Committing to a complete kitchen remodeling is a big one. It requires you to carefully plan out your design while sticking to a set budget that commonly runs beyond $10,000. Like any remodeling, the specific materials will determine most of the cost, but labor is still something to factor in as well. While some jobs might be safe for homeowners to complete, others are complicated procedures that require a professional touch.
Finding a Contractor
Most homeowners find the hardest part of the job is finding a reliable contractor. Everyone has heard the tales of someone who took the money and ran, tore apart the kitchen and disappeared, or offered an extremely low and inaccurate estimate. As long as you’re vigilant and thorough — and get all agreements in writing — you’ll have little worries selecting your next contractor.
With that in mind, remember three core rules:
Check the last job: A contractor is worth his or her last job. Often, they may land a job based on a reputation, but it’s easy for circumstances to change. If there are new laborers or subcontractors, quality can make a drastic change from what history shows.
What you see is what you get: If possible, look at a job the contractor is actively working on. You’ll see how committed he or she is to keeping the home safe and clean.
The best are busy: Unfortunately, the best are often the busiest; time your project around your dream contractor. Be sure to speak directly with references, asking about timely work habits, accuracy of estimates, whether he or she made unauthorized changes or how any problems were handled.
Planning the Layout in Advance
Experienced designers can help save money and time by preventing problems early; a good designer knows several tricks on saving storage and making smart, cost-efficient substitutes for otherwise expensive materials, among others. However, you need to meet them midway for your first meeting:
- A to-scale rendering of your kitchen as-is, showing everything including plumbing lines and electrical outlets.
- A thorough wishlist of desired goals: more space, storage, style, and so on.
- A list of suggestions, such as desired materials or products that you like.
- Selecting Cost-Efficient Materials
Before getting started, you can do some research on what materials will cost for certain aspects of the kitchen. Even changing a cabinet can affect the project cost and final aesthetic appeal.
The area size and material impacts the cost of flooring. Linoleum is a cheap option, but they may not last long before looking worn. Wood and tile are a bit more costly, but they will last longer in the end.
All kitchens need sufficient storage space to place utensils and other dishware not in use. Picking your cabinets might be as simple as adding in a basic set, or you might opt to spend a bit more for custom hardware.
The appearance and durability of the countertops are arguably the most important factors in such a project. It’s essential to pick a material before getting started. There are inexpensive laminate countertops, more expensive marble options and additional styles like butcher block.
Sinks can be a basic model under the counter or can be as expansive as the deep three-bay sinks found in a high-end restaurant. For everyday tasks, a typical homeowner won’t need more than two bays; just consider how many dishes you normally have in use. Porcelain and stainless steel are common options.
Getting new appliances introduces new functionality to your kitchen while also altering its appearance. Families that are growing may need to swap out a small refrigerator or stove for one that can accommodate more food, or you may seek to downgrade after the kids leave for college and work. Regardless of what you’ll replace, look for those rated with an Energy Star sticker; these appliances are designed to reduce the cost of electric bills as they use less energy than other models. In some cases, the cost of installation is included in the cost to purchase the appliance, but this is not always the case.
Clearly, taking on the task of a complete kitchen remodeling is a huge one that requires dedication, money, time and patience. Homeowners interested in getting the kitchen they’ve always dreamt of must first ensure they have built up a sufficient budget that will afford all the appliances, fixtures and types of materials that they want, along with the cost of labor. Regardless of how much the project costs, it’s an investment that certainly pays off in a big way when it’s done right.
Final Walk Through
When the project is done, you should always go through and be sure everything is done right before making your final payments. Check for any cracks on the surfaces, stretching on the floor, functionality of installed appliances and each of the electrical outlets. If anything doesn’t work quite right, don’t be afraid to speak up; a good contractor is willing to ensure that the project is only complete when you’ve decided that you’re completely happy with the final result.
For best results, it’s a good idea to hire a third-party building inspector; not only will you get the opinion of a professional with experience, but you get a fresh set of eyes on a project. Even contractors with the best intentions can miss something after looking at the same project for weeks or months on end. Confident contractors may even suggest this option as well.