10 Steps to a Successful Kitchen Remodel
By: Danny Lipford
From state-of-the-art appliances to stone countertops, kitchens have come a long way in recent years. So it’s no surprise that kitchen renovations are one of the most popular home improvement projects around. We’ll walk you through the process of revamping your kitchen and examine the many important decisions you’ll have to make along the way.
Step 1: Find Inspiration
The inspiration for your dream kitchen can come from a number of sources including books and magazines, websites, tours of homes, and kitchens of friends. Your local building supply store contains a wealth of ideas and information that can spark your imagination as well.
Step 2: Develop a Budget
Start by examining your finances to decide how much you can afford to spend. Then, when budgeting out the renovation, stay slightly below your total figure to allow for any unexpected surprises that might arise. Kitchen renovations typically repay 80% to 85% of the money invested, so check the prices of houses in your neighborhood to be sure you aren’t putting more in your home than you’ll be able to recoup if you sell it.
Step 3: Design the Layout
Once you know how much you can spend and have a good idea of what you would like, it’s time to find a designer who can put your dreams down on paper, or these days in a computer. Good communication between the designer and homeowner is the key to success. The designer works with you to select the various components of the kitchen—from cabinet styles and finishes to appliances and countertops—as well as fine-tuning the layout.
Step 4: Find a Contractor
Be sure the contractor you select is licensed to work in your area. Check with the local home builders association to see if they are reputable. They should be willing to provide references from past jobs and have a history of quality work. Communication with your contractor is as important as with the designer, so be sure you feel comfortable talking to them and that you both have a clear understanding of the work that is to be done.
Step 5: Consider Cabinet Changes
Replacing the cabinets is the single most expensive item in a kitchen renovation. If your budget is tight, you might consider refinishing them instead. If you do decide to replace the cabinets, you may be able to use the existing drywall if the layout of the kitchen remains the same. If major changes to the design are in store, however, the walls will probably have to be taken down to the bare studs in order to accommodate the changes in plumbing and wiring.
Step 6: Select Countertops
There are many choices available for countertops today from natural stone to manmade quartz to synthetic solid surface materials. The appearance of plastic laminates has improved so that they now make an attractive and inexpensive alternative as well. Stone is both heavy and brittle, so be sure the cabinets are level and there are no bumps or high spots where they meet that might cause the countertops to crack.
Step 7: Fine-tune the Flooring
A kitchen renovation often involves replacing the floors, though you may be able to keep the existing flooring if it is in good condition and the layout hasn’t changed. Ceramic tile is a common choice for kitchen floors and can be laid parallel with the walls or at a 45 degree angle to them. While providing a distinctive look, angling the tile will cost more due to the extra labor and waste involved. Hardwood and laminate floors can also be used in the kitchen, though is a good idea to put throw rugs in areas that receive a lot of wear. If you choose laminate flooring, be sure it is warrantied for high moisture areas.
Step 8: Choosing the Right Appliances
While there are many choices available in appliances today, the two most important factors to consider are style and function. Appliances should enhance the look you’re trying to achieve while at the same time meeting your practical needs. Take stock of how you use your kitchen and which appliances are the most important.
Step 9: Decide on a Sink and Faucet
Sinks are available in everything from stone to cast iron to stainless steel. There are also a range of different sizes, styles, and finishes to consider. Be sure to select your faucet at the same time as your sink so that the number of holes matches the faucet. If you are considering a separate instant hot or filtered water tap on your sink, or perhaps a soap dispenser, see that your sink has allowances for that as well.
Step 10: Remember the Lighting
Proper lighting is another element to consider in designing a successful kitchen. Try to combine the look you want with the light you need. In addition to standard ceiling fixtures, recessed fixtures are available that can focus light where you need it. Hanging pendant lights are perfect for over an island and provide a real design accent as well. Low profile fluorescent lights can are mounted under hanging cabinets to help illuminate countertop work areas. The various fixtures should operate independently from each other so you can adjust lighting for different occasions.
Other Tips From This Episode
When a wooden cabinet knob becomes stripped, don’t throw it away, repair it instead. To fix a stripped knob, first put a few drops of wood glue in the screw hole.
Then break a toothpick in half and put the pieces in the hole.
Break the excess off so it doesn’t protrude past the knob, and thread the knob back on the screw. (Watch This Video)
Best New Products with Emilie Barta:
ACP Classic Style Backsplash
Though the ACP Classic Style Backsplash have the look of stamped metal, they are actually made from a flexible thermoplastic material. The 18” x 24” panels weigh less and cost half as much as their embossed metal counterparts. Installation is easy since the panels can be cut to size with scissors and attached to the wall with polyurethane construction adhesive or special double sided tape. Trim for the edges, along with switch and receptacle covers are available as well. ACP backsplashes are available at The Home Depot in a variety of styles and finishes.
“I’m remodeling my kitchen and I’d like to use granite, but I’m just not sure it will fit in my budget. Do you have any options for me?” -Jan from Alabama
Granite is very popular these days, and the price has come down substantially in the past few years thanks to faster and easier ways to cut it. Granite is user friendly and while it won’t scorch from a hot pan, it can scratch. To prevent staining, it should be sealed once a year. Granite countertops are available for as little as $35 a square foot to as much as $300. If you shop around, and don’t mind being limited in your selection, you might just be able to find the countertop of your dreams at a price you can afford.
(Watch This Video)