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Kitchen Remodeling and Renovations FAQ’s

Chad Warden

FAQ’s of Kitchen Remodeling

When embarking on a kitchen remodel, it can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of decisions that will need to be made during your kitchen remodel design phase. We want to help make this remodel as painless as possible. Take your time, do your research.

What does it take to come up with a plan to remodel my kitchen?

You will need to work with a contractor to develop your wants and needs for your new kitchen. You will need to start with a design phase. During this phase you will be able to blend your ideas with your builder’s remodeling skills to come up with multiple options that will lead to the perfect plan for your new kitchen.

Do Kitchen Remodels always start with a design phase?

It’s always a good idea to start with a design phase. This will insure that you come up with the best overall kitchen plan to be balance alongside your budget. If you invest the time initially to consider all of the details including the impact on your project’s budget, it will greatly lessen the chance of costly surprises.

Are there costs for the design phase?

It depends on the contractor you chose. Some charge anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on which type of builder you choose. Be sure to ask questions about all these charges before beginning any project so you can accurately align them with your budget.

How long will it take to design my kitchen remodel?

There is no right answer for this question. The length of the kitchen design will depend on the complexity of each kitchen remodel. If you decide to have structural changes, that will take longer. Plan on somewhere between three to six weeks.

How do I even get started with the design process?

You should start the design process by asking questions about how you and your family want to use your kitchen. The goal is for your contractor to learn what works for you and what is the issue in your existing kitchen. Let your builder know if you have gathered clipping or photos of kitchens you like, show them your dream kitchen. That way, they will be able to pull key elements. Do you want a new island? Want a breakfast nook? These are things you need to let your builder know at the beginning. Most likely your contractor won’t be able to incorporate every single element of your dream kitchen, but most likely the key features.

What if I want an open kitchen floor plan?

Open kitchen floor plans are increasingly popular. Every kitchen can have different requirements in order to create an open concept kitchen floor plan. Open kitchen floor plans work well for family gathering and for entertaining. This might be the ideal solution for you if you often have guests over. There may be some structural difficulties in creating an open kitchen floor plan in your home. Be sure to talk to your ideas with your contractor and he will have to examine the kitchen to see what the necessary changes are.

Can I add a gas stove to an all electric home?

Some people prefer to cook with gas rather than electric on their range. If you are one of these people and are looking to remodel your kitchen, this may be your opportunity. It is possible to add propane gas to any home. The only stipulation is gas appliances need to be specifically jetted for propane gas. You will need to have a suitable outdoor area to locate the storage tank and to run the gas pipe to and from your new kitchen.

What’s the alternative to an electric stove top if gas isn’t practical?

Some homeowners who like gas cooking but, for whatever reason, chose to not have it in their homes use induction cooking. It offers the user precise control of temperature and timing. It also offers easy cleaning and comes with safety features. The top of the induction stove is completely smooth and doesn’t get hot when in use. It works well with all cookware except for glass or aluminum pots and pans.

Is it possible to have new cabinets installed without changing the floor tile?

If you are planning on keeping a similar cabinet layout, there would be no problem keeping your existing floor tiles. If you have extra tiles, it is possible to make adjustments as necessary. Adding an island or additional cabinets is also not an issue.

Can I reuse my existing kitchen cabinets?

Absolutely! Many times kitchens can be remodeled with your existing cabinets. Nothing a little bit of paint or stain can’t help with. Installing new counter tops on your existing cabinets can also be an inexpensive face lift to your kitchen cabinetry.

What are the best types of kitchen counter tops?

This really comes down to personal preference. Replacing any counter top is a great way to easily improve any kitchen. The most popular counter tops today are hard surface counters such as granite or quartz. They are also family-friendly and very durable. The price varies depending on your specific choice. Quartz counter tops typically have a more uniform pattern and color to them. They also seem to hold up better than granite.

Can wood floors be installed in my kitchen?

Many people have installed beautiful wood floors in their kitchens with beautiful results. Standing water can be an issue but normal kitchen activity is no problem.

Can new kitchen cabinets be installed without having to install a new floor?

If your kitchen floor was installed after your existing cabinets there will be no flooring under the cabinets. If you have more of the flooring it can always be used with your new kitchen cabinets to repair or reconfigure the cabinet footprint. If you don’t have more of the existing flooring it will be necessary to duplicate the existing kitchen cabinet layout.

This does not mean that the new kitchen cabinets will be identical in looks or function to the existing cabinets. Many changes can be made to make your new kitchen more functional and attractive than before. This option is especially desirable for a kitchen remodel with a limited budget.

How do I choose what size garbage disposal to add to my kitchen?

Just about all homes now a days have garbage disposals. If you are remodeling your kitchen and do not have one, you will want to add one. It is actually required in many areas. For most kitchen remodels, 1/2 horse power garbage disposal will be just find. Typically they are turned on and off by a wall switch; however, air switches are becoming a more popular design feature for new homes.

What about all the refrigeration options?

You have basically three different options when talking about refrigerator depth. You can choose the standard depth refrigerator as you will see in most kitchens, or you can go with a cabinet depth refrigerator. They are specifically designed so that it does not protrude out father than the counter tops. This is a nice decorative element many people choose to add to their kitchens. Unfortunately, these refrigerators have less cubic footage of storage space, so if you have a large family this may not work. The third refrigerator option is a built-in-fridge. These can be very pricey, but come wider, don’t stick out past the counter tops, and can be created to look like kitchen cabinets themselves.

Do I need a pot drawer, and what is that anyways

Pot drawers are basically an upgrade from shelves that pull out. They are used to store cookware. They blend in nicely with the lower cabinets and are a great storage solutions. Many older homes do not have these; so if you are considering a kitchen remodel, consider adding a pot drawer. They are typically full-extension drawers, allowing you to have complete access to the bag with no need for digging around.

Have you heard of the kitchen work triangle?

The ‘kitchen work triangle’ refers to the space between the kitchen sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. This layout is ideal for smooth functioning of your kitchen. The main idea is to have these kitchen necessities close to each other and have counter space in between them for food preparation. The triangle allows for a nice traffic flow and adequate work areas. Consider adding this to your new kitchen design layout. Most likely, your builder will suggest it.

Should I put dimmers on my kitchen lights?

It really depends on personal preference. If you are someone who likes to ‘set the mood’ by using lighting, why not do so in the kitchen? The lighting does not only have to be for romance. It can be good for a quiet family gathering or for a cocktail party. Sometimes a soft glow of light displaying your new kitchen counter tops and cabinets helps to highlight the beauty of your renovation.

How many electrical outlets do I need in my kitchen?

This is a very good question and your contractor should be supplying you with all the up-to-date building codes. Code calls for outlets every four feet along your kitchen counter tops and at least one on the side of your kitchen island. Keep in mind you will need outlets for your microwave, stove, garbage disposal, and dishwasher. Your appliance outlets will be out of site. If you desire less clutter in your kitchen, you can install power strips under the wall cabinets. This will keep things hidden but also create convenient locations to plug in your kitchen appliances.

What type of microwave is best for my new kitchen?

There are dozens of microwave solutions for your kitchen. It all comes down to personal preference and design taste. The most popular model today is the microwave designed to be installed above your kitchen range. This frees up counter space and allows cooking to be performed in one centralized location. The microwave will have a built in hood and stove vent. You can have white, black, stainless, and numerous other finishes to match your appliances. Other options of microwaves exist as well. You can have one installed in your upper or lower kitchen cabinets, or simply sitting on a counter top. Some people choose to not have a microwave at all. Maybe you’ll want to consider purchasing a convection oven.

Do I need to incorporate a stove hood?

It is fairly important to have a stove hood, but not essential. The hood will exhaust cooking odors and moisture from your kitchen- both of which are pretty unwelcomed guests. The stove hood will keep your cooking area fresh and protect your kitchen walls and cabinets from accumulating film.

Do all my new kitchen cabinets need to be the same style and color?

Absolutely not. The great thing about a home renovation or remodel is that YOU get to decide what you want. There is no right or wrong way to do kitchen cabinets. They do not all have to be the same. Unique looks can be achieved by having contrasting cabinets, and it will create a more custom look. Some may even choose to have contrasting counter tops to create their unique looks.

Should I have a more open floor plan kitchen?

Having an open floor plan kitchen is one of the most popular reasons for kitchen renovations today. The older your home is, the more likely you are to have closed off kitchens and dining rooms. By simply removing all or part of the wall separating your kitchen from the living room areas or dining room, you can completely transform the look and flow of your house. Our lifestyles today are much less formal than the past and the need for separate areas is diminishing. You might want to consider an open floor plan kitchen if you like to entertain or have holiday gatherings in your home.

What am I supposed to do with all my old kitchen cabinets, appliances, and counter tops?

There is good news- you might actually be able to make some money from your old kitchen. Try listing your old cabinets, appliances, and counter tops on websites like Craig’s List. Many people will purchase items and refinish them to be reused somewhere else. If you can’t sell them, you can always give them away or donate them to a good cause. Many nonprofit organizations accept donations like this to resell. Call around in your area and see if there are any organizations looking for such items.

The question everyone wants to ask- what will it cost to remodel my kitchen?

Unfortunately, there is no correct answer to this question! Kitchen remodels can be anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. It all depends on your style and interests and renovations. The larger the remodel, the larger the price tag. If you are wishing to relocate plumbing, expect a heavy fee. If you wish to do cosmetic changes, chances are the price won’t be that high. Find a builder who is willing to work with your specific budget. Don’t be afraid to ask for everything you want so that he or she can be honest with you and tell you what you can afford within your budget. Always keep in mind that most home renovations, especially kitchen renovations, can add a lot of value to your home.

Planning a Remodel 101

Chad Warden

How do you plan a remodel?

The first and most important step is to develop an idea of what you want to accomplish in your home. Write down and organize your thoughts by creating a prioritized list of your needs and wants. Look through home magazines and Web sites and collect pictures of what you like. The more clearly you can envision the project and describe it on paper, the better prepared you’ll be in making your decision when working with a contractor.

Think about your family’s traffic patterns, current or new furniture size and placement, colors, lighting and how you expect to use the remodeled space. If your decision to remodel involves creating better access for someone with limited mobility, you may want to consider contacting a specialist who deals with specifically making homes friendly to those requiring special care.

Next step is determining your budget. How much money you have to spend on the remodeling job, furnishings, landscaping or any other cost you might incur?

If you’ve decided you want to hire a remodeler, learn how to choose a professional and competent one. Avoid contractor fraud, and make your dream home reality.

 

Finding a Professional Remodeler

Chad Warden

How do I find a professional remodeler?

This is a very important question to answer. When you hire a remodeler, you are buying a service rather than a product. It’s important to remember the quality of service the remodeler provides will determine the quality of the finished product and your satisfaction with the result. To ensure your satisfaction, make sure you hire a qualified, professional remodeler.

Have a friend or family member who recently underwent a home renovation? Consider speaking with their remodeler to get ideas. Perhaps you like their work so much you would want to consider hiring the same remodeler!

What should I expect during the remodel?

Home renovation is a very exciting process but it can also present unexpected challenges causing stress. Many of the typical home remodel problems can be avoided by simply planning ahead. That’s why it’s so important to find a professional remodeler you can trust.

Help: Remodeling Ideas

Chad Warden

Do you want to remodel but not sure where to start? Need remodeling ideas?

Before you think too hard about remodeling, it’s a great idea to think through everything you want and need. Consider these thoughts:

  • Decide what changes you want to make.
  • Ask yourself and other family members what you like and dislike about the house, then create a prioritized list.
  • Look at magazines and collect pictures of what you like.
  • Think about traffic patterns, furniture placement, colors, lighting, and how you want to use the remodeled space now and in the future.

 

Should I Remodel?

Chad Warden

What’s the benefit of remodeling, anyways?

There are numerous benefits to remodeling your home. The first benefit is that you can create the ideal home for yourself and your family. Remodeling gives you the opportunity to change up your current living situation without having to go through the process of moving. Another benefit of remodeling is modernization. As the times change, so do the styles. It’s often important to homeowners to create something stylish and modern to live in. If that’s not something important to you particularly, it most likely is to one of your female family members.

Remodeling your home can improve energy efficiency and home functionality. By adding newer windows and updating lighting, you can save money on your electricity bill. This is efficient for the environment and for your wallet.

A final reason remodeling is a great idea for your home is increase in value. With new renovations and updates, not to mention adding bedrooms or bathrooms, you will increase your home’s value. This is great should you ever chose to sell your home.

When is it time to remodel?

Maybe you realize it’s time to remodel when your college kids don’t want to bring their friends home. Or maybe it was while watching a home decorating show on television and you realized the shag carpet in your master bathroom was no longer sanitary.

Have you ever had to stand in line to use your own bathroom? That could be another sign it’s time to remodel…

If you’ve been having those thoughts, know you’re not alone. There are millions of people each year who chose to remodel their homes for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons may be:

  • Increasing space
  • Upgrading your kitchen or appliances
  • Customize your home floor plan to fit your lifestyle
  • Improving energy efficiency by adding new windows, doors, insulation, and climate control systems
  • Increasing the overall resale value of your home

 

We understand remodels can be scary. Remember to find a contractor you trust, and take your time deciding what you want. It will be worth it in the end!

 

How Do I Pay For a Remodel?

Chad Warden

How do I pay for a remodel?

Not everyone can front the cash for a home remodel. Luckily, there are many ways today to make remodels more affordable to your average homeowners. Think remodeling your home is out of reach? Think again!

One of the most important considerations for your home improvement project is financing. After all, the project will go nowhere if you can’t pay for it.

Fortunately, there are several options that can provide the funds you need. Four of the most common are a home equity line of credit, a home improvement loan, a home equity loan (or a second mortgage), or a cash-out refinancing of your current mortgage. You can use your home’s current value to finance an improvement project. However, the simplest method of financing is cash.

 

How to Save Money During a Remodel:

  1. Focus on increasing the efficiency of the remodel, not necessarily the size.
  2. Add natural light. The more windows you have and the more natural lighting, the less you will need to turn on lights. This will save you money on your energy bill in the long run.
  3. DIY. Leave the science to the experts and do all the creative work yourself! This includes staining floors, painting, trim, detail work, etc.
  4. Visit your local recycling center. You can find great deals on fixtures here.
  5. Do your own demolition. Why pay someone to do this? It can be fun.
  6. Consider partnering with a contractor rather than hiring one. Some contractors will walk you through the process and let you do the work.
  7. Don’t move the kitchen sink. Try not to move the kitchen sink or toilet or anything with plumbing, moving plumbing usually equals big dollar signs. Work around these preexisting fixtures.

Effective Tips for a Successful Home Remodel

Chad Warden

When you do a home remodel or renovation, you want to do it right the first time. Check out this list of helpful tips when considering a remodel:

  1. Establish effective two-way communication with the home remodeler/construction head. It’s important to have good communication for a successful home remodeling project. Does the remodeler listen to your request? Does he or she answer questions clearly and honestly? Can you reach him when an issue arises? Does he return phone calls promptly? Does he let you know when problems arise and work with you on solving them in an appropriate manner?
  2. Make sure you are compatible with the contractor. You’ll spend a lot of time with your contractor so it’s important to have a good relationship and trust in him or her. Don’t go for the sketchy remodeler just to save a buck or two.
  3. Set a clear and mutual understanding about the time frame. You and your home remodeler should agree on the schedule up front to avoid conflict and problems later in the project.
  4. Request a written proposal. It’s so important to get your contract IN WRITING. Oftentimes two people remember the exact same conversation differently. Certain details might be left out or added. Get the proposal in writing and work with the remodeler to ensure it reflects your wishes.
  5. Get a clear and mutual understanding on miscellaneous details up front. There are a lot of little details that need to be settled before work starts. What times of day will they be working? How will he or she access the property? How will cleanup be handled? How will they protect your property?
  6. Remember to try to be flexible. Remodeling is an interruption of your normal life, especially if you are still living in the same space. Remember to be flexible during the project so that you can handle the unexpected and go with the flow. This will help everything in the long run.
  7. Discuss and agree on how change of orders will be handled. With a home renovation there is always the chance you may want to change materials or other project about the project. Before the actual work starts, be in agreement with your remodeler about how these changes will be handled. Also understand that changes could affect the schedule and the budget, so it’s important you have all changes in writing.
  8. Agree on a completed contract that includes EVERYTHING. The contract should include all of these elements: a timeline for the project, price and how payments will be made, detailed specifications for all products and materials, insurance information, permit information, procedures for handling change orders, methods of conflict resolution, notice of your right under the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling Off Rule (your right to cancel the contract within three days if it was signed someplace other than the remodeler’s place of business), and details on the important issues (such as access to your home, care of the home, cleanup and trash removal).
  9. Ask for a written lien waiver from the contractor upon completion of the work. If the remodeler hires subcontractors for portions of the work, then it is their responsibility to see the subcontractors are paid in full, not yours. In order to ensure this has been done and to protect yourself, ask for a written lien waiver when the work is finished. This document will be proof everyone has been paid.
  10. Establish a project plan that covers all the phases of the remodel. Plan your big picture goals with the remodeler and discuss your needs. Hire a remodeler who will plan with you, listen to concerns and answer questions.  
  11. Have fun! This will be an awesome change to the function and value of your home.

Before You Buy: Get Prepared for Your House Hunt

Chad Warden

Buying a home is a huge process. It’s very important to do your research to find one that will suit you and your family perfectly. Take a look at these steps to help you find the house of your dreams.

 

Step 1: Securing Financing For Your Home

The first step, and possibly the most important step in the home buying process, is determining how much you can afford. Talk with your bank to determine your eligibility. It’s also important to save money for a down payment.

 

Step 2: Prioritize Your “Wish List”

Even before you start browsing the housing market, sit down with your spouse, yourself, or other members of your household to discuss the non-negotiables. What are some features your new home must have? Two bathrooms? A walk in closet?

A great way to organize thoughts is to write each feature on a note card. Once you have all the features laid out, you can organize the note cards in order from highest priority to lowest priority. For example, if you like to have guests over you may want a large dining room. However, you might settle for a large kitchen space to gather and prepare meals in exchange for a large dining room. Getting your wish list settled before you begin your house hunt will simplify the process.

Another factor to consider before purchasing a home is whether or not your needs are very likely to change over time. Will you need to add an extra bedroom or bathroom in the future? If so, purchase a home with a space for such additions. Also be sure to check with your local jurisdiction.

 

Step 3: Selecting the Type of Home

There are a few different options for the type of home to choose. There are single-family homes, duplexes, or condominiums. Some homeowners prefer large yards, other prefer condominiums because of their low-maintenance yards.

If you purchase a single-family home, you will be the one responsible for all of the maintenance both in the yard and inside the home. If you purchase in a development you may be restricted to specific design elements or regulations, depending on whether or not there is a home owners association.

Condominiums are a housing trend that seems to be increasing in popularity. It is a home built in a multi-unit complex, similar to apartment buildings. You fully own the home; you and your neighbors together own the common space elements such as the yard, parking areas, home exteriors, utility pipes, and recreational facilities. There is a condominium owners association that is responsible for maintaining the jointly owned features. There is also typically a managing agency that handles the daily business of running the complex.

When you become an owner of a condominium, you have a vote in the affairs of the community. You are responsible for paying a fee to cover the operating expenses of the property. This typically goes towards things like new roofs, improvements to landscaping, etc. You are responsible for maintaining the entire interior of your condominium unit.

 

Step 4: Starting the Hunt

Now that you’ve gone through the steps and know exactly what you are looking for and what your budget looks like, it’s time to begin your search for the perfect home. You can use a realtor to help you find an existing home or you can even work with a builder to build you the perfect new home of your dreams.

 

Chad is Awesome, Here is why:

Chad Warden

Chad has a fun personality that makes him great to work with.

Chad’s got knowledge from his many many (though we know he looks young) years in the industry to problem solve and fix things around your home.

Chad is creative, and comes up with great alternatives and solutions to problems.

Chad loves to read, learn new things, watch documentaries and in general make the world a better place.

chad warden