Tackling a kitchen remodel can be a daunting task, if you want to do a complete remodel, or not too daunting a task if you are going to make minor adjustments to your cooking space. Either way, it is a good idea to take some preliminary steps before you delve into ripping out cabinets and the kitchen floor, and before you hand over your hard earned money to kitchen remodeling professionals. Taking these few important steps pre-remodel will save you money in the long run, as well as creating the kitchen that you dream of.
First Steps First
You might be at the stage where you are visioning the changes you want to make to your kitchen. It is ok to start your project with big dreams – brand new cabinets, new flooring, high-end appliances, etc. Then let reality take hold. You will most likely need to stay within a specific budget. Keep this in mind. It is quite easy for any remodeling project to get out of hand where the budget goes out the window and you are left paying for items and changes that you did not originally budget for.
So, sketch out your dream kitchen. Include all the changes that you want to make. Then, go do some research. Look on the Internet for ideas and prices. Visit home stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot to get additional ideas. Remember, at this stage of your kitchen remodel it is all on paper, so this is a great time to truly decide what is possible in your kitchen and within your budget.
As you develop your budget, remember that it is not just the materials that you are purchasing (e.g., flooring, appliances, painting, etc.), you also need to add taxes, shipping and delivery charges, and labor if you are not going to do the work yourself.
Once you set your budget you do need to budget for any possible extra expenses or what is known as over-runs. It is best practice to add 10% to your budget just in case you do have cost over-runs.
Practical, Functional, and Beautiful
If your kitchen remodel project is going to involve more than changing out kitchen cabinets or the kitchen sink, you do want to take the time to layout your new kitchen. After you sketch out your ideas, you will need to take the time to measure all the changes you want to make carefully. The last thing you want to do is make an error in measurements or in knowing exactly where plumbing or electrical might need to be relocated. Such mistakes can be quite costly.
As you think about your new kitchen layout, keep in mind what is known as the traditional kitchen layout. The most frequently used items in the kitchen are the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator. As a result, these three items need to be easily and comfortably workable for you and your family. Most designers agree that arranging these three items in a triangle is the most effective and efficient way to layout the kitchen for maximum usability.
Not everyone has the skills or the confidence to create a workable kitchen layout. If you are not comfortable with doing this exacting work, hire a professional kitchen designer. Before you hire one, however, do you due diligence. Check out their references. Visit their completed projects. Talk to the people who have hired them to see if they would hire them again.
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?
Are you someone who enjoys cooking by themselves? Or is cooking and baking a collaborative activity in your home? This is something that is very important to consider when remodeling your kitchen. If many people are in the kitchen simultaneously, then you need to make sure that you have enough space with a large enough footprint for all to work in the kitchen comfortable. Adding a cooking island as a prep space (if you have room) is a great addition to any kitchen. If a stationary island is not possible, consider having one on wheels so that you can easily move it into the kitchen when you need it, and then store it away when you don’t.
Other items to take into consideration when you are planning your kitchen remodel include:
- The space between kitchen counters and your kitchen island (if you decide to have one) should be a minimum of 42”. This enables people to walk easily around the kitchen.
- Leave a minimum of 18” (24” is even better) around your kitchen sink to give you plenty of room.
- When designing counter space you will need a minimum of 36” of space to have enough space to prepare food.
- You will also need to have enough clearance in the kitchen to open and close all appliances as well as kitchen cabinet doors.
You definitely need to have all of these items planned out and measured appropriately before you start remodeling your kitchen.
You Are Almost Ready
Once you have completed all of the steps outlined above, you are almost ready to start your project! If you hire a contractor, be in constant contact with them. You also want to:
- Finalize the schedule of work before the work begins.
- Make sure that the contractor agrees to clean up after work is completed every day.
- Also make sure that the contractor talks to you about any changes that need to be made as well as any potential cost over-runs.
Get all of this in writing BEFORE you begin your project. Also get in writing the payment schedule. NEVER pay 100% for the work up front before it even begins. Most remodeling contracts will ask you for 10% of the contract price down, followed by a series of payments at specific times throughout the project (mostly due at major points in the project), and 10% at the end of the project once you are completely satisfied with the work that has been completed.
Time to Begin!
It is now time to start your kitchen remodel! If you have hired a contractor, be involved in the project! Ask questions. If there is something that you don’t understand or something that you do not like about the work being done, speak up! Remember that you have hired this person to do work in your house. In the end, you need to be completely satisfied with your kitchen remodeling project.