Lay out your plans, but be open to change. Photo Credit: Decork
If you’re even toying with the idea of remodeling your kitchen, there’s never a better time to start planning your construction project than now. While the saying might indicate that the best laid plans often go astray, I assure you, the more you perfect your kitchen plan, the smoother your remodel will be.
Step #1 - Dos and Don’ts - Start with a list of dos and don’ts. Take a look at your kitchen and jot down the things that you just hate, followed by the aspects that you really enjoy. This will give you an immediate plan for a few things you’ll want to emphasize in your new kitchen, as well as some of the current pitfalls that you need to avoid.
#2 - Pencil is Mightier than the Saw - Get yourself some good graphing paper and a pencil (the bigger the eraser, the better). It may seem rudimentary to you, but all good plans start with a sketch. Take measurements of your current kitchen and make yourself a to-scale drawing. Be sure to include all of your windows, doors and doorways, and any other obstacles that you’ll need to be aware of when placing cabinets, appliances and countertops. Some of those danger zones include soffits, HVAC ducts or registers, light switches, plumbing and gas connections, etc.
#3 - Do the Math - Start researching the materials you plan to install in your kitchen and gather information about their sizes and features. This will help you fill out your hand-drawn floor plan by giving you cabinet and appliance measurements, as well as placement requirements of certain items. And perhaps most importantly, this step will get you closer to an actual budget.
#4 - Money Matters - Speaking of budget, you need to think about your maximum spending limit. Give yourself a ballpark figure of the price you’d really like to stick to. You may be able to spend $20k on your kitchen remodeling project, but perhaps you’d rather aim for $15k. While you’re doing your homework and finding out what the materials will cost, don’t forget that you’ll need to factor in labor, which can eat up a major portion of your budget - so don’t overlook it.
#5 - Compare and Contrast - Once you determine what your brand-new kitchen will look like, shop around and see who has the best deals on your items. Unless you’re going for completely custom, chances are there are several stores, showrooms, companies in your area that can offer you the same or comparable products. Find out what each of them charges for these items, and don’t forget to ask about warranties, delivery charges, installation charges, and any other additional fees they may have.
#6 - Sweat, Toil and Tears - Unless you’re a very handy homeowner, you'll probably need the help of a contractor for at least part of your kitchen remodel. If you're hiring someone for the whole project, look for a qualified Class A General Contractor. Ask your friends if they happen to know anyone. Or you can use a free public service to connect you with a qualified contractor. These professionals are typically able to handle every aspect of a remodeling job, from the estimating and purchasing to the installations and plumbing and electrical hookups. If they can’t do the entire job themselves, they usually have contacts or sub-contractors that can handle the other tasks.
Remember, if you’re going to do most of the work on your own, you should probably at least consider speaking with a qualified electrician and plumber for some of the wiring, plumbing and trickier jobs.
Best of luck! Send us your sparkling new kitchen photos when you're all finished.
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