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Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 08:49 AM   #1
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Remodelling kitchens

Nords commented on this in another thread. I though I'd asked people in general what kind of remodelling they had done, did they do it themselves or contract out, what kinds of things turned out to be horrible experiences and what went well.

Actually, any advice at all. I probably don't even know the right questions. It's a fairly small kitchen with the stove, dishwasher, sink and cabinents mostly along one wall. Oh heck - this is what digital cameras are for.





The formica is chipped. The cabinets are old and don't work well. The floor tile is chipped (I want something softer anyway).

What'll I do?

arrete
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 09:22 AM   #2
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

The first step is to draw up your space. Measure your walls; locate plumbing, windows and doors on the drawing. You want a blank floor plan and a plan for each of your walls so that you know what wall space you have.

Anticipate that you will not only remove the cabinets and flooring but may remove the drywall to access plumbing and electrical runs.

Invite 4 or 5 kitchen remodelers in and ask for proposals. The cost of new appliances varies a lot. Listen to the remodeler's suggestions but ask them to itemize that separately. What you really want is a plan, flooring and cabinets. The devil is in the quality of the flooring and cabinet materials and their instillation. You can do that yourself but an experienced kitchen remodeler has an ongoing relationship with the cabinet and flooring folks so they have leverage with them.

This space is what I call a 'one person kitchen'. It is narrow; if you put anything on the back wall it will be narrower. Any chance your budget could include structural changes?

IMHO I wouldn't use Home Depot or Lowes to do remodeling but there is no harm in asking for their suggestions.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 09:22 AM   #3
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

It really does depend on what you really want, your budget and how much you want to do yourself. *We remodelled our kitchen as part of a whole house remodel when we bought a not well looked after home.

The kitchen cabinets were in reasonable mechanical condition but the finish was both dated and worn. *We took down the doors, stripped the finish on the cabinets and the doors and then refinished them - stain and polyurethane. *The doors went back up with new hardware - knobs and hinges. *We replaced the old linoleum with wood - the same wood floor that runs through the living room to tie the two rooms together better *- it makes the home look bigger. *We updated the light fixtures (old 70's 5'x5' box containing flourescent tubes) with more modern ones. *The tile counter was kept but I did replace a couple of chipped tiles. *The sink remains but the faucet was changed - we got one on sale. *The old range hood was replaced with a microwave/hood combo and the dishwasher died and we got a Kenmore replacement. *Overall the kitchen looks modern, bigger, and a lot more saleable. *Total cost was no more than $3000 including everything. *The only thing we might have to do is replace the stove - but then again maybe not.

How much are you willing or able to do yourselves? *What do you want? *I did consider granite tiles for the counters but I didn't want another job. *The granite tile look is very good - I've seen some pictures of the jobs. *The grout doesn't have to be a problem - you use 12"x12" tiles so have very few joints and you can use an epoxy grout that never stains. *Slab granite for kitchens is only for the extreme hard core do-it-yourselfer. *I did small slabs myself in both bathrooms and it wasn't hard but bigger slabs would exponentially increase the difficulty.

I have some friends who also did theirs but they both had more done and had some of it done for them (e.g. counter tops professionaly done but cabinets done themselves) but they managed the project on their own.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 09:23 AM   #4
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

I'm going to risk bringing up an old thread, but check out IKEA's online catalog and consider the free-standing cabinetry. It's affordable yet decent, it's easy to set up, and re-arranging it's fairly simple (try that with ordinary cabinetry.) My wife's a cook and she and I put a lot of effort into our kitchens. You've got a great space there.

Ed
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 09:36 AM   #5
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Thanks for all the info so far. I guess I should add a couple of things.

1) I like to cook alone, so small doesn't bother me. My husband cooks alone, too. We'll probably stay in this house until they park us in a nursing home, so we might as well do it to suit ourselves.

2) This is an old house (1947). The walls are plaster. I tried to talk my husband into knocking out the wall to the dining room (where the trash cans are), but no go. This must be that compromise we hear so much about. The only other option would be to knock out the front of the house - very expensive.

3) We are getting on and both have bad backs. We should probably get help with this stuff.

4) Forgot to add I want to replace the windows - old with aluminium frames.

Keep 'em coming. I love the variety of solutions.

arrete
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 10:39 AM   #6
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Is cost a factor?

Based on what you've said, heres what I'd do:

- knock off the old formica counter and have a tile guy come in and lay in a backerboard and put some nice 6" tile on the surface with a tile backsplash right up to the cabinets and window (which I'd replace first...the tile up to the window edge will cut down on how much drywall repair has to be done after the new window is cut in). If you want to spend money and get fancy, have a one-piece corian sink/counter/backsplash custom made and dropped in.

- remove the old cabinet doors and hardware and have a cabinet guy reface the existing cabinets and install new doors and hardware.

- Replace the dishwasher and stove with something really nice

- Floor guy floats the existing tile and installs some nice linoleum or pergo-type product right over it, with a transition to whatever the flooring is in the rest of the house.

I do my own demolition and disposal, which saves me a lot of money if you have time to fiddle with it. But then I cut a lot of corners, like borrowing a dump trailer from my neighbor, filling it up with stuff and then having a friend of a friend who works at the dump let us unload for free. A counter is usually pretty easy to remove. Taking cabinet doors off is similarly easy.

I also buy my own materials on sale and with 1 year no interest/no payment from outfits like lowes and home depot. You can really get jacked up by a contractor on the materials. I usually get top of the line stuff and disclose what I have to them when they're bidding. Usually one of the bids will consider that they dont have to go get the stuff themselves and will bid me a little lower as the hassle is reduced. I'm also available when they're doing the work as a "parts runner"...I tell them right up front I'll be there to make those trips to the store for the piece of metal, edge strip or whatever little bits and pieces they suddenly need during the work.

I'm thinking about $400-500 for the window, about $500-750 to put new tile on, $250 for a new sink, about $500-700 for the linoleum/pergo job - figure $3.50-4.00/sq ft (an extra 300 or so if they HAVE to pull up the old tile), $350 for a nice dishwasher, that stove looks like its a wider custom (36 or 42") than the standard 30" but its hard to tell from the angle...that would be ~$650 for a basic model and about a grand for a good one. The cabinet work is going to vary wildly depending on what quality materials you pick and how many layers of "help" you get.

I do not recommend going to an outfit like home depot and using their contractors directly. They're not always the best (although HD stands behind them), and home depot is jacking you up on the cost. Similarly, going to a flooring store that installs their stuff can add some cost as they're subbing out the labor to an independent flooring contractor and just providing the materials.

If you know someone who has had work done by a pro, plumbing, flooring, cabinet work...see if you can get their name and contact them directly. I found a plumber who agreed to do a $4000 job for $2500 on his own time, a tile guy who did an $800 job for $500 on a saturday, and a linoleum guy who did a job for $250 labor and a leftover piece of lino I had.

If you know anything, act as your own general contractor and pull the work together yourself. You can save a lot. There are plenty of people here who can help...I sure will!

I would work top to bottom on this: window, then counter, then appliances, then cabinets, then flooring. The counter guy can blend in with the window, the appliances slot in, the cabinet guy blends in with the counter and appliances, floor guy blends in with the cabinets.

Since this work is going to take up at least a week or two, set up a secondary "working kitchen" somewhere else where you can cook and eat. A microwave oven, maybe a hotplate, a big dishbucket you can take into a bathroom to wash stuff up in, a table and chairs, etc. Well away from the mess.

Disaster/mistake? Hiring the husband and his brother of one of my wifes co-workers who had just gotten their contractors license but had "a lot of experience" and were willing to do the job cheap to get a first customer reference. Who then showed they had very little experience, and then tried to jack up their price once they had the place ripped apart. Fired. Make sure the workers have references, have done the job before, and nothing replaces someone who has done work for someone you know. Read up and understand the whole process each contractor will do...if you look like you know what you're talking about they wont cut any corners and you'll get a lot more respect out of them.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 11:19 AM   #7
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Quote:
- knock off the old formica counter and have a tile guy come in and lay in a backerboard and put some nice 6" tile on the surface with a tile backsplash right up to the cabinets and window (which I'd replace first...the tile up to the window edge will cut down on how much drywall repair has to be done after the new window is cut in).
If you're going to have tile put in on the counter then I would highly recommend the 12" granite tiles. *Not really a lot more in cost and the look is very nice. I can get them locally from a wholesaler for $4 / tile (square foot) up to perhaps $12 depending on the colour and source country.

The only issue is the edging and there are a few options there. *One is getting tile edges bullnosed (local place will do it for $5 / edge) and then run a small strip of the granite tile below that edge. *Another option for edging is to use wood stripping that matches some other wood in the kitchen (floor or cabinets). *Finally, you could use one of the more "high tech" looking edges from a company such as Schluter - http://www.schluter.com/ - for the counter you'd probably use Rondec-Step. * I'm using another variant of the Rondec in my current fireplace tiling job.

To finish it off I would use an epoxy grout. *The biggest problem with tile counters is the grout. *It stains and needs constant cleaning. *The epoxy grouts will not stain though they are more of a hassle to work with on the install but worth it. *Something like Laticrete's Spectralock - http://www.laticrete.com/Pages/spectrafaqs.htm - would be a good choice though there are others too.

Here are pictures of some kitchen remodels and some of them used granite tile counters - http://www.johnbridge.com/kitchen_projects.htm *That web site by the way has an incredibly helpful collection of folks that will help with tiling work - many of them pros.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 11:37 AM   #8
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Yep the granite is pretty and the larger tiles can make the counter look larger. Good option.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 11:56 AM   #9
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

My approach to any project is to research my options, then choose my course. *As much as I love wood on the walls, the room will look much bigger if they were a light color.

It appears that she must work with the walls she has, so floor and wall elevations are the first step. *

With bad backs they are not going to install new flooring or cabinets so it is a good idea to talk to kitchen contractors. *

The price of the likes of Corion(sp) has come down a lot, consider it. *

I live the tile on my kitchen floor, but if I had a bad back it might not be my first choice. *If you go vinyl look at the depth of the finish. *Your walking paths will be concentrated, you want a surface that will wear a long time. *
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 12:39 PM   #10
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Re: Remodelling kitchens


Looks like it might be time for a new frig and a new range. Gotta be getting near the end of the life on both of those. The new ones are so much more efficient.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 12:40 PM   #11
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

This is wonderful! The only problem is that you all are proving I know nothing.

Couple of things.

1. Mother-in-law is having a kitchen redone as a result of Hurricane Charley. My husband has been down there a lot with her, so hopefully he's learned a lot. He's a pretty good handyman - willing to do almost anything (including electical outlets), but - um - he's cheap. He always wants to make do, go the cheap route, etc. I, for once, would like at least a middling level of niceness.

2. The stove is wide - a big oven and a small one, side by side. It's at least 30 years old. So's the dishwasher.

3. We have a granny apartment with a 2 burner stove, convection oven and regular size fridge. So we're golden there.

4. A guy my husband works with does a lot of real estate stuff, and may have a line on good contractors. He found a house for our daughter, and has generally done an excellent job.

Demolition might be fun. I once pulled up an asphalt badmitton court. In fact, that might be what's wrong with my back.

I'm really enjoying this.

arrete
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 12:49 PM   #12
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Remodeling seems to be the national pastime for retired folk

Here are the three things my wife likes about our new kitchen:

1) Lots of light
2) Lots of room and work surfaces
3) Easy maintenance

Those are the sort of general guidelines I would start with, and then go top down into design.

You've already discovered that laminated surfaces crack and chip over time, so avoid laminates.

If you install tiles on your counters, you'll discover how evil grout is both in terms of cleaning and time-related failures. * Avoid tile on work surfaces.

Other than that, go crazy. * When you take out the window, consider bumping out to create a bay window.

Take out that false ceiling and put in some skylights to let in the natural light.

Personally, I would avoid wood or laminate floors in the kitchen simply due to the amount of water the floors are likely to see. * Stuff like pergo is just a plastic laminate on top of fiberboard, which just falls apart when it gets wet. * Stone and tile on the floor is very hard, which means a falling dish probably won't survive. * *There are some cool rubber floor products, but I haven't tried them. * We went with wood despite the potential for water damage.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 01:42 PM   #13
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

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If you install tiles on your counters, you'll discover how evil grout is both in terms of cleaning and time-related failures. * Avoid tile on work surfaces.
With regular grout yes that's true. If I didn't have tiles and traditional grout on my kitchen counter already I wouldn't put them in. They are very common in California. Standard grout is just a cement product that will absorb water and stains and has issues for cleanliness. If you've got them already then one of the modern sealers is a good thing to do - it reduces some of the problems.

However, the new epoxy grouts (see my earlier post) change that - they don't have the issues that the old style grouts have. These cure into a hard solid impermeable surface.

If I was going to bother redoing my kitchen counters the epoxy grout is what I would use along with granite tiles. However, I would be doing it myself and I'm not hardcore enough to think about doing such large granite sheets myself. With a no holds barred budget then solid granite would be nice. I wouldn't consider Corian myself but if you are leaning that way then you might want to look at the "man-made" stone products such as Silestone (there are others too).
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 01:59 PM   #14
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

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He's a pretty good handyman - willing to do almost anything (including electical outlets), but - um - he's cheap. *He always wants to make do, go the cheap route, etc. *I, for once, would like at least a middling level of niceness.
Spoken like a true marriage veteran.

Men just love to hang on to earning assets. Replacing a toothbrush- let alone a kitchen- can make some of us feel threatened.

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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 02:01 PM   #15
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Really nice kitchen, Cut-Throat. I can only dream. My husband does not want to move, so I'm stuck with what I have.

I know the ceiling looks weird - I'm sure there is plaster behind it, and that it was a pain to clean - hence the ceiling. I'm concerned about opening it "up" because that is attic and I think it would be quite expensive. If I did it, the skylight would face south. Is that a problem?

I imagine we wouldn't do the counters ourselves, in which case the grout problem might be moot. Is it used on floors? That is one of the problems with the tiled floor - the grout is hard to clean.

I have heard of soapstone being used for counters. Comments?

arrete

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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 02:09 PM   #16
 
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

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I have heard of soapstone being used for counters. *Comments?
I think soapstone is porus. Therefore a poor choice for counters.

Go look at counter tops and price them. - Granite and others. You will find a lot of the cost is in the labor and installation - Hence the material is only part of the cost. If you get granite and are planning to stay in your house awhile, you will never regret it!

You can set a red hot pan on granite and it will not scorch. Corian will.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 02:11 PM   #17
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

We have a very nice ceramic tile floor in our remodeled kitchen...a sort of lightly variegated light grey. It hardly shows any dirt at all. We used a charcoal grey grout that doesn't show dirt either. We only use water to clean it. Works great, very happy with it.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 02:12 PM   #18
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

Er, note to Mikey.

I think my husband's tendency towards "cheapness" is directly correlated towards the fact his father spent money on "the best" which in his mind equaled the most expensive.

I think there is a happy medium.

arrete
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 02:14 PM   #19
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

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I imagine we wouldn't do the counters ourselves, in which case the grout problem might be moot. *Is it used on floors? *That is one of the problems with the tiled floor - the grout is hard to clean.
Yeah, it can. *It will cost more than regular grout but about the same once you add in the cost of the sealer you should use for regular grout. *I was going to use it in my front entry way but there were compatability issues between the epoxy grout and the glass tiles that I used for decorative inserts (I've got a diagonal hop scotch pattern with 12" slate like porcelain and 2" glass tiles). *With normal ceramic or porcelain tiles it isn't a problem. *When I redo the master bath I will be using the epoxy grout on the floor and the shower. *

If you do go with tile then get a porcelain tile. *It is a type of ceramic tile but much harder and more resistant to chipping and cracking. *Also, make sure that you stash aside a couple of them for the future anyways. *It's cheap insurance and your tile can go out of production leaving you with no way to repair.
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Re: Remodelling kitchens
Old 02-23-2005, 02:51 PM   #20
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Re: Remodelling kitchens

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I think soapstone is porus. Therefore a poor choice for counters.
All stones are porous. * Soapstone is actually less porous than granite, but it is a softer stone. * Our fireplace is made from soapstone, and we love the look and feel of it, but it was used primarily for its ability to retain and transmit heat.
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