Kitchen update – phase 3 – day 3

Paul arrived on time and got to work cementing the remainder of the tiles down. I was pleased with the way he had laid the tiles yesterday, and the the pattern he’d set out ensured the tiles looked good from any part of the kitchen. With a couple of spare tiles he then added a shelf to the window sill, which originally we were going to leave just painted but decided that it would probably get knocked so decided to add the tiles instead.

After a lunch break Paul then began the arduous task of grouting the floor, something I was glad not to be doing. I suppose doing a large area is not a problem for a professional but I would have got bored after half an hour and rushed to the finish.

Paul filled the gaps between the units and threshold with mastic rather than cement to allow for movement, which really finished off the tiles.

And so he was done…

And the kitchen was done (apart from the splash back and plinths)…

And it looks stunning…

At the weekend Tina and I will complete the job by painting the walls and skirting boards.

We are all extremely pleased with the kitchen; we have suffered a fair bit of disruption, with many takeaways getting us through. The dog has also endured lots of confusion too; his water bowl has been moved so many times I’m surprised he’s not paranoid. But generally he has been very good; making the decision to take time off to keep him out of the way of the workmen was the right thing to do even though towards the end of the ten days I was starting to go stir crazy. I never thought I’d say I was happy to go back to work bu

I hope the blog has been a good read, it certainly helped me get through the period by writing down the experience.

Kitchen update – phase 3 – day 2

Paul turned up as planned yesterday morning to prepare the floor ready for the new tiles. He levelled out the bumps (creating lots of dust in the process) and then sealed the concrete floor ready for laying. As soon as he turned up he asked how we wanted the tiles to be laid. I hadn’t really considered which way they should go but luckily Tina hadn’t left for work and she was able to say what she wanted, which was a brickwork effect longways down the length of the kitchen. Paul suggested that laying then in that way would make the kitchen look even narrower that it was and suggested laying the tiles crossways instead and proceeded in setting out a few for us to see. We agreed that crossways would be better and so left him to get started.

Paul then spent the next two hours marking out the floor ready to lay the tiles, not before stating he thought Pete may not have ordered enough and may be two or three short. I was surprised in how long he spent marking out but then the key in getting floors to look good is in the preparation. I would have found the centre and started laying them straight away, worrying about the edges when I got to them. That’s why I’m not a professional tiler I suppose, it’s all about the detail.

Paul spent the next couple of hours laying out the tiles and cutting the ones that will edge the units and the wall. As the pattern required half tiles there was a lot of cutting and this part took longer than I’d expected. Mid-afternoon and all the tiles were cut and Paul then started setting them in adhesive but by 5pm time had caught up and he finished for the day, suggesting that he may be on site tomorrow and possibly Wednesday to finish off.

Kitchen update – phase 2 – day 4

Pete and Adam turned up on time and to Pete’s credit he asked us if we had any questions. We raised the issue of the electrics and he confirmed that with the cooker and hob both fully loaded it could cause a problem (the way to calculate the true power consumption is a method called diversity in the electrical world). Therefore in theory tripping should be a rarity but is worth putting up with rather than having the high cost of running new cables from the fuse board. I guess we’ll have to see how we go with that one.

Tina also raised the issue of the wrong cupboard and said she would like it fitted on Saturday but happily Pete confirmed he would be back tomorrow to finish off. That pleased her.

The guys cracked on with completing the kitchen, building the fridge surround, wall units and and installing and plumbing in the sink unit. They also installed the built-in appliances; the washing machine and dishwasher.

The temperature outside was steadily rising to a point where it was making working indoors unbearable and so I suggested I switch on an electric fan to try to help cool the guys down. They appreciated the offer and it helped them get through the sticky afternoon.

Finally they wired up the cooker and microwave oven and then called it a day, after another productive visit.

Hopefully if the cupboard and door arrives early tomorrow morning they will return to install the bits and then phase 2 will be complete. Saturday sees the plasterer make good the walls with the following three days taken up with tiling the floor.

I passed on the EURO12 semi final game between Italy and Germany in order to help Tina refill her new kitchen and we were both pleased that we managed to get everything into the cupboards with some spare shelves too.

Kitchen update – phase 2 – day 3

Pete arrived this morning with the good news that he should be able to get a bespoke splashback made to fit the cooker hood curve. Last night Tina had designed her alternative splashback using tiles, which would have been a compromise and not what we both really wanted. Good start to the day then.

Pete said the main aim for the morning was to finish off the main part of the kitchen, which included fitting the induction hob, the cooker hood and adding all the top and bottom pelmets and adjusting all the cupboard doors to fit. They also added the breakfast bar and end panels.

I meanwhile took Rio out for a long walk to try to tire him out, which seemed to do the trick for a short while. Unfortunately the peace and quiet didn’t last long and he had to be bribed with a bone to stop him from barking. It does seem that Rio also suffers from separation issue as when he is left alone whilst I speak to the fitters, he gets upset and barks. I think he’s just nosey and wants to be involved in all that’s going on.

I continued to supply Pete and Adam with copious cups of coffee, which seemed to go down well (I think keeping your builders sweet in this way must help to ensure they are happy in the work). Every so often they disappeared back to their van for a quick smoke break, which gave me the opportunity to have a look at progress and take some photos. I’m not sure what the thought of the client being on site, it must be a bit awkward at times.

At midday the water was turned off and the remaining old kitchen unit was removed, allowing them to get started on the other side of the room. Luckily I had taken a couple of pans worth of water to top up the kettle. By three o clock the water was back on. The other side was pretty much finished, with the ends of the worktops sealed with edging strip.

Then Pete raised the first major problem of the install. It seems when Magnet originally measured the walls they must have got something wrong as one of the wall cupboards ordered was too big to fit in the gap. This meant that the larger cupboard would have to be swapped out with a smaller version. The other impact of the mistake was that there would no longer be a gap for the towel rails, which would have used up the space between the fr fridge and washing machine. Oh well, Pete did warn us that it is rare that a kitchen is installed without one or two issues. Pete rang Magnet office who confirmed they could get a replacement unit delivered on Friday along with the replacement door for the one that was damaged. Pete then said he was booked on another job on Friday so perhaps could come over Saturday morning, although he didn’t seem too keen as the plasterer, Gary would also be here.

Meanwhile Adam had wired up the induction hob and showed me that it worked OK, although we didn’t actually put a pan on it. They then called it a day and left shortly after 4pm.

It wasn’t until I discussed the days events with Tina and the issue around the wrong cupboard that Tina stated that we should insist that Pete comes back and fit it and the door on Saturday. One for tomorrow I guess.

Alarm bells also started to ring yesterday when I was chatting to the electrician about the fact that an additional feed had not been installed for the induction hob, just the breaker value increased. I was concerned that the power consumption of the cooker and induction hob at full power, along with the microwave oven could trip the breaker. I checked the manufacturers ratings guide and confirmed that the hob and induction really should be supplied on a separate feed as the total power consumption exceeds the 40A rated breaker (for the technical readers the total current draw from the three appliances could be 57 Amps). In theory if Tina was using all four hob positions plus both ovens (quite easily done when cooking a Sunday lunch or Xmas dinner) then the limit of the breaker would be exceeded. The electrician did confirm that the breaker was sufficient to protect the cabling but it won’t be great if the oven/hob keeps tripping out regularly. In order to get a new feed from the consumer unit the bedroom carpet would need lifting, which I guess is why it wasn’t done in the first place? Another conversation with Pete in the morning to highlight my concerns.

So the end of phase 2 is getting closer (with a couple of outstanding issues to resolve), but hopefully tomorrow we should have a fully functional kitchen, albeit without floor tiles or plastered walls. Then on to phase 3 (walls plastered and floors tiled) which once complete will mean we can paint the walls and fit the lighting, install the TV and add the furniture, with only the splashback outstanding.

Kitchen update – phase 2…day 2

Yesterday afternoon, Paul the tiler came to check the flooring and confirmed that it should be OK to lay the tiles but there is a bit of prep work needed before Monday so he will be arriving at 8.30am on Sunday morning for an hour to level and make good. That’ll please the family!

By the way, what is it with the names of the tradesmen we’ve employed? – Pete the fitter, Perry the electrician and Paul the tiler – I expect we’ll Phil see the plumber sometime!

Today, the guys started installing the base units, which Rio thought was a great idea as there was loads of packaging for him to play with. You could see one of the fitters was getting a bit annoyed with him so I decided to take Rio for a walk to wear him out. Whilst out, I got a text from Tina saying that she’d overheard Pete say that there was a problem with the oven tower. It seemed that Pete thought that we were having a double oven (which we’re not) and so the holes didn’t match up to one. Fortunately they did for the oven and microwave we’re having. When I returned all seemed fine and nothing was said to us. I said to Tina about the electrics as I didn’t think they’d put a point in for the microwave but decided not to say anything as it was not me doing the job.

It has felt odd allowing the tradesmen to get on with their work without helping out; I’ve always done my own DIY and to have others do things which are quiet easily in my capabilities was a bit strange, and frustrating in some ways. Still I vowed not to get involved in this work and have left them to it.

It has been tough living out of the conservatory; the area is like a gypsy camp and a messy one at that. We have kept back a few plates, mugs and the cutlery so at least we can prepare some food without having to live totally on takeaways. Luckily Tuesday is gluten-free day at the local chippy so there was no cooking today.

We kept some of the breakfast cereals on the side rather in a cupboard as it meant we could quite easily reach them. Unfortunately Rio spotted them too and I found him with his snout and head firmly inside a box of Coco Pops, munching away on the chocolate goodies. Suffice to say all the cereals are now on top of the microwave out of his reach.

The floor units seemed to go in really quickly, by lunchtime most of the long wall ones were in, with the wall units following shortly afterwards. The fitter said that the kitchen we had chosen, framed units, was more difficult to fit due to the limited tolerance to get everything flush. By mid-afternoon the work tops were being installed and the doors to the cupboards added. It was all starting to come together.

We had a visit from the gypsy community, spotting the old oven, cooker hood and a skip on the drive, or was it the state of the conservatory? Anyway those guys don’t miss a trick and soon they had the oven and hood loaded onto their van, although they did ask first and it saved me a job getting rid of them as the electrical goods shouldn’t really be skipped anyway.

Rio became restless about this time so a quick run around up the green soon wore him out and he came back for a afternoon nap, giving me and the fitters a rest from his constant attention. To be fair he had been pretty good today considering the disruption and whilst he was keen to see what was going on, keeping him on the lead at times seemed to do the trick.

The guys finished off adding the handles and installing the oven and then pointed out a problem with one of the doors that must have been damaged in transit. Hopefully a replacement will be sorted by the end of the weekend. Also, it seems the splashback we wanted fitting below the cooker hood may have to be ordered in to match the curved shape of the hood so Pete was going to look online to find one. When I discussed the issue with Tina we agreed that having a tiled splashback may be an alternative option but we would need to discuss this with Pete in the morning. We had a look at the work completed today and noted a couple of snagging point which may need to be sorted before the end of the week, but we were both very pleased with the kitchen installed to that point.

Tomorrow the existing sink is to be removed so we will be without water for most of the day, but as no-one else will be here, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for me.

Kitchen update – phase 2 begins

So far so good…

The delivery lorry arrived at 7.30 am, earlier than they had indicated on the call to Tina yesterday but as I was up and prepared, this was no problem. The delivery guys went through the process of how they were going to unload the kitchen and we agreed where the various boxes should be stored. The builder installing the kitchen had already suggested that all the floor units should be placed in the dining area and the rest put in the garage. This would help  with the install, which starts on Monday.

And so the unloading began.

I meanwhile, tried to keep Rio out of their way as he thought it was great to have someone visit the house to see HIM so early.

I watched the first carcass being carried up the path and suddenly there was an almighty crash as the other delivery guy dropped the box in the front door way. After swearing, he picked it back, gave it a bit of an inspection and declared it looks OK. Great start, I thought.

Over the next thirty minutes or so they continued to unload the units and soon the dining room and garage were full of our new kitchen, albeit in boxes. I then had to sign to say I had excepted delivery, but luckily I didn’t have to check each of the 190 items on the list only that the boxes were visible.

And then they were gone, leaving a very excited Tina itching to look at her new oven and hob (well the packaging anyway).

So in terms of doing what they said they would do, Magnet have delivered on that front, with no items missing or on backorder. That’s got to be a good sign.

On Monday the builders will be ripping out the old kitchen and starting to fit the new one. Hopefully, the installation will be as trouble-free as the delivery process was. I will keep a daily blog of their progress.

This may not be a good idea after all

Yesterday we started decorating the kitchen after weeks of putting it off. We did intend to start next weekend, with four days off over Easter to paint ceilings and walls, replace lights and repair the floor tiles that had broken over the years the ceramic flooring had been down, but Tina said she was bored and wanted to start earlier.

So I started on the floor tiles yesterday afternoon. We did consider replacing the flooring with new, but when we priced up what we wanted we decided that replacing the cracked tiles would be a cheaper option and luckily we had kept six spare tiles back for just such repairs. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned!

With bolster and chisel in hand, I gently tapped at the first tile and it began to lift, although not as easy as I hoped. Then the adjacent tile chipped. Damn I thought but no problem I have six spares. Then a small tile cracked. Shit I said and sent Tina to the garage to check on how many of these spare we had. Ah OK, six of these too so that’s alright. I then proceeded to work on the second chipped tile only for the one next to it to to crack as well. This may not be a good idea after all. And you can guest the next bit; yep more broke until we got to that stage where we now had seven tiles to replace and only six spares. And all the small tiles had gone too. And with the tiles twelve years old it would be impossible to find matching tiles in the shops.

So we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and today chiselling and lifting all the kitchen tiles. And now I have a back ache and a very dusty kitchen, and no flooring. And no dishwasher, as in the process of moving it to remove the tiles under it I split the cold water feed pipe and don’t have a spare.

Luckily, Nick our neighbour has offered to lay the new tiles as my tiling skills are less that perfect.

All we have to do now is choose some both Tina and I like, and of course pay for them!