Kitchen renovation encompasses so many things, from the miniscule to the important, that it can easily overwhelm even the most determined homeowner. However, a fine kitchen remodel instantly raises the value of your home, provides you with a more effective cooking space, and makes you the envy of all your friends.
Before beginning, however, you must ask yourself three questions:
- What are my needs and desires? Is your kitchen an inefficient disaster zone, making cooking a meal a real trial? Or do you just want to freshen the place up with new appliances, countertops, floors and cabinets? A need might be: I need kitchen cabinets because my current ones are falling apart. A desire might be: I desire a new dishwasher because my current one is ugly and noisy, although it works well.
- Is it worth putting myself through this? Do you want the turmoil of work crews in your house for extended periods?
- Deep down renovation or surface level? Is this an $85,000 full-scale kitchen remodel or a less ambitious surface level kitchen renovation?
- OK, here is a bonus question, for a total of 4: Can I reduce the cost of remodeling? Think deeply about this before you get too involved in the project. If you cannot authoritatively answer “Yes” or “I really don’t care how low my bank account gets,” (i.e. – you can afford the remodel) then you have no business remodeling your kitchen.
OK then, you’ve checked your finances and have a budget drawn up – meaning you’ve determined the maximum you have to spend on the remodel. Now determine how much kitchen remodel will fit within the budget. Usually, this is done with your contractor, as their experience can guide you on costs of items, as well as time to install, and potential problems that can be encountered in a remodel. (i.e. – previously unknown water damaged flooring under the kitchen sink, for instance.)
Next, decide if you can do any of the work yourself; for many of us, that may be limited to painting the walls.
So then, with the preliminary stuff out-of-the-way, what is next on the to-do list?
Hiring a contractor. Find a licensed contractor who deals extensively with residential kitchen remodeling. Do the research – check references of previous clients to see if they were happy with their remodel, check that the contractor is licensed and bonded, and have a conversation with them yourself, to decided if you communicate well.
Doing it yourself. Renovating the kitchen by yourself, you spend no money on labor charges, but you may slow down your project as you learn skills necessary to remodeling. Did I say you MAY slow your project? It will take far longer than hiring professionals who do this every day for a living.
Acting as your own contractor. This may seem tempting, but it requires considerable time input, and you will be personally responsible for checking out and hiring electrical, plumbing, carpenters, tiling contractors, etc., as well as preparing the paperwork and pulling permits. If you hire a contractor to handle the renovation, they will pull the permits. Before deciding to be your own contractor, you would be advised to call your local city or county permitting agency and finding out what permitting involves.