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I have done many full kitchen remodels in my life. During my first kitchen remodel many years ago, I assumed the process would be quick and easy and that we could execute it seamlessly on our minuscule budget. Oh how wrong I was. While the end result WAS what I wanted and DID fit within our budget, it was not without it’s setbacks. It took twice as long as I had originally expected, and we had to change many design decisions to make it work. The education I got was valuable, but not 100% necessary. Educating yourself before you start a kitchen remodel can save you stress, money and time. Needless to say, my second remodel went MUCH more smoothly. That is why I’ve set out to create the COMPLETE GUIDE TO A KITCHEN REMODEL. I hope to use my personal and professional experience to make your kitchen remodel go as smoothly as possible.
I will also provide additional links in each section that will take you to an even more in depth article should you be interested in more information on the topic.
Your budget will depend largely on what your home is worth, and what other homes in the area are worth. You do not want to do a $50,000 kitchen remodel in a home worth $150,000. It will only cause you to loose money in the end. Do your research. Sites like Zillow can be used to see the value of your home or homes in the area, as well as give you an estimate of what your home might be worth with specific improvements.
If you are doing a kitchen remodel, it’s for one of two reasons. 1. You plan on staying in your home long term and want to bring your personal style into the space. OR 2. You plan on selling in the next few years and you want to increase the value of your home (and maybe also make it beautiful while you’re there).
Obvioulsy, you need to know the value of your home for this to work!
The great news here is that you’re already on the right track just by reading this article. You need to be educated about the process to have a successful experience. You need to know how much you can spend, if you want to do the installation yourself or hire someone to install, and what your style is, if you want to change your kitchen layout while remodeling, and if you want to work with a designer. We will cover these issues in the article below.
This is always at the top of the list when it comes to most important questions before remodeling.
Before starting a job, any contractor or remodeling company will need to have the payment arrangements taken care of, so don’t be caught off guard. Know the options and their pros and cons before hand. If you have any other financing questions, do not hesitate to ask us.
Now that you know how much your home is worth and how much you can safely spend on your kitchen remodel, let’s go over how to break it down:
**You’ll notice that we did not budget anything for a kitchen designer. While we feel it is very important to work with a designer, all of our kitchen design services are FREE at Builders Surplus, so no budgeting is necessary. If you plan on going somewhere for your products that does not offer this service, or you have a specific designer in mind, please budget according to the designers specific fees. See more on working with a designer below.
At Builders Surplus, we offer FREE design services, so we highly recommend you use them. There are many reasons for this.
Below we’ve listed the steps to measuring your cabinets, countertops or flooring so that you can give them to your designer to work with initially. Remember, your Builders Surplus installation team will take measurements themselves later on, which they will guarantee. If you have an outside installer doing the cabinet installation, make sure they measure as well and ask if they will guarantee these measurements.
Follow the steps below to accurately measure your space
All measurements should be taken in INCHES
STEP 1. Measure ALL Walls that have/will have cabinets on them, Wall to Wall.
STEP 2. If there are any doors and/or windows in the areas where cabinet are going, measure from outside of molding to outside of molding width and height.
STEP 3. Measure from any wall corner to the beginning of the casing on any door or window.
STEP 4. Return to the corner and measure to the center of any water lines, water drains, gas lines, electrical outlets or electrical switches. You will need to pull appliances away from the wall if in the way.
STEP 5. Note the overall height of each door. Measure from floor to top of door moulding.
STEP 6. Note the measurement from the bottom of the windowsill to the floor below each window.
STEP 7. Note the measurement from the bottom of the windowsill to the top of the molding of each window.
STEP 8. Note the measurement from the top of each window to the ceiling.
STEP 9. Measure the overall floor to ceiling height, accounting for soffits and beams.
STEP 10. Repeat Steps 1 through 10, or all that apply, for each wall of the room.
STEP 11. Measure all existing appliances that will be reused in your new kitchen. If new appliances will be used, it is best to get the manufacturer’s specifications prior to designing your new kitchen.
STEP 13. As an added measure of caution, it is recommended that you measure the inside width of all entry doors and door ways to check that existing cabinets and appliances can be removed, but especially that all new cabinets, appliances and counter tops can be brought in without onsite modifications.
Measure your countertops in sections, as shown below. Multiply the length in inches by the width in inches. Repeat for all sections. When you have your sections measured, add them together. Divide them by 144 (the number of inches in 1 square foot, 12″ x 12″). This will give you your square footage estimate. Include any sink cutouts in the square footage. Most countertop depths are 25.5″. As you can see below, the full width in example 1 is 125.5″, but because we broke it into 2 sections, we are only using 100.5″ in that sections measurement.
Section A: 100.5 in x 25.5 in = 2563 sq in
Section B: 60 in x 25.5 in = 1530 sq in
Total = 4093 sq in
* Now divide by 144 to obtain square footage,
Each sq foot has 144 sq in (12 x 12).
Section A: 72 in x 30 in = 2160 sq in
Section B: 54 in x 30 in = 1620 sq in
Total: 3780 sq in
Go to the back point of your countertops, which is up against you wall or backsplash. Measure from end point to end point, to get linear inches.
When Measuring Flooring for one room
All Measurements should be taken in INCHES
If you are covering multiple rooms repeat these steps in each room and bring all measurement with you when going to purchase your flooring.
Choosing your kitchen cabinets is a big deal. As shown above, it it the single most expensive part of your kitchen remodel, so making sure that you get exactly what you want, within your budget, that fits your needs can bet a tall order. Below we’ll list some of the choices you’ll need to make regarding this. For a complete guide on kitchen cabinets with corresponding images, see “Helpful Links” below.
The material of your kitchen cabinet will probably play the biggest role in driving the cost of your kitchen remodel. Below i’ve listed the primary materials that you will need to choose from, a brief description and any pros of cons.
To see a full description of the pros and cons of each door style, corresponding images, and why they cost more, see “Helpful links” below.
For more information on techniques and images of these cabinets, see “Helpful Links” section.
Here is a brief description of the standard drawer options:
There is some mixing and matching that can be done with these options when purchasing custom or semi-custom cabinets, so the Good, Better, Best system best explains it.
Good: Particle board/Furniture Board Drawer Box, Glue and Stapled Corner Joint, Epoxy Glides
Better: Plywood Drawer Box, Dovetail Corner Joint, Soft Close Glides
Best: Solid Maple Drawer Box, Dovetail Corner Joint, Soft Close Glides
There are several other options that can add cost and more personal style to your kitchen cabinets. You can find that, as well as more in depth explanations and images of the kitchen cabinet options in our KITCHEN CABINETS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE found below.
There are three types of moulding (also spelled molding) that you need for your kitchen remodel as the perfect finishing touch on your cabinets. They Include: Scribe, Crown Moulding and Toe Kick. Lets explore what they are and why you need them.
Scribe is essentially a thin strip of wood that runs along the edges of your cabinet to cover gaps, the edges of tile, blemishes, and other inconsistencies where the cabinet meshes against the wall or the ceiling. It’s usually straight on one end and can be curved fit the contour of the cabinet. It’s used as a finishing touch and quite often makes the job look complete when installed correctly. Having gaps or scuff marks here and there may not seem like a biggie to larger remodels, but if they can be prevented or in this case, solved, the product will look near perfect.
A very popular finishing touch that’s installed at the top edge of cabinets, but unlike scribe, crown moulding has an abundance of decorative options that can cater to any style or design. You could go with something simple, a piece with a few beveled edges, or something a little more gaudy, with elaborate, inlaid designs. Obviously, the the more intricate the design, the more expensive the crown is going to be. This is another element that adds a completed look to your cabinets. If you have something unique on the ceiling, like beadboard or wood, it will cover the edges and give a finished appearance.
Toe kick moulding covers the recessed area at the bottom of a base cabinet. Without toe kick moulding, you would see standard plywood or wood, and it wouldn’t match the finish of your cabinets. Some cabinets come with this already on it, but some do not, so make sure that if yours don’t, you remember to purchase toe kick moulding. Toe kicks are available in wood, metal and plastic, and holes may be cut in them to allow space for vents. Toe kicks may become damaged over time, but they are easy to replace. Custom toe kicks are available for special or unique kitchen designs.
There are many different kitchen countertop materials to choose from. Price is not the only factor to consider when choosing countertops for your kitchen remodel, so we’ve created the chart below to help you understand the differences.
Quartz countertops have been soaring in popularity. Not only for the amazing colors that you can find in quartz, but for the strength, durability, resistance to heat or stains, and it’s amazing antibacterial surface. The price runs from mid to high, depending on the brand you choose, the color, the thickness, and how many cutouts your kitchen will have. It can be equally as expensive as granite, more expensive or less expensive, depending on the style of granite you’re comparing it to. There is literally no downside to quartz if you can afford it. Quartz countertops will also give you a great return on investment should you decide to sell. Quartz is also considered more eco friendly. Click here to shop our quartz products!
Granite has been the most popular countertop option since the late 80’s. It can range from moderately priced to high priced. It does require sealing as it is a porous material, so maintenance is a bit higher than with quartz. It is pretty heat and scratch resistant and there are some beautiful colors to choose from. We offer in stock, prefabricated granite that fits most kitchen layouts, or custom granite to fit any layout. Buyers love granite, so this is a great choice if you’re going to be selling. Click here to shop our granite selections!
Laminate is the most affordable option. It is not very stain or heat resistant, but it holds up fairly well to scratches. It is decently low maintenance and they have some amazing color choices these days! Its the perfect option if you’re on a strict budget and higher end cabinets are more important to you. We also offer laminate in prefabricated slabs or custom order. Click here to shop our laminate selection!
Butcher block is always a custom order option. It’s a beautiful choice for a warm look. It does require more maintenance than the other materials, but if that is not your main concern, then it’s definitly something to look at. It can be affordable or pricey depending on the type of wood and the grain that you choose.
Cultured marble is typically only used for bathrooms. For more detail on kitchen countertops, see our “helpful links” below.
There are several things to consider when choosing a backsplash. Not everyone DOES choose a backsplash for their kitchen, but we think it adds something very unique and special to your kitchen remodel. It is also functional in preventing splatter from staining your walls.
When you decide to tile, you can do it a few ways. This will depend on your layout, but you can tile from counter to ceiling, which will give you a very dramatic look, or simply stick to under your upper cabinets. You can also do backsplash in the same material as your countertops, which just goes up a few inches. This gives a very seamless look.
We already defined that you have 5% of your total budget for your “accessories”. Prioritize those accessories and decide how important backsplash is to you, then give it a dollar value. After you measure the space that you plan on tiling, divide it by the dollars you can spend, giving you your max dollars per square foot for your backsplash. Your labor does not need to be included since you set aside 20% for general labor. Specialty shapes, handcrafted tiles, or custom colors will typically cost more, so keep this in mind. Materials will effect the cost of the tile as well. Intricate patterns can also cost more to install as it’s much more time consuming. You can always add an accent area of a specialty tile to spice up your space if you can’t afford it for your whole kitchen.
Your personal style will play a large part in this, but there are a few other things you need to consider. First of all, what color are your cabinets? If you have a colored cabinet, a neutral backsplash might be best. Neutral cabinets can pop next to colored backsplash or you can achieve a monochromatic look pairing them with neutrals. Also understand that your backsplash will be right next to your countertop, so make sure the color will coordinate. Sometimes finding a backsplash that pulls out a subtle color in your countertops is a good strategy. Cool colors will often cost more, so keep this in mind when making your decision.
Do you love fun shapes or clean lines? Do you like trendy looks or are you drawn to a more classic style that will last for decades? These are important questions to ask. Replacing a backsplash when you are not doing any other kitchen renovations can be a huge hassle, so choose something you’ll be happy with for a while. Also consider resell if you plan on moving. We recommend considering a more classic shape if you plan on selling unless your area is a bit more funky. You don’t want to turn away buyers for something as simple as a backsplash. As mentioned above, fancy shapes typically cost more, so be prepared to pay a premium if this is what you choose.
Your material choice can also play a large part in achieving your look. You can have one simple subway tile in may different materials: Colored glass, handcrafted porcelain, marble, brick, or simple ceramic. If you had each of those materials in different kitchens with the same cabinets and countertops, you would come out with 4 different looks. Brick works best for farmhouse or industrial designs. Glass or marble can be more modern. Ceramic usually blends in nicely with any style. Materials also play a part in the cost, so be aware of this when choosing a backsplash. Ceramic will typically be cheapest, glass and marble will be more expensive, handcrafted tiles are sometimes the most expensive, and porcelain typically falls on the high end of the spectrum. Our kitchen designers can always help you figure out the best material choice for your design.
Most people don’t take grout color into account. Grout color can make a big difference in your final look. To make a neutral tile really pop, add a contrasting grout color. To create a very seamless look, add a grout color that blends in well with the color of your tile. White grout is going to be the hardest to clean and shows stains much more easily, so this is something to consider. To make a bold statement, add a funky grout color! If you’re tile will have a small grout line, you will choose an unsanded grout. If you have a larger grout line, you will go with sanded. There are guides on the side of grout bags to make sure you know which one is best, so make sure you take a look before buying.
Many people opt to change out their flooring when doing a kitchen remodel. Sometimes it’s a necessity. If you are changing your cabinets or cabinet layout and the previous remodelers didn’t add flooring underneath the cabinets, then you could be stuck with empty patches of flooring and most likely, you won’t be able to find the same flooring used. Even if you do, it may not match after years of wear.
Many find it a great opportunity to complete the look of their kitchen remodel. You can choose a specific flooring that is only in your kitchen to break up your spaces, or choose one option to flow through all your main living spaces. Here are the main flooring options to consider.
LVT is one of my favorite options for flooring, especially in kitchens. It is 100% waterproof, and in an room that has a sink and fridge present, as well as one that you spend a lot of time eating and drinking in, waterproof flooring is key. It can be as affordable or as expensive and elaborate as you choose, there is a wide range of styles to choose from. It’s very scratch and dent resistant, so it’s perfect for pet owners. The technology is so great these days that it looks just like wood or tile!
Always a beautiful choice, but as far as maintenance goes, it’s not ideal for a kitchen. It is also very susceptible to water damage, so I would steer clear of this unless you are putting it in your entire living area. In this case I would use rugs, runners, and tell your family to be VERY careful with liquids!
Laminate flooring is a decent option for kitchens. It is water resistant, but not 100% waterproof, so you still need to be careful. Affordable and beautiful, scratch resistant and is pretty pet friendly.
Tile is a great choice for kitchens. It is waterproof and insanely durable. The only real difference is the cost of the tile. Ceramic is least expensive, with porcelain slightly more expensive, and stone and marble tile typically most expensive. You can find amazing patterns and colors to really make your kitchen stand out! Octagon shapes and brick tile are growing in popularity, so you can really make it your own.
You may not think that choosing a kitchen faucet is a very important aspect of your kitchen remodel, but you would be wrong. You use this feature EVERY SINGLE DAY. It can make your kitchen experience easier or more difficult. It can also make it more beautiful!
First, choose your mounting style.
Next, choose your handle preference.
Then, choose your arc height.
If you often fill or clean large pots, you should go with an 8-10″ arc. If you have low hanging cabinets or a window that could restrict your arc height, you may have to go with something shorter, between 3-8″.
Do you want sprayers?
If you are the kind of person that doesn’t like dirty dishes, or crumbs in the sink, a faucet with a sprayer attached is definitly for you! Sprayers make these sometimes frustrating chores easier. There are 3 main kinds of sprayers.
What will your sink handle?
The way your sink it set up will have alot to do with the faucet you choose. Make sure you know how many holes are in your sink or counter before picking your faucet.
Don’t forget the Escutcheon – Also known as a deck plate, this is a simple ornamental plate that is added at the base of the fauce. It allows you to install a single-handle faucet on a two or three-hole sink. Remember that even if your sink has two holes and you want a single handle faucet, just as a sprayer or soap dispenser! You aren’t too limited.
There are three standard styles when it comes to faucets. Traditional, Modern, or Transitional, which is a mixture of the two.
Choosing your finish is the final choice involved in picking the faucet for your kitchen remodel. Some people like to match all the finishes in their kitchen, so if that sounds like you, make sure you know the cabinet hardware and sink (if it’s a metal sink) before choosing your faucet. Then, picking your finish will be easy. If you don’t feel like you have to match your finishes (and trust me you don’t), then your options are endless. I would just recommend you hold the finish you’re interested in next to the other finishes and colors in your kitchen.
In choosing your kitchen sink for your kitchen remodel, there are three main things you need to decide on; Mounting, Number of Bowls, and Material. Let’s get educated on the pros and cons of each one.
Here comes the section that can be the most confusing for many people; dealing with installation.
The first thing you need to decide is:
The answer to this question will greatly determine what you’re about to read. While going into details about how to do the installation yourself is not in the scope of this article, I have provided several DIY articles at the end to assist you in your install or deciding if you should take it on yourself.
If you choose to go the DIY route, there are several things you need to consider. Check them out in more detail by clicking here.
Click here to read “Things to consider when doing a DIY kitchen remodel”
At Builders Surplus, We offer installation services on all of our products. They have all been vetted and background checked, so rest assured. If you do not use a Builders Surplus contractor, do your homework and make sure anyone you hire has good references, insurance and the proper crew to complete the job. Here is a list of things we make sure to tell our clients before starting their kitchen remodel installation.
Measurements will need to be done by us for us to guarantee the fit after your design has been done and before your products are ordered. If you are using your own installers, they will need to guarantee the fit for you. Measurements are VERY important in making sure your design comes out perfectly. If you don’t have someone guaranteeing the fit and they turn out to be incorrect, you will foot the bill for ordering new products. Don’t let that happen.
The most important thing I can tell you about the installation portion of a kitchen remodel is that this is a PROCESS, not an EVENT. Keeping that in mind will put your expectations in the right place and allow for a more enjoyable remodeling experience. Guaranteed completion dates are unrealistic, because not ever aspect of this process is in your contractors control.
It is not necessary that you be home during the entire installation process, but you will be required to be there to let the team in and at the end of the process for the final walk through so that you can verify the job is completed to your standards and sign the final paperwork. Please note that because unforeseen issues can arise, it could change the install date, so keep this in mind when deciding to use vacation days or take off work for the entire process.
If you’re replacing your flooring, this will be the first step. You want to lay flooring under the cabinets to make sure that if you replace your cabinets or change your layout, you’re don’t end up with patches of missing flooring. Depending on the type of flooring you choose and the size of your space, this could take anywhere from 1-3 days typically.
Cabinet Installations are typically completed within 2 days, but that depends on your kitchen size. Please note that we do not connect or disconnect plumbing for appliances. Our installers are not certified plumbers, so take care of this beforehand.
After cabinets, your countertops can be templated. Your designer will coordinate this with the installer so that templating can be set up. It could take up to 2 weeks to get your template done depending on which countertops you’re getting.
Time frames can vary depending on the countertop you’ve chosen for your kitchen remodel. In Stock granite can be installed within 1 week. In Stock laminate is installed by kitchen installer during cabinet installation. Custom countertops are installed anywhere from 10 days to 4 weeks. This depends on the season and the schedule of the installers. Be prepared to live without countertops for a month. See our blog on setting up a temporary kitchen. Preparing in advance can make this time much easier and eliminate stress for your family.
This typically takes another 2 days. After Backsplash is installed, you should be complete, unless your installers would be installing your cabinet hardware.
Your final step will be installing the finishing materials like cabinet hardware, scribe, toe kick and crown moulding. This should typically only take another day to complete. After this is done, you should have a complete kitchen remodel!!!!
That’s about it folks! I hope we’ve covered everything you need to know about a kitchen remodel and that it makes your kitchen remodel process go smoother knowing what to consider and expect!
By: Allie Bloyd