Kitchen remodel with cabinets

Kitchen Workbook 101: Planning the Scope of Your Kitchen Remodel

kitchen remodel with backsplash
Before you begin a kitchen remodel, there are a few milestones you have to meet. The planning phase of a renovation has to be on point if you want your remodel to go smoothly. This is where a lot of homeowners fail at and end up with a completed project that’s less-than-satisfactory. Leaving important components of the planning to professionals is never a good idea. It’s better when the homeowner sits in the pilot seat.

But for some property owners, driving the planning process is too much. However, this is the only way to ensure you get exactly what you envision for your kitchen. There are other reasons why the planning phase of the project is important – it helps create the scope of the work involved, which will help you get more accurate quotes from professionals.

A workbook or idea book can come in handy when it comes time to plan out every detail of your project. The first thing you need to do is identify exactly what it is you want to do for your kitchen. Are you looking to expand it into a bigger space or maybe you want to do a complete overhaul. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you consider additional work that may be needed, such as electrical wiring installations, plumbing work, floor installations and kitchen countertops. All of this can cause your remodeling budget to increase.

Don’t worry if this seems a little out of your league. You can work in tandem with a designer, contractor or architect, who can help you determine the scope of your project and calculate a realistic budget. It’s best to request the assistance of multiple professionals, so you can choose an estimate you’re comfortable paying.

Things to Consider When Kitchen Remodeling

There are so many different things you can do with your kitchen remodel. The first thing you should consider, though, is whether you’re going to work within the existing constraints of your floor plan, or if you are planning to expand it. Knocking down walls and building them backup can be more time-consuming and expensive, but worth it if you need the additional space.

Keep in mind that some walls are load-bearing, which will require structural work to be done before knocking it down. This too will drive up the costs of your kitchen remodel.

Are you going to keep the sink and range in the same place? If so, then you have to factor in the costs for moving your plumbing and gas lines.

New constructions and remodels are a bit different when it comes to calculating projects. In a new construction build, you can use the cost per square foot model to determine the expenses. Every home is unique, so the quotation for remodeling work will vary from home to home. So just because your kitchen is 200 square feet doesn’t mean it will cost the same to remodel as the neighbor’s 200 square foot kitchen.

It’s best to get an estimate upfront, so you can determine if the scope of your project is within your budget.

Figuring Out Your Budget

Think of everything you plan to do in your kitchen renovation. Will there be related projects to tie in, such as new window installations or painting the exterior of your home? Don’t make the mistake of not including these hidden costs because these will creep in and throw your budget all out of whack.

Develop a Wish List

Don’t be shy with it either – put down everything you really want in your kitchen, including appliances, lights, floors, countertops, fixtures and whatever else you have your heart set on. Go into detail with exactly what you want, so that you can explain it better to the professionals you consider working with. For instance, if you’re looking to have a professional-grade appliance installed, a built-in fridge and a 36-inch professional-grade stove, then a budget of only $30,000 isn’t going to cut it. Professionals know this and will be able to make you aware of it during your initial consultation.

Create an Idea Book

Idea books are the scrap books of the remodeling community. Except in this case, you are piecing together a puzzle that could one day be your kitchen. Visual aspects of remodeling are best shown than said, so an idea book will become very useful when explaining your ideas to professionals.

Ask for Referrals to Designers, Contractors and Architects

You can go online to look for online reviews to local reputable remodeling professionals or ask friends and family who have had work done to their properties. Once you’ve found some, check their portfolios for similar projects they’ve done. You’re looking to see their level of experience, as well as their level of quality. You should interview the professionals you’re considering over the phone and then meet with them in person.

Always Check References

Receiving a list of references after requesting them from a contractor is satisfying, but won’t tell you what you need to know. You need to contact the individuals on the list and ask questions about their experience with the professional. It’s best to ask for references from the past 12 months, so you can get feedback about their recent projects and professionalism (or lack thereof). You should also inquire about the contractors’ fees.

Invite the Professionals to Your Home

This is a great way to get a more accurate estimate for your project. This will allow the professional to see the scope of your remodeling request. Of course, there are some firms that won’t do this and will instead invite you to showrooms or somewhere else on their turf. There are some who require a full drawing set (design schematics) before they’ll bid on your project. You’ll find some who are willing to walk through your property and provide rough estimates.

As you’re figuring out the scope of your project, don’t forget to incorporate these tips. The sooner you get a professional on your team, the easier kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities will be to get through the planning phase.

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