7 Essential Questions You Must Ask Your Kitchen Designer Before You Sign a Contract

Before you sign a contract with your kitchen designer, it’s important to know you are really getting the best solution for your needs and from people you can trust. After all, a new kitchen is a substantial investment, and should be workable and functional for many years to come.

How much experience does your Kitchen Designer have not just designing kitchens but also working in the industry?

A kitchen is the heart of your home and the place most families spend a large amount of their time within. Your kitchen designer must be qualified and experienced with designing the space with your family needs in mind, and familiar with industry trends and product advancements.

How long will the process take from agreed design to completion of installation?

We’ve all heard the horror stories of builders not delivering what they promise in a timely manner. From agreeing on design and signing a contract the next step is a check measure. Once check measured, the kitchen is ordered and manufactured before being scheduled for installation. Once cabinetry is installed, a check measure is performed for benchtop (assuming is solid surface or stone), and once installed, splashback is fitted.

The reality is, with a postformed laminate benchtop, this whole process can be completed within 5-6 weeks. With a solid surface or stone benchtop, an additional 2 weeks should be allowed.

The actual installation period alone is generally 1-2 weeks with laminated benchtop and 2-3 weeks with solid benchtop.

What materials are used to ensure your new kitchen stands the test of time?

You don’t want to order a kitchen and then when installed find it is made from cheap, inferior materials. Many ‘flat pack’ imported kitchen cabinets are made from chipboard or old generation mdf, which swells and cracks at the first contact with moisture. You will find it hard to maintain these well over time, especially if you plan to repaint your kitchen cabinets in the future.

Insist on your cabinets being manufactured using HMR (Highly Moisture Resistant) particleboard as a minimum, and your doors and panels using MR (Moisture Resistant) MDF as a minimum.

Where is the cabinetry made and assembled?

Locally manufactured is better when it comes to kitchens. Not only are you supporting your local businesses and local economy, you are also reducing transport costs and potential for delays if replacement panels or components are ever required.

What warranties exist for cabinetry, hardware and appliances?

You’d be disappointed if your cabinets started cracking or peeling after only a couple of years. Likewise, if your hinges or hardware failed after a few years with normal use.

Cabinetry and external surfaces should be provided with a minimum 7 years warranty, whilst quality hardware such as Blum come with a lifetime warranty for confidence and certainty.

Appliance warranties vary by manufacturer, many offer a minimum 2-year warranty and some only 1-year.

Can you guarantee a fixed price for what has been specified and ordered?

Any kitchen company with honesty and integrity will offer a 100% fixed price quote. You don’t want to sign a contract for $A and find out later the true cost is $B because your Kitchen Designer left out important components that should have been allowed for. Insist on a 100% fixed price quote with no variations for design errors.

Do you arrange and co-ordinate installation with qualified trades?

I’m sure you wouldn’t want your chosen kitchen company simply delivering your new kitchen to your front porch and leaving the rest up to you? Co-ordinating the installation and commissioning of your new kitchen is not a task to be undertaken if you don’t know what you are doing. Make sure your chosen kitchen company provides you with reputable trades to facilitate your installation, and is on hand to manage the process for you.

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