The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

126 – Your Kitchen Installation Guide 

On today’s episode,

This kitchen installation guide is full of useful tips to help with your kitchen renovation and to work effectively with your trades. Follow the major steps of a kitchen installation to ensure you have a stress-free experience and a renovated kitchen to be proud of: 

  • Disposing of your old kitchen
  • Demolishing the kitchen space 
  • Setting out your kitchen accurately
  • Working with your trades 
  • What to check before announcing your kitchen reno is finished!

Listen to Episode 126: Your Kitchen Installation Guide 

Your Kitchen Installation Guide

Highlights for the installing your kitchen episode

  • [00:02:11] Disposing of your old kitchen 
  • [00:04:16] Demolishing and clearing your kitchen space
  • [00:05:39] Setting out your kitchen accurately
  • [00:06:33] How to check for a quality installation of cabinets in your kitchen – check for gaps  
  • [00:08:10] Your range hood installation should be done by the cabinet maker 
  • [00:09:21] A recycling range hood will come with two different trim sizes
  • [00:09:37] Make sure you select the correct trim size for your range hood 
  • [00:10:19] Get your stone bench top measured as soon as possible 
  • [00:11:17] A note about working with the stonemason 
  • [00:10:19] Get your stonemason to work outside, in the open air
  • [00:13:02] Install your splash back promptly 
  • [00:13:16] Bring your plumber and electrician back to fit off 
  • [00:13:16] Allow more days for installation when you do custom cabinetry 
  • [00:14:19] Check the builder’s warranty covers your kitchen cost
  • [00:15:02] The last thing to install in your kitchen 
  • [00:15:49] She Renovates related episodes on kitchen renovation
  • [00:13:16] The class project property 
  • [00:18:19] Join the She Renovates Facebook group

Your Kitchen Installation Guide

Disposing of your existing kitchen 

I’m all in favour of reuse and recycling and not adding to the landfill problem. So take photos of your old kitchen and either selling it or giving it away ahead of time is an excellent option because it means that the kitchen has another life. It’s very rare that what you’re left with is not reusable.

In fact, one of our Wonder Women just purchased her second project for the month. It is going to be quite a budget-challenged project. So she bought a magnificent three-year-old Hampton-style kitchen with marble benchtops and she paid $500 for it. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It came out of a $5 million property and is in beautiful condition, much better than anything that she probably would have bought new installed. So think about your kitchen’s reincarnation when you’re taking it out. So let’s assume you can post your kitchen on a  Buy Nothing site. 

Demolishing and clearing your kitchen space

Be sure to bring in your demolition contractors to remove anything that’s remaining. You may be making some structural changes. You may be taking a wall out so that is definitely the next step. With the demolition, you want to make sure that everything that needs to come out does come out. 

Common problems with kitchen renovation 

If you’ve got a tiled floor in the kitchen, demolition contractors usually lift the tiles but often the glue is left behind. If you’re planning to put a floating floor in, you want to ensure the glue is removed. 

A few times we’ve had difficulty getting the glue removed and we’ve ended up going to Kennards and hiring a concrete mower, which takes it up very quickly. But if you do that, you want to make sure you also hire the vacuum cleaner that attaches to it because it produces a huge amount of smoke and dust. If you’re in an apartment building, you can set off the smoke alarms, which is not good. That can be a very expensive exercise. The other thing that happens is when you take tiles off the wall, the walls usually come off too! So those walls generally need reinstating.

Setting out your kitchen accurately helps the kitchen renovation to flow smoothly

Set out the kitchen to make sure that your appliances and sink, et cetera, are in the right place. This usually happens a long time before the cabinet installation because the cabinets take a while to make. Make sure your water and drainage, and location of the appliances is in the right place with anything you do in renovating. 

The set-out is critical because once the second fix comes in, you’ll find that if the set-out hasn’t been done well, let’s say your drain pipes are in the wrong place, it’s in the middle of the cupboard next to the sink, that doesn’t work. This becomes messy and expensive to fix.

 The big thing about installing a cabinet in your kitchen 

With the cabinet installation, whether it is flat pack or custom made, the big thing with kitchen installation is that the cabinets are level. It might seem quite an easy thing to do, but getting the levels right is really important. Ensure your installer is well-experienced! 

Check for and minimise gaps in the cabinets and installation:

  • top of the dishwasher
  • top of the oven 
  • around the microwave 

This is one area that is important to do to ensure quality. Usually you will have someone qualified or experienced installing your kitchen so checking for gaps is a good way to keep them accountable for the quality.

The gaps in the kitchen are what determine the quality of the installation.

You will see from previous episodes and articles, the reason to go for a custom kitchen is so it perfectly fits your kitchen. But I have found that custom cabinet makers will still come in and want to use big fillers. This can be a very unprofessional look. So always be checking for gaps.

Make sure the gaps aren’t too big, using large fillers. Sometimes you don’t have a choice when you’re using a flat pack, but that reflects you’re planning to minimise the fillers that you need.

Avoid gap fillers in the kitchen installation when possible

Minimising gaps sometimes means that you do have to put a filler piece at the top of the dishwasher, or it might mean that the dishwasher needs to be adjusted. It’s nice if your kicker and the cupboards work with the kicker on the dishwasher in which case you may not have that much opportunity to adjust the top of the dishwasher.

Range hood installation should be done by the cabinet maker 

Range hood installation, other than the power, which the electrician will install, needs to be done by the cabinet maker, particularly if you’re using a recycling range hood. 

The reason is, a recycling range hood has a different configuration at the front to a ventured range hood. So with a recycling range hood, it has vents at the front that blow the air out. It comes in through the bottom and comes out through the top. But often they get installed just like a normal one. So they have doors that come down over those vents. 

Two types of trims for the range hood

A recycling range hood will come with two trims – the smaller ones, and for a standard vented range hood, and then the deeper one for the recycling. So that needs to be replaced and the doors need to be cut shorter to match.

Putting in a floating floor in your kitchen installation

If you’re putting a floating floor in, there’s also a consideration around how that’s finished off. A  lot of floor installers will use that hideous woodgrain scotia. I can’t stand it. And I do my best to avoid it. So in the main part of the room, in the living area, you can put your skirting down on top. But around the kitchen, that is not quite so easy. And I just get them to cut the kickers short enough to accommodate the thickness of the floor and the underlay and just leave the kickers off until the floating floor has been installed.

Around the ends of islands where you don’t have kickers, I get them to scribe them neatly in close to the cabinets. So then they just run a very fine silicone bead around. Don’t let them push you into having those scotia’s unless of course you’re not putting skirtings in the rest of the room and you don’t have an option there. You may not have a choice, but I always try to avoid them.

Get your stone benchtop measured as soon as possible

Once you’ve got your cabinets in, you want to get the stone benchtop measured up as soon as possible, because that is what’s going to take the time. I have suppliers that will take three days and I have some that will take ten. Obviously, the three-day suppliers are more expensive so there’s really not a lot you can do until you’ve got that stone in. 

A note about the stonemason 

Make sure you give the stonemason the sink to install in the factory, but do keep the plug and waste because I’ve also had a problem where they’ve mixed up the plug and waste with someone else’s. Often, in fancy sinks, they’re specific to that sink and then you have a problem with no plug and waste!

Also, provide a template for the cooktop so that they can get that hole cut as well.

Let your stonemason work outside at the renovation site 

 As much as possible, don’t let your stonemason cut inside the site.

I made the mistake once of letting them cut inside, and it was a disaster. Basically, it ruined the paintwork, so never again!  Avoid having them cut on-site if possible, but if they do need to, get them as far away as possible, working with a water hose so that they can keep the dust down. Stone (and composite stone) is becoming a real problem in terms of the health risks of dust. It can be carcinogenic and must be very carefully worked with.

Once the stone is in, just check that things like the cooktop actually fits. The stonemason doesn’t fit the cooktop but they should check and make sure that it does fit so when your electrician comes along, then there aren’t going to be problems.

We have had problems when we’ve gone from a laminate benchtop to stone because the laminate is a thicker material. So just be mindful of that.

Install your splashback promptly 

You want to get the splashback installed quickly so your electrician can fit it off. Whether it is tiles, glass, stainless steel, whatever you’re going for there and the joints silicon.

Bring your plumber and electrician back to fit off 

Once all that is done, then you are set to go. Bring your plumber and electrician back to fit off all the appliances. 

Double-check everything in the kitchen:

  • dishwasher 
  • cutlery divider
  • cutlery drawer
  • rubbish bin under the sink 

Allow more days of installation when you do custom cabinetry 

I do find that just about every time we have custom cabinetry the cabinet makers come back two or three times because something’s not quite right.  So I usually allow for a day or two for that to get sorted out but once the cabinets, the carcasses themselves are in and the stone can go on top, you can keep going. 

Check the builder’s warranty is appropriate for your kitchen value

When you’re installing a kitchen, check if the kitchen costs more than the threshold for a home compensation fund warranty. In short, it’s a builder’s warranty and in New South Wales, it’s $20,000, which doesn’t affect us because we don’t usually put $20,000 worth of cabinetry. But if yours does, you want to make sure that your supplier is organising the warranty because, by law it’s required if the cost of the kitchen is over the threshold.

The last thing to install in your kitchen 

The last thing I like to do is get bulkheads in over the tops of the cabinets. Now, if we have a high ceiling, at 2.7m and above, I probably wouldn’t put bulkheads in just because it makes the room too top-heavy, but lower than that, definitely, I put bulkheads into really tidy up the kitchen. Also sometimes you can install some accent lighting or LED lighting in this space as well to add some more wow to your kitchen.

Once all that’s done, you want to just go over the kitchen, make sure that there are no defects and get them sorted as soon as possible.

Get it cleaned. And there you go. New kitchen.

She Renovates related episodes 

26 – A Flat Pack Kitchen That Doesn’t Look Like  a Flat Pack

122 – Kitchen Renovating For Profit Part One 

124 – How To Resource Your Project While Keeping Your Kitchen Renovation Costs Down

The Wonder Women program

This episode is sponsored by The School Of Renovating Wonder Women program. This program provides training, mentoring, community, and joint venture opportunities for creative women wanting to replace their income with renovating and Airbnb, either now or at retirement. If you would like to know more about the program, then you can download a copy of the Wonder Women magazine:

You might think Wonder Women is quite a pretentious name but I have chosen this name for a reason. As women, we tend not to own our success and we tend to… things go really well, we tend to attribute it to someone else or to luck. And part of my mission is for our women to really own their power. And that means really standing up and taking pride in their work and absolutely nailing their goals. I hope that little background gives you a little bit of understanding of what I am trying to achieve.

The Class Project Property 

I located a potential property for our class project. I’ve mentioned in earlier episodes that we have crowdfunded the finance to be able to run one project, a teaching project. I always like to have something on the go for the students that are coming through. So now we are doing that as a community. 

We did a property tour in Newcastle and I found this incredible property but unfortunately, it’s seriously underquoted. It’s quoted at between 850 and 950 as a guide and I think it’s going to go well into the mid one million and so we’re just really working out the numbers on that. 

That’s a very tightly held area. It’s really hard to find properties that have sold in the area, which makes it a good area to renovate in because it’s premium.

She Renovates Facebook Group 

Now that I’ve finished this episode, you might have some unanswered questions or want to talk about renovating your kitchen. So what I want you to do is to come over to our completely free She Renovates Facebook group, it’s now 1100 members and growing quite quickly, which is quite exciting. And it’s full of savvy renovating women who are beavering away, they’re changing their lives with renovating. Join if you’re not already a member and then ask or comment or whatever you want to do over there, I come in once a week and do a live show.

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    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    “I have been listening to this Podcast for a few years now. I love how Bernadette freely shares her experiences and knowledge of renovating and how to create wealth through property. There are many people out there doing a similar things but Bernadette is the real deal. Her down to earth approach reasonates with me and I’ve learned lots from her. I’d highly recommend She Renovates!”
    Just brilliant!fbegeng via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 03/16/22
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    “I've been binge-listening to this podcast for the past week and it's absolutely brilliant. Bernadette has amassed so much knowledge and wisdom about renovating and she shares it generously and in a really easy to understand way that's inspired me to give it a go. Her advice is practical and I love that she approaches renovating in a really ethical and open-hearted way. Every episode honestly is gold. I also love that each episode is quite short and addresses a specific topic without any waffle. Thank you so much for this podcast!”
    Practical and honest adviceLuke Marland via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/12/21
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
    Amazing insights and adviceJennaBrad via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 03/22/21
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
    Practical Magic For All RenovatorsJames’ Inspiration via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 12/15/20
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
    My Guilty Pleasure..Tanned Greek via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 10/26/20
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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
    You would have to be crazy to miss this !!Lifestylepp via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 10/15/20
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

    Want more?

    If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

    The only membership you need to grow your renovation business…

    Wonder Women is a combination of live sessions and pre-recorded content to help you get what you need, when you need it. I know that you’re the expert and you’ve got all of your subject knowledge nailed – now it’s time to build the business behind your renovation projects and stop being the worlds best kept secret. 

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