Kitchen Remodel 101

If you are remodeling your kitchen, do it by the numbers, don’t freewheel it. Get a design first! Use an Architect on any larger remodel, and on a smaller one at least have some basic drawings done. Most big box stores will have a computer design tool where you can see before you buy. You cannot just start buying components because you find them on sale. No overall plan? You won’t like the results.
The cost of remodeling your kitchen depends on current layout, size and condition of your room, as well as the quality of replacement products you prefer. According to an annual construction cost survey by Remodeling Online, a minor remodel of a 200-square-foot (10×20) kitchen averages $17,037-$19.366 nationwide; a mid-range major remodel including an island and other upgrades runs $50,860-$59,716; and an upscale remodel for the same size kitchen can be $103,529-$115,549. These are averages; actual costs may be higher or lower. The cost for redoing your bathroom can run from $5,000 for a very basic upgrade all the way to $40,000 or more for a complete new look.
If you start buying, before you have a “complete” plan, you will end up spending more, and you won’t like the results as well, it is just that simple. One of THE most important decisions is hiring the right General Contractor. Your decision on what General Contractor to use is critical.
When talking about numbers this size, doesn’t it make sense to spend some time doing research on the Contractor you are hiring to do the job? Isn’t it worth some homework time to completely check the Contractor out BEFORE you hire him?
When deciding on which General Contractor (GC) to use, you need to do your homework up front. Once you are into the deal and the paperwork has been signed and the process has started, it is too late to address whatever comes up WITHOUT a large amount of additional effort and money.
If you are about to embark on a remodel, large or small, you will have quite a few hours deciding what is going into this new remodel. You will go to a large variety of stores, outlets, factories, etc to pick out the various products you want. You will look at appliances, floor covering options, colors, counter top materials, and on and on it goes. This is a normal part of the remodel process. First you must pick out what products and materials you wish to use.
You wouldn’t simply go hire a General Contractor, show them what you want done and leave all the choices up to them. You wouldn’t have the GC pick out your counter tops or cabinets, or anything else for that matter. You do all the homework, shop all the products, make all the choices. Then you hand it off to the GC to fulfill your wishes, using the products you chose. Sounds pretty straight forward, yes?
So if you are going to do all that homework in picking out the products and materials that go into your remodel, shouldn’t you spend enough time in picking the people who are going to do the work? Shouldn’t you do your homework and verify that the person you hire to do the work is qualified to, in fact, do the work? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that his license is up to date, that his subcontractors and suppliers are happy with his work and they got paid on time? Don’t you want to know these things BEFORE you hire your GC?
You could pick out the best materials and products to be used in your remodel, but put the wrong person/company in charge of installing them and you might not like the result. Remember, you have to live with the result for a long time, you better like it.
When interviewing a GC for your project, one of the first things you can quite easily do is get his General Contractors license number. Then go to state regulating board in charge of regulating General Contractors and make sure his license is valid and up to date. Make sure there are no leans or complaints or suspensions related to his business. If he has no license, the solution should be simple; no deal, period.
Additionally, does he have his general liability insurance up to date, ask for proof of insurance. What you do not need is to have a subcontractor get hurt on your job and because the GC doesn’t have the proper insurance or proper amount of insurance, the sub sues you for damages. Again it is simple, not properly insured? NO DEAL.
Once you get past that, you want to ask for references. You want to talk to 3 clients with projects in the local area and with similar projects. You want 3 references from architects he has worked with. Talk to 3 materials suppliers and then talk to 3 subcontractors. You don’t want to find out too late that he is having serious problems of any kind, and it is now too late to deal properly with any of these type of issues. Find out before you sign the contract. A good friend of mine puts it this way, hire slow and fire fast.

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