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Kitchen Remodeling - tips, advice, etc

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Bostonfan, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    I've finally decided it's time to remodel my kitchen. It's 80's style and desperately needs updating. There's SO much information out there, that my head is swimming. I find personal accounts to be more helpful.

    The kitchen itself is fairly straightforward (duplex style), so the layout won't change. I've heard cabinet refacing is the way to go if the bones of the cabinets are in good shape (mine are good), rather than ripping out the old ones and replacing them completely. Anyone have any first hand opinions on refacing vs. replacing cabinets?

    I'm not changing the floor, so I'll save some money there. But I do want new countertops and backsplash. I'm terrible at looking at small squares of samples and trying to visualize how it will look as an entire countertop.

    I want to replace the appliances. Is that something I do at the end once the cabinets and counters are done, or do it before? Does it matter?

    Any thoughts on using a major chain (like Hope Depot) to do such a project or go local? I went on Angies List, but I'd like to get some other perspectives too.

    Basically any thoughts, advice, tips on how to research and plan such a project is appreciated :)
  2. KatieC

    KatieC So peaceful

    I always found I do a better job picking out colours and fabrics etc if I can see the room in advance with those colours. So I used to actually haul out the water colours and paint a picture, then graduated to doing it on the computer. I know there are TV shows that show you on a computer what a room can look like with the changes, there must be stores that use these kinds of programs to assist people. Good luck getting what you want.
    You might also want to go into different places to find out what's available. No point in deciding on purple and later find purple is not in this year.
  3. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    I redid my kitchen about 2 years ago.

    Counter tops - I love my Caesarstone. http://www.caesarstoneus.com/products/ Not near the care that granite takes and, if you like the granite look, you can get it. A bit more expensive, though. Granite is a bit outdated, IMO. :scream:

    I bought my appliances beforehand - they sat in the game room for a couple of months but I was able to get them on sale. :lol: The advantage there was that the carpenters could get exact measurements.

    I looked into refacing the cupboards but really wanted a different configuration so went with replacement. It wasn't much more than refacing and they were custom built. Check with a cabinet/kitchen outfitter to see what they can do for you. The place I used also worked with a stone mason and since I wanted the corner cupboards to rest on the counter top that was important and it was almost hassle free.

    I'd go local but it wouldn't hurt to get an estimate from Home Depot or Lowe's.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  4. znachki

    znachki Active Member

    I redid my kitchen when I bought my condo. Everything in it was original (1969), including the dishwasher - which probably hadn't been used since 1980, when the previous owner moved in. I found newspaper lining the drawer under the range from 1977! It was all 1960's dark wood and avocado. So, I pretty much pulled everything out and put it back in the same place, only new.

    I'd recommend having your appliances available. Configurations on these things do change, and its good to know ahead. My range was wired right in, so I had to have an outlet installed for the new one, for example. Oh and, stainless, stay far away. I really don't get the attraction. It smudges and unless you buy it as a suite, it might not match.

    I did completely new cabinets, so can't really speak to that. There was no way I was going to keep the old ones.

    There are so many ways to go with counters and backsplashes. I can't remember if I had Caesarstone specifically - but it was something like that. I agree with milanessa about the granite. Also, if you are going to get a new sink, you'll need to coordinate that with the countertops for installation.

    Re samples: One thing you can do - since you say that you can't tell from small samples - is to color photocopy them. You can tape them all together and get a better idea what it will look like. It's not perfect, but better than nothing.

    Also, you say that you are keeping the floor, but you know, once you start putting in all the new stuff, you might change your mind.
  5. Debrah

    Debrah Well-Known Member

    Quartz countertops for sure, they beat granite by a mile! Cambria also rocks,(that's what I bought) but many brands of Quartz are available and it is more about the specific one you fall in love with and find you are able to easily match a backsplash too. Too keep costs down a great trick is to use an inexpensive subway tile with a small border of a more exxpensive glass or other fancy tile or same quartz as your counter to punch it up.

    If you have standard size kitchen and you do not require any custom size cabinets then do check out big box places like Ikea, or home depot etc., for cabinetry or to get some design ideas, sometimes it is actually cheaper to rip out and start over than reface, esp if you don't need custom work.

    Definitely buy appliances beforehand then you can design cabinets and counters around them, rather than vice versa and not be able to fit that great stove, or extra large fridge you spotted on sale...

    Don't feel you must do stainless appliances; as guess what, they are a pain to keep clean and more importantly the new appliance trend is going back to use of colors, but my advice is buy black ones, as it is the one appliance color type that really never goes out of style.

    You may have no choice but to update the floor if you wind up changing the cabinet configuration.

    One easy way to go is simply buy new doors for the cabinets in say a very simple shaker style and paint out the cabinet boxes to match the new doors, splurge on great hardware, the quartz countertops and a subway tile backsplash and replace the appliances and call it a day. Just remember that kitchens sell houses and if you are thinking of selling take that fact into consideration while ensuring you don't over spend for the value of your particular neigbourhood and home type.

    Do consult a professional kitchen decorator esp if you feel overwhelmed by all the choices, a lot of free or low cost advice can be had esp if you intend to buy the paint, tile, hardware from your local design or paint/paper/hardware type shop.

    Unless you love ultra modern, try to stay classic, or at least in a style in keeping with your home's interior, as the kitchen will look less dated, esp over time. Remember the golden rule, of renovation costs, do factor in those unexpected costs and if your estimated reno budget is $10,000 the do keep back another $1000 in reserve just in case something unexpected comes up...

    Good luck!
  6. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    If you have a ReStore (Habitat for Humanity resale store) it could be a great place to find some things like cabinet handles/drawer pulls or backsplash tile. Friends of ours redid their kitchen and found backsplash tile and enough laminate flooring to redo their floor, for a song! (Of course it doesn't hurt that he's done professional carpentry in the past so wasn't intimidated by the idea of a little DIY.)
  7. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

    If you choose to replace your cabinets, Habitat for Humanity will take and repurpose your cabinets if they're in good condition.
  8. Kruss

    Kruss Not Auto-Tuned

    I'm in agreement about the spotting that happens with stainless. I'll never get them again. I'm also not much of a fan of granite. It always sets my teeth on edge to see people on House Hunters insist they must have a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.
  9. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

    Someone mentioned Ikea and Home Depot. If you get exact measurements of the kitchen, consider going to one of them. Start by walking around their displays and looking at pictures to get ideas. Then you can work with someone there to diagram the kitchen on a computer and come up with a plan.

    My mom is building a house and she went to Ikea first to get some ideas and then did the design with Home Depot.
  10. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    Great idea! Tell the people taking out the cabinets that that's what you're going to do and they won't tear them up. Habitat came by the same day and picked them up.
  11. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    When I remodeled my kitchen, I had to have the tile backsplash taken off. It was done so poorly (or well) that it took the top layer of drywall with it - and on the one wall, it was tiled directly onto cement block :wall:.

    Instead of retiling, which is expensive and laborious, I got these big sheets of fake tile from Lowes and just had them mounted right over the drywall. It sounds terrible but actually looks great.

    I also got laminate countertops put in instead of granite/corian/quartz, since I didn't want to overimprove a condo. I picked a speckled black color and they did a beveled edge, so it hardly looks like laminate at all. My favorite part is that it's not freezing cold to the touch. I love it.

    One thing I was adamant about was full-extend drawers. It makes organizing very easy and nothing gets lost.
  12. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. This is the kind of feedback that I was hoping for.

    I watch House Hunters and other HGTV shows avidly. I too am hit over the head with the comments that buyers always want granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. But this is my first and last home until I retire (barring an unforseen event). So I just have to pick what I like (within my budget) and realize that what's "hot" right now will become passe at some point.

    I never knew about Habitat for Humanity taking old cabinets. That's neat!

    Versper - that backsplash looks great! And I totally want full-extend drawers! Your old cabinets look very similar to what I have now. Great remodel!
  13. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    Okay, so I bought this new house after my separation this summer. The home inspector said my kitchen countertops were not granite, as the real estate agent stated. The agent swore they are granite countertops because that is what the seller told him. So who do I believe?

    The inspector said whenever you have something that thick (my countertop is a good inch solid thickness), it's not true granite. But this inspector was wrong about a few other things in his inspection, so who do I believe?

    They look like granite to me, so that's what I'm telling everyone it is.
  14. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    I am in new construction and the tile guy was so creative with the backsplash, I loved that I got something unique. But it is simple. My counters are granite (ubba tubba, common one, black with brown and grey specks. The tile guy got took a sample piece of the granite (free) and cut little squares that he put in the backsplash as accents (just paid a little extra for the labor). My cabinets are maple spice, and appliances are black, so I love how the granite counter and backsplash accents match the appliances.
    I am really happy I got something a little funky, but still neutral.
  15. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    Hard to say without seeing them, but granite normally comes in 2 or 3 cm thickness so 1 inch falls right in the middle of that. I think your inspector is wrong.
  16. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    If possible (costwise) use a kitchen/bath contractor. That way they are responsible for getting/co-ordinating sub-contractors (electricians/plumbers/tilers etc.). They are also responsible for anything that goes wrong with the sub-contractors.

    You should configure your cabinets/sink/etc. and plan for the size of your appliances. Do not select your appliances after the cabinets are in (unless you are refacing). Let's say you want a 36" cooktop, if you put in a cabinet that can only contain a 30" cook top, your out of luck. Even if you use the same configuration, you can change cabinet length and appliance width/height (refrigerator). You can reface cabinets, but keep in mind that the frames/interiors will still be older and you will have less flexibility with updating.

    We re-did our kitchen 20 years ago, with very good quality cabinets, they are still in excellent condition and since we were very neutral with style, they still look great. At the time, we had vinyl floors. We kept them, because the kids were babies and vinyl is softer. About 7 years ago, we decided to replace the floor with tile. What a nightmare! Because the cabinets were already in, we had to run the tile around them. That raised the floor by about 3/4". It buried the dishwasher. Last year we replaced our countertops with granite. We used that opportunity to take out the dishwasher and put in a new one. We also put tile in the niche where the dishwasher is. The problem is that we had to spend $$$ on a Miele dishwasher, because it's the only mfgr that makes one short enough (since we lost 3/4" with the tile). So, if at all possible, if there is any chance you will eventually be replacing the floor - do it all at once. Only great thing about the Miele dishwasher is that you can't hear it at all when it's on. they said it was quiet, but it's amazing!

    Countertops. Granite is wonderful! If it's made (aka-surfaced) right, it will not stain and doesn't need sealing. In a kitchen, it's good because you are constantly on top of anything that spills. We (meaning husband/son) went with quartz for the bathroom, because we're less likely to wipe up spills as quickly. Quartz is beautiful in kitchens, but if you want the real thing, there really is not a significant price difference. Stay away from Corian type products, they are very dated and the lighter colds stain. Also, for sinks: if you go with stainless, make sure it is coated with several layers on the underside, that way it will not be noisy. Another option is a quartz sink, they come in several colors (can blend with counters), and they are extremely easy to clean, and pots don't mark them. Go for an undermount sink, that way you don't have that gunky edge, on top of the counters, to deal with. Don't go for an insta-hot water dispenser, they never last more than a few years and they are worthless. Get a faucet that pulls out for spraying, don't get a separate sprayer - it's a bit pricey (but worth it) Grohe makes great ones. Especially if you have hard water, they are self cleaning.

    You can buy appliances from Home Depot/Lowes, but understand that, often, those appliances are made for the store - lower price = lower quality. Sometimes a small savings on appliances cost more in the long run.

    Cupid, I have granite counters - went to a granite store and picked the un-cut slab. They are 1" thick, so your inspector may be right about the material, but not based on thickness. You can tell if it's quartz. Is there veining? Is there a lot of variance in the material? Or is it very uniform? Is there a lot of depth, or does it look shallow? Sometimes you can tell from looking at the underside.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  17. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    I redid my countertops last year and went from laminate to granite (sealed with a 15-year guarantee). I love it and get a ton of compliments. I don't care for the look of quartz at all, and I like Corian but prefer a glossy look. So that's why I went with granite. I recently got a new refrigerator and I may replace the oven and over range microwave next month.

    I have to say that the Lowes near me has fabulous customer service. They have done a super good job with all their contractors and their sales people. When I had the countertops replaced, everything was done right on schedule and the plumber actually made two trips in one day, once to remove the sink and old countertops so the template could be made and then to temporarily replace the old countertop and sink. Their prices are pretty good, too, so I pretty much always try to shop there if I can.