Fitting a new kitchen can be a major job, requiring a lot of time, patience and skill.
In a Which? survey of more than 3,840 people who had bought a new kitchen, we found that only 6% installed it themselves.*
If you’re not confident you can fit your own kitchen, we explain how to find professionals to carry out the work instead, and what to expect during the installation.
Whether you’re considering using the fitting service recommended by your kitchen retailer, or choosing a kitchen fitter yourself, these are the key things you should look out for.
Check whether the installer has been accredited or endorsed by an organisation that you can trust. This can include professional trade associations such as the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers (BiKBBI) or the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA).
Which? Trusted Traders also endorses kitchen fitting businesses if they pass a rigorous assessment process, including background checks and an inspection by Trading Standards professionals.
Trade associations and endorsement bodies usually set standards for the conduct of their members and offer an independent complaint resolution service, which can help you resolve problems if anything goes wrong.
Don’t just take the fitter’s word that they’re a member of any associations or schemes – check that they’re listed on the organisation’s website.
Ask around among friends and family to see if anyone has used a fitter that they would recommend. You may even be able to visit their home to see the trader’s work firsthand.
If this isn’t an option, look at the customer reviews of traders you’re considering to see what other customers thought of them. If the installer is a , you can check its reviews on our website, which have been moderated to check their authenticity.
Be objective when looking at reviews. Do the comments sound genuine? If there are any negative comments, what are the reasons and has the trader responded to try to resolve the issue?
Pictures can help you to see the quality of the trader’s work and whether they’ve handled projects similar to yours, particularly if you’re planning a major renovation.
Always get at least three quotes, and ask for them to be supplied in writing, including a breakdown of all the costs.
As well as materials and labour, you should check that extras such as waste disposal are included, as these additional costs can mount up.
It may be worth using specialist traders for some aspects of the job, particularly if your project is complex or you’re using expensive materials, as you may achieve a better finish.
For example, if tiles are a key feature of your kitchen, an experienced tiler might complete the job more quickly and to a higher standard than a kitchen fitter who doesn’t specialise in tiling.
For certain jobs, you should always make sure you hire someone with the specialist skills to carry out the work safely. For example, gas appliances should only be fitted by a engineer, and electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician.
When you’ve found the right person for the job, do a bit of background research and get all the right paperwork in place before you start.
A new kitchen is a big investment. A kitchen fitter may reasonably ask you to pay an instalment up front to cover the cost of ordering goods.
Large jobs should include payment terms in the contract. Depending on the size of the job, you may be asked to pay in a few instalments.
Whatever happens, make sure a significant amount of payment is reserved until completion. That way, you have an incentive for the kitchen fitter to complete the job to a high standard and within the schedule you’ve agreed.
The installation process will depend on how extensive your refurbishment is, the condition of your property, and whether different traders (such as plumbers and plasterers) are also needed. But the basic running order will be:
Don’t underestimate how messy, noisy and disruptive installing a kitchen can be. Removing plasterwork will create dust that can spread throughout your home, and you’ll probably have to use a launderette, cook in a microwave and wash plates in the bathtub until it's finished.
You may want to temporarily move out of the property if your renovation will take several days, particularly if you have young children, pets, or family members with respiratory problems that could be aggravated by the dust.
If your kitchen fitting company offers project management and you trust them to handle everything, you may be able to leave them to it. Some of our Which? Trusted Traders who offer this service say that their clients go on holiday during installation.
But if that isn’t the case, you’ll need to be available to sign off decisions if any changes are necessary, as issues may come to light after the original kitchen is removed.
*Survey of 3,848 Which? members in March 2021.