Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Simple Kitchen Upgrades

When remodeling a kitchen, there are options that are less expensive than a full kitchen remodel, while still making significant improvements.  Both the appearance and functionality of your kitchen can be improved with a number of small and cost effective remodeling projects.  In many cases these projects can be accomplished over a period of time, spreading the costs while upgrading your kitchen.  The following is a list of some projects to consider.

Cabinets:  There are a number of ways kitchen cabinets can be improved without replacing the cabinets themselves.  New hardware, new cabinet drawer inserts, installing pull-out shelves or additional shelves, or even just adjusting the doors and shelves can all improve the functional and visual performance of cabinets.  If the space is available, an island may be added without changing the exiting cabinets.

Counters:  Installing new countertops can provide a major kitchen facelift.  This is often combined with a new kitchen sink and faucet.  Replacing the countertop can be accomplished in one to two days, a major improvement with minimum disruption.  Numerous counter options include stone of various types, solid surface man-made counters, laminate, tile, and a variety of wood choices.  Often two different materials may be used, for example a wood island counter with granite counters on the surrounding cabinets.

Appliances:  Replacing appliances is a straightforward improvement to most kitchens.  Many appliances such as dishwashers, ranges, and hoods are standard sizes and the change is fairly simple.  Also, adding a beverage or wine refrigerator is an increasingly popular option.

Electric:  There are many electrical up-grades to improve a kitchen visually and functionally; new light fixtures, under cabinet lighting, etc.  These will be discussed in detail in a subsequent blog.

Plumbing:  Changes and upgrade options to kitchen sinks and faucets will be reviewed in a subsequent blog.  Besides changing the existing sink and faucet a large kitchen may benefit from adding a second prep sink and faucet..

Backsplash:  Likewise there are many options for the kitchen counter backsplash; tile, glass tile, paint, stone, solid surface materials, etc.  These will be reviewed in depth in the next blog.

Paint:  Painting is a task most homeowners can manage with a little time and effort.  New paint can brighten and refresh a kitchen at a small cost.  Painting of ceilings and wood trim are also good options but a little more challenging.  Painting existing cabinets is not nearly as simple or fast as painting walls. It involves stripping and sanding the cabinets, then applying primer and two finish coats.  This is a task probably best left to a professional painter. However, painting the cabinets, especially combined with new cabinet hardware, can  make a major improvement to your kitchen. 
Flooring:  Kitchen floors can be a variety of materials including wood, engineered wood, laminate, tile, cork, or vinyl.  Floors can typically be installed without removing cabinets and often without removing the existing floors. 

Other Small Projects:  Other projects to improve and remodel a kitchen without a total kitchen replacement may include installing new windows, removing walls between the kitchen and an adjacent room, creating a pantry, or installing new moulding.  All can significantly improve the enjoyment and everyday use of your kitchen.

Note:  The concept for this and the next few kitchen and bath blogs comes from Case Handyman and Remodeling.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guild Quality

ADR recently renewed our membership in Guild Quality.  Guild Quality provides customer surveying for builders, remodelers, and real estate companies.  Customer satisfaction surveys help us to deliver exceptional customer services.  You can check out the site at www.guildquality.com.  And then under the search engine enter ADR Builders.
We hope clients and potential clients find these reviews as helpful as we do.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kitchen Remodeling and the Budget – Kitchen Estimator Spreadsheet

This is now going to get a little more complicated and require some participation.  On our website, we have created a kitchen budget calculator based on an Excel spreadsheet.  By entering your home’s current approximate value in the budget calculator you can find an estimated budget for your kitchen.  Or you can enter a fixed budget amount and arrive at the total allowances you may wish to consider for the various products and services required in a kitchen remodel.

Please note the calculator is one two worksheets.  Worksheet one is the actual calculator, worksheet two has explanations and general notes to consider when using the calculator.

Good luck and happy estimating.

Click here for the calculator!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kitchen Remodeling and the Budget – Putting it All Together

In the last two blogs we reviewed eight factors to consider when establishing a kitchen remodeling budget.  This blog will review putting it all together. 

One of the first keys is finding the percentage of your home value you should use as a budget guideline.  A typical range of percentage, kitchen cost to home value, is 10% to 25%.  To maximize your investment 15% to 25% is a good range.  For a kitchen remodel of the size and scope that includes new appliances, cabinets & counters, plumbing & electrical, and finishes such as painting, wood trim, and flooring anything less than 15% is probably not realistic unless you live in a high value home (such as a million dollar home).  If resale value is important it is probably best to keep the project within 20% of current home value.

Cabinet and counter selections vary significantly.  The more custom design and more unique materials you are using,  the higher your percentage base should be.  Appliances also vary significantly and if you can reuse some of the existing appliances this is a good savings.  You can also adjust the percentage up or down on the basis of electrical, plumbing, structural changes, size of the kitchen and the other construction and design factors discussed in the earlier two blogs. 

Your goals and priorities are also factors in the cost adjustments.  Obviously, if having a commercial style gas range, room for two cooks, more windows and natural light, or other luxuries are priorities, than construction costs will increase.  If the floor plan is changing significantly and electrical and/or plumbing services are being relocated, again a higher percentage is called for.

Finally there is item #8 in the last blog, funds available.  The kitchen remodeling budget has to work with the funds available.  Most professional remodeling companies can help you work with any reasonable budget making suggestions to maximize your goals versus budget and your return on investment.

And last but not least, consider doing the remodeling for yourself, not just for resale.  You are going to live there, you are bearing the current cost, you should construct a project that you enjoy and are satisfied with.   That being said, don’t go crazy.  Remodeling your kitchen, or your home, well beyond the values in your neighborhood is not a good long-term financial decision.  Of course, if this is your dream house and you plan to spend your life there, you might want to make it all it can be.  This obviously is a contradiction.  One solution does not work for everyone and you have to resolve what is best for you and your family.