The Kitchen Zone





Remodeling



   

A How-to Guide for Kitchen Remodeling Projects

(ARA) – Now that summer is here, a lot of people are starting home remodeling projects, and according to Remodeling Magazine, revamping the kitchen will continue to top the priority list for many homeowners this year.

Kitchen remodels are popular not only because they improve the functionality of the space but because they add value to your home. You can expect the average kitchen remodel -- which includes redesigning the space and replacing the cabinets, oven, cooktop, countertops, sink, lighting and flooring --- to cost between 10 and 25 percent of the value of your home according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

“That may sound like a lot, but I always point out to people that when it comes time to sell, you can expect to get back at least 90 percent of your investment so it’s well worth it,” says Gary Conniff, manager of the kitchen and design center at Brunsell Lumber and Millwork in Madison, Wis.

So where do you start? Whether you plan to design the kitchen yourself, work with a cabinet distributor or home center, or a kitchen designer, formulating a plan is the first step. “You need to first determine the intended use for the space. To do that, think about what you don’t like about your kitchen now. Is the room too small, too cluttered, or is there a lack of storage space? These are all problems you should focus on during the redesign phase,” says Conniff.

Once you and your designer come up with a plan, the first decision you’ll need to make is what kind of cabinets to buy. There are three main options: custom, semi-custom or stock. Since they are made to fit your space precisely, custom cabinets are the most expensive route to take.

If you choose this option, the builder will come to your home, take measurements, then go back to the warehouse and build the cabinets to your specifications. The construction process typically takes 6 to 12 weeks; installation another 7 to 10 days. If you can wait that long, advantages include close attention to detail, exclusive styling, generally high quality finishes, custom sizes and special applications. The drawback: cost.

If you need to do a remodel quick and on a limited budget, stock cabinets, like those offered through Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home improvement stores are another option. You simply bring your measurements to the store, sit down with their designer and weigh your options. Most places offer several different lines of cabinets, with all the latest accessories, but there are drawbacks. “You have a lot of limitations,” says Conniff. “With stock, there is no versatility because you can’t make any modifications.”

Conniff says if you want a high-quality custom look that won’t break the bank, semi-custom cabinets, like those offered by StarMark Cabinetry may be the best way to go. They aren’t quite custom, but many modifications in sizes are available, so they can certainly come close. Cabinets are available in cherry, hickory, maple, oak, rustic cherry and rustic hickory woods. There are dozens of door styles and finishes to choose from to create everything from an old world to modern look.

“Our cabinets have solid construction that is built to last,” says Jennifer Thom of StarMark Cabinetry. All cabinet backs are sturdy quarter-inch plywood; base cabinet back rails are rugged half-inch plywood; and all drawers come standard with Blumotion Soft Close, a system that steers even fully loaded drawers to a smooth, silent close. The cabinets are manufactured when ordered and arrive pre-assembled, complete with accessories like roll-out trays, swing-out shelves, lazy susans and butler’s pantries.

“Semi-custom cabinets may cost more than stock at the onset, but once you figure in the cost of labor, they may end up being cheaper,” says Conniff. He points out that labor costs go up exponentially when you try to “dress up” stock cabinets. “If you order panels and decorative accents for stock cabinets, these have to be installed at the job site, which adds to your labor costs.” Many of these same add-ons come pre-attached and pre-finished when you order semi-custom.

Once you have your cabinets picked out, the next step will be to choose countertops. They’ve come a long way since the days when laminate was king. You now have dozens of options to choose from ranging from concrete and stainless steel to tile, natural and engineered stone, and wood. Prices range from $16 per linear foot for some laminates to $100 per foot or more for specialty stones.

“As long as they’re getting new cabinets and countertops, most people go ahead and get new appliances as well, unless they’ve already replaced them in the recent past,” says Conniff.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association is a great place to turn if you’re looking for kitchen design ideas, or contact information to find contractors and designers in your area. Log on to www.nkba.org for more information. To learn more about how StarMark cabinets can add to your kitchen remodel project, log on to www.starmarkcabinetry.com. They are available through 600 dealers nationwide. To find the dealer nearest you, call (800) 594-9444.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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