8 Tips For a Successful Kitchen Remodel

Deciding to remodel your kitchen can be a stressful experience with the many decisions you have to make along with the dust, noise, strangers in and out of the house, and no functioning kitchen for awhile. But, the final outcome can be very rewarding along with adding a very high rate of return on your investment. According to the National Association of Realtors Cost vs. Value report, the percentage of cost recouped on a kitchen remodel is higher than remodeling any other room of the home. The following are 8 tips that can help make your kitchen remodel a smoother transition into the kitchen of your dreams!

  • Do your homework first! Decide what styles you like. Keep a running file of magazine cut-outs, appliance picks, paint chips, countertop samples, cabinet styles, etc.
  • Have a budget. How extensive you are going to get (are you replacing everything or just cabinets?), decide how much you are willing to spend and find out approximately how much it’s going to cost. Google “Kitchen Remodeling Calculator” and you’ll find many free on-line remodeling calculators that will walk you through your remodel and give you an idea of how much you should expect it to cost.
  • Shop for a contractor – Get more than one bid. But remember, the lowest price “is not always the best idea,” warns Charlie Copeland, CKBR, president of the local Kansas City NARI chapter, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The quality of the materials one contractor chooses over the other could be different, he or she could have missed something, or one contractor’s idea of a high-end countertop may not be the same as the next. Make sure you get itemized pricing from each contractor so you know you’re comparing apples to apples.
  • Check out the contractor – Finding a reputable contractor is more important than price! NARI is a great source for professional, reliable, experienced, licensed & insured companies. Ask the contractor for a current license and insurance. Get a contract! The contract should contain the starting date, completion date, and details of the project that have to be carried out. Ask the contractor for a list of past customers. Call them and ask: Did they receive the remodel project they wanted? Are they glad they hired this contractor? Did the crews show up on time and clean up at the end of the day? Go look at their past work. Check out if the contractor has any complaints filed against the company through the Better Business Bureau or the state attorney generals’ office. Finally – ask yourself if you feel comfortable with this contractor. Do they listen to you? Are they fun to talk with? Remember…you will be dealing with this person for weeks or months. The experience needs to be enjoyable! If they don’t seem enjoyable to communicate with you’re probably dealing with the wrong person.
  • Geography of your Kitchen – Your kitchen layout should adhere to what’s called a work triangle. The work triangle is made up of an imaginary line drawn from the center of your sink to the center of your stove/cook-top, to the center of your refrigerator and back to the sink. This triangle should not be interrupted by traffic or cabinetry.
  • Plan for Proper Lighting – Inadequate lighting is a common kitchen problem. Proper lighting makes a kitchen more inviting and safer. Under-cabinet lighting is the best source of task lighting and doesn’t break the budget. Update ceiling-mounted fixtures with pendant lamps or some winding track lighting.
  • Sufficient storage – Homeowners often agree that they have insufficient storage space as well as the inability to organize accessories. Make sure you discuss storage options that fit your needs with whoever helps you with your cabinet design and make sure they can offer options. Some options to keep in mind are: base rollouts, lazy susan, trash rollout, under the sink organizers, spice tray drawer organizer, spice rollouts, cutlery tray drawer organizer, inside door mounted spice rack, and pull-out cookie sheet organizer.
  • Countertop Choices – There are tons of options on the market today for countertops. Following are the top four most commonly used along with the pros and cons of each.

Granite: Pros – Holds up to heat, comes in a ton of colors, 2nd highest hardness rating after a diamond and will last a lifetime.
Cons – Expensive but becoming more affordable, requires some maintenance, some stones absorb stains if not sealed, will dull knives if cut on and can crack if stressed due to settling or improper installation.

Engineered Stone: Quartz products like Zodiaq or Silestone. Pros – Resistant to stain and acid. Cons – Expensive.

Solid Surface: Such as Avonite or Corian. Pros – Comes in many colors & patterns, seamless, stain resistant. Cons – Vulnerable to hot pans which can stain & damage the surface, can be somewhat expensive.

Laminates: Such as Formica or Wilsonart. Pros – Comes in many colors, easy to maintain, durable, least expensive. Cons – Scratches or chips are almost impossible to repair, seams show, very limited on edge choices without a pricey up charge.

Whatever you do, make your kitchen remodel a fun experience and you will enjoy that new kitchen!