Doing a Complete Kitchen Remodel? Top 10 Things You Should Know Before You Start

A kitchen remodel is a major project! It’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into before it begins.

In this Complete Home Remodeling Guide we will discuss 10 things you should know before you start a kitchen remodeling project.

You’ll Need a Budget and it Will be Hard to Stick To

Kitchen remodels come at almost any price, so if you don’t decide a budget ahead of time and stick to it, your costs can get out of control in a hurry. The key is to get written estimates for everything – absolutely everything – before you invest the first dollar in the project. Knowing your budget before you start picking things out will let you know what types of flooring, counters, cabinets, and lighting are possibilities and which ones you shouldn’t waste time considering. It will also help you know how to allocate your money. If you want to spend a bit more for cabinets, you’ll have to spend a bit less on something else.

Expect Some Hassle

Having your kitchen torn up for weeks and having workers in and out at least 5 days a week can be a real hassle. Do all you can to prepare for it before it becomes a problem.

Take your Time Picking Out What you Want

If you rush your choices because you want the kitchen done before fast-approaching holidays or a summer family reunion, you might regret it later. You don’t want to walk into a friend’s house a month after your project is done and see awesome flooring you would have chosen for your home – but you didn’t know it existed. Check all your options before making your choices.


Having a Reliable General Contractor is Essential

Choose your general contractor very carefully. The GC will control the entire project from hiring sub-contractors to making sure the work is done properly and on time. A good subcontractor will earn his or her money. A poor GC will cost you money and misery.

You Have the Final Say

The job isn’t right until you are happy. Don’t settle for materials or workmanship you’re not happy with.

You Should Get Everything in Writing

All estimates should be in writing and as detailed as possible. If the kitchen remodel estimates aren’t complete enough but you like the contractor that provides them, write-up a contract showing what you expect of the contractor and when you expect it. Ask him to agree to it and sign it, if he wants the job. Negotiate it and modify it until you’re both happy, then make sure you get it signed.

Know What You’re Going to Do for Cooking

Have a plan in place such as a crock pot or microwave in the basement area. If you’re getting new appliances, consider moving the old range and refrigerator to the basement where you can put them to use until the remodeling of your kitchen is done. Eating out for several weeks in a row is costly and will get old.

Expect Minor Delays

Some delays are unavoidable. Most projects take a bit longer than expected unless the GC was smart enough to add extra time in the schedule for delays that inevitably arise.

Withhold 10% of the Final Payment for 30 Days

The reason for doing this is that it gives you time to make sure that everything was done properly and is in good working condition. If the kitchen floor starts to come apart at a seam or you notice a cabinet is crooked, the contractor has an incentive to make it right – the 10% you’re holding. He or she should fix these issues anyway, but it’s amazing how hard some people are to get hold of once they’ve been paid in full.

While we’re on the subject, your deposit to the contractor should not be more than 50% to 60% of the job.  It is to cover the costs of materials the contractor will be providing. If you’re buying the flooring or countertops yourself, the amount you give the GC up front should be even less.

The Job Should Have a Warranty

Ask your contractor before the job starts what kind of warranty is offered on the workmanship. The flooring, cabinets, counter-tops and appliances should have their own product warranties from the manufacturers, but the contractor should warranty the installation of all those items. It should be 90 days minimum, and 1 year is better.

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