In many ways, deciding to move forward with your kitchen remodel is the toughest decision you have to make during the project. It’s the decision to proceed that commits you to such a significant project. And while setting your budget, figuring out the materials you want to use and the contractor you want to hire can be challenging, they don’t have to turn your big project into a big headache. Here’s what you can do to ensure your kitchen remodel goes as smooth as possible.
While the planning phase can be the longest phase (don’t be surprised if you spend months planning your kitchen) it’s also one of the most enjoyable. This is the time when you can let your imagination run wild as you try to define the design direction you want to go. And while it can be hard to nail down the exact style you want, it’s easy to find inspiration, especially with all of the online resources that are now available. One design tool that we happen to really like is our very own DesignMine. Whether you use DesignMine to find and save photos that inspire you, or prefer to clip images from magazines or other online resources, saving the images and showing them to your contractor is the best way to articulate your vision.
Defining your budget is important enough to warrant its own step, but there’s a good chance that you’ll start hammering out your budget during the planning phase. In fact, some folks prefer setting their budget before they get too deep into the planning, since knowing how much they have to spend affects the scope of their remodel and the materials they choose. However you choose to go about budgeting, we recommend checking out our Cost Guide to get a better idea of how much others in your area are paying for their kitchen remodels. When budgeting, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to factor in the cost of obtaining permits. Each municipality handles the permitting process differently so be sure to do your research.
It’s no surprise that the right pro is critical to your remodel’s success. And while most homeowners are careful to do their due diligence and get estimates from at least three pros, 53% of homeowners we surveyed still worry about their pro not charging a fair price. Knowing how much others are paying for similar projects goes a long way towards easing those fears.
When it comes to finding and hiring your pro, we recommend getting estimates from at least three contractors. Using HomeAdvisor’s ProFinder will ensure you find a reputable pro you can trust. During the bidding process be sure to ask them all the questions you might have regarding the scope of work, their level of experience (ask for references), whether they’re licensed, insured, and bonded, the permit process, construction schedule, payment schedule, and any other questions you have. Don’t worry about asking a stupid question. This is your project and your money. If you want to know more about a facet of the project, ask them about it until you get the answer you’re looking for. If the contractor seems annoyed with your questions, don’t hire them.
Speaking of payments: NEVER pay for the project up front. If the pro requires a deposit, get a receipt. While there isn’t an industry standard regarding payments, many pros structure their contracts in a manner that requires payment once certain milestones are hit. Carefully review your contract to ensure the timeline, payment terms, and project scope aligns with your expectations.
Want to make your remodel as smooth as possible? Then you need to discuss the game plan with your contractor before they get started so both of you are on the same page. Schedule weekly project update meetings and daily check-ins to ensure you’re aware of how the project is progressing.
You’ll also want to figure out how you’re going to handle your meals during construction. If it’s a quick remodel you’re probably ok with going out to eat while kitchenless. However, if your project is significant enough to require a few weeks worth of work, you’re going to want to set up a temporary kitchen (small fridge, hotplate, lots of paper plates) or figure out an alternative that works for your situation. If you’ve got the vacation time, getting out of dodge could be a good idea.
After days, weeks, or months of construction, your dream kitchen is a reality. And while your new kitchen might look done, it’s not. At least not until you and the contractor do a thorough walk through to ensure every last detail is to your liking. Don’t worry about being nitpicky, they’ll understand and will work with you to make sure the project is completed properly and to code.
Full story from HomeAdvisor.com can be found here.