DIY Kitchens: Ikea or Bunnings Flatpax? (Part 2)

This is part 2 of 3. Also see Part 1 – intro, cabinets and doors and Part 3 – other considerations and conclusion.

benchtops

Both Ikea and Bunnings have a wide range of Kitchen benchtops from about $50 per metre. Bunnings stores have limited stocks on hand, but a lot can be ordered.

cheapest laminate: Bunnings have $100 2400mm x 600mm worktops in black and white, but they are not really for kitchens (more like laundry, etc) and the square front edges don’t look very waterproof (this is a big deal, if the MDF inside gets wet and stays wet long enough, it can expand and swell). Ikea has a very similar product in white, but slightly thicker and with a rounded edge : Lagan worktop ($99, 2.2m).

standard laminate: Recommended. Thicker, rounded top front edges, more commonly used. Much cheaper than any kind of stone or wood. Ikea’s is called prägel : $90 (1.2m) to $140 (2.4m). We used Ikea prägel in “Stone effect black”. Bunnings didn’t have anything at this price point.

Note: any benchtop with a rounded edge will need to be cut diagonally or with a mason’s mitre or it will look odd. Getting a plain old mason’s mitre benchtop join can be ridiculously expensive (lowest quote we found was about $500, more than all 3 of our benchtop pieces put together) but you can do it yourself if you’re careful (see my post about how I did mine). I saw a metal mason’s mitre cover-strip at Ikea too, which would be cheap and easy if you don’t mind the look of it.

Also note: The underside of the prägel benchtop isn’t laminated or fully waterproofed. The instructions say that you should place something underneath to protect the benchtop from moisture if you are putting it over something that might get moist (from water, steam, or condensation due to changes in temperature) such as a dishwasher or oven. I ended up buying a cheap sealer – a PVA based glue/sealant in a squeeze bottle – and “painting” it thickly onto the underside of the benchtop to waterproof it a bit. I also used a cheap halogen lamp from Bunnings to dry the sealant more quickly, though the sun on a warm, dry day will also work well.

pricier laminates: Bunnings has very-rounded-edge laminates in styles similar to prägel for 2 or 3 times the price. Ikea has some laminate choices at that range too, mostly square styles (the Ikea designs were both nicer, in my opinion, and cheaper, I think).

stone, wood, steel: These are all the rage at the moment. We never considered these, since the prägel is much cheaper, very durable, and just as pretty (for the style we wanted). I do know Ikea has some solid wood products for less than $300 per metre, and if you have thousands to spend, both stores can order engineered stone (like Caesar Stone), marble, and (I believe) stainless steel. Usually these come made to your measurements and delivered your home (they can be extremely heavy). See Ikea worktops, Flatpax benchtops.

kickboards

These are the long panels at your feet under the cabinets (the cabinets are held up by strong adjustable plastic legs, and the kickboards clip onto them.

Bunnings’ are about $45 for a 2.4m piece. Anything but plain white will usually need to be ordered (arrives a week or two later, IIRC). Clips are sold seperately, about $5 a pair, with screws to attach them.

Ikea’s are about $42 for a 2.2m piece. They’ll have a wider range in stock. Clips slip on (no screwing needed) and come included with the cabinet legs.

This is part 2 of 3. Also see Part 1 – intro, cabinets and doors and Part 3 – other considerations and conclusion.

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