New Sink & Pipes

The new pipework under the kitchen sink includes washing machine pipes.

NEW Sink Pipes

I went for the more expensive Granite Sink because the cheap stainless steel sinks tend to get rusty and limescaled too quickly.

NEW Kitchen Sink

In Hungary there is such a wide variety of affordable mixer taps, unlike in the UK.

Kitchen Taps

OBI has such a vast range of sink taps, you are spoilt for choice.


New Cupboads

When having a custom-made kitchen unit built it is so very important to get the balance right between drawers, shelves, cupboard space and kitchen space.

NEW Kitchen Cupboards

Think about potential tenants, tourists and a family in terms of cupboard and kitchen space.

NEW Kitchen Cupboards

Try and use up as much kitchen space as possible.

NEW Kitchen Cupboards

My cupboard unit goes around the sink wall and oven wall (in an L shape) and on the back wall, all from floor to ceiling, to utilise the overall kitchen space.


New Radiator

The kitchen has had new a cut-off tap fitted for the radiator.

NEW Kitchen Radiator

NEW Kitchen Radiator

The radiator thermo and heat meter are also new, as is the gas pipe fiting.

NEW Kitchen Gas Cutoff

The fake ceiling and cupboards have hidden 99% of the pipes and given the kitchen a completely new look.



The Renovated Kitchen

New Tiles, Windows, Wiring, Walls And Cupboards

Below are some of the before and after shots of our newly renovated kitchen, in our apartment in Szeged, showcasing how much work and fine detail was put into its renovation.

When I was viewing the apartment you could instantly tell the kitchen needed a total renovation - The cupboards were way too old, dirty and greasy and stuck to the walls as if they were meant to be there for 100 years supporting the weight of an elephant let alone a can of baked beans! The wall tiles were even worse because they had been concreted instead of tile pasted, which meant they were a pain to remove.

The CUPBOARDS

My first impression of the kitchen was "very dirty and greasy" and "too many bulky cupboards". Not too many cupboards, just too much bulk. Their thick wood and bulk made them too heavy to easily remove from the walls, especially when they had been bolted down instead of screwed down. Even with the help of a strong neighbour it was a pain to remove the cupboards and sink unit.

Old Kitchen Walls

The old wall and floor tiles, cupboards, ceiling and windows were too greasy and dirty

Although Szeged apartments, within apartment blocks, are privately owned (not state owned) they were originally built uniformly/identically in terms of exterior and interior. Hence why they have roughly the same kitchen units and hallway cupboard layout.

It is quite normal to find a dirty, old, greasy, 'stubborn to remove' kitchen unit when viewing similar property simply because many people in Hungary are still poor whereby they cannot afford to replace a twenty year old kitchen unit for example.

The TILES

The photo above does not really show the true amount of grunge in the kitchen. The horrible, old, grey tiles for example were so greasy, with spits of stubborn yellow grease all over them, it would of taken ages to clean them. They were not worth keeping anyway so I decided to chisel them off like the bathroom tiles. Two days work and a bitch to remove! At one point I was going to admit defeat because I thought I would not be able to remove them all, that is how stubborn they were, but in the end I did remove them all; saving myself 37,500 HUF (£100) in labour costs.

The ceiling is another example. It was worse than in the photo above (see the centre). When I initially started cleaning it the blackness (dirt) was so bad it was just smearing itself, making the ceiling even blacker. That photo only shows the halfway point when I had managed to get the first layer of dirt off. If you look in the corner where the pipe is, where the window (right side) wall meets the ceiling, that is the true blackness of the ceiling. It almost looks like a shadow! I originally thought there must of been a fire in the kitchen, but then realised it was just black dirt.

Old Kitchen

Removing the cupboards revealed more of the forever bending pipes within the flat

The photo above shows the kitchen after the removal of the cupboards and some of the wall and floor tiles. Throughout the hallway, bathroom and kitchen there are water/heating pipes all around the walls and ceilings. When the kitchen cupboards were removed it exposed more of this pipe work (see centre of photo), all of which will be hidden with a fake plastered ceiling or boxed-off plaster board and plaster.

I found the old floor tiles a lot easier to remove than the old wall tiles. Once removed (see photo below) I then had to chisel off the remaining concrete and sand down the floor in preparation for the tiler to lay down the new floor tiles. It is good I did all the preparation work myself, otherwise it would of cost me an extra 15,000 HUF (£40) just for the concrete removal and sanding down.

To an English person this preparation is standard procedure, but to a Hungarian this might seem like unwanted hard work. They prefer to paste new tiles over old tiles, perhaps to save on preparation work, time and money? Either way, if you are not doing the preparation work yourself, watch over your tiler and make sure they follow the English method of preparation. New tiles over old tiles is ugly (tacky!) and can cause future problems.

Hallway Kitchen Floor

In Hungary do NOT be surprised if your tiler wants to tile over old, existing, tiles!

Floor tiles in Szeged cost between 3,000 HUF (£8) and 4,000 HUF (£10.66) per square meter for medium to high quality respectively. So a 4 x2 meters (8 square meters) kitchen with high quality floor tiles should cost 32,000 HUF (£85.33). I say should because one box of tiles might make up 1.3 sqm instead of 1 sqm. So instead of buying eight boxes (8 sqm) you might only need seven boxes (9.1 sqm). Either way, do not buy low quality for short term use simply because it will cost you more to remove and replace them in the future.

In Szeged tilers are paid on a 'per square meter' rate and not on an hourly rate. With this in mind you could, in theory, have smaller tiles laid; even mosaic! However, as a rule and to be kind to the tiler, it works out cheaper both cost-wise and time-wise to have larger tiles laid. I think larger look better too and save on cleaning in between the gaps!

The CEILING

Below, work has started on the fake ceiling that will hide most of the ugly pipes. Plaster board and plaster will hide the rest. Obviously the radiator pipes and main gas cooker pipe will still be visible, but that is natural as they cannot be hidden of course.

Kitchen Ceiling

The new fake ceiling, plaster and plaster board will hide the ugly pipes

I asked the builder to leave side panels around the edges of the fake ceiling so that pipes could easily be removed/fixed in the future, by cutting through those side panels. This would mean another plastering job in the future, but as the pipes are not that old and the fact that copper pipes last decades (approximately 50 - 70 Years) everyone I spoke to agreed that it would be very unlikely, and very unlucky, if any or all of those pipes needed replacing in the next few decades.

The WIRING

As you can see from the above photo: Holes have been put in the fake ceiling plaster board for spotlights. And with the whole apartment being rewired from scratch, including a new fuse box and new electric meter, I made sure each room had plenty of plug sockets installed. In the kitchen an extractor fan will also be installed to cut down on future grease build-up near the cooker.

The PLUMBING

With the plumbing I had the old pipes and sink replaced with modern materials including flexible pipes for the washing machine and taps. As I was paying so much for the kitchen tiles and custom-made cupboards material (i.e. the wood and handles) I decided to buy a "better quality" granite sink (52,000 HUF / £138.66) instead of a cheaper, classic, stainless steel sink (13,000 HUF / £34.66). Prices do not include the 17,000 HUF (£45.33) taps!

Kitchen Pipes

The kitchen was fitted with modern flexi-pipes for the washing machine and sink

Some CONSIDERATIONS

When renovating it is very important to consider the quality, expense and usability of the sink, taps, cupboards, shelves and overall kitchen layout in terms of potential tenants and/or tourists as well as yourself.

Are there enough shelves and drawers? Is the kitchen expensive to operate with an extractor fan and spotlights? Are the taps mixed or separate hot and cold? Is the sink itself too shallow? Are the taps awkward for washing purposes? Is the washing machine big enough? Can it be hidden inside a cupboard? Is it too noisy in the night time for the neighbours? It is these small details that matter to a potential tenant/tourist. They want cupboard space, a silent washing machine, an eating/smoking area and so on. Whether or not they get all of these things is a different story!

Kitchen Cupboards

Make sure you have enough cupboards (drawers and shelves) for potential tenants

In CONCLUSION

I think the overall cost of the kitchen, compared to what it would of cost in the UK, was very affordable; especially when you consider that I got the labor for free whereby at certain times I had three workers on a particular job. And there was not really too much I could of saved on in terms of buying the materials. Note: The grand total below is estimated because the fake ceiling costs, for example, were for the whole apartment.

Product(s) / Service(s) HUF Price GBP Price Notes
Walls And Floor Sanded Down 15,000 Ft £40 FREE LABOR - I Did The Work Myself
Fake Ceiling / Plaster Work 130,000 Ft £346.66 FREE LABOR - Plasterer Did Work For Free
Tiles Purchased 96,000 Ft £256 This includes tiles for the hallway
Grout Purchased 14,000 Ft £37.33 This includes grout for the hallway
Tiles Pasted 44,000 Ft £117.33 FREE LABOR - Tiler Did Work For Free
Bathroom/Kitchen Labor 175,125 Ft £467 FREE LABOR - Plumber Did Work For Free
New Sink Purchased 52,000 Ft £138.66
New Taps Purchased 17,000 Ft £45.33
NEW Radiator + C.O Valves 41,800 Ft £111.46 This includes pipework for radiators
NEW Double Glazing 150,000 Ft £400
NEW Bespoke Cupboards 525,000 Ft £1,400 FREE LABOR - Cupboard Maker Worked For Free
NEW Fridge 119,899 Ft £319.73 Whirlpool
NEW Washing Machine 79,899 Ft £213.06 Hotpoint Ariston ECOS6L 1052 (6kg)
NEW Cooker 94,899 Ft £253.06 Gorenje K-57325-AS - Combi (Gas/Electric)
GRAND TOTAL 1,554,622 Ft £4,145 Rough Estimate

NOTE WELL - The reason why I got free labor from the electrician, cupboard maker, plumber, tiler and plasterer was because they were in some way related to my friend, Tünde, or friends of those relations. Furthermore, the labor prices shown on this web page are rough quotations of what a standard client might of paid. In other words, I asked the plumber etc what they would of normally charged a client so that you have a rough idea of labor costs in Szeged. If you want to get a quote from them and/or hire them please e-mail me for their contact details.

Disclaimer: At the time of renovation, where 1 GBP (Great British Pound) was equal to 375 HUF (Hungarian Forint), the HUF and GBP prices and costs shown in this renovation section were 100% correct - GBP prices and costs were based on and calculated at an exchange rate of 1 GBP to 375 HUF. With exchange rates, prices and costs naturally being variable, you should therefore take the prices and costs shown throughout this website as guidance only.

BATHROOM RENOVATION
BEDROOM RENOVATION
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