Remodeling Your Kitchen in 10 Steps
The kitchen is called the heart of the home for a reason; this room is the epicenter of family life. Not only will you cook and eat your daily meals in your kitchen, but you will also celebrate holidays, entertain guests, and spend quality time with family and friends. For all these reasons, the design and style of your kitchen is of the utmost importance. This is why most home owners place kitchen remodeling at the top of their home remodeling to do list.
The age old question of, 'How much will a kitchen remodel cost?' The cost of renovating your kitchen can vary greatly from 10,000 for low budget kitchen remodeling project to 100,000 for custom high end kitchen remodeling project. The overall cost of the kitchen renovation will depend on your style, remodeling plan, and personal tastes. However, there is good news! Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best ways to get a return on your investment, when you decide to sell your home. Kitchen renovations average the highest return on investment (ROI), more than any other room in the home. Most home owners can expect to recoup 70-90% of the money spent on the kitchen upon resale. Whether you are planning to live in your home for years to come or you are planning on selling your house as soon as possible, the added value of a newly renovated kitchen is not lost.
Today is the age of budget shopping, and your kitchen remodeling project should be no different. Modern technology has made it simple for home owners to renovate their kitchens without spending a fortune by utilizing the power of the Internet. Kitchen cabinets, which tend to be a large chunk of the overall kitchen remodeling budget, can now be purchased online. This process saves consumers an average 30%, in comparison to home center prices. There are also great deals available on counter tops, tiles, appliances, and flooring. In order to remodel your kitchen on a budget, do your research online for each component before purchasing. The additional research time will be well worth the savings!
Before you decide to demo your existing kitchen, drop the sledgehammer, and go to the drawing board. It is imperative that you establish a well thought out plan before destroying your current kitchen.
- Get ideas by watching HGTV, thumbing through home remodeling magazines, searching the internet, and visiting home centers
- Redesign your kitchen based on functionality, efficiency, and comfort
- Keep the style of your home in mind
- Hire a kitchen designer to bring your ideas to life
- Buy all necessary components in advance i.e.: cabinets, appliances, tiles, paint
- If you will not be doing the installation, begin interviewing contractors. Ensure that all potential candidates are licensed, and that they will obtain all necessary permits. You should also establish a payment plan; never pay the total up front!
Instead of simply smashing through your kitchen, try to compile a course of action:
- Remove the cabinets from the wall by unscrewing them
- Using a knife, remove all trims and moldings from the wall
- Unplug and shut off all appliances and lighting fixtures and remove them
- Cover any exposed wires
- Place all debris and unwanted materials in a dumpster; recycle old appliances
With the walls open and everything hanging out, now is the time to get your hands on the new plumbing you've been yearning for.
- As you are dealing with older plumbing, be cautious and have buckets readily available to catch leaks
- If you're under the sink plumbing is galvanized, replace it all!
- Be prepared to replacing your shut off valve (or anything else for that matter)
- If you are switching from an electric to a gas stove; contemplate incorporating a new gas line
The kitchen renovation is as much about the electrical work as it is about the cabinets. With appliances and lighting galore, you need to make ensure that your electrical work is up to code. You should also check with your contractor to see if you should upgrade your circuit breaker box to 200 amps.
Common Kitchen Electrical Jobs:
- Wiring the range hood, dishwasher, and/or garbage disposal
- Receptacle for the range, refrigerator, and microwave
- Overhead lighting (recessed lighting, pendant lights, ceiling fixtures)
- Under cabinet lighting
- Dimmer switches
Once your plumbing and electric are up to date, you can begin to drywall. Drywall is easy enough to do it yourself, and in doing so, you are saving thousands of dollars! Whether it is your first time or you are a seasoned vet, this process is simple once you get the hang of it, so grab a friend and start saving money!
- Tape measure
- Razor knife
- Keyhole saw
- Colored chalk (to mark locations of outlets, light switches, etc)
- Electric drill
- Drywall "T" square
- Plan out your installation. You will need to shut off all power to outlets in the room you are working in, but still make sure you have enough light to work safely. Then begin to make pencil marks on the ceiling and floor where the studs are, this will help when you are ready to screw the drywall into the studs. ALL PIECES OF DRYWALL SHOULD BEGIN AND END ON A STUD!
- The initial piece of drywall should be hung in a corner. Hold the piece horizontally, tightly against the ceiling and the corner, and begin to screw the drywall into the studs. Drive the screws in far enough to create a dimple in the drywall but not enough to break the paper.
- Measure the distance from the end of your initial piece of drywall to the end of the wall. If this distance is 8' or greater, use an entire sheet. However, if it is less than 8', make a mark on a piece of drywall with a pencil, indicating the length of the wall. Take your razor knife and cut the draw wall following the line you made; you will probably have to go over this line a few times. Once you have created a deep enough cut, break the drywall at the cut. It should break clean and easily, then simple cut the paper with your razor. Also, make note of where your outlets and light switches are. Utilizing chalk or a marker, indicate their location and size, and cut your drywall accordingly. You will repeat this step throughout the process; measure, cut, and hang.
- After you have covered your entire wall with the top pieces of drywall, you can begin to hang the bottom pieces. Most rooms are about 8' high with about a 1/2" of gap. Make sure that you leave the 1/2" at the bottom as it will most likely be covered with baseboard molding; do not leave a gap in between the top and bottom pieces. The seams of the drywall need to be staggered, so when you begin to hand the bottom pieces, be sure to start with a half piece of drywall.
- Now you need to go back and fasten the drywall. Locate the marks you made indicating the location of the studs. Begin screwing the drywall into the studs by placing screws every 7
- 9" up and down. Be sure not to drill a screw too close to the edge of the piece of drywall as it may cause the plaster to crumble; leave about 1/2" space between the screw and the edge of each piece. Also, ensure that you are driving the screws in deep enough to be secure but not deep enough to crack through the drywall.
Tape the seams and mud the wall!
Many do it yourselfers believe that painting is the easiest task during remodeling, but when you underestimate the job, it can turn into a mess. Painting can be simple and actually quite enjoyable as long as you are prepared and do it in the right way.
- Purchase semi-gloss, high quality paint. Do not cut corners and buy anything that is on sale that week. A quality semi-gloss paint can make your life much easier because they do not retain moisture and are cleanable
- Make sure you have all the correct tools necessary, such as an angle brush for the trim, rollers, extensions, tarps, tape, etc.
- Prep the walls before painting; if the need to be sanded, holes filled, or cleaned, do so before you think about simply covering it with paint
- Tape off all doorways, windows, molding, etc.
- It is definitely easier to paint before the cabinets and appliances are installed
- Always do a second coat!
Regardless of what you may have heard, install your flooring before you install your cabinetry. While it may save you a small amount of money, it is not worth the inefficiency that comes with it. There are countless options of what materials you can use for your kitchen floor, and each material has its own kinks and quirks.
- Bamboo flooring is growing in popularity. It is extremely beautiful and can be very affordable. Bamboo can be nailed, glued, stapled, or floated. It comes in both horizontal and vertical patterns.
- Ceramic tiles are still one of the front runners in kitchen flooring. With a plethora of sizes, colors, and designs, there is a ceramic tile floor for mostly everyone. Ceramics fair very well with the sometimes rough and messy atmosphere of the kitchen. They are laid out and installed using cement boards, grout, and other adhesives.
Some people are skeptical when it comes to installing their kitchen cabinets; they think it is much harder than it is. You will definitely need a helping hand and a few tools, but it is so easy a cave man can do it!
- Review your layout, and make tiny markings on the wall
- Locate the studs and mark the locations on the back of the cabinet
- Drill four holes through the back of the cabinet
- Set cabinet on cabinet jack, hold cabinet level, then fasten to wall studs with 2 ½
- inch drywall screws and finishing washers
- Continue this step for all wall cabinets
- Secure all aligning cabinets together using 1 1/4" screws
- Align base cabinets on the floor as depicted in the floor plan
- Fasten all base cabinets using 1 1/4" screws
- Screw back of base cabinets to wall studs
Just like every other aspect of the kitchen, the counter top can come in a number of materials. Depending on your style, budget, and time frame, you can select anything from granite, quartz, or Formica.
You should take measurements for your counter top when you are measuring for your kitchen cabinets, and place your order about 3 weeks prior to your estimated installation date. Counter tops typically take this amount of time to be fabricated into the specified sizes and shapes.
As most counter tops are extremely heavy, costly, and fragile, the manufacturers or distributors will typically do the installation. If they do not, look for a licensed contractor to help in this task to avoid any mishaps.
The back splash all comes down to preference. You may like the uniformed look of continuing your granite counter top to meet the wall cabinets. If you are looking for variety, mixing a quartz counter top with a tile back splash may spice up your kitchen. Perhaps the simplicity of a painted back splash is more your style; regardless of how you mix and match, there is a back splash that is perfect for your kitchen.
If you are opting to continue your counter top as your back splash, then you can have your back splash installed at the same time and by the same people as your counter top. However, if you are looking to use a different material, you may have to wait a few days while your counter top settles.
Painting a back splash is extremely simple; just follow the steps in the Painting section of this article. Be sure to prepare and be precise, and your back splash will come out just as nicely as the walls!
Tile back splashes are installed in a similar way to tile flooring, only it is somewhat easier. Because back splash tiles are typically much smaller than floor tiles, they come in sheets. Instead of laying out each individual tile, you can lay the sheets out and then grout them.
One more step to go and your kitchen will be functional as well as beautiful! After all the tedious steps you have taken throughout this process, ending with the appliance installation seems like a break! Use the same rule of thumb as you did for the counter top installation. These pieces are heavy, expensive, and require electrical and perhaps gas hook ups. Bring back your electrician for a few more hours and have him/her install the appliances.
While it is definitely not easy, remodeling your kitchen does not have to be hard. There are ten major steps in the renovation of the kitchen, but many of them can be done without the hiring of an installer and with the assistance of a friend. No matter how big or small, modern or traditional, there are ways for every home owner to embark on a kitchen remodel without breaking the bank!