Like most of us, I had to abandon my travel plans due to Covid. But every cloud has a silver lining, and the same goes for this disaster. I finally renovated my kitchen last summer, and I had been dreaming about it for years!
I put my journalist hat on, and started pestering family and friends about their kitchen remodelling experiences.
Many of them weren’t too thrilled to relive those experiences, as they were a bit stressful, but they did it anyway in order to help me avoid the mistakes they made.
And I did avoid them for the most part, thanks to them, so I see it as my duty to pass on my findings to you lovely people. Here are 9 lessons my experience yielded.
No matter how you plan your budget, everything will likely cost more than you expect. That’s just how kitchen renovation projects work. As a rule of thumb, set aside about 20% of your budget for unexpected expenses.
Even though it might seem impossible, try to carefully weigh out the cost of everything. When planning a budget for a kitchen remodel, it’s important to consider the value of your property.
If your property is worth £150,000, there’s no point in investing £15,000 in a brand new kitchen. You won’t get your money back if you decide to sell your house.
On the other hand, if your house is worth over £400,000, and you remodel your kitchen on a low budget, you could end up devaluing your property.
You can begin designing your dream kitchen only after you figure out how much you’re able to invest and what your ROI will be. For budgeting hints, study your favourite kitchen and remodelling sites and magazines. You also may want to enlist the help of a neighbourhood realtor for advice.
One of the other considerations I had to take into account was that I would be renting the house out again at some point in the future, once I can travel again on a regular basis. So, I did some research to find out if I could get tax relief on this, that didn’t work out as I am living in the property right now, ah well…
Professional Design Help
Figure out all of your design choices upfront. If you make a design choice on the fly, you might make a costly one, a bad one, or both. This especially goes if you are frayed and frustrated (which you will be).
I am lucky to have a few friends working over at JD Kitchens. Even though I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and how I am going to do it, I still learned many useful tips from them.
If you plan on hiring a kitchen designer and/or a contractor, ask them about how they charge. Will they charge you a markup on everything you buy as well as bill you for the design? Can you order items yourself to save money?
I ordered mid-priced, bespoke countertops and cabinets, and bought everything else on my own at other stores. Oh, this reminds me:
Assess the existing conditions in the kitchen before you even order cabinets. Are the corners square? Do the walls lean? Do the floors slope? Think hard about where you’ll install the cabinets if the answer is yes to any of these questions.
Countertops should be level. And you’d want to have a lot of shims on hand.
Unless you are a registered electrical contractor, you can’t do your own electrical work in Ireland. In the UK, you can DIY some electrical work (be sure to check with your local authorities first), but it must be up to code.
If you are planning on ‘DIYing’ the electrical work in your kitchen, you should be familiar with the most common code violations:
- Not installing enough outlets along the counter
- Failing to protect countertop circuits with a GFCI
- Overcrowding wires
- Screws and nails going through electrical components
If you are not living by yourself, you will definitely want to set up a temporary kitchen. Simply move the toaster oven, the microwave, and the refrigerator to another room.
Since I renovated my kitchen in the summer, I made the most of my outdoor grill. On that note, avoid remodelling your kitchen in the winter.
Oh, and washing dishes in the bathroom sink gets old really fast. Thankfully, it is easy to find compostable plates and utensils these days, so make sure to load up on those before starting your renovation. But, I am looking forward to buying a big list of new kitchen appliances.
Don’t assume that you can simply remove any wall in order to open up your kitchen to other rooms. Before you drag out the reciprocating saw and the sledgehammer, you need to know which walls are load-bearing and which aren’t.
Conversely, not all structural walls are ‘untouchable.’ Many owners assume that the fridge, the stove, and the sink have to stay where they are. Moving the venting and the plumbing can be expensive, yes, but it is often the best thing to do.
Undoubtedly, your kitchen renovation project will take time and cause upheaval in your daily routine. Because of this, planning ahead of time is really helpful. Make a schedule and stick to it.
Don’t demolish your old kitchen too soon. Before you begin, make sure you have all the major components (such as plumbing fixtures, cabinets, and appliances) on hand. Schedule the tile setter, electrician, plumber, and every other subcontractor well in advance.
This inconvenience is a lot easier to endure when you’re able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
When envisioning your dream home, you may see a kitchen island there somewhere. But not all kitchens are big enough for an island. Ideally, there should be a clearance of 48 inches all the way around. A clearance of 42 is also good, and 36 inches is the minimum.
Carefully consider what will go into your kitchen island if you decide to install one. Usually, a kitchen island requires one electrical outlet on each side to meet code.
You must take ventilation into account if you plan to relocate the cooktop. Generally, experts recommend having a range hood ducted to the outside, even though most building codes don’t require this. So, don’t skimp on ventilation.
Duct runs should be as short and straight as possible in order to ensure maximum effectiveness. You should also consider where the vent will terminate on the outside of the building.