Kitchen Remodeling Tips
As we move into the holiday season we begin thinking more and more about the condition of our kitchen. And rightly so – what time of year is it ever used more? It’s probably why most kitchen remodels begin as soon as the holidays end – while the taste of antiquated appliances, fixtures, cabinetry and odd colored finishes are still fresh in everyone’s mind.
When you begin planning to bring your kitchen into the twenty-first century there are a few things you will need to consider:
- Pick your appliances first – everything gets built around them.
- Pick your countertop BEFORE you select your cabinets. The cabinet company won’t know what height to build the lower cabinets without knowing the THICKNESS of the countertop – they’re all different thicknesses.
- Pick your back splash before you hire the electrician. The placement of the electrical boxes will depend on the thickness of the counter’s backsplash. Will it be tile or a solid material? What thickness will the material be and will it be affixed directly to the wall or will mortar be placed between the wall and the splash? There is nothing worse than paying the electrician an extra to go back and add spacers to the electric boxes because they aren’t flush with the finished surface – fire hazard!
- With certain sink/disposal combinations you may have to adjust the height of your existing drain outlet. Kohler currently offers an 11 inch deep stainless kitchen sink and ISE has a gigantic new 1 HP disposer. Together they fit a bit lower into the under-cabinet area than other models.
- Before you begin searching for cabinets it might be a good idea if you know the overall distance between the floor and ceiling in your kitchen. If you elect to use ready-made cabinets and assume that the ceiling is 8 feet tall you could end up making a costly mistake. Cabinets are costly to alter. In the case of custom cabinets this would not be a problem because they would most likely be measured and built by the cabinet maker. Probably why we like cabinets that are locally made.
- By the way, selecting appliance in advance will also be important to the plumber and the electrician. The plumber may need to run an icemaker line if the refrigerator has one and the electrician will have to know what size circuits will have to be run for the range, oven, exhaust fan and other appliances.
- By knowing the cabinet configuration and what kind of backsplash that will be used the sheetrock contactor and the painter will be able to give you more accurate prices. For example: With a full splash between the upper and lower cabinets the total cost for sheetrock and painting will be slightly less.
Yes, you can easily write a small book on all of the little nuances that go into coordinating and planning a successful kitchen remodel. However, the single most important fact for a novice to remember is to select everything long before touching the first screw or nail. The more that is known about what the kitchen will contain, the easier it will be for everyone to give you correct prices. Even if you will be doing all of the work yourself the material list will change as various elements in the kitchen change.
This really happened: A few years ago an owner decided to change the swing of a closet door without asking anyone’s advice. When the project neared completion it was discovered that the wall switch was on the wrong side of the opening. At that point the owner had to walk into the closet, close the door and then reach to turn on the switch. It cost several hundred dollars to relocate the wall switch. Planning is everything. Every change – no matter how subtle – can impact one or more steps later on in the process.
Keep in mind that some sales people will offer you the least efficient alternative just to keep the price in your budget. For example: It is less expensive to use doors rather than drawers when designing a set of kitchen cabinets. However, for many uses drawers provide far more efficient storage space than standard cabinet shelves. Also, the rails that drawers glide on vary greatly in cost and strength. There are some drawer glides that bend when the drawer is full. Better types can hold an adult doing push-ups.
There are differences in every aspect of a kitchen remodel. It is the single most complex room in your home. Be sure to study each and every aspect as thoroughly as possible before you spend your first dime.
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