1) Invest in quality kitchen cabinet materials:
Your kitchen cabinets are not only the most important component of a complete kitchen renovation; they are also the hardest component to replace. To avoid having to replace your cabinets unnecessarily after 12-15 years, take the time to consider if a low-cost, temporary solution like particle board cabinets makes for a sound renovation investment. Furniture grade plywood cabinetry will typically outlast its particle board counterpart by as much as 4 times. By choosing 3/4″ plywood for your kitchen cabinet box material, you will avoid many of the premature failures like loose hinges and doors, sagging horizontal supports, peeling laminate, and crumbling base cabinets that plague particle board.
2) Go for granite countertops or a textured laminate:
Today’s trendy textures, more often than not become a tell-tale sign of a dated kitchen tomorrow, which ultimately detracted from the value of your home. It’s fair to say that trends in today’s countertop market like Quartz or Silestone offer a major resemblance to Corian from the 90’s and at a similar hefty price point too. Quality granite countertops doesn’t scratch, melt, or date themselves anywhere nearly as easily or fast as Corian or Quartz countertops do. If you have a limited kitchen renovation budget, a steadfast alternative to granite would be textured laminates. With a cost less than $30 per square foot, and realistic stone-like and cultured appearances, today’s laminates offer an excellent countertop solution.
3) It pays to stick with mid-grade appliances:
A few years back mid-grade appliance manufacturers finally realized that they could recapture a large consumer market by including value added features that use to be exclusively reserved to the professional tier of appliance brands like Viking, Thermador, and Wolf at a minimal cost increase. No longer do you need to spend $7500 on a fridge to get the luxury features you want; for less than half the price you can now get a quality mid-grade comparable and keep your kitchen remodeling budget intact. It’s also worth noting, the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) through extensive research stipulates that kitchen appliances should account for approximately 12% of a total kitchen renovation to render the best financial investment return.
4) You’ll never regret soft close drawer slides and door hinges:
Though some may first consider it an unnecessary luxury, investing the extra few hundred dollars for soft close doors and quality soft-close under-mount drawer slides pays for itself through increased service life of not only the hinges themselves, but the doors and drawers of the entire kitchen. These soft closers prevent the high-impact wear that results in sagging doors, rubbing and separation of drawer fronts, and loose screws. The soft-closing technology also expands the capabilities of your drawers. Because of the smooth closing nature of the devices you can store more delicate items in your base cabinet drawers without fear of your items being broken. Oh, and your fingers will thank you too!
5) Ask to see their liability insurance coverage:
Ensure all sub-trades, cabinet installers, and contractors hold adequate and current liability insurance ($2 million is recommended). Unforeseeable events and accidents can happen at any time and they could not only devastate a consumer’s financial well-being, but also that of a reputable business. Do not hesitate to ask any of your project service providers to view their current liability insurance summary. Doing your due diligence here can save you from a lifetime of financial hardship later.
6) Hire a professional kitchen designer:
Though quality professional services are never cheap it’s comforting to know that not only are kitchen designer rates usually more reasonable than a qualified interior designer’s, you also get a designer who specializes in kitchens and bathrooms. To ensure a kitchen designer’s professionalism, it is recommended that you check if they are accredited members of the National kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). These members are committed to providing a level of kitchen and bathroom design expertise above and beyond services rendered by an architect or interior designer. Beware of the ‘free’ kitchen designs, they are typically about as valuable as the price you pay for them. Poor planning and lack of design expertise will always render the same result – a bad one. Conversely, an exceptional kitchen starts only with an exceptional design.
7) Make your kitchen distinctive:
Try to allow for 1-2 unique and distinctive design elements in your kitchen renovation budget; doing so will pull your kitchen out of the realm of terribly typical and into exquisitely extraordinary. It’s a typical human condition to easily get caught up in the details of things. Therefore it’s just as important to remember not to over-do the distinctive because your kitchen space can quickly become over crowded with form, leaving a deficit of function.
8) Compliment your homes style into your kitchen:
Your kitchen space doesn’t have to completely assimilate to the style of the rest of your home, but by tying in features from adjacent rooms you will avoid having your kitchen appear as if you dropped a cookie cutter showroom kitchen from your local big-box store onto your kitchen floor. By obtaining plenty of material swatches and samples in the designing stage and comparing them in their own unique lighting environment of your home, you will avoid much disappointment later.
9) Avoid unnecessary trade expenses whenever possible:
Moving a single pipe over a couple inches isn’t going to cost you much, but relocating a gas line on the opposite side of the kitchen typically will. Depending on the floor structure and accessibility from below, the cost could be upwards of $1000.00. It’s also better to add another window which yields a very high return on investment, than to waste money relocating an existing one. Whenever possible, Work with what you got.
10) Get the Right Permits:
Whenever you move plumbing, gas, or structural elements (like a load-bearing wall), a permit is almost always required. Regardless of what ANYONE says, the owner of the home is ultimately 100% liable for acquiring all applicable permits. Don’t be afraid to give your local municipality a quick call to verify what permits are needed and then after the work is complete, ensure they have been approved as well. DO NOT PAY your respective sub-trade in full until the work they completed is approved by your local city`s municipal permits department, the final payment is your leverage to ensure the trade work done on your home is code compliant, inspected and approved.