Like the engine in a car, it is the appliances that drive a modern kitchen, and as such careful consideration should be given to their positioning and installation requirements.
A huge range of kitchen appliances is now available, with prices varying wildly from hundreds of pounds up to tens of thousands of pounds for professional-grade options. Most modern appliances are made from a combination of stainless steel, aluminium and glass, though some more retro and classic designs that suit more traditional kitchen themes have survived.
Some appliances can now be fitted with almost no previous experience or expertise, though many may still require a specialist to install them properly and it is best to seek the assistance of a professional if you are unsure. Please note that fitting of any gas or electrics should be undertaken by a trained professional with the appropriate certification. Not doing so may void your house insurance and also the appliance manufacturer’s guarantee.
If you are planning or fitting your own kitchen, there are a number of points to consider when making your choices. We have compiled a list below that contains some helpful tips for kitchen appliance installation:
Fitting Washing Machines
Most freestanding washing machines are 595mm wide, and can be between 840mm and 860mm tall. This height should be taken into consideration when installing solid wood kitchen units, as fitting kitchen units at a standard height of 870mm can leave little tolerance for fitting once flooring has been laid.
It is recommended to fit all plumbing services in an adjacent cupboard, so as to prevent the washing machine from protruding out beyond the worktop edge. If fitted next to a sink, the under-sink cupboard can be used to house the appropriate plumbing, and the washing machine can share the sink’s waste pipe.
Integrated washing machines are more difficult to install, as they have no recess at the rear of the machine, and height adjustment is often minimal. It is therefore necessary to install the washing machine on a platform and ensure no other pipework crosses the wall behind the washing machine that may obstruct water houses and waste outlets. After securing the washing machine into the unit, a door can be fitted in front of the appliance to cover it when not in use.
Fitting Integrated Dishwashers
Most integrated dishwashers are available in either a standard (600mm) width, or a slimline (450mm) alternative. Most have a recess at the bottom of the machine that allows for pipe work and other services to run behind the appliance if needed.
Wooden kitchen doors are fitted directly to the appliance using fixings that are provided with each machine. A template is also often included that will allow the fitter to easily mark the fixing points onto the cabinet door. Depending on the design of the dishwasher, the plinth may need to be cut to allow it to fit properly.
Like washing machines, all water and electrical services should be installed in an adjacent cupboard, whilst the waste services should be fitted in the void below the cabinet. The waste pipe can be integrated into the sink’s waste outlet, but may need a separate outlet if fitted alongside a washing machine, as two appliances will cause the waste pipe from the sink to block very quickly.
The height of both washing machines and dishwashers can be changed by altering the adjustable feet. Once you have installed the pipework and any electrical connections, use a spirit level to adjust the legs to ensure that the appliance is level.
We highly recommend installing a moisture barrier above any ‘wet’ appliances, in order to protect the wooden worktops above.
Fitting Built in Ovens
We provide a variety of specialist cabinets, including full-height cabinets that are suited to housing either single or double ovens. Different models of oven will vary in size slightly, so do check the size of the cabinet aperture before ordering your oven.
Ovens will often need to be wired directly into a wall output because of the high current they require. The electrical outlet may have to be fitted in an adjacent cupboard, or – in the case of double ovens – in the cupboard above.
Fitting Range Cookers
When preparing to fit a range cooker, similar preparations should be made to other freestanding appliances: the space between the cupboards needs to be accurately measured, and approximately 5mm wider than the appliance itself. Like the other appliances mentioned in this guide, the electrical connection should be positioned underneath or behind adjacent wood cabinets.
Take great care when adjusting the height of a range cooker. It is usually recommended that one checks the height of the cooker – it should be slightly above that of the worktops either side. Edges of the worktops should be protected with an ‘end cap’ which shields the wood’s end grain from the oven’s heat. You may also want to consider using our reflective moisture barriers on the side of adjacent cabinets in order to help deflect excess heat away from the solid wood panels.
Fitting Integrated Fridges and Freezers
The fitting of integrated fridges and freezers is very similar to dishwashers. Consideration should be made to ensure that the refrigeration unit has sufficient ventilation, which may require adjustment to the plinth below the appliance.
Commonly, cabinet doors will fit directly to the front of the fridge or freezer, but sometimes they will have to be attached directly to the side of the cabinet, as well as the front of the appliance.
There are indeed many other appliances that can be built into a solid wood kitchen, but do make sure that you consider the appliance’s fitting requirements before taking on the job yourself, and do measure the appliance carefully to ensure it will correctly fit into the designated cabinet.
If you are unsure on any of the aspects regarding fitting an appliance, we recommend seeking the advice of a professional kitchen fitter, or alternatively an electrician or plumber who has experience in fitting kitchen appliances.
Note: ‘this guide was originally published on 13th November 2015 but was update on 7th July 2017 to include additional information’