|Aside from a complete home tear down, remodeling your kitchen can be the largest and most expensive home improvement project you will tackle. Of course - there are several types of kitchen remodeling projects that vary in total investment. The chief differentiators are how many of the 5 major sections you are going to include in the remodel.
The five primary areas of a kitchen remodeling project are:
- Counters and Countertops
- Plumbing & Electrical (includes lighting)
- Appliances (intimately integrated with plumbing and electrical)
Combining all of these areas is the kitchen layout itself. Though not a specific "area" - it most definitely is the main part of the front end
the planning process.
- Flooring, along with countertops and cabinetry, provide the main atmosphere of the kitchen. Sheet vinyl has been the most common flooring choice for moderately priced kitchen remodeling projects. There are many textures and designs - and installation is always the least costly. Wood is the next choice as you move up the remodeling budget scale - but wood can also be a budget buster. Consider the overall home value and your long term occupancy plans. Also - how much will you use the kitchen and for what type of preparations. Ceramic tile most often sits at the high end. Your pricier kitchens can have elaborate designs spread out over many small bricks that must be painstakingly installed and grouted in order to achieve the desired effect. Results, however, can also be spectacular.
- Counters and countertops are where you will spend most of your time "working." Functionality is as important as appearance if this is going to be a "real" kitchen - that gets a lot of use. Solid surface materials such as marble and granite are the most expensive but also the most impressive to view. They are easily cleaned because there are few or no grout channels to accumulate stains in. Heading down the budget scale - ceramic tile is your next choice. If you are patient and motivated - a ceramic tile installation is something within the reach of most do-it-yourselfers. When planning, keep your splash panel in mind and also consider countertop designs that may enhance the overall appearance of the final product. Laminated tops are the most cost effective and easy to install. Criteria you want to consider when selecting your materials include hardness, durability, stain removal and ease of repair.
- Cabinets - which we've spoken about in the above page - are the "caissons" of your kitchen. They will store utensils, cooking equipment and all manner of food and food preparations. Consider placement, construction, and finish when planning your cabinetry. Overall, cabinets have the greatest impact on function and appearance combined. Plan on a significant investment in your cabinets and cupboards as a percentage of your total remodeling budget. Also, don't forget the finish hardware. This would include drawer slides, knobs, pulls, locks and latches.
- Plumbing and electrical includes both infrastructure (pipes and wires) as well as fixtures and accessories. In the plumbing area, you will be selecting functional yet decorative sinks, faucets, water filters and garbage disposals. Since plumbing and garbage disposals eventually need to be repaired and replaced, plan for easy service when working with your interior designer. Picking the designs and themes will be the fun part. Planning for maintenance and serviceability may take some time and effort. Don't leave this part as an afterthought. Look for plenty of assistance from your kitchen remodeling professional.
- Appliances - Korean, Maytag or Sub Zero - which will it be. Raw budget will be the determining factor in this area. You'll be selecting stoves, ovens, freezers, refrigerators, dish washers and trash compactors as your primary appliances. Also, microwaves, built-in (countertop) mixers and broilers may come into play as well. This is one area where you really get what you pay for. Consider your long range occupancy plans, warranty and availability of service as your secondary decision criteria. Budget will come first - but almost always, higher end appliances pay off over the medium to long run.