If you wish to fit a granite, quartz or solid surface material such as corian, this must be carried out by a fully qualified professional who will create an accurate template of your kitchen and prepare the worktop off-site before delivering and fully fitting. This tutorial will only concentrate on cuttable surfaces such as laminate, solid wood or butchers block.

    Finally, make sure all of your kitchen floor units are clean and free from debris such as sawdust or any other contaminants that may affect your final finish. You also want to ensure all surfaces are sufficiently prepared, flat and true such as the back walls behind the units, before attaching the worktop.

    Tools Required

    As with any DIY project, you need the best tools to get the best results. For this job, you’ll need:

    • kitchen worktop (laminate, wood or butchers block)
    • worktop joining strips
    • length of timber baton
    • 2 x G-clamps
    • circular saw
    • eye goggles
    • gloves
    • measuring tape
    • utility square
    • pencil (for marking up)
    • electric or Phillips screwdriver
    • sandpaper
    • hacksaw
    • electric drill and drillbits
    • masking tape
    • scissors
    • screws

    Setting Out

    Planning ahead or what professionals refer to as “setting out” is incredibly important, as it will help give you a clear plan of how you will lay your worktop onto the units, where longer lengths of worktop will fit and where adjoining pieces will fit. Where possible, you want to do as little cutting as possible and take advantage of the factory cut edges for adjoining pieces. They will be very square and true and most likely give a neater edge than cutting with a handsaw or electric circular saw. You also want to have as fewer joins as possible so that your worktop looks like one continuous piece.

    If for example, you have a U-shaped or L-shaped kitchen, you should use longer pieces of worktop along the longest walls and use smaller pieces for adjoining sections. You want to place joining strips in places that will be least visible and will not spoil the final finish.

    Once you have worked out how and where you wish to lay your worktop, you are ready to start.

    Measuring & Cutting

    Firstly, start with the longest wall and measure the length of worktop you need to fit with one continuous piece from end-to-end. If there are any exposed edges, make sure you compensate for a sufficient overhang over the kitchen unit’s edge, usually at least 20mm and then mark up the kitchen worktop on the underside using a measuring tape, a pencil and a square.

    Now with the worktop on a cutting table or saw horse with the underside facing upwards, clamp a piece of timber baton to the worktop as a cutting guide for your circulate saw, so that the blade exactly lines up with the pencil mark you have just made. Make sure that the baton is securely in place and squarely aligned with the pencil marking. The baton will act as a secure cutting guide that your circular saw with press against and ensure the cut is as straight and as clean as possible.

    When ready to cut, make sure you wear a pair of protective goggles and gloves. Then cut the worktop with your circular saw in one smooth continuous motion. Do not stop halfway through as this may lead to splintering of the worktop and ruin the final finish.

    After cutting, you may need to give the edge a light sandpaper just to remove any nicks or odd edges. Make sure not to sand the visible worktop surfaces and only concentrate on the sides.

    Fitting the Worktop

    Now lift the cut worktop into position and lay it on top of the base units precisely where you intend to fit it. Push it correctly into position and check that the back is firmly pressed against the rear wall, the overhang at the front is even and any side overhangs are correct. Once satisfied, use a couple of G-clamps to hold the worktop firmly to the units below ready for attaching.

    Some suppliers use L-Brackets whilst others require you to drill through the underneath of your units into the worktop and screw them together directly. Either way, you will need to use an electric drill to drill pilot holes from your base units into the worktop. Make sure not to drill too far so that you do not pierce the worktop and ruin the surface. Pilot holes only need to be short just to make attaching the units to the worktops easier and quicker.

    Once you have drilled your pilot holes through the base cabinets into the worktop, simply screw them together using the supplied screws and a screwdriver. You should connect the worktop at both the front and towards the back of the base units to ensure a firm, snug fit that will not move.

    You should now have your first piece of worktop fitted in place.

    Repeat the process above for your additional pieces, ensuring that your cuts are neat and compensate for any overhangs. If you are cutting an adjoining piece, you will most likely need to attach a joining strip to the edge to give a neater, flush edge.

    Simply measure the length of strip required and cut it to length using a hacksaw. Then attach the joining strip to the required edge of your worktop using the supplied screws and slide into place. Then when you are satisfied the worktop is positioned correctly, attach it to the base units as described above.

    Finishing Touches

    If you have any exposed cut edges on surfaces such as laminate, you may need to glue a finishing strip to the edge. Finishing strips are usually supplied in lengths that will need to be cut down. So firstly, tape it to the edge of your worktop using some masking tape and draw the shape using a pencil by templating around the edge of the worktop profile. Then cut the end strip with scissors to carefully create a perfect fitting edge.

    Use the glue supplied, ensuring the room has sufficient ventilation due to fumes and apply to both the end strip and the worktop edge. Once it has cured and is ready (usually around 15 minutes), press the end strip in place and use some masking tape to hold it in place until the glue has fully set. Once set, remove the masking tape and your end strip should be firmly affixed.

    If the end strips show any odds edges that protrude, you can use a light sandpaper to gently file off any rough edges to make the finish as smooth as possible.

    You should now be ready to install all of your remaining kitchen worktops by following the above instructions.

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow our guidelines, watch the useful video below by Wickes for really helpful instructions on fitting a laminate or sold wood kitchen worktop:


    How to fit kitchen plinths, pelmets & cornices

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 07/06/2018

    Give your kitchen the perfect finishing touches

    Preparation

    Before proceeding, it is assumed that your kitchen floor units and wall cabinets have all been fitted and fully installed and are fixed in their permanent positions. If otherwise, please refer to our previous blog posts explaining how to fit kitchen cabinets correctly. It is also assumed that any flooring has been laid fully and is fitted beneath your kitchen units. Plinths should only be fitted once your floor coverings are in place.

    Finally, make sure all surfaces are clean and free from debris such as sawdust, dirt, cement dust, screed or any other contaminants that may affect your final finish. You want to ensure all areas and surfaces are clean before proceeding.

    Tools Required

    As with any DIY project, you need the best tools to get the best results. For this job, you’ll need:

    • electric mitre saw (or mitre block and fine toothed handsaw)
    • jigsaw (with fine toothed blade)
    • measuring tape
    • pencil (for marking up)
    • utility square
    • electric or Phillips screwdriver
    • lengths of plinths, pelmets & cornices
    • plinth brackets and clips
    • screws
    • joining blocks
    • mitre bond

    What Goes Where?

    Before staring, it is crucial to understand which pieces are suited to various parts of your kitchen units.

    The plinths, sometimes referred to as kkckboards, are designed to go underneath your kitchen cabinets where they meet the floor. They are designed to give a nice, neat finished to your cabinets where the floor meets the bottom edges but also to prevent debris and objects from collecting underneath the cabinets.

    Pelmets sit at the base of your wall cabinets along the front edge and are considered to be a decorative finish, but also help to hide the underside of your kitchen cabinets which in most cases do not have the same nice finish as the fronts. They are also useful for hiding items such as under-mounted down-lights and cables that may run along the underside of the cabinets.

    Lastly, cornices are designed to sit along the front edge at the top of kitchen wall cabinets and are again, considered to be a decorative finished that helps to fill space between the tops of the cabinets and ceiling. They also help to add the illusion of height and in many cases, add a very nice finishing touch to cabinets when installed.

    Fitting the Plinths

    Plinths are usually supplied in standard lengths of 2.4m - 2.75m so may require cutting to size, depending on the type of kitchen units you have.

    If your units have side panels that touch the floor, your plinths will need to sit in between each side panel from one edge of the starting kitchen unit and to the other end of the next. Firstly, measure the gap between each unit side panel and mark the distance on the back of your plinth with a pencil. When marking, use a square to ensure you have a perfectly straight 90º angle before cutting. Now cut the plinth using either an electric mitre saw set at exactly 90º or carefully cut using a fine tooth hand saw.

    If the height of your plinths is greater than the gap between your kitchen units and the floor, you may have to trim them lengthways down to an appropriate size. Again, measure the height between your kitchen units and the floor and then make a mark on either side on the rear unfinished side of the plinth and draw a pencil line the full length of the plinth using a straight edge. Using a jigsaw with a fine toothed blade attached, cut the plinth to the desired size.

    Once your plinth is correctly cut to size, place your plinth in front of the cabinet feet with the rear unfinished side facing upwards and the cute edge facing towards you. Then, mark the centre position of the feet with a pencil onto the back of the plinth board. Make your marks the full height of the back of the plinth exactly at 90º angles to the feet using a utility square. Once you have your marks in place, screw clip brackets exactly halfway up the plinth and central to the marks you have made. Once in place, slide clips onto each of the the brackets.

    Finally, lift plinth into place and gently push the plinth towards the cabinets legs so that the clips pop and grip the legs, holding the plinth into position. Your first plinth should now fitted.

    Simply repeat the above process for all your remaining plinths.

    Fitting the Pelmets

    Like plinths, pelmets are usually supplied at set lengths of around 2.4m long therefore, you may need to cut them down to the correct size.

    To start, simply measure from the starting edge of the furthest unit to the next protruding edge on an adjacent unit and mark that length with a pencil on the rear unfinished face of your pelmet. If the first edge is to be a straight cut, make sure the mark you create is 90º true using a utility square, then cut using a fine tooth hand saw or an electric mitre saw set precisely at 90º to your pelmet.

    If any of your pelmets are to be fitted to a kitchen unit that sits on an open edge, then you will need to cut mitred edges at an outward 45º angle. For the cleanest, best finish, use an electric mitre saw. However, you can use a fine tooth hand saw and a mitre block, although this does tend to be more fiddly and can lead to uneven mitred edges.

    Once your pelmets are all cut to size and are ready to attach to the kitchen units, screw joining blocks to the rear unfinished side of the pelmets at the top of the edge that will touch the underside of the kitchen units. Then position the pelmets flush to the front outside edges of the kitchen units, and screw them to the units on the underside, making sure that any mitred or straight edges are sat precisely where they need to be to create a seamless join with the adjoining pelmet. Apply mitre bond to any mitred edges so that adjoining pieces are sufficiently glued together and show an even, neat edge.

    Repeat the above process until all your pelmets are fitted.

    Fitting the Cornices

    Attaching cornices is practically the same process as fitting pelmets. The only difference is that you are attaching the cornices to the top of your kitchen units. So follow the same practices by accurately measuring your lengths and then make accurate 90º or 45º mitred cuts where appropriate, then screw in joining blocks and then apply mitre bond where necessary.

    It’s as simple as that!

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow our guidelines, watch the video below for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen plinths, pelmets and cornices.


    How to fit kitchen door handles

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 08/05/2018

    Attach kitchen doors handles yourself and get great results

    Preparation

    Before proceeding, make sure your doors are already correctly fitted to your kitchen units and have been suitably adjusted so that they sit level and true. Also ensure that the surfaces of the doors are clean and from debris, dirt or dust to prevent any damage or errors during fitting your handles. Door handles are usually fitted when the doors are attached to the units so you can use your eye to get a better idea of where you want your handles to be attached.

    Tools Required

    As with all DIY projects, you’ll need the right tools to get the best possible finish. For this job, you’ll need:

    • measuring tape
    • pencil (for marking up)
    • small spirit level
    • G-clamp
    • electric drill and drill bits
    • electric or Phillips screwdriver
    • off-cut of wood
    • door handles and screws

    Measuring Up

    Assuming your kitchen base cabinets are fully assembled with the doors attached, you’re ready to get started.

    As there are various types of door handles available, the placement of your handles may differ. As a general rule, handles will sit centrally width-wise on horizontal drawers, pull outs and cupboards, whilst on traditional floor cupboards, the handles will sit vertically and placed closer to the top corner on the side that opens or near the bottom on floor cabinets on the side that opens. If you’re unsure, check the manufacturers instructions that came with your door handles.

    In general, the most common type of handle found in kitchens is the “D-handle” type, which consists of two screws placed at either end of the handle. For this exercise, we will show you how to fit this popular handle type.

    To measure up on a regular vertically set cupboard door or pullout, firstly find the correct side where you wish to fit your handles. In general, a floor cupboard will have the handle sat close to the top of the door so that it is easily reached when standing. A wall cabinet however will generally have the handle sat close to the bottom of the door so it is easily reached.

    Now you need to decide where you want your handles to be placed. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question as different people have different preferences but always ensure you leave adequate space at both edges where the handle will sit. You do not want your handles too close to edges as they may rub against other surfaces or simply look bad. If for example you are fitting handles to a shaker unit, it is generally accepted that your handles should sit exactly in the middle of both the left and right edges of the raised outer frame to give an even, balanced finished. If your kitchen doors are flat with no framed or beveled edges, it is recommended that your handles are no less than 40mm away from each edge. Any close and the finished look may not be very appealing.

    To fit your first handle, measure the exact space between each screw hole on your door handles using a tape measure. Note the distance down on paper in millimetres for later use. Now hold the handle on your door where you feel you would like it to sit, baring in mind to allow sufficient space from each door edge. Now with a pencil, clearly mark the position of first hole you wish to drill with a pencil.

    Now take a small spirit level and draw a perfectly vertical line from the middle of the hole you just marked, to approximately the same length as your door handle. And then measure the exact distance from the first hole marked to mark the second hole that matches the distance between the holes on your door handle along the line drawn. You should now have two marks ready to drill before attaching your first handle.

    Marking up door handles for horizontal drawers and pull-outs uses exactly the same processes except your handles need to sit precisely in the middle of the doors width. So before marking any holes, find the exact centre of your door by measuring from each edge and mark where the middle of your door is. Then use that mark to draw a horizontal line with a spirit level on your door and mark where the holes on your handles should be along the line.

    Drilling Holes & Attaching Handles

    Before you begin drilling, always place an off-cut of wood at the back of the door, on the opposite face you intend to drill. Hold it tightly to the door using a G-clamp. The block of wood is there to stop the door from splintering or splitting when the drill reaches the other site. This will ensure clean drill holes every time.

    Once you have clamped a block of wood to the opposite face, attach a wood drill bit to your drill that is slightly wider than the screws supplied with your door handles. Begin drilling using the marks you created and drill all the way through the doors. Then repeat the above process for each hole until finished.

    Now, with a Philips screwdriver, attach the handles by pushing the screws through your newly drilled holes and tighten until snug. Do not over-tighten as you may damage the door surface.

    Your first handle should now be attached.

    Templating

    Assuming you’re happy with the position of your first door handle, you may want to consider creating a template so that you can copy the precise position of the screw holes and carry that through to all your other doors.

    There’s various ways to do this. You could use a good quality piece of cardboard and mark the position of the holes by removing the newly fitted handle and then using a pencil to mark the hole positions drilled. Then will a nail, pop two holes through the cardboard so that you can use the holes to mark other doors.

    Or if you prefer, you could remove your newly fitted door handle and note down the precise dimensions from the top and side edges where your holes are drilled and copy this across to other units. Just ensure your holes are precise and level and alway double check your measurements agains your door handles and use a spirit level and tape measure every time. Once you’ve fitted a few door handles, the process becomes much easier and quicker.

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow our guidelines, watch the excellent video below created by Wickes, for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen wall cabinets.


    How to fit a kitchen island

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 05/04/2018

    Install a kitchen island yourself and transform the look of your home

    Preparation

    Before proceeding, make sure your floors are correctly prepared, are flat and free of debris or imperfections that may cause the kitchen units to sit unevenly or insecurely. Loose or creaking floorboards should be appropriately repaired and all concrete floors should be levelled as necessary.

    Also check that no electrical cables or pipes run directly below where you intend to place your kitchen island, as drilling is necessary to fix your units to the floor therefore, you want to ensure you eliminate the chances of drilling or piercing any cables or pipes below.

    Tools Required

    As with any DIY project, you will need the appropriate tools to get the best finish possible, For this job, you’ll need:

    • spirit level
    • G-clamps
    • electric drill and drill bits
    • electric screwdriver or Phillips screwdriver
    • duct tape
    • screws
    • L-brackets

    Measuring Up

    Assuming your kitchen base cabinets are fully assembled, work out the size and placement of your kitchen island in relation to the existing units. Most people like their island to sit adjacent to the kitchen units running along the longest wall, in a place that is convenient to the cooking and food preparation areas that offer plenty of room to move around. A gap of at least 1200mm is recommended on all sides to prevent the space between your units and the island being too cramped. Anything less and you might find your kitchen feels too small and awkward.

    If however you’re confident that you have plenty of room to fit an island, then you are ready to get started.

    Fitting the Island

    Most kitchen islands are built using at least two kitchen base cabinets. You may use as many as you like to make your kitchen island as big as desired. But for the purpose of this tutorial, we will use just two units to keep things simple.

    Firstly, place the two floor cabinets together where you want your kitchen island to be located. Then make sure they are level by placing a long spirit level across the top of the units and adjust the feet until you have them perfectly level where they stand. Once you’re satisfied they’re level, using a couple of G-clamps, clamp the two units to hold them firmly together so you can begin screwing them together as one permanent pairing.

    To attach the two units together neatly, you can hide the screws by firstly removing the hinge plates. Once the hinge plate is removed, drill a pilot hold through one side of the unit to the other, ensuring you do not drill all the way through. Then attach the units together by inserting a screw and tighten with a Philips screwdriver. Reattach the hinge plate and then repeat this process with the other hinge plate.

    It’s also recommended to attach the cabinets together towards the back as well to ensure strength and rigidity front to back. If suitable pre-drilled pilot holes do not already exist, drill a pilot hole at the back of the unit and attach a screw to hold the two units together. Your two units should now be firmly attached to each other.

    Building the Outer Shell

    Most kitchen islands have an outer shell to cover the back and side panels of the kitchen base units, giving them a professional finish. Usually, side panels and back panels are used to create a seamless, tidy finish.

    Firstly, work out where you’ll attached your end panels to the floor by laying them out next to the cabinets. Then attach two L-shaped brackets to the base of the end panels, ensuring they are not positioned where they will be obstructed by the legs on the cabinet. Then rest your end panel into position where you want it fitted and attach it temporarily to the two kitchen base cabinets using a G-clamp. Repeat this process for the other side panel and then finally, place the back panel in between the two clamped side panels, ensuring all of the end panels have L-shaped brackets attached as necessary. Once you’re satisfied the panels are all neatly in position, grab some duct tape and stick them all together in place to prevent any movement.

    Now, carefully slide your two kitchen base units away from the side and end panels, making sure not to knock or disturb them and put them out of the way for the time being. Now you should have access to screw your side and back panels to the floor through the previously attached L-brackets. It is recommended that each panel has at least two L-brackets attached to the floor for added strength and stability. The back panel however will most likely need at least four L-brackets screwed to the floor.

    Finishing Up

    Once your side panels are firmly affixed to the floor, carefully slide your two attached kitchen base cabinets back into the outer shell you have just attached to the floor and clamp together when in the correct position. Attach the cabinets to the rear of the shell, again using screws through L-brackets so that you create a single rigid frame.

    To attach the cabinets to the side panels, drill pilot holes through the side of the kitchen cabinets from the inside, being careful not to drill all the way through. Then screw the cabinets to the side panel using screws.

    Your kitchen island should now be in place ready to cut and attach the plinth as well as the doors, handles and kitchen worktop.

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow these instructions, then watch the excellent video below created by Wickes for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen wall cabinets.


    How to fit kitchen wall cabinets

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 06/03/2018

    Install kitchen wall units yourself and get professional results every time

    Preparation

    Before you begin, make sure the wall is appropriately prepared and is smooth, clean and free from imperfections that may hinder the wall cabinets from sitting flush to the wall. Any bumps or lumps could result in poor finishing and difficultly fitting each cabinet accurately and flush to each other.

    Also check to see which type of wall you have. A masonry (brick based) wall can be drilled straight into with wall plugs and cabinets hung easily. If you have a stud wall, you may need to locate the position of each of the timber studs to screw in the appropriate fixings directly or alternatively, use drywall anchors designed to take the weight of wall cabinets into the plasterboard.

    Finally before starting, it is strongly advised to check your walls in and around your planned fixing points for internal plumbing pipes and electrical wires. By using an electrical cable tracer, you can identify where sources of power are behind your walls and mark them before drilling. If you are unsure, always consult a qualified professional first. Only proceed with this instructional blog until you are fully satisfied you are safe to do so.

    Tools Required

    As with any DIY project, you will need the appropriate tools to get the best finish possible, For this task, you will need:

    • step ladder
    • spirit level
    • cable and pipe detector
    • electric drill and drill bits
    • electric screwdriver or Phillips screwdriver
    • safety glasses
    • wall plug (or anchors)
    • screws
    • tape measure
    • pencil

    Marking Up

    Assuming your kitchen cabinets are fully assembled and your base cabinets are already in place, you’re ready to get started. If you haven’t installed your base cabinets yet however, please fit them first.

    When hanging wall cabinets, it is advised to start with a corner unit and work you way out. So firstly, using a tape measure and pencil mark, on the wall where you want your first cabinet to hang. Wall units usually hang between 450-500mm from the base cabinet worktop, so ensure you allow for sufficient room when deciding where to hang them.

    If however you have any full height larder and tall units already installed, the top of that unit should determine how your remaining wall cabinets must hang as you will want the tops of the wall units to sit precisely flush with the top of the full-height larder unit. If you have a larder unit to install but haven’t already fitted it, you must fit this unit firstly before hanging any wall cabinets.

    Once you know precisely where you want your wall cabinets to hang, mark horizontal lines for the top and bottom edges along the wall using a spirit level to ensure the lines are straight and level. Then mark vertical lines to clearly define where each wall cabinet will end. This will give you an accurate outline of where your units will sit and will make fitting far easier.

    Fitting the Units

    Firstly check the rear of the wall cabinet to see how they will hang onto the walls. Usually, there are hooks at either side at the top of cabinet’s back panel. These hook onto plates that are screwed to the walls.

    Now, hold a hanging plate up to the rear hook and measure the distance from the top of the cabinet to the base of the hanging plate using a tape measure. Now do the same from the sides of the cabinet to the near edge of the plate, making a note of the measurements. Then mark these exact measurements on the wall in pencil, so you know exactly where the plates should sit on the wall to hang the cabinet.

    Whilst holding the plate on the wall where you marked it’s position, mark the screw holes with a pencil. Now before you drill the marked holes, double check there’s no electrical cables or pipes behind the wall using your cable detector. Once you’re satisfied it’s safe to do so, put on your safety glasses and drill appropriate holes using an electric drill and correctly sized drill bit to suit the wall plugs.

    Masonry walls will require a masonry drill bit whilst stud walls will require a wood drill bit.

    Once drilled, pop appropriate wall plugs into the holes and screw the wall plates into place.

    Attaching Cabinets

    To attach the wall cabinets, simply lift into place ensuring the rear hooks sit onto the wall plates you just fitted. Start by lifting the unit above the hooks and slowly lower it until the hooks meet. If the cabinet is particularly big or heavy, ask a friend for help.

    Now make sure the cabinet sits level by placing a small spirit level on the top of the unit. If your wall cabinet is slightly out, don’t worry. The adjuster blocks inside the back at the top of your cabinets allow you to adjust the cabinet using a Philips screwdriver. Just a few turns and you should be able to get the unit perfectly level!

    Once your unit is level, it’s fitted and ready for use. Simply repeat the above instructions to fit the remaining wall cabinets.

    Finishing Up

    Once all of your wall units are in place, it may be a good idea to screw them to each other to ensure they sit tight and flush to each other. This will also add strength and make them more rigid.

    To avoid showing exposed screw heads however, you will want to screw them together underneath the hinge plates. To do so, remove any existing hinge-plates from one of the adjacent wall cabinet. Then drill pilot holes at the top and bottom through to the adjacent cabinet and screw together using appropriately sized screws. Then reattach the hinge plates to conceal the screws you just used to attach the units together.

    Repeat for all of the wall cabinets, ensuring their top and bottom edges all sit flush before screwing together.

    Your kitchen wall cabinets are now fully installed and ready for use!

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow these instructions, then watch the excellent video below created by Wickes for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen wall cabinets.


    How to fit kitchen base cabinets

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 08/02/2018

    Fit kitchen floor units yourself and get great results every time

    Preparation

    Before you begin, make sure that your floor is even, level and free of dirt, dust and debris. Any material left could mean your kitchen base units do not sit firmly on the floor. Any movement will result in poor finishes and difficultly fitting the countertop correctly.

    Most modern kitchen cabinets come with adjustable legs as standard, so if your floor is uneven, you will need to use a spirit level and the adjustable legs to make your units perfectly level. Some kitchen cabinets are built using timber plywood frames without legs. If that is the case, you may need to use shims to prop up appropriate corners of your units to make them level on uneven floors.

    Also before proceeding, you may need to check your walls in and around your planned fixing points for internal wall pipes and electrical wires. An electrical cable tracer will find sources of power behind walls. If you are unsure, consult a local professional first. Only proceed with this instructional blog until you are fully satisfied you are safe to do so.

    Tools Required

    As with any DIY project, you will need the appropriate tools to get the best finish possible, For this task, you will need:

    • spirit level
    • spirit level
    • cable and pipe detectors
    • electric drill and drill bits
    • jigsaw or handsaw
    • circular saw
    • 2 x G-clamps
    • electric screwdriver or Phillips screwdriver
    • tape measure
    • pencil

    Marking Up

    Assuming your kitchen cabinets are fully assembled, and you have all the brackets and feet for each unit, you are ready to get started.

    Firstly, you need to mark on the wall exactly where your cabinets will go. It is advised to start the process in one corner and work you way out.

    In general, your floor units will sit around 870mm from the floor. With a tape measure, make a mark at 870mm from the floor and using a spirit level, draw a perfectly level horizontal line at 870mm from the floor along the length of the wall where you intend to fit your units. Note that this mark represents the top of the units and does not factor in the additional depth of the countertop to be fitted at a later date.

    Now check the height from the floor to your line to ensure the distance does not fall below the 870mm mark. As floors can invariably be uneven, you need to carry this out to ensure your floor units will fit and not sit above that line. If they do, you may need to erase and redraw the line from a point where the floor sits higher. Once the line is correctly marked, you can start to install the units.

    Fitting the Units

    Starting form a corner, place the unit into its intended position so the back edge is resting against the wall with the pencil mark visible. If pipework is present or skirting board sits above the line of the back of the unit, you will have to cut an access gap on both sides of the cabinet. Simply mark where the pipework or skirting boards pass with a pencil and then remove the unit to allow you to cut the marked area with a jigsaw or handsaw.

    Once your cuts are done, place the unit back into position to check it sits above the protruding pipework or skirting board. If so, ensure the unit is level from side-to-side and front-to-back; adjust the feet to the correct height to match the pencil line on the wall and place a spirit level on the top of the unit and adjust until it sits perfectly level. This unit should be fully in place.

    Now place the next cabinet into position alongside your first corner unit. Again, check the height is correct using your mark on the wall. Adjust the unit height with the legs and use a spirit level as before. Make sure the heights of the two units sit flush with each other and then clamp adjacent units together with two G-clamps to prevent movement. One at the top, and the other clamp at the bottom.

    Attaching Cabinets

    To attach the cabinets together and avoid exposed screw-heads, remove any existing hinge-plates from one of the adjacent units. Then drill pilot holes at the top and bottom through to the adjacent cabinet and screw together using the correctly supplied screws. Now reattach the hinge plates to conceal the screws you just used to attach the units together. Now you have two attached units and no exposed screw-heads!

    Now you need to attach the units to the facing wall. To do this, attach two L-shaped brackets to the rear left and right top edges of each unit. Then mark where they will be screwed into the wall with a pencil. Temporarily move the units away from the wall to give you enough room to check there are no concealed electrical cables in the wall (with a cable tracer) and then drill pilot holes where you made your marks. Insert appropriate wall plugs or drywall anchors and then move the attached units back into position and screw to the wall through the L-shaped brackets.

    Now double check that the attached units are still level and flush to the marked line on the wall. If so, you can move onto the next cabinet and repeat the above processes until all of your floor units are correctly into position and attached accordingly.

    Finishing Panels

    Once all of your units are in place, you may need to think about fitting side panels to any exposed end units.

    Most end panels are supplied larger than your units so you will need to marry up the end panel to you side units and cut off any excess to ensure it fits correctly, removing any overhanging edges that protrudes from the front and the top. Make sure to cut off the end opposite the side that needs to show the panel’s edge banding. For the best cuts, use a circular saw or jigsaw with an appropriate blade to give you clean, splint-free finish.

    Remember, you may need to cut the panel around skirting or pipework. To get a flush fit, use a piece of the skirting as a template to get a precise outline of the shape to cut with a jigsaw. Any crude cuts will easily be visible and will make your kitchen look inferior, so always try to make these cuts as accurate as possible. Small gaps however, can be filled with decorators caulk or sealant.

    Once your end panel is cut to shape, clamp it to the cabinet, remove the hinge plates, drill pilot holes (making sure not to drill all the way through to the end panel) and screw together with the supplied screws. Replace the hinge plate and finally, remove the clamps.

    If you have any other end panels to fit, simply follow the same instructions above. Once completed, your base cabinets should now be fully installed.

    See It in Action

    If you are still unsure how to follow these instructions, then watch the excellent video below created by Wickes for really helpful instructions on fitting kitchen base cabinets.


    How is Medium Density Fibreboard Made?

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 11/01/2018

    MDF Composition

    Medium density fibreboard is one of a number of engineered woods, a composite product comprised of material glued together.

    Popular composite products include plywood, block-board, particleboard, hardboard, laminated veneered timbers and MDF.

    In most cases, these products are based on what are considered to be waste residues (excluding plywood), with only a small amount of material lost during manufacturing, making it an effective product at minimising unnecessary waste.

    Lignocellulosic fibers are the core ingredient in MDF sheets which are bonded by synthetic resins under heat and intense pressure with additives added during the process to improve adhesion, strength and durability.

    During manufacturing, the material is compressed to a density of 0.50 - 0.80 specific gravity (495-800 kg/m3), to produce a material that is smooth and flat.

    Typically sawdust, chipping and shavings from timber products make up the bulk of medium density fibreboard.

    However, with recent concerns over environmental and ecological issues coming to the fore, it is not uncommon to find recycled waste paper, cardboard, corn silk and even some plastics and metals being used to make the material.

    MDF is said to have been first invented in the United States of America, with production taking place during the 1960's.

    Typical Applications

    As medium density fibreboard can be cut into all sorts of intricate shapes and sizes, it has become a very popular product in items such as furniture, doors, panelling, packaging, toys, games, cabinetry and flooring.

    Seeing the product is incredibly smooth, flat and free from imperfections such as knots or grains most commonly found in laminated timbers i.e plywoods, finishes are always clean and consistent.

    With a very uniform consistency throughout, cuts and edges can be intricate and precise when using machining tools so achieving intricate three-dimensional shapes is rarely a problem.

    This is why MDF is often found in furniture pieces with veneered surfaces, as the material is very adaptable and strong, being able to hold precise tolerances and accurate cuts - something many other materials cannot ever get close to.

    Cut wastage is also significantly reduced compared to other substrates.


    How to Correctly Cut Plywood Sheets

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 13/12/2017

    Get Splint Free Results with Our Plywood Cutting Guide

    Plywood is a very popular material that is commonly used on a number of DIY and construction projects due to its low cost, versatility and reliability.

    This factory produced timber product does not warp, shrink or crack with changes in atmospheric temperatures or moisture, making it ideal for many application.

    It’s not uncommon to find plywood being used in products such as furniture, cabinets and tables as well ad used in common construction processes including flooring substrates and materials, formwork for concrete, partitioning and external walls.

    It’s even found in packaging such as shipping crates and boxes that require strength and durability.

    However, if you intend to use plywood where it will be visible, getting clean cuts is vital to ensure you get a splint free finish and no rough edges.

    Here’s how to achieve clean cuts using plywood.

    Accurate Measuring

    Firstly, it’s important to ensure you have accurate measurements marked out on to the plywood to get clean joints and precise edges.

    When measuring, lay the plywood sheets on a level flat surface such as a floor or cutting table that will ensure the ply stays flat and does not bend.

    Depending on the tools you intend to cut with will determine which side of the plywood to mark.

    For example, if using a table saw you should mark the unfinished side.

    Whilst if using a circular saw, jigsaw or handsaw, you should mark the finished side.

    Now mark your measurements on the long edge of the ply using a pencil.

    Then mark the same measurement on the other side of the ply.

    Using a metal square to ensure an accurate 90º angle, draw a line joining the two marks you previously made using a ruler or straight edge as a guide.

    Repeat this process if you need to make other cuts.

    Using a Table Saw

    If you’re fortunate enough to own a table saw, cutting plywood is a breeze.

    Firstly, set the blade to be about 12-13mm higher than the thickness of the plywood sheets you want to cut.

    Now before you start, make sure the surface of the table saw is completely clean of debris as this may cause bad cuts if the board moves or is misaligned during cutting.

    As you cut the plywood, you will produce a lot of sawdust.

    Although relatively harmless, always wear a suitable mask over your mouth and eyes to protect you from breathing in fine sawdust particles or getting them into your eyes.

    When you’re ready to cut, switch on your table saw and feed the plywood gradually towards the blade in one smooth motion and continue until the entire board has been cut.

    If the sheet is large, have someone help take the other end to ensure the ply moves smoothly and does not bend.

    This should give you nice clean edges and little to no splintering.

    Using a Jigsaw or Circular Saw

    Before cutting the plywood, you’ll need to place it onto a suitable sawhorse or surface that will ensure the plywood stays flat, does not move and allows the blade to pass unobstructed from one edge to the other.

    You will also benefit from either clamping the sheet into place to prevent movement or having an extra pair of hands if the plywood sheet is large, as bending and distorting will cause splinters and inaccurate cuts.

    When you’re ready to cut, line up the edge of the saw blade against the marking on the plywood and switch on the tool.

    If possible, start cutting alone the pencil marking and continue in one fluid motion until the entire sheet is cut with an assistant holding the ply to ensure it stays flat and does not move.

    If the sheet is too big to cut in one go, switch off the jigsaw or circular saw only when you have come to a complete stop and wait for the blade to stop oscillating or spinning completely before removing.

    Now take the saw to the opposite end of the mark, begin cutting and continue until you reach the previous cut to finish cutting the whole sheet.

    It is important at this stage that help is at hand to hold the sheets and prevent them from dropping or falling once you have two cut pieces.

    Any movement will splinter wood and ruin the finish.

    Using a Handsaw

    If you do not have any electric tools, you can use a handsaw to cut plywood although it requires skill and strength.

    The best finishes are always achieved if the cuts is completed in one motion.

    Although this requires a lot of energy and effort, this will achieve a better finish and less splintering. Only stop is you really have to.

    Just like using a jigsaw or circular saw, you will need assistance to ensure the plywood is held firmly and does not move during cutting.


    How to Correctly Cut Medium Density Fibreboard

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 13/11/2017

    Get the Best Results with Our MDF Cutting Guide

    MDF is a hugely popular material in the building industry due to it’s versatility and relatively low cost.

    Usually found in the construction of furniture pieces, shelving and cabinet carcasses, this man-made substance is relatively easy to cut and machine cleanly if you know how, using the correct tools for the job.

    As it is essentially made from compressed recycled wood dust particles combined with resins, there’s no actual wood grain to be concerned about during cutting.

    However, even though it is a relatively tough material as whole, it can chip and break quite easily if the wrong cutting tools or blades are used as edges are brittle and at times, easily broken.

    So if you plan to carry out a relatively big project that relies on a lot of MDF sheets, here’s our guide to cutting this popular material correctly.

    Using a Table Saw

    Firstly, ensure you are using a laminate blade when using a table saw and set the blade to be about 12-13mm higher than the thickness of the MDF sheets you intend to cut.

    Make sure the surface of the table saw is completely clean before attempting any cuts as any debris present may cause a bad cut if the board moves or is misaligned.

    As you cut the MDF sheet with a table saw, you will undoubtedly produce a lot of dust particles.

    MDF is know to contain unpleasant chemicals including urea formaldehyde which is regarded as a probable human carcinogen so before you start cutting, always place a suitable mask over your mouth and eye protection to prevent dust getting into your eyes.

    When ready to cut, turn on your table saw and feed the MDF slowly towards the blade in one fluid motion and continue until the entire board has been cut.

    This should give you suitably clean edges and the best possible finish.

    Using a Router

    To get a good cut with a router, use a carbide flute bit.

    Do bare I mind however, when using a router that you should aim to cut the MDF fractionally larger than you need it to be.

    Then use the router to further trim to edges down to the correct size.

    To get the final straight edge, use a router table or jog for a perfect finish.

    Using a Jigsaw or Circular Saw

    Both of these saws can be used to cut MDF however, the surface of the medium density fibreboard must be scored prior to cutting if laminated.

    Firstly, put the MDF onto a steady work surface or saw horse and clamp into place to prevent movement.

    Now, mark out your cut lines using a straight edge and a piece of chalk or pencil.

    Once you have a line drawn, take a utility or Stanley knife and run the knife along the cut line using minimal pressure at a steady to slow speed.

    Do this until you successfully cut through the laminated surface.

    Now use a carbide blade with a TPI of at least 20 and cut the MDF with the laminae surface showing upwards and go nice and slowly and steadily until you have completely cut the entire sheet.


    The Do’s & Don’ts of Using MDF

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 04/10/2017

    Get to Know This Highly Versatile Product

    MDF is a superb building product because it’s relatively inexpensive, is a great choice for woodworking, is fairly adaptable and can be used for a variety of applications. But getting the best results from MDF is down to understanding the product and avoiding common mistakes. In this article we’ll take you through a number of classic do’s and don’ts when it comes to using medium density fibreboard.

    What is MDF?

    MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) is a man-made product consisting of fine wood particles compressed together under intense pressure combined with resins and heat. To many unsuspecting individuals, MDF is most likely to be in every modern home in some way or another without them knowing. It is very commonly found in kitchen units, cabinets, shelves, furniture and many other everyday items yet is rarely seen in its raw form as it tends to be covered with a more attractive laminate or wood veneer.

    As mentioned above, it’s very versatile but it does have it’s weaknesses as well as it’s strengths and is not suitable for all applications. Use it right and you can get amazing results. Use it or abuse it incorrectly and it will let you down.

    Do Use It To Save Costs

    The best and most obvious advantage to using MDF is the price. Compared to plywood or other solid wood sheets, MDF is a far better economic option. If you need to cover large areas with a paintable flat surface such as wall panelling or an inbuilt shelving system or media centre for example, you can mix and match materials. Use MDF where a solid flat surface is needed and then use timber for edging and stiffening. Once the whole thing is painted, you’ll never see the difference between where the MDF starts or where the wood trims begin.

    If you plan to make something that requires a large amount of flat wood panels, save yourself a few pennies by substituting plywood or particleboard for MDF, which is just a good and will give a great finish.

    Don’t Cut It Without a Mask

    Cutting and milling MDF produces a lot of dust and fine particles which contains high levels of urea-formaldehyde due to the adhesive resins contained within the material. Wearing a mask is highly advised as the dust particles produced contain formaldehyde which is a know carcinogen.

    If possible, always cut MDF in a well ventilated area and wear suitable masks to cover both your nose and mouth, as well as your eyes. The fine powdery dust produced from cutting MDF is very unpleasant and can cause asthma and other respiratory issues if inhaled. Get it in to your eyes and it can be very uncomfortable and itchy.

    As well as protecting yourself, make sure you cover all necessary areas of your home from dust particles. MDF dust is very light and fine, so travels easily. Any cutting indoors will swiftly lead to dust spreading and settling throughout your home.

    Do Drill Pilot Holes

    It is not recommended that you use an electric screwdriver or impact driver with MDF without drilling a pilot hole and countersinking drill bit first, as any intense pressure or force will make it crumble and deteriorate. MDF appears as a solid, firm material on the surface but its compound is actually quite soft and flaky. It doesn’t take a great deal of pressure to cause it to split or break up, and when it does there’s no going back.

    So avoid using nails and a hammer as any mishaps will most likely cause the surface to split and break up. And most certainly do not drop it as any heavy impact will destroy exposed edges.

    Don’t Lift Large Sheets Alone

    MDF might be an innocent looking material but it is deceptively heavy and a full sized sheet can weigh up to 100 lbs. Lugging one of those around can easily cause sprains, aches and pains so if you have an extra pair of hands, get help lifting them otherwise, opt for smaller manageable sheets to avoid injury.

    Do Use a Primer

    MDF is a superb material for painting but to get the very best results, always use a suitable primer first. The tops tend to always be nice and smooth but cut edges can look a little rough however if you prime it, then sand it and then prime it again, those rough edges can be made to look far better.

    Then once fully primed, you are ready to paint it any colour you wish and you should get a far better, more even looking finish. The primer will act as a bond so that you get a consistent colour finish every time you paint.

    Don’t Use It Outside

    Never ever use MDF on projects that are intended to stay outdoors - it is simply not designed to be used in any wet weather. Even with priming and lots of waterproof painting, MDF will eventually lose the battle of the elements and deteriorate fast. Any water that gets near it will be absorbed like a sponge, leading to the MDF material swelling and eventually breaking up.

    There are moisture resistant versions of MDF available on the market but overall, any project that requires a high level of water resistance should really be using a suitably treated timber or alternative product that is proven to deal with water far better.


    What’s the Difference Between MDF & Particle Board?

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 15/09/2017

    Understanding these popular wood products and their practical uses

    To the unwitting public, many do not realise the fundamental differences between particle board and medium density fibreboard, with many believing they are one and the same thing. This is not the case.

    Particleboard is a relatively cheap product which is composed of wasted wood chipping which are compressed and bound using a compound of resins and sawdust along with a lot of heat and pressure. MDF, a more denser product, tends to be more expensive is composed of tiny wooden fibres as opposed to dust but it again, combined using resins and pressurised heat.

    In most cases, furniture that is made from MDF is considered to be superior in quality and strength compared to particle board.

    What is Particleboard?

    Particleboard tends to be used on jobs that do not require a high end durable material and can be commonly found in cheaper furniture products, as well as used in building projects such as flooring substrates and underlays, panelling on fibreglass roofs and temporary partitioning. It’s considered to be a throw away material that has good temporary uses on building projects but seldom is applied for too many permanent structures.

    It’s a fairly easy material to work with in terms of cutting and milling but due to it’s structure, tends to tear or chip frequently as pieces of wood chipping start to break away under pressure. Rarely does particleboard get used as a visually exposed face as it is not a great looking product and will often be veneered with a thin laminate to make it appear much more higher end.

    It is best used flat as when put under any pressure such as bending or moulding, it breaks, snaps and tears easily.

    What is Medium Density Fibreboard?

    MDF as it is more commonly known, can be found is many mass produced furniture pieces such as cabinets, shelving and even kitchen units and doors. It’s a strong material that is far easier to mill than particleboard because it is les prone to chipping and tearing. It can be shaped and moulded to a degree and tends to work well for projects requiring routing complicated and elaborate shapes.

    Much like particleboard, MDF does tend to be veneered with a laminate on furniture pieces as the material isn’t aesthetically pleasing to look at, so veneers give it a high end finish. it also tends to take to being painted far better than particleboard as well as being far stronger under pressure. It is however not a great material to be used in damp conditions and like particleboard, will deteriorate fast is exposed to moisture of water for too long.


    Why the quality of your kitchen carcasses is important

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 09/08/2017

    Determining which kitchen units are made to last

    When shopping for a kitchen, seldom do buyers consider the quality and construction of the actual kitchen carcass they come with. In most cases the doors, the colour and the finish is what either makes or breaks a sale yet the carcass is the item that will need to take the brunt of the pressure when it comes to daily use and abuse.

    Of course, the quality and manufacturing process of the doors is important but in overall structural terms, they have very little influence. The materials, construction style and strength of the kitchen carcasses is what really matters to the quality of the final product and its longevity, not to mention taking the weight of the worktop and built-in appliances. They need to last!

    A strong back makes for a strong unit

    In most cases, kitchen carcasses made in the UK are formed of 18mm chipboard with PVC coating and edge banding, where the strength of the units is focuses on the back section. Here is where you can reveal the good from the bad as the strength and quality of the back panels can vary greatly. On certain cheaper units, they are backed with a thin 3mm or 6mm hardboard which is not considered to be a rigid material at all. Flimsy at best.

    Over time, if a lot of weight and pressure is applied to carcasses with thin back panels, they will start to bow and sag or worse, the back panels will pop out of place completely making the carcasses useless. The issue is, you may not even see this occurring as the back panels are frequently out of sight so by the time the inevitable break down has occurred, it’s probably too late.

    If possible, shop for kitchen carcasses that have rigid back panels of at least 18mm in thickness or sectional panels in 18mm that will take the brunt of the weight and be able to last many years. You could save yourself a lot of worry and longer term, won’t have to concern yourself with the messy job of replacing individual carcasses that may not have lasted as well as the others.

    Thick edging means longer protection

    Another sure fire way to determine the quality of a good kitchen carcass from a bad one is the edge banding thickness.

    Many mass produced carcasses from well-known DIY stores and even big brand kitchen retailers are commonly sold with a thin iron-on type melamine edging which is very prone to peeling, cracking and snapping. The edging isn’t just there to make the units look good. They have a very important role to play in protecting the carcass edges from damage from persistent use and abuse. Doors and drawers are constantly opened and closed so a cheap edge band will start to crack under the strains of slamming and constant closing of doors.

    A good quality unit should have edge banding of at least 0.4mm to 2mm in thickness and be made of PVC or ABS, not melamine.

    So if you are considering a brand new kitchen or even a simple kitchen facelift by replacing the carcasses, do not necessarily shop around for the most economical option. Chances are, it will be cheaply made and will start to deteriorate quickly after installation. As the saying goes, you only get what you pay for so if you’re investing in a new kitchen, a few extra pennies on quality is an investment well made.


    The 7 Most Common Kitchen Design Layouts

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 10/07/2017

    Deciding on a Kitchen Plan & Making It Work

    When installing a brand new kitchen, the layout is by far the most important design aspect before you even choose a single cabinet style, colour or finish. How that overall shape and plan lies will determine a whole range of factors such as usability, convenience, space and aesthetic appeal.

    Nowadays, there’s all sorts of trends or unique designs features that have grown in popularity however, in many circumstances, these choices are not always practical. The shape and scale of your kitchen will ultimately determine which type of design you can realistically aim towards and how to successfully achieve it.

    Let’s take a look at the most common kitchen layouts and then you can decide which will work best in your kitchen based on the dimensions and shape of your existing space.

    Single-Walled Kitchen

    Typically found in smaller homes with narrows rooms, the single walled kitchen is actually growing in popularity in larger homes too as it keeps all the appliances, workspaces and stored items within easy reach. No matter the size of the room, this layout instantly creates a very open concept and creates useable space for other essentials such as dining tables or even a portable island or preparation console table.

    The single walled kitchen does have its pitfalls however. Naturally, every kitchen needs to find a home for the oven, cooktop, sink and refrigerator. With all four of these must-haves sat along one wall, it does become quickly apparent that countertop space will be limited. So if a single walled kitchen is your only option, you may have to opt for an integrated range cooker instead and even a smaller refrigerator to allow for more storage and worktop space.

    Galley Kitchen

    Much like the single-walled kitchen, the galley also lends itself to the narrower, smaller spaced kitchen where walkways are tight and the dimensions are squeezed.

    What the gallery has over the single wall of course is the opportunity to create separation of work areas such as food preparation and cleaning and far more countertop space. The downside is galleys can feel quite claustrophobic if the walkways between to the two sides are tight so having more than one or two people preparing and cooking meals in a galley is never a comfortable place to be.

    If you’re quite cheffy though, galley kitchens are great as it means everything you need is within arms reach so preparing and cooking food is always a pleasure. It is most certainly a layout designed to please one primary cook in the house but avoid if you like to work in teams.

    U-Shaped Kitchen

    Like the single-walled or galley, U-shaped kitchen layouts are ideally suited to a single cook who likes to have everything at arms length.

    What is great about a U-shaped kitchen is there’s no walkway to encourage people to pass through the area so the chef in the house will not have passers by interfering in the workspace and they can just get on and do their thing. The downside is the obvious lack of space for anything else so you can forget about including any tables, chairs or islands in the kitchen.

    U-shaped kitchens are also poorly designed for those who like to entertain. In most cases, the person cooking will have their back to the room so it can feel quite enclosed and unwelcoming to guests. If the room is also small, a U-shape can quickly start to dominate the space and make the room feel incredibly tight.

    G-Shaped Kitchen

    The G-Shaped kitchen is essentially an upgrade of the U-shape with an added peninsula island to add practicality and extra workspace.

    If room allows, this added little bonus can really make the difference to a U-shaped kitchen as it creates an island that can be somewhere to entertain, eat meals and prepare food. What you must avoid of course is making it into a nuisance object that gets in the way of accessing the kitchen easily so there’s a balance to strike - too large and it will block the entrance to the kitchen. Too small and it won’t be big or practical enough to use for eating or cooking.

    L-Shaped Kitchen

    The classic corner kitchen is mostly found in apartments or kitchens that lack a room long enough to house a single walled kitchen.

    With more and more people living in apartments, the corner L-shaped kitchen is becoming far more commonplace as it is the sole kitchen design layout that encroaches on the least amount of space. With all the units tucked into the corners, it feels openly inviting but much like the U-shaped kitchen, entertaining is not ideal when the cook has their back to the guests.

    What it does allow however is for the addition of a small table and chair for dining or if budgets and space allows, an island which will take it to a whole new level.

    L-Shape with Island Kitchen

    Take a look online for photos of kitchens with islands and the likelihood is you’ll find plenty of L-shaped kitchens with islands, and it’s no great surprise.

    This simple design configuration fits comfortably into most room dimensions and ticks all the right boxes. Firstly, it creates distinct zones to the kitchen meaning one wall is for cooking, one for cleaning and the island is for serving up food and entertaining. For the chef in the house, there’s easy reach to get all the necessary items from cupboards and larders, so cooking is a pleasure. And in terms of space, it doesn’t take up huge amounts yet makes the entire kitchen area feel roomy and sophisticated.

    As a bonus, the island gives the homeowner the choice of installing the cooktop of the sink here if desired; otherwise they can just keep the worktop and use it for preparing meals, eating and hanging out with friends.

    Wrap-Around with Island

    If room allows, the wrap-around kitchen with island is like having the best of all worlds. The main kitchen area will feel like a halfway house between an open-plan single-walled kitchen and a U-shape without the closeness, meaning everything is within easy reach. With the added bonus of the island, you have the perfect addition for preparing food, dining, entertaining and cleaning up.

    This design most certainly encourages interaction so entertaining and hosting dinner parties will be a pleasure, making your kitchen the main hub of the home. With it’s slightly unusual shape, it also prevents the kitchen from feeling boxy and will make the space seem more quirky and unique.

    The only downside is room - you’ll need lots of it if you plan to install a kitchen of this configuration. But if you do, it could be the best kitchen design decision you ever make!


    Custom Made Kitchen Cupboards vs Stock Cabinets

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 15/06/2017

    Advantages & Disadvantages of Each Type of Kitchen Base Unit

    Whether you’re new to kitchen remodelling or a seasoned interior designer, it’s common knowledge that designing and fitting a brand new kitchen is a challenge to get right and can be a stressful and painstaking process.

    It’s not just about the style, colour and finish. Nowadays, we want our kitchens to be as functional and as practical as possible. That means utilising the maximum amount of available space whilst ensuring the area feels spacious and a great place to hang out. We spend a great deal of time in the kitchen preparing food, socialising and dining so it’s no wonder we want to get it right first time and ensure we’ve ticked every box on our wish list.

    Nowadays, there’s a whole plethora of kitchen options on the marketplace. From standard stock units at your local DIY store, to higher end specialist kitchen retailers, to kitchen makeover specialists and now, custom cabinet makers who offer completely bespoke units to fit every nook and cranny imaginable.

    So with so much choice on offer, which way do you go? Here’s our run down of the pro’s and cons of using either stock or customer made kitchen cabinets. Then perhaps you will know which way you’ll want to go with your new kitchen project.

    Shape & Size

    With stock cabinets, you are pretty much restricted to using the standard sizes available by the manufacturer. If for example, you live in an older property, odd shaped walls, ceilings and corners are the norm. In such circumstances, you could find with stock cabinets that your kitchen could end up with a lot of unused dead space that custom cabinets could utilise and give you that all essential extra storage.

    You’ll be amazed just how much potential extra space a small corner or angled ceiling has. By using custom made cabinets, not a single inch will go to waste.

    Finish

    As they say, everything is in the detail and nothing can be truer said than for kitchen designs. Some stock cabinets, especially those bought from your local DIY store are bulk manufactured and tend to be at the cheaper end of the scale. The edging is thin, poorly made and after a short period will peel way and crack.

    On higher end custom made cabinets, the edging tends to be thicker or more hardwearing so you’re new kitchen will look much nicer for longer.

    Stock cabinets also tend to also have a much cheaper finish. The classic white melamine coating is the standard across many ranges and there’s very little other choice for most. With custom cabinetry, you can opt to have practically any finish and colour, even to the insides of your kitchen base units which is a very rare thing in over-the-counter kitchen cabinets.

    Price

    It’s fair to say that you get what you pay for and the same rule applies to kitchen base units.

    You may be happy to pay for the lower end units seeing most of the time, the doors and drawer fronts will cover up the look and finish of the kitchen carcasses but over time, the quality and the cheaper price tag will start to show. As you remove and replace heavy items like pots, pans, oven dishes and utensils, marks will start to show and the finish will degrade quickly.

    Custom kitchen carcasses may cost more but the materials used tend to be better quality and can resist the wear and tear of regular use far better than stock made DIY store cabinets.

    Conclusions

    The choice is essentially down to personal preference, your demands and your budget.

    If you own a home that has a challenging shaped kitchen, in a character property that demands a kitchen to give it the wow factor, customer kitchen carcasses is your must-have route to a successful end product. If however, your kitchen demands are to simply replace it with something simple, in a space that is easy to work with and your budget is restricted, there’s no shame in going down the stock cabinet route and getting something practical and functional.


    Understanding the different types of plywood and their uses

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 10/05/2017

    When and how to use this versatile timber product

    Enter into any recently constructed building project and chances are, you’re never too far away from some form of plywood, whether visible or most likely hidden from view. As an incredibly popular material, plywood tends to be used in construction not only because it is cost effective, but it is also extremely versatile, strong and reliable.

    In essence, plywood is a simple engineered product consisting on several thin sheets of timber, glued in layers at 90º angles to the corresponding layer above and below and compressed together at high pressure. This forms a strong, hardwearing material than can stand the test of time and be used is many projects that demand strength and durability.

    Because it is so versatile, plywood can be found used in various items including furniture, flooring, partitions, external walls and roofs. Even in some high end cabinetry.

    Key properties of plywood

    Plywood has a number of core properties that make it unique to any other building material including:

    Strength

    Due to its layered construction, plywood tends to be far stronger than traditional timber. The simple engineering process of glueing thin layers of alternating grains prevents the board from snapping or breaking under pressure. The general rule of thumb ism, the thicker the ply, the stringer it is.

    Stress Resistance

    Engineered plywood is capable of withstanding much heavier weight and pressure that an equivalent sheet of standard timber and thus, can handle greater stress. A heavy object placed onto a single sheet of timber would lead to bending and eventual breakage whilst plywood would spread the load over a larger surface due to it’s layered construction, with the grain direction alternating at each layer.

    Flexibility

    Plywood is also very flexible and bendy if needed as it can be constructed at pretty much any given thickness, from a few millimetres to several centimetres thick. That is why thin plywoods tend to be used on demanding projects that require a curved surface such as ambitious internal wall projects or skateboard ramps that were made famous during the 1980’s.

    Moisture Resistance

    In certain plywoods, the glue used to construct the layers is water repellant so even if used externally where moisture and humidity levels fluctuate, it will not warp, expand, shrink or delaminate. This makes it the ideal material for outdoors projects where it needs to last for several years.

    Insulation

    Not many people realise that plywood has the added benefit of being a very good insulator and soundproofing material. The layers naturally make it a good thermal product so if used correctly, is a great way to reduce heating bills and noise pollution from room to room.

    How many types of plywood are there?

    There’s a variety of different types of plywood for different applications including:

    Softwood Ply

    The most common manufactured plywood, that comes in a variety of thickness is often used on construction projects.

    Hardwood Ply

    More commonly used for more hardwearing projects that demand longevity, and constructed from stronger timbers, hardwood ply is ideal for more demanding jobs.

    Flexible Ply

    Usually constructed from just a few plies, these boards offer greater flexibility for projects that require curved surfaces.

    Marine Ply

    As the name suggests, this ply is used on marine-based applications due to its water resistant properties.

    Aircraft Ply

    To add greater heat resistance properties, this ply is constructed from birch.

    Decorative Ply

    Used where the wood grain will be on show, this ply tends to be made from beautiful woods including oak and rosewood to construct furniture and bespoke finishes.


    Easy DIY Projects: How to create storage space by boarding your loft

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 28/03/2017

    The Simple Cost Effective Home Storage Solution

    Storage is always a problem no matter what size home you live in. There’s never enough space to store all the clutter and items you simply refuse to part with.

    In most cases, your loft provides the perfect opportunity to create useful storage space that is easily accessible, dry and cost effective, meaning you can store away items out of sight and get access to them only on the odd occasions when they’re really needed.

    The great thing about boarding your loft as it does not usually require planning consent and for even the most basic of DIYers, it’s a fairly easy task to undertake. Here’s how to board your loft using standard MDF loft boards or alternatively, 18mm plywood sheets.

    Loft Access

    Before you even lay a single board, you firstly need to ensure you have adequate loft access to bring the required boards up into the space. Most loft hatches are fairly tight so measure the widest point across the diagonal length of the opening and ensure any boards you buy or not wider than this width.

    Standard loft boards usually measure between 320mm to 600mm in width, so choose only those that will fit through the hatch.

    Measuring the Floor Space

    Next you need to work out the floor space you want to cover with boards. In most cases, it’s not practical to board the entire loft space, especially under the eaves as the roof pitch makes the space practically unusual for storing items, let alone walking.

    So measure just the areas you feel will be used for either walking on or storing items that you need to gain access to. Then simply measure the length and multiply that by the width, giving you your square meter coverage requirements.

    Now all you need to do is shop for an adequate amount of boards to cover that area. Remember to overcompensate to cater for cutting odd pieces that may use partial boards and create wastage.

    Ways of Boarding

    There are two ways to traditionally board a loft.

    In the past, most home DIYers would attach loft boards directly onto the roof joists, covering up the loft insulation. Nowadays, this is not recommended as this places strain on the joists but also, compresses your roof insulation, making it far less effective.

    There are no rules or regulations to suggest you cannot take this approach if this is your preferred route however, most experts now agree this is not the ideal solution.

    Instead, most agree that using loft legs is better as this allows for ample room above the loft insulation and creates a sturdy raised base onto which you can build your loft floor. It also means that access to electrical cables and pipework is far easier for contractors if the need arises.

    Installing Loft Legs

    Most loft legs are very easy to attach to the existing roof joists. Simply roll back any insulation between the joists temporarily and screw the legs directly into the timber using 30mm screws and space them 400mm apart in either direction, ensuring they are accurately spaced. This will ensure your loft boards sit exactly as they were intended on the legs and will give you a perfect sturdy finish.

    Installing the Loft Panels

    Start at one corner and lay your loft panels directly on top of the loft legs at 90 degree angles to the direction of the ceiling joists. Then when in place and laid square, attach them to the loft legs using the same 30mm screws.

    Lay them in rows going across the width of the roof first and then move onto the next row as you go.

    Safety First

    Remember, when laying loft panels, always ensure you only step onto the existing roof joists and the rest of the roof will not take your weight.

    Always wear gloves as roof joists are unfinished timbers with splinters and wear safety glasses when cutting, drilling or nailing boards to the loft joists. If in doubt, ask for help as roof spaces can be very tight so cutting and placing boards is much easier with a spare pair of hands.


    7 Common Practical Uses for Plywood

    Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

    Date 13/03/2017

    What is plywood and how is it made?

    Plywood is an engineered timber product made from layers (or plies) of thin sheets of wood veneers, which are glued together under pressure at high temperature to form a thicker, stronger and more flexible flat sheet.

    The logs used to make each sheet are prepared by steaming or dipping into hot water and are then fed into a lathe, which peels the log into the thin plies of around 1mm - 4mm thick, which are used to form each layer of each sheet.

    It’s a widely used building material due to its many useful properties as well as its economical cost.

    High quality plywood tends to be very strong and does not warp or crack under changes in atmospheric moisture, thus making it a reliable material for a wide variety of applications.