Kitchen Remodeling- First Steps

by Roger on July 26, 2009

Remodeling a kitchen is a huge undertaking that can have great benefits, not only increasing the quality and resale value of your home, but also significantly improving the quality of your day-to-day life. Since the benefits of remodeling can be so great, it stands to reason that the project itself is very time-consuming and not something to start on a whim. Such a large project can’t be covered in just one blog, so we’ll be posting a series of blogs on this topic.

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your kitchen, the very first thing you need to do is sit down and make a list of what you’re thinking of changing. What are the main problems with your kitchen? Do you need to change the layout of the kitchen, or do you just want to give it a face-lift, and maybe change some appliances and fixtures or update the cabinets and color scheme? There are many resources available to help you determine the best layout for your kitchen: books, websites, design software, interior design and remodeling professionals.

Needless to say, the extent of the changes you’re looking to make, coupled with your budget, will dictate the next steps in the process. After you’ve made a list of the things you’d like to change in your current kitchen, think about segmenting your list into two columns: necessities vs. “nice to have”. This will help you decide what you need to renovate now, and which renovations can wait if you find yourself running over your budget.

Once you’ve identified the extent of your remodel, you’re ready to decide how you want to proceed: do you want to tackle the projects yourself, or hire a remodeling contractor? There are pros and cons to both options. First, keep in mind that your kitchen may not be accessible for days or weeks at a time. Are you prepared to have work crews in your house throughout this time period? Doing the remodeling yourself may save you money, but it will likely take longer to complete the project, and your kitchen may be inaccessible for a longer period of time. If you do the work yourself, you can work on evenings and weekends, whereas contractors may need access to your house during your normal work hours; however, a kitchen remodeling contractor also provide kitchen design experience and knowledge that you may be lacking, saving both time and money in the long run.

The extent of the renovations should also influence this decision. If you’re planning to do a full kitchen renovation and are prepared to invest a significant amount of money into the project, you’ll probably be better off hiring a kitchen design expert, unless you are very experienced in carpentry/building. Mistakes at this level can be very costly to rectify. However, if you have prior experience, doing your own renovations can save a lot of time and money.

If you plan to only perform surface changes to your kitchen (i.e. changing counters/cabinets, etc.), even if you’re an inexperienced carpenter you can complete many of these projects yourself. With these types of renovations, any mistakes can usually be fixed relatively easily/inexpensively, and there are many easy and affordable ways to provide a quick update to your current look without breaking your budget.

In upcoming blogs, we’ll discuss individual kitchen remodeling projects in detail, to help you plan your remodel and estimate timing and budgeting for different aspects of the renovation.

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