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The Top Five Costly Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes

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A reputable, experienced licensed General Contractor will do their best to keep jobs on schedule and within the remodeling budget.  (That is a good question to ask their client references, Did your project stay on schedule and within budget?) Sometimes it is the homeowner that will cause the project such as kitchen remodeling to cost much more than it needed to be. One can anticipate change orders during the process for things forgotten or desired alterations to the original scope of work. Changes are normal and to be expected to add about 10% to the remodeling budge for a kitchen remodeling project has a lot of details to include, but what are costly mistakes to be avoided?

Consumer Reports conducted a national survey of General Contractors, and 300 responded with the top mistakes to avoid when doing a kitchen remodeling project. These are the top reasons they gave.

Changing your mind AFTER the kitchen remodeling project has started.  Working with an experienced kitchen remodeling designer will help you think of all the elements from functional to aesthetic to meet your needs and expectations. It is important to be thorough in your communications of what you want, and make all your material and appliance selections prior to the start of the project. Nearly 60% of contractors said the #1 way to drive up costs is to change the project after it begins. Reordering of materials can cause lengthy delays as well.

Hiring a Contractor that is not licensed, bonded, and insured. A homeowner has little recourse if an insolvent or unethical contractor takes your money and disappears, which usually happens after demolition. A reputable Contractor may cost a little more, but the peace of mind is worth it.  It is much less expensive to hire right, than it is to hire a second contractor who will have to start the project over. A well run remodeling company will have negotiated discounts on quality materials that will provide you access to a much better value. A beautifully designed and quality built remodeled kitchen has a great impact on attracting buyers and top price when it is time to sell. Ask for references of recent clients, and previous ones so you can ask how the project has help up over time.

Having an open-ended contract and sketch.  A contract that lack details on the materials to be used, that omit giving an expected start and finish date do not take advantage of the protection of a contract. Ask for those details to be included if they are missing. You cannot see a kitchen before it is done, but 3-D virtual drawings can help you get a sense of the room in the space. Keep in mind how the space will work if there are multiple cooks. How will the space work at holidays as well as the day to day?

Not attending to the functional needs in the kitchen remodeling design.  The most common complaints about kitchens are inadequate storage, poor lighting, and poor ventilation. A current trend is to eliminate upper cabinets to see more wall space, but make sure the storage is put back in, perhaps with a kitchen island and a walk in pantry. Roll out shelves in the lower cabinets make the storage more functional. Under cabinet lighting helps eliminate shadows when working at the countertop. Make sure the kitchen remodeling designer specifies an adequate fan for your cooking needs. One contractor put in too strong of a system improperly, and it actually sucked ashes out of the chimney into the house!

Inflexibility in Selections.  Determine your personal priorities in your budget based on your lifestyle. What is most important in your appliance needs?  A combination speed oven? A professional stove? A large refrigerator with cabinet panels? Granite Countertop?  What about cabinet, flooring, and backsplash selections? It is easy to overpay on materials in the excitement of selecting.  Choose to upgrade the appliances that will be utilized. Determine a focal point for your kitchen. You may want the kitchen island to have granite for a focal point rather than a backsplash at the stove, and the rest of the countertops have a low maintenance quartz.  An experienced kitchen remodeling designer can help with recommendations of how to get the wow factor without breaking the bank. It is the material selections that make a difference in how much a kitchen will cost.

Happy Kitchen Remodeling Chandler!

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