A guide for getting the kitchen you want while keeping costs down.
Are you looking into a kitchen remodeling checklist? Whether it’s a part of your home renovation project or just a stand-alone task to pass the time, restructuring your kitchen can be a truly rewarding experience. At the very least, it can help renew your love for that part of your home while making things appear more organized. To help we wrote this complete Kitchen Remodeling checklist.
But while working on your kitchen remodel, you’ll quickly discover that there are so many hard choices to make: should you create a kitchen island? What kitchen layout would work best? How do you incorporate aesthetically pleasing elements without breaking the bank? And how do you choose the right contractor? Especially when living in Louisville or Superior, CO, choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between a successful, budget-friendly kitchen remodel and a catastrophe.
We understand all of that, and we’ve put together this checklist to help ease your kitchen remodeling project. From choosing a contractor to shopping for the right kitchen appliances and everything in between, we cover it all.
- Determine Your “Why”
- Here are Common Reasons a Kitchen Remodel May be Necessary
- Estimate the Cost of Your Kitchen Remodel and Set a Budget
- Choose a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor
- How to Choose the Right Kitchen Remodeling Contractor
- Questions to Ask When Finding a Contractor
- Questions to Ask a Contractor Before Hiring
- Choose a Kitchen Design Layout
- Best Kitchen Layout Ideas
- Choose a Timeless Kitchen Design
- Selecting Kitchen Materials
- Save Cost by Making Do With What You Have
- Kitchen Countertops
- Kitchen Cabinets
- Kitchen Flooring
- Top 7 Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid
- Final Thoughts
Determine Your “Why”
Why are you remodeling your kitchen? Is it to increase your home’s resale value? Are there some displeasing features in your kitchen’s layout that you wish to correct? Or are there old kitchen appliances and kitchen flooring that could use a replacement?
The key to a successful kitchen remodel is identifying what you want before starting. This will put you in the right direction since it becomes easier to know what to do to reach that goal. Most homeowners get overwhelmed by the numerous choices available on the market. If you have a mental picture of what kitchen design you want, then the decision could be a walk in the park.
Here are Common Reasons Kitchen Remodeling May be Necessary:
- A poorly designed layout
- Surfaces that have worn out due to extensive use
- Damaged or unattractive cabinets
- Insufficient storage space
- Insufficient counter or space for food prep
- Poor ventilation or lighting fixtures
- Outdated plumbing or electric
- To increase the resale value of your home
Estimate the Cost of Your Kitchen Remodel and Set a Budget
After validating your need for a kitchen remodel, the next thing to consider is budget. How much would the entire remodel cost?
Here are some things to note:
- Ask friends and acquaintances in your area who have recently hired a kitchen remodeling contractor in Colorado.
- You will hear a wide range of average cost estimates since so many factors are at play. In addition, because your project is unique, the estimates will also vary.
- Most general contractors will offer you a rough estimate rather than a fixed bid. They will rarely bid with a fixed quote because it takes hours to clarify research material prices from suppliers, and subcontractors.
- If you choose a contractor with fixed pricing, what you will pay will be signed on the contract document before construction commences. However, it isn’t uncommon for homeowners to change their minds during construction, triggering a change order and potentially leading to unforeseen expenses. The contractor may also discover damages, such as rotting, that they need to repair mid-project.
- If you’re working with an estimate, the final price will usually be higher, although, on rare occasions, it can be lower than the quote.
For the above reasons, it’s best to set your budget above the quote to be on the safer side. You don’t want to go looking for loans or stop your kitchen remodel halfway because you ran out of cash.
You may also like: Bathroom Remodeling: A Step-by-Step Guide
Choose a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor
The first, and perhaps the most important, aspect of any kitchen remodel is to get a contractor. While you may want to handle the job yourself, a professional brings so much to the table, including compliance with building codes and making insightful decisions on materials and methods to execute different aspects of the project. But who should you hire?
How to Choose the Right Kitchen RemodelingContractor
The best way to find a contractor is through word-of-mouth recommendations. A good contractor will leave a trail of happy clients wherever they go, often winning more contracts based on referrals. If you have friends or colleagues who have recently a remodeling contractor, asking them for recommendations is a good place to start.
- When word-of-mouth recommendations aren’t available, search online locally. For example, you can search for “best kitchen remodeling contractors Louisville CO” if that’s where you live.
- Select the best three candidates from your search and ask for references. Remember, a contractor is only as good as his last job. So it’s advisable to check their recent reviews.
- Aside from reviews, it’s nice to see a work in progress. Seeing the contractor on the job will give you an idea about their commitment to quality, neatness, and safety.
- Don’t be in a hurry. A good, reputable contractor will likely be busy with other projects, so you may have to wait a while. But in the end, you’d be glad you did.
Questions to Ask When Finding a Contractor
Here’s what to ask past clients who the contractor has worked for:
- Did the contractor show up when he said he would?
- Did he stick to the job scope, or did he make changes without informing you?
- Did he keep you posted on his progress, or were you always in the dark?
- Did he stick to the budget?
- How early did the materials arrive?
- Did you have any misunderstanding with him? How did he react, and how was it resolved?
Questions to Ask a Contractor Before Hiring
1. How did you arrive at the final quote?
Knowing the cost of each material and remodeling process can enable you to compare prices with other contractors. You may also be able to scrap out some things you don’t need. With just a single bottom-line price, you won’t know what to adjust.
2. Is your bid an estimate or a fixed price?
If it’s an estimate, the final price may surpass the quote. In contrast, a fixed price means you get to pay nothing extra later. If a contractor says he can’t offer a fixed price because of too many unknowns, try to find out and possibly get rid of those unknowns before commencing.
3. Who are your suppliers and subcontractors?
A kitchen remodel is a big project, not one you want to handle carelessly. Since most contractors don’t swing hammers, it’s important to know who would actually be doing the job. Quality may drop when they use a different subcontractor or handyman.
4. Is the company licensed and insured?
An unlicensed contractor may be cheaper but may compromise the quality of the finished work. On the other hand, you may be liable when uninsured workers get injured while working on your property. Therefore, having a licensed and insured contractor should be a priority.
Choose a Kitchen Design and Layout
Now getting to the interesting part: what should your kitchen look like after the remodel?
Hiring an experienced kitchen planner is worth it, as they can save you considerable time and money by foreseeing potential challenges and crushing them right from the start. In addition, they know how to maximize storage, improvise, and find suitable alternatives to high-end materials.
That said, a kitchen planner would need the following information from you before they can advise you on kitchen remodel ideas and layout.
- An architectural drawing of your existing kitchen: This will show the designer the location of windows, plumbing, electrical outlets, and any other element that can be improved or adjusted during the kitchen remodel. If you don’t have access to an architect, you can easily make a sketch with 3-D kitchen design software.
- A list of your needs: This should stem from why you’re doing the remodel. Are you looking to increase the space, ventilation, storage, or style? Spell out all your wishes.
- Your dislikes: While identifying your needs, it would help if your kitchen planner also knows your distaste for the existing kitchen layout. Write a note explaining what turns you off about your kitchen. Perhaps, include photos of any kitchen that appeals to you.
Best Kitchen Remodeling Layout Ideas
When laying out your kitchen design, correctly positioning workspaces is crucial to ease of use and the smooth flow of traffic. For that reason, the work triangle was birthed.
The work triangle tells us where to place the sink, refrigerator, and stove in relation to one another. But so many assumptions lodged within this concept don’t work today. For example, while the work triangle assumes there’ll be only one cook at a time, modern couples like to help each other out.
Here are some kitchen layout ideas to make the work triangle more efficient:
Kitchen Work Zones
The modern approach to kitchen layout design is to divide the kitchen into work zones, which may include a food prep zone, storage zone, cleaning zone, cooking zone, etc.
This concept can be fused into the work triangle. All you need to do is ensure the sink, stove, and refrigerator are in sufficient proximity to make cooking convenient.
Kitchen Island Workstation
A kitchen island can make the work triangle more efficient, depending on the kitchen’s shape. For example, in a situation where two cooks are present, the island can serve as a pivot creating multiple work stations. If your kitchen is small, consider using a rolling island that can be tucked away when not in use.
Choose a Timeless Kitchen Design
When designing your kitchen layout, one thing to consider is how trendy you should go. Of course, you will likely come across trendy and attractive kitchens online, and you might long for them.
But before spending your money on a trendy piece, know this:
A kitchen remodel can be very expensive. Unless there’s enough money to throw around without hurting their finances, no homeowner wants to undergo a kitchen remodel every year or two. But that’s what you may face when you go for a super-trendy kitchen design layout. It will quickly go out of fashion, and you’ll soon be looking to update it.
It’s always best and more cost-effective to choose a functional, minimalist, and timeless kitchen design over a trendy one. And use durable materials that will last for years. You can add trendy accents here and there, but ensure they don’t make up the bulk of your kitchen remodel.
Selecting Kitchen Remodel Materials
Before taking a sledgehammer to your kitchen, look at what’s still functional and usable.
Save Cost by Making Do With What You Have
Is the base cabinet material still in good condition? Then consider simply repainting rather than spending on an entirely new one. What about the countertop, sink, and configuration? Perhaps the kitchen could do with some reorganization to make it as good as new once more. You might like the new look so much that you’ll forego a complete remodel and just paint instead. This trick can help you save thousands of dollars.
If a kitchen remodel is a must, here’s a checklist to consider while shopping for materials:
- Ease of operation. Having easy-to-grip knobs and a convenient dishwasher can make a world of difference.
- Consider energy efficiency. Go for appliances with an energy-star rating to save on energy bills.
- Ease of maintenance. A countertop, floor, or appliance that forces you into a stringent maintenance routine can be a problem. Materials that are easy to clean and don’t stain easily are the best for your kitchen.
- Safety. Safety is paramount in your kitchen, especially since your kids may have access to the stove and electrical appliances. Go for a stovetop with controls at the side or front rather than in between burners. If you have kids, choose a click-and-turn knob that they can’t accidentally light.
- Choose durable materials. While trendy, attractive materials may tempt you, we generally recommend durable materials for your kitchen. This is because your kitchen inarguably takes the largest share of wear and tear.
Talking about durability, below are the kitchen features you must give top priority:
Countertops are more damage-prone than any other. Hence, you want to go for the most durable countertop material.
Quartz scores pretty well when it comes to durability. It requires less maintenance than natural stone and granite and comes in a variety of patterns and colors.
Cabinets are undoubtedly one of the most stand-out features of any kitchen. Unfortunately, they are also highly prone to wear and tear, usually making them the first item to need a replacement.
Having a highly durable kitchen cabinet is non-negotiable. Here’s how to tell if a cabinet is high-quality:
- The wood should be heavy, solid, and moisture-resistant. Plywood is a great choice for the bodies, while doors are usually made of solid hardwood or thick wood veneer.
- The hinges should be heavy and durable while allowing doors to close smoothly.
- The finish should be clear and thick with several coats of paint.
The kitchen is a high-traffic area prone to staining, so the choice of flooring is a worthy consideration.
Best flooring options for a kitchen remodel includes:
- Tile: Tile flooring is very durable and easy to clean. Although it feels cold to the touch, that shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t usually go barefoot.
- Luxury Vinyl: Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is one of the best flooring choices for your kitchen remodel. It can mimic any design, such as hardwood, natural stone, etc. while offering all the benefits of vinyl. These benefits include water resistance, durability, and ease of cleaning.
- Laminate: There are now waterproof laminates to make up for the downside (porosity) for which it was always known. Like vinyl, laminate can mimic the appearance of expensive materials for a lower cost.
- Concrete: Concrete is long-lasting, provided the house has no basement, and the kitchen is at ground level. It’s also relatively inexpensive.
- Hardwood: Hardwood is a traditional yet very popular choice. It can easily be refinished to revamp its look, which would help you save money on your next kitchen renovation. The only problem is that it isn’t waterproof.
Avoid wall-to-wall carpet and sheet vinyl flooring for your kitchen. Carpets are highly prone to staining, and sheet vinyl isn’t very aesthetically pleasing.
Thinking about remodeling your bathroom? Then you may like this article, Bathroom Remodeling & Renovation Louisville, CO.
Top 7 Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid
The hassles that come with every kitchen remodel are enough to bear. Make things a little easier on yourself by avoiding these common mistakes:
1. Not Hiring a Professional
Hiring a contractor can be expensive, but a kitchen remodel is one job you don’t want to handle yourself. It is complicated and time-consuming, not to mention the building codes and safe demolition practices you have to adhere to.
You’re prone to so many errors if you do not have a professional to give you expert advice. More likely than not, your mistakes may cause some damages that will warrant spending on costly replacement and repairs or doing the job all over again.
2. Hiring the Wrong Contractor
Many homeowners make the mistake of hiring the wrong general contractor for their kitchen remodel and end up with a worse-looking kitchen than they started out with. That aside, hiring a contractor who’s only after their pocket is one of the gravest mistakes you can make. They give over-blown estimates and use poor-quality materials to spend less and keep the change for themselves. If they sound untrustworthy, that’s your cue to look for someone else.
3. Trying to Copy Exactly What You Saw
Do you really need a kitchen remodel or simply want one because your neighbor or friend recently did hers? If your kitchen serves you just fine, save thousands of dollars by holding off your kitchen remodel until you need it. Note that not every kitchen setup you see would be feasible or advisable on your property. So it wouldn’t make sense to break down your kitchen just because you were entranced by a photo on Pinterest.
4. Not Giving Enough Attention to Hidden Areas
Many homeowners only prioritize surfaces—high-quality countertops, hardwood cabinet faces—and ignore the sides that are out of view. But that’s a grave mistake because everything works as a unit. Everything might crumble with time if there’s a weak link, such as when a tile countertop isn’t installed on a strong base.
5. Requesting Quotes Without Clear Specifications
Homeowners who make this mistake end up with quotes that are meant for entirely different projects. When the specifications are unclear, contractors will bid based on different criteria, materials, and labor requirements. It’s therefore important to specify the type of flooring, appliances, cabinets and countertops, etc., so you don’t overpay for a higher-end choice that you never planned for.
6. Not Writing Out Your Needs
Have you ever gone to the store for a particular product only to return with an alternative you later regretted? The same applies to kitchen remodeling. There are so many options that it becomes easy to go for the one you don’t need or intend to buy. It may attract you at first glance, but you will later discover you’ve made a wrong choice.
That’s why it’s crucial to make a list of everything you need in your new kitchen. Is it a granite countertop or luxury vinyl flooring? Find out about your options, stick to your choice, and don’t be swayed into buying an alternative because what you wanted wasn’t available at the store.
7. Paying The Total Sum in Advance
Even when there’s a clear-cut contract, it’s advisable to pay nothing more than 30% of the total project cost upfront or whatever sum is enough to cover the material cost. After that, you can pay in full midway, in installments, or after completion.
There you have it, your ultimate checklist to a successful and appropriate kitchen remodel. Again, we must emphasize that it’s best not to go for a kitchen remodel unless it’s necessary. And when you decide to go for it, consider options that will last for years without giving you headaches or requiring a replacement.