How to refit your kitchen: A step-by-step guide (2023)

How to refit your kitchen: A step-by-step guide (1)

It's easy to avoid those common kitchen renovation mistakes when you plan ahead.Take this stunning kitchen; It's smack-bang in the middle of a room with doorwaysto two bedrooms and a bathroom opening directlyonto one side.

The lack of walls also limits theamount of kitchen storage, with no room for cabinets. So, what can be done? Simply build a wall to create ahallway for the bedrooms and bathroom, sectioningoff that zone and adding structure to the kitchen.

This divider also increases the options for kitchen storage, making your kitchen more functional and user-friendly.

Gather your supplies

  • Top and bottom plates,studs, noggings 70x 45mm pine, as required
  • New wall sheeting 2200x 1200 x 6mm fibrecement sheets, as required
  • Existing wall sheeting10mm plasterboard,as required
  • Flat pack components
  • Selected tiles

You’ll also need

Hammer; bolster; powersaw; nail gun and nails, tosuit; chalk line; acrylic studadhesive; fibre cement nails; construction adhesive; drill;100mm batten screws; selfadhesivemesh jointing tape;base coat; plasterer’s hawk;100 and 250mmbroadknife; metal external angles; spirit level; top coat;trowel; sanding float;sandpaper; 65mm, 28mmand 40mm wood screws;clamps; long straightedge;notched trowel; tileadhesive; tile nibblers; anglegrinder with diamond blade;grout sponge; grout; sponge

Here's how

Step 1

Get someone tohelp you demolish theexisting kitchen. Carefullyunscrew cabinets to avoiddamaging the walls. Olderhomes may have asbestos sheet wall linings, whichshould be removed by a pro.

Step 2

Use hammer and bolster to remove old splashback tiles. Do thiscarefully, as any big holesor chunks out of the wallwill need to be repaired.

Stud wall

Step 3

To build the stud wall toseparate the bedrooms from thekitchen, first use power saw to cuta top and bottom plate to the samelength as the proposed wall. Cut studs to fit between top and bottomplate. (Their length is the height ofyour wall less the combined thickness of top and bottom plate.)Position studs and plates on floor sostuds sit between plates and fastenwith nail gun. If fixing wall sheetsvertically, as here, make sure studsare spaced so edge of sheet will siton centre of a stud. Otherwise,space studs at 450mm centres.

Step 4

Working from bottomplate, measure 1200mm up thestuds at each end of wall. Usechalk to mark a line acrossstuds between these points.

Step 5

Cut noggings to fit betweenstuds along the chalked line. Staggernoggings to either side of the linefor ease of nailing. Prior to fixingfinal nogging, ensure length of wallalong this line matches top andbottom plates. Adjust length of finalnogging if required. Nail in place.

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Step 6

Place dabs of acrylic studadhesive along studs so they will notcoincide with fixings for the wallsheets. If putting sheets vertically,do not apply adhesive to the studwhere the edge of the sheet rests.

Step 7

Cut wall sheet to length.Place on 1 end of frame so it meets1 corner and the short edge isflush with bottom plate. Secure withfibre cement nails along bottomplate every 200mm. Align long edgeof sheet with side of frame and nail.Continue nailing through top plateand intermediate studs to securesheet. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 toattach following sheets to wall frame.

Step 8

Mark out position of wall onfloor. Spread construction adhesivealong floor where wall frame will sit.Lift wall into position so it meets linealong floor. Pre-drill, then fix to floorusing 100mm batten screws. Wherethe new wall butts into the existingwall, make plumb and screw throughend stud into existing wall framing.

Step 9

Have your electrician andplumber run services if positionof appliances and sink is beingchanged. This may require further removal of existing wall linings.

Step 10

To repair walls wherethe electrician and plumber haverun their services, cut existing plasterboard on the centres ofwall studs and remove. Cut newplasterboard sheet to fit in this hole.Apply stud adhesive to the studs,place cut sheet into position andnail in place. Attach fibre cementsheeting to back side of new wall.

Step 11

Press self-adhesive meshjointing tape into recessed joins onnew wall and across join where oldand new linings meet. Mix up basecoat and use plasterer’s hawk and100mm broadknife to spread alongjoins. (It should be thick enough tojust cover the tape.) Once set, applya second, wider skim coat with250mm broadknife, featheringedges to wall linings. Fill nail holes.In areas that will be covered bycabinets or will be tiled, this issufficient to set join between sheets.

Step 12

Cut metal external anglesto length and nail to upright cornersof fibre cement, using spirit level tomake plumb. Apply base coat toangles and feather edge to adjacentfibre cement sheets. Leave to set.

Step 13

Use trowel to applytop coat to all joins and cornersthat will be seen when kitchenis complete. Apply in successivelywider layers, allowing to drycompletely after each coat. Toproperly blend plasterboard patches,you may end up with top coatspreading 600mm over joins and300mm from each side of corners.

Step 14

Use sanding float andsandpaper to sand joins until wallsheets feel like 1 piece. Check forsmoothness by running your handsalong the join, feeling for any ridges.Spot fill if necessary. Remove dust.

Base cabinets

Step 15

Assemble flat-packcabinets following pack instructions. Keep parts notimmediately required in a safeplace. Fit base cabinet withadjustable feet and screwout until 145mm high.

Step 16

Install cabinetsby starting with the cornerpantry, if you have one.Assemble the cabinetnear the kitchen to makeinstallation easier. Attachend panels to sides ofcabinet that will be visiblein the finished kitchen.

Step 17

Make sure sidesof pantry are plumb and thatit is level. If required, packbetween walls and any voidsbehind the pantry. Using65mm wood screws, screwthrough back of pantry intowall studs, or use plugsfor a masonry wall.

Step 18

Place the run ofbase cabinets next to thepantry. Adjust feet oncabinets to make themlevel with each other.

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Step 19

Clamp cabinetstogether so the front edgesare flush. Using 28mm woodscrews, pre-drill, countersinkand screw cabinets together.To hide screws, positionthem behind the hingeblocks and screw froma drawer cabinet intoadjacent cabinets. Cutholes for plumbing orelectrical services incabinets as you go.

Step 20

Complete a runof cabinets and use longstraightedge to check thatthey are all level. Screwthrough backs of cabinetsinto wall studs.


Step 21

Place benchtopson cabinets. Use suppliedtemplates for sink andcooktop to confirm theirposition, then cut holes inbenchtop to support them.Cut to length, allowing forany overhang that maybe required. Using 40mmwood screws, screw upthrough rail at front ofcabinet and use smallbrackets at back to secure.

Step 22

To create the‘waterfall’ effect at endof cabinets, make thebenchtop overhang the endof the cabinets by the sameamount as its thickness. Cutanother length of benchtopto run from the undersideof the benchtop down tothe floor. Screw through theside of the end cabinet tosecure the vertical piece.

Wall cabinets

Step 23

Starting from anytall cabinets, install the wallcabinets. Make the top of thefirst wall cabinet flush withthe top of the tall cabinet.Screw through side ofwall cabinet into tall cabinet.Continue fixing wall cabinets,screwing them to each otherand to the wall.


Step 24

Using notchedtrowel, spread tile adhesivefor splashback tiles.

Step 25

Leaving a small gapabove the benchtop, startlaying tiles. If using mosaic tiles, as here, use groutsponge to gently press acrossthe tiles so they are all alignedwith each other. Cut tiles asrequired using tile nibblersor angle grinder withdiamond blade. Leave to set,then grout, wiping regularlywith damp sponge. Let dry,then polish tiles with a cloth.

Finishing touches

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Step 26

Position hardwarefor doors and drawers, thenattach to cabinets. Useadjusting screws to aligndoors. Cut and scribekickplates (if required) anduse supplied brackets toclick them to the legs.

Step 27

Call tradies backto install appliances and sink.

  • DIY
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How to refit your kitchen: A step-by-step guide (2)
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