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Before You Start Remodeling Your Kitchen

by Kim Kinrade

kitchen remodel estimate, kitchen remodel costNo other room in the home is changed so much by homeowners than the kitchen. This is because no other space in the home has so many diverse processes going on at the same time. Therefore, planning is so very important in this area because failure to project the needs of a fully-functioning kitchen can lead either to costly retro-fits or doing without a cherished function. For example, the time to decide that you might want a food preparation sink for the island should be long before the new floor tile goes down.

"My Kitchen Will Be Used For . . ."

Before you meet with a kitchen designer decide what your "mission statement" for the kitchen will be. If you are a serious baker you may want a double wall-oven with extra warming trays and long counter spaces for preparation and for cooling when the food is ready.

Conversely, if you like entertaining you might want the same area of counter space except spread out in two or three areas so that more people can work at once without getting in each others' way. The double-wall oven would be an advantage to get the h'orderves ready at the same time while a large gas cooktop would be desired for sautéing mushrooms on one burner while browning chicken on another. This could be doen while someone else is steaming mussels.

Walk-in pantries are a big item and will get more popular as gas prices increase the cost of trips to the grocery store. So is the storage area for large counter top appliances like latté makers and food processors. Canning food is another consideration as the price of food rises so having storage for the canning supplies and the jars of prepared food might be a big consideration.

Space

One question to ask is, "Do I have enough space for what I want under the present conditions?" If so then you piece in your kitchen within a grid and let the designer tweak you desires into a working kitchen. If not, then you will have to decide where you want to go to make the kitchen bigger.

Traditionally, this means going into the next room, taking out the divider wall in the process. Other options can include going out into the yard and building a new addition to the home. However, this may require foundation and roofline changes and so probably would be a very expensive proposition.

Infrastructure Improvements

As with bathrooms, kitchen remodeling requires the cooperation of several trades including carpentry, plumbing and electrical. The extent to which these three trades are utilized can make the price of the kitchen shoot upwards.

Electrical: If the kitchen is being upgraded to included several more appliances, like a dishwasher and under-the counter refrigerators, then an electrician may have to run hundreds of feet of extra wire. And this is not including any lighting changes. An old kitchen may not have the circuitry to include more lights so another circuit or circuits may have to be installed -or the electrical panel may have to be upgraded.

Plumbing: In addition, the plumber may have to take up part of the flooring to put in extra drain and water pipes many feet away from where the main plumbing stack is situated. So, before cabinets or appliances are purchased, you may belooking at infrastructure work that may be upwards of $2000.

Floorboards

Improvements may add weight to the floor so it is important to check under the floorboards to see if there are strong supporting beams. It's not that the newer appliances are any heavier that the old ones (usually they are lighter) but you may be adding more of them and, in time, the floor may sag which could crack your tile floor. If there is any doubt your contractor will do an engineering analysis.

Ceiling Support

kitchen remodel estimate, kitchen remodel costMany of the old kitchens were a "galley" design which meant that the room was enclosed with cupboards surrounding the floor area. Some of these kitchens were 8' X 15' rectangles which did not allow much space for more than one person.

Taking out a wall is a popular way to gain more space, and usually this wall divides the kitchen and the dining room. However, there is a good probability that the divider is a "load-bearing wall" which means that the roof joists run perpendicular to the wall and use the wall for support. Before taking out any wall, load-bearing or otherwise, an engineer should be consulted. He or she will design a support system to carry that portion of the roof's weight. Again, the roof should be supported before the wall comes down to maintain the integrity.

These are some of the considerations that a kitchen designer will take you through. The key is to decide what you really want and then let the designer see if these can be realized at a budget that makes you feel comfortable.


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