Kitchen Remodel 101. Where do I start with my kitchen remodel?

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Since I’m in the remodeling business my friends often ask my opinion on where to start with a remodeling project.  It is a question that is not as obvious as you might think.  Some people just assume you look for a good contractor but there are other alternatives depending on how handy you are and whether you are up for a good challenge.

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself when planning a kitchen remodel is who do I hire?

1-    Do I hire a contractor to do everything, start to finish, floor to ceiling?

2-    Am I confident enough to hire my own sub-contractors and suppliers?

3-    Am I a do-it-yourselfer?

Over the next three posts we will look at each of these options and see what might best fit your needs.

Hiring a floor to ceiling remodeling Contractor.

One of the things to consider when making this determination is your budget and how much your time is worth.  Hiring a floor to ceiling remodeling contractor is the option that will require the least amount of time on your part but will probably cost you the most.  You will still be required to spend the time to make product selections and design decisions which can be somewhat time consuming but you won’t spend as much time managing all of the suppliers and sub-contractors or performing the labor yourself.

The contractor will be charging you to do this either on a cost plus or a flat price contract.  The contractors bid will most likely be higher with a fixed cost estimate than a cost plus estimate because the contractor wants some protection from the potential problems that invariably crop up during construction.  The primary advantage to a fixed cost contract is a guaranteed price.  With a fixed price surprises are up to the contractor to deal with.  The material specifications, quality and services supplied must be very detailed because if a contractor bids too low there is a temptation to cut corners as the job progresses in order to save the profit on the job.  Changes can become a real problem unless provisions in the contract are made to cover them.

With a cost plus estimate the contractor can bid lower and charge the customer for any unforeseen problems or changes as they occur.  The primary advantage to a cost plus contract is the potential for a lower price if unexpected problems are kept to a minimum.  It also allows the customer to make changes as the work progresses.  The downside to cost plus is it will most likely end up costing more than the initial estimate.

If you choose to hire a contractor to do your complete remodel the most important thing to do is hire a good one but that is a topic for another day.  Just make sure you check them out.  Are they are reputable, licensed, insured?  Ask them for references.

Check back with us in our next post when we will address the question “Are you confident enough to be your own contractor and hire your own sub-contractors and suppliers?”