Remodel Checklist

If you’ve been unsatisfied with the way your home looks and works for a while now, it may be time for some home remodeling. Doing some remodeling will greatly enhance the aesthetics of your home, increase its value substantially, and make it more comfortable for you and your family.

While you may already have an idea of where you want to begin remodeling, the best areas to start with are the kitchen, the bathrooms, and the closets. However, once you’ve chosen where you want to begin, you may have some trouble when it comes to actually getting started. That’s where this comprehensive guide to home remodeling pops in.

The Kitchen 

Out of all of the places in the home, the kitchen is most often considered the true heart of the home, and for good reason. The entire family eats their daily meals in the kitchen just about every day. Not only are meals enjoyed in the kitchen, but also holidays with the extended family. The kitchen is a place to entertain guests and spend time with precious friends and family. Therefore, the aesthetics of a home’s kitchen is incredibly important, which is why most homeowners choose to remodel this area first and foremost.

Gathering Ideas

The first task that should be on your to-do list for remodeling your kitchen is coming up with ideas and getting inspiration. You definitely don’t want to start remodeling without knowing exactly what you want, as you’ll be liable to ending up with something you don’t like after spending so much time, effort, and money. Worst of all, you’ll likely be stuck with it for quite some time. Therefore, you should spend as much time as you need brainstorming ideas and picking the ones you like. In fact, you should make sure you have a well thought out plan in mind before you even think about destroying your kitchen.

The best way to get ideas is to look at other sources for inspiration. Watch the Home & Garden Television channel frequently. Go to the store or look through your collection of old magazines and see if you find any home remodeling magazines. Get as many of these magazines as you can and thumb through all of them looking for pictures of remodeled kitchens. Take your search to the Internet and look at online images of remodeled kitchens on there. If you have the time and gas, visit various home centers.

When looking at other sources, the key thing you need to remember is that you want inspiration. Ideally, you don’t want to get all of your ideas from one source. What you want to do is get ideas from multiple, varied sources and then add in your own ideas. That way, your kitchen will be your own, not something that can straight out of a magazine or episode of Designer Rooms.

Also, when brainstorming ideas, you don’t want to just focus on aesthetics. Comfort, functionality, and efficiency matter just as much as, if not more than, aesthetics. You should also keep the style, or desired style, of the rest of your home in mind. It wouldn’t make any sense to have a contemporary styled kitchen in a traditional styled home.

Budgeting 

The next task on your to-do list should be creating a reasonable budget for your kitchen remodeling project. Unless you’re incredibly wealthy, coming up with a good budget is vital for the success of your kitchen remodeling. Without having a budget, it’ll be way too easy to spend so much money you won’t be able to finish the project, so then you’ll only end up with something that’s half-done, and you definitely don’t want that.

The size of your budget should be based on three factors. First of all, no matter what, your budget should be affordable. There’s no reason to go into debt in order to remodel your kitchen. The second factor should be how long you plan to stay in the house. If you’re not planning on staying in the house for more than five years, the renovation should be seen as a way to improve real estate value. The third factor should be the type of neighborhood you live in. If you remodel your kitchen and make it fit for the ruling class, yet you live in modest neighborhood, you’ll end up losing money when you sell the home.

Once you set a budget for your kitchen remodel, you need to stick with it. Unfortunately, it’s much easier said than done. In order to make things a little bit easier, you should break down your budget by percentage.

If you’re not doing the renovations yourself, know that about 20 percent of your budget will go to labor costs. Believe it or not, but the cabinets will likely consume the biggest chunk out of your kitchen budget. Usually, about 35 percent of your budget will go toward the cabinets. 20 percent will go towards appliances, 10 percent towards windows, 5 percent towards fixtures, and 10 percent towards others things. Ideally, you should also set aside 20 percent of your budget for any surprises you may encounter while remodeling.

Purchasing the Materials 

Now that you have your budget ready, you need to start purchasing the materials. There is no way to know how much labor will cost for the kitchen renovation until you decide which building supplies, finishing materials, and fixtures you’ll be using.

In general, it is best to allow your contractor to purchase the materials for the kitchen renovation for you. The contractor will buy all of the materials needed and then bill it in the itemized estimate as a completely separate expense. Not only is this convenient, but usually contractors are able to get building supplies for much cheaper than you would be able to.

The materials for a complete kitchen renovation will cost you at least $6,500 if the size of your kitchen is 12′ x 12′. The kitchen faucet and sink, in all, will cost you about $600. When it comes to the kitchen countertop, you have plenty of options.

If you have a pretty high budget, consider a stainless steel, concrete, or zinc countertop. Per square foot, the materials and labor for these three types of countertops will cost you anywhere from $60 to $100. On the other hand, if you budget is on the low side, consider wood, quartz, granite, or marble countertops, which will cost you about $20 to $50 per square foot.

Installation

Obviously, you won’t be able to use your kitchen at all for most, if not all, of the remodeling process. Therefore, before you have your kitchen completely torn up, you need to figure out what you and your family are going to be eating while your kitchen is being remodeled. Chances are, you’re either going to be eating most of your meals in restaurants or you’re going to be eating a lot of takeout. This can get very expensive, especially if you’re not used to eating out so much and don’t want to be eating fast food all day long. Therefore, you should factor this cost into your budget.

Another option you have instead of eating out is setting up a temporary kitchen in another room. Of course, this will cost you some money, so you should definitely add in the cost of doing this to your budget.

Picking the Right Company 

To make sure your kitchen renovation project is a complete success, you need to make sure you pick the right company to do the job. This is true even if you want to go down the DIY path, unless you’re completely okay and comfortable with doing your own plumbing and electrical, as well as building the kitchen cabinets. If you don’t have the skillset to do these tasks, you’re definitely going to have to work with at least a few professionals.

The first thing you should do is ask your friends, family, and your colleagues who happen to be homeowners for some referrals. If you want to leave all the remodeling up to a professional, you should hire a designer or architect. You may also go down the route of working on your own with the help of a contractor or building.

The next thing you should do is get estimates from as many contractors as you possibly can. A kitchen remodeling contractor will give you a free written quote after inspecting your kitchen and discussing with you what work you would like done. While it may be tempting to go with the lowest quote, it’s usually not a good idea as you’ll likely end up with subpar materials.

Ideally, you should choose a contractor who has at least five years of experience remodeling kitchens. He should have a very strong track record. Before you hire a contractor, make sure that he or she is licensed to work in your locality and is registered in your state. Ask the contractor for sample pictures of previous kitchens he or she has remodeled. Check to see if he or she has a website. Consider asking for customer references to ensure the contractor’s reliability. Find out if the contractor you’re considering is apart of any home improvement contractor associations.

Extra Remodeling Tips 

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, there are definitely some things you should implement to improve functionality and comfort. By employing these tips, you’ll find yourself much more satisfied with the end product.

Try to design your kitchen so that it has wide walkways. The paths within a kitchen should be at least one full yard in width. When it comes to the cooking zone of the kitchen, the paths should be 42 inches in width for a one-cook configuration and 48 inches in width for a two-cook configuration. Make sure you take any kitchen peninsulas and islands into account for your design.

Ensure that you choose the right height for your microwave. The perfect location and height for a microwave oven mainly depends on the chef, as well as if there are any children in the household. If the kitchen is only going to be used by adults, about 12 to 15 inches above the countertop level is most desirable. However, if you want your kitchen to be very kid-friendly, you might want to consider a below-countertop setup. Just remember that your children aren’t going to be kids forever, so make sure you consider the future when making your decision.

Obviously, you want your kitchen to be fully functional. Therefore, it will do you well to stay clear of all corners, especially when it comes to appliances. Don’t place any of your appliances into corners. Also, ensure that none of the doors will slam into each other if they happen to be opened at the same time. When it come to designing your kitchen island, make sure you keep function in mind. For example, if you want to be able to cook food and eat on the kitchen islands, you need to ensure that the cooktop of the island is separate from the dining area.

In terms of space, the kitchen islands aren’t the only things you should consider. Countertop space is also important, especially if you’re planning on cooking frequently. You definitely want more space near the oven and the sink. If you’re into baking, consider incorporating two different countertop heights into your kitchen. This will make the baking process easier and it’ll be good for your children if they help with meal preparation often.