Kitchen Remodeling For Dummies


Real estate, building, and remodeling surveys reveal that the one project likely to give you a 100 percent return on the dollars invested is a kitchen remodel. And whether the project is as involved as gutting the room back to the wall studs or as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint, each project is an investment in your home’s value and, ultimately, in your enjoyment of using the space.

Remodeling a kitchen is a big job, but it’s not so big that anyone – with the...

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Real estate, building, and remodeling surveys reveal that the one project likely to give you a 100 percent return on the dollars invested is a kitchen remodel. And whether the project is as involved as gutting the room back to the wall studs or as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint, each project is an investment in your home’s value and, ultimately, in your enjoyment of using the space.

Remodeling a kitchen is a big job, but it’s not so big that anyone – with the right guidance and understanding – couldn’t feel comfortable tackling at least some parts of the job. Kitchen Remodeling For Dummies is the reference tool to use if you

  • Want to use the kitchen more efficiently
  • Want to replace outdated, energy-gobbling appliances and gadgets
  • Have attempted at least one or two home repair projects
  • Are comfortable using both power and hand tools and probably own a few of each
  • Want to know how a project should be done and then hire someone to do it.

The kitchen in today’s home has become a focal point for the family, as well as for entertaining. For those reasons, you want the room to be as functional as possible, without breaking your bankbook. With Kitchen Remodeling For Dummies in hand, you'll get the lowdown on the following topics and more:

  • The kitchen remodeling process (knowing this makes you a smarter consumer)
  • Critical design issues
  • Working with the pros: architect, designer, contractor
  • Establishing a budget and sticking with it
  • Evaluating your plumbing, electrical, and ventilation systems
  • Selecting and installing cabinets and countertops
  • Choosing sinks, faucets, and appliances
  • Working on walls, windows, and floors
  • Hot trends and easy upgrades

This handy guide shows you how to take your kitchen (no matter what shape it’s in now) and remodel it so that it not only fits your wants and needs but also becomes a room you can be proud to use and show off.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764525537
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 584,403
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald R. Prestly is a former Senior Editor of HANDY, a national home improvement magazine. He supports and attends nationwide home improvement and construction industry events, including The National Hardware Show.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Zoning In on the Scope of the Project.

Chapter 1: Envisioning the Big Picture.

Chapter 2: Planning Your Kitchen.

Chapter 3: Establishing a Budget and Sticking to It!

Chapter 4: Bringin’ In the Big Guns or Doin’ It Solo.

Part II: Gettin’ Down and Dirty: Preparing Your Kitchen for Greatness.

Chapter 5: You Can’t Have Tool Much of a Good Thing.

Chapter 6: Getting Your Kitchen Ready for Construction.

Chapter 7: Evaluating Your Plumbing, Electrical, and Ventilation Systems.

Part III: Selecting and Installing Cabinets and Countertops.

Chapter 8: Your Old Cabinets: Spruce ’em Up or Scrap ’em?

Chapter 9: Making Old Mother Hubbard Prouvéd: Putting New Cabinets Up.

Chapter 10: Considering Creative Countertop Options.

Chapter 11: Making Sure Your Countertops Are Level.

Part IV: Selecting and Installing Sinks, Faucets, Appliances, and More.

Chapter 12: “Pouring” Over the Choices for Sinks and Faucets.

Chapter 13: No Runs, Drips, or Leaks: The Right Way to Install Your New Sink and Faucet.

Chapter 14: Appliance Appreciation: Choosing the Right Ones.

Chapter 15: Fridges, Ranges, Disposers, and More: Installing Appliances.

Part V: Adding the Final Touches: Walls, Windows, Floors, and More.

Chapter 16: Illuminating Your Kitchen Lighting Options.

Chapter 17: Lighting the Way: Installing Lights and Windows.

Chapter 18: Walls That Wow: Selecting Elements for Your Walls.

Chapter 19: Preparation for Wall Transformation.

Chapter 20: Floors: Stepping Out with Style.

Chapter 21: Installing Your New Kitchen Floor.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 22: Ten Critical Design Issues.

Chapter 23: Ten Hot Trends in Kitchen Design.

Chapter 24: Ten Easy Kitchen Upgrades.


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First Chapter

Kitchen Remodeling For Dummies

By Donald R. Prestly

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-2553-0

Chapter One

Envisioning the Big Picture

In This Chapter

* Planning the job

* Figuring out how much you can handle

* Evaluating your kitchen needs and wants

Let me start by asking you a question: What's the busiest room in your house? You guessed it: the kitchen! This room is fast becoming the number one place for family, friends, and neighbors to gather to talk, grab a cool beverage in a casual setting, and even entertain larger dinner parties without dragging out the fine china and crowding into the formal dining room. Maybe all this activity explains why the kitchen is the room that seems to be in constant need of upgrading.

Take heart: According to real estate, building, and remodeling surveys, the one project that is likely to give you a 100 percent return on the dollars invested is a kitchen remodel. And whether the project is as involved as gutting things back to the wall studs or as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint, each freshening up or upgrade is an investment in your home's value. And ultimately in your enjoyment of using the space.

In this chapter, I introduce you to all aspects of a kitchen remodel. I guide you in establishing your budget and through the various levels and types of work that are included in most kitchen remodels.

Establishing a Plan: Builders Do It, So Should You!

If you've ever visitedan area where new homes are being built, you probably saw houses in various states of construction. Some have only the foundation walls or slab in place, others have the bare wood wall studs and maybe the roof trusses in place, whereas others appear to be fairly far along on the outside. The same is true for the interiors, too. Some have ductwork in place, others have the electrical wiring and plumbing roughed in, and the ones in a more completed state have drywall installed over the wall studs and maybe even some flooring and paint. Remember that none of this progress happens by chance. A plan is in place to keep all of the tradespeople busy at the right time, and to keep them from working and tripping over each other.

Assessing your kitchen's potential

You're probably considering remodeling your kitchen for a few reasons. Remember to note and write down what those reasons are, so that you can correct the things that you don't like. You also need to evaluate your current kitchen, and to evaluate it honestly.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  •   How do you use your kitchen? Start by evaluating your lifestyle and what part the kitchen plays in it. For example, do you only cook small meals, or do you cook large meals for a large family or lots of friends on a regular basis? Does your family have more than one cook? If so, how many? Who is the primary cook, and how tall is he, does he have any special physical needs, does he like certain types of cooking such as baking or grilling? If you entertain often, do you want family and guests to be able to socialize and eat in the kitchen? What other activities (such as homework or bill paying) do you or your family members do in the kitchen? Do you need space for a desk or a computer?
  •   How does your existing kitchen meet your needs and how does it fall short?

Size: Is the size of the kitchen acceptable, or do you need more floor space, more counter space, more storage space, or more anything?

Layout: What about the current layout works and doesn't work? (See Chapter 2 for more information about kitchen layouts.) For example, if several family members enjoy cooking, do you need additional work areas? Do you need a new layout for better traffic flow? Do you want the sink in a better location?

Major appliances: Take note of the items you have in your existing kitchen that you really want (and need) in your new kitchen. I know, for example, that I would definitely include a dishwasher and an over-the-stove microwave oven in a new kitchen. Why? I'm so accustomed to using these two appliances on a regular basis that if they weren't in my new kitchen, I'd think the kitchen was incomplete in the design and function. And don't stop with the appliances: If you're used to having dimmer switches on the light fixtures, then you're probably going to want them in the new kitchen.

Storage needs: If you buy food in large quantities, like from one of the club type warehouse stores, make sure your new kitchen has adequate storage capacity.

  •   What extras do you want to add to your new kitchen? Now you can have some fun and make an ultimate wish list for your new kitchen. Also take some time to find out what's new in kitchen trends such as design, material, and equipment (see Chapter 23). Some of your wants may include things as simple as better-quality hardware or rotating shelves in the cabinets. Other nice perks include commercial-grade appliances, glass-front cabinets, an in-house recycling center, pot racks, a second microwave oven, a pull-out faucet/sprayer, an extra deep sink, and even some of the new technology or "smart" appliances.

Lots of ideas to consider, I know. Of course, the level of remodel you undertake depends on the time and money you can devote to the project. Now that you've assessed your current kitchen and how you want to upgrade it in the near future, you're better prepared to decide whether your kitchen simply needs a fresh coat of paint, a complete makeover, or something in between to improve appearance and functionality. The following section helps you evaluate just how much of a remodeling project you're prepared to undertake.

Deciding how much you can afford to change

Kitchen remodels come in four different levels and each level comes with different and wide-ranging price tags. You can spend a few hundred dollars or thousands to simply freshen things up, or you can spend tens of thousands to move walls and put in new cabinets and appliances. Take a look at each price group to see what's included. Note, too, that each increased level of upgrade includes what's involved in the previous categories.

  •   Makeover: Most folks spring for a makeover every few years, just to keep things looking nice and stay current with colors and design trends. Some might simply refer to this task as a freshening up; it usually doesn't cost a lot, often only a couple hundred dollars (or less). But the refreshed look is often just what a kitchen needs to perk it back up! A makeover that includes upgrades such as painting or wallpapering walls, refurbishing cabinets, and replacing old cabinet and drawer hardware (knobs and hinges) can be accomplished for less than $1,000.
  •   Upgrade: If you plan to paint and refurbish cabinets, install a new floor and countertops, replace light fixtures, and buy new appliances, be prepared to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 in upgrading expenses.
  •   Minor remodel: A minor remodel will set you back roughly $5,000 to $15,000, and this price often includes the upgrade items plus replacing a sink and faucet, repositioning drain and supply lines, adding or replacing cabinets, and making at least one structural change such as closing or opening up a wall or doorway. A portion of the cost of a minor remodel is for hiring professionals to help with major parts of the remodel that you feel more comfortable leaving in a pro's hands. Some of you are probably wondering how spending $10,000, $12,000, or even $15,000 on your kitchen could be considered a minor remodel. You'll see how when you start to price appliances, cabinets, and countertops. Start adding these items together and you'll reach a five-figure price tag pretty quickly.
  •   Major remodel: You'll spend a lot of money ($15,000 and up) for a major kitchen remodel, but you won't recognize the place when you're finished. The layout is often changed, the size of the room is larger, you get new electrical circuits throughout the kitchen, and maybe even more windows or even a skylight (in addition to new cabinets, flooring, and so on). Talk about major changes!

All these numbers can seem a bit mind boggling right now. But don't worry. I go into more detail in several later chapters, covering everything from establishing a budget to looking at the prices ranges for all levels of kitchen remodeling to what you can expect to get for your dollars.

Getting your city's blessing

Your city building department has to like what you're doing or else you're in for a boatload of headaches. I've had people tell me that inspections are only good for two things: slowing down the pace of a project, and keeping city employees busy. Well, these comments couldn't be further from the truth. Inspections ensure that projects are constructed properly and that products are installed correctly to make your home as safe as possible. Believe me, I'm happy to have the inspectors check out my work. Their job is to understand and be current on the building and mechanical codes. All I can say is that I want an inspector to catch a problem that might damage my house or injure my family.

Take your plan to City Hall and have it reviewed and approved by your city inspectors before you begin. Getting approval will take several days to three weeks, depending on how much building is going on in your area. After your plan is approved, you need to purchase the necessary permits for the various parts of the project. Most cities base their permit fees on a percentage of the total estimated cost of the project. Don't try to fool the inspectors or permit officials, either. They know, for example, that a complete kitchen remodel is not going to cost only $3,000. And maybe most importantly, treat the inspectors with respect. It will make your life a whole lot easier. Remember: Inspectors are your friends, looking out for your best interest.

After your plans are approved, you still have a lot of red tape to go through, and the number of inspections required for a kitchen remodeling project may seem a bit over the top, but remember they're for your safety. After you apply for your permit, you'll receive an actual written (typed) permit, sometimes called a permit card. This card lists what inspections are needed as well as when they should be done. Most permits are good for one year. If your project falls behind, call the inspector and tell her as soon as you know that the project won't be completed before the permit expires. Most cities will give you an extension.

Call the inspectors well in advance (usually a week to ten days is sufficient) to set up inspection times and be prepared for multiple inspections at various stages of the project. The construction portion, for example, may require a rough-in inspection (the wood wall framing and other structural changes, left visible without other materials installed - the rough stage of construction), an insulation inspection, and a finished inspection. The plumbing phase usually requires a rough in and a finished inspection, as do most electrical installations. (I list each permit you may need on the handy Cheat Sheet at the front of this book.)

You probably won't get an approved finished inspection if a rough-in inspection is required and wasn't completed, so make sure you get all of the inspections completed. I have an acquaintance that forgot to call and schedule a rough-in electrical inspection and boy was he sorry! The inspector who came out to do the final inspection noticed that the rough-in inspection hadn't been completed. My friend had to open up sections of the finished walls so that the inspector could see how the installation was done before he approved the installation. A lot of extra work, frustration, and anger? You bet! Will my friend ever forget a to call for a rough-in inspection again? I doubt it.

The best way to know what you need to do is to check with the appropriate inspector before the project is started. Get their input about your design, and ask them what's new and current in your area. They can also give you an abridged, yet accurate, version of what must be done in a kitchen remodel to meet codes.

Putting yourself into a remodeling state of mind

Now that you've had your plan approved, you need to start thinking "remodeling." And believe me, you do need to put yourself in a remodeling mindset. For most folks it will be easy because you're excited about the project and can't wait to begin using your new kitchen. But for a small few, it's still easy to let other things come first. When this happens, and the kitchen remains torn up for longer than expected periods, don't get upset. Just get your priorities back in line and get at the remodeling!

Okay, my lecture on attitude is over. Here are some tips on what to do to make getting started more orderly:

  •   Get firm delivery dates on all custom and special-order items. You can't plan your construction schedule if you don't know when to expect special materials.
  •   Start packing up the kitchen. Packing always takes longer than you think, plus you want to take your time so that you know what's in each box. Remember, even if your kitchen isn't working, you still need to eat.
  •   Begin acclimating to living out of boxes. Sounds simple, huh? Be prepared to be frustrated when the utensils you used to grab without thinking are nowhere to be found.
  •   Practice patience! Tolerate change and unexpected surprises. If you're having a bad day, just remember to envision the beautiful kitchen you'll have after you work through this mess!

Let the games begin! Tearing out and putting in

Get out your safety glasses and gloves 'cause it's time to get down and dirty. The demolition process is one area that many homeowners can handle, and you save some money if you tackle this process yourself. If you plan to do some or much of the installation yourself, you'll also see significant savings. Here's a list of what to expect, both on the removal and installation-side of things:

1. Go ahead and make some dust! Tear out all of the old stuff and get rid of whatever is not going to be reused (Chapter 6 provides advice on the demolition process).

2. After the demolition is complete, start doing the rough-in work, which includes any framing, plumbing, or electrical changes (see Chapter 7).


Excerpted from Kitchen Remodeling For Dummies by Donald R. Prestly Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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