Kitchen Renovation Tips

What is the first thing to do when updating a kitchen?

One of the easiest ways to boost the value of any home is a kitchen remodel. But what exactly does that entail and what should one expect to see happen? If you intend to DIY aspects of the remodel then understanding the process takes on additional importance. Even when going solo, you still need to call in help for professional services such as plumbing.

If like the majority of people, you hand over all responsibility to professionals, and you will need to run through some pre-construction steps such as locating, vetting and hiring designers and contractors (or find a design-build firm which handles both the design and construction phases). Beyond this, while you don’t need to undertake any of the work yourself, being knowledgeable about the right way to remodel a kitchen can help you better plan and schedule activities around it.

Here is the most common order of events for a major kitchen remodel that involves total gutting (a minor remodel would involve fewer steps which would depend on what you change and what you keep – learn the difference) but, keep in mind, each project is unique. Hitch Property Constructions has an extensive range of kitchen renovation Melbourne to take the hassle out of deciding the right furniture that matches. A remodeler may have good reason to deviate slightly from the steps below.

Determine Your Must-Haves

The first step when remodelling your kitchen is deciding what you really want. Similar to house hunting, this helps you narrow down the options and formulate a budget.

What Is The First Thing To Do When Updating A Kitchen 2

It can feel like the options for your kitchen are limitless, but unless you have a limitless budget, you’re going to have to pick and choose what’s actually important to you. Do you need more storage? Do you want more space for entertaining? Do you want a flow that works better for your family?

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you narrow down your must-haves:

  • What are the pain points of your current kitchen?
  • What do you need more of?
  • What do you need less of?
  • Will you need to change the layout?
  • What needs to be updated?
  • Are you looking to sell soon? Which updates will add the most value to your kitchen?

Set A Budget

Now that you know what you won’t budge on and what would just be nice to have, it’s time to create a budget.

Divide Your Budget By Area: Let’s say you allocated $20,000 to renovate your kitchen. How do you know where to spend that money? The breakdown could look something like this:

  • Cabinetry and hardware: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and ventilation: 14%
  • Countertops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and ceilings: 5%
  • Design fees: 4%
  • Doors and windows: 4%
  • Faucets and plumbing: 4%
  • Other: 1%

Be mindful that everyone’s kitchen needs are different, so these estimates are just that – estimates. If the flooring is more important to you than countertops, readjust how you allocate that money.

The important thing is making sure you’re not going over the budget you set for yourself. So, if you want to spend more in one area, make sure to balance it out by cutting back on another element.

Visit Stores And Showrooms

Visiting hardware stores and showrooms will give you an idea of what materials and options are on the market and how much they cost. You’re looking to cut costs in certain areas, take a look at what a similar but less expensive option might be.

For example, if you really like the look of natural stone floors in the kitchen, but that’s out of your budget, maybe opt for a ceramic tile that looks like natural stone. Or if you really want that high-end, custom cabinetry, invest your money there but choose a less expensive countertop option instead like laminate.

Leave Room For A Professional

Kitchen renovations, especially in-depth ones, require work you might not want to take on yourself, like actually installing electrical, plumbing, or cabinets, removing current cabinetry or knocking down walls. There are countless horror stories of homeowners getting their Chip Gaines on and rushing into demo day without being mindful of wires or plumbing in the wallDon’ton’t create more work for yourself. Check out our range of kitchen renovation at Hitch Property Constructions. Leave room in your budget to bring in the professionaHere’sre’s a quick breakdown of how much you can expect to pay for common kitchen renovation professionals:

Contractors: This cost will vary based on your location. Most contracts charge 10-20% of the total project cost.

Designers: Costs will vary based on location. Estimate 8-10% of your remodelling costs.

Clear the Space

Demolish or clear as much of the space on your own. Remove cabinet doors first. Most cabinets are attached to the wall by two screws. Make sure you have help holding up the cabinets as you remove the screws.

Carefully remove the doorway and window trim if you plan to reuse them. Slide a putty knife next to the nails and tug gently, working your way to the corner. Use a crowbar to force sheets of panelling from the walls. You can employ a sledgehammer for brute force, don’t smash the studs.

Shut off the power and remove appliances and directly wired lighting fixtures. Cover exposed wires with wire nuts.

Hire Your Workers

You can hire a general contractor to oversee other workers, or you can hire them yourself. A general contractor can charge up to 30% of the total cost of the project to handle it for you. If you are trying to save, this is where you might want to do it. The tradeoff is that the general contractor usually relieves you from time spent supervising the job and chasing after tardy or no-show workers.

Make sure your contractors show you that they have evidence that they are licensed, bonded, and insured. They should show you they have the necessary permits, too.

Establish a payment plan with your workers. It is common to pay no more than 10% upfront, 50% at the halfway point, and the balance upon completion. 

It is customary that most contractors will request not to work on top of each other—plan for scheduling them to work on separate days. Looking for kitchen renovation Melbourne? Look no further? Hitch Property Constructions has you covered. 

Replace Dated Plumbing

The perfect time to replace your plumbing is when your walls are open. If you are replacing older plumbing, keep buckets handy to catch water in case corroded, old pipes break or leak. Also, be prepared to replace your shutoff valves.

Consider running a gas line if your previous stove was electric. Install a shutoff valve box for the refrigerator. Replace all the plumbing under the sink; it’s galvanised.

Replace Wiring and Install Kitchen Lighting

Many kitchen redos include installing recessed ceiling lighting, new pendant lights, or breakfast nook lighting. Check with city codes to determine any requirements for incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen bulbs.

Consider upgrading your circuit breaker box to 200 amp—ask your electrician if it’s necessary. It’s essential to replace all the wiring, especially if your existing isn’t conforming to code. Every appliance—except maybe the refrigerator and the range hood— should have a dedicated circuit.  

Your electrical considerations should include: 

  • Overhead lighting, including recessed fixtures
  • Under-cabinet lighting
  • Wiring the dishwasher either directly or by plugging into an outlet
  • Wiring the garbage disposal either directly or by plugging into an outlet
  • A 120-volt or 220-volt outlet for the range and oven, depending on its gas or electric
  • An outlet for the refrigerator
  • Wiring for the range hood
  • An outlet for the microwave
  • Countertop outlets—more are always better
  • Consider dimmer switches for some or all of your lighting

Hang the Drywall

After the electrician and plumber have finished their jobs, the drywall comes next. This job is one of the easier installations; you might want to do it yourself. If you do plan to do it on your own, make sure you have the right tools:

  • 4 x 8 sheets of drywall, commonly called Sheetrock (the brand name)
  • Utility knife and plenty of blades
  • T-square
  • Drywall gun
  • Drywall screws, typically 1 1/4 inches
  • Three sizes of mudding knives
  • Pencil
  • Measure from the corner to the first that’s within 48 inches. Transfer that measurement to the drywall and, using a T-square, draw a straight line. Cut along the line, again using the T-square.

Crack the drywall with your knee or hand to break it. Secure the drywall to the wall with screws. Alternate each screw within a half-inch of the edge and about a foot apart. Always butt finished edges to finished edges and unfinished edges to unfinished edges. The unfinished edges will create valleys.

Apply the Joint Compound

Hanging drywall is a simple job, but mudding—the process of applying thin, multiple layers of compound to the joints—is an art.

Mud is a joint compound that should be put into a mudding tray and mixed well to a soft consistency.

Closing the joints between the drywall pieces will likely need up to three coats of mud. It takes about three days for each coat to dry. Some joint compound products on the market dry faster but do not use these products in the kitchen.

Tape the seams and mud. Let it all dry for three days. Sand and mud again with a larger mudding knife, spreading the joint compound further. Let it dry again (three more days) and sand lightly again. Spread a finish coat using a large knife. Let it dry (three days) and sand with 150-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.

If you prefer to skip applying the joint compound, you can hang the drywall yourself and hire an expert to do the mudding. 

Paint Kitchen Walls and Ceiling

Painting is a job that the average homeowner can do, but typically do-it-yourselfers can’t do it as quickly. Paint the walls—or have them painted—before cabinet installation. Use quality brand paint, preferably a semi-gloss for the walls and ceiling, because it’s easy to wipe down, and it doesn’t retain moisture.

Buy the right paint brushes. Angled brushes work great on trim, but cutting in around the ceiling and floor is best done with a four-inch brush.

Don’t use a paint tray. A five-gallon bucket works better. Mix all your paint cans to ensure consistency. Buy a screen to place in the bucket. Use a quality roller with an extension; sometimes, the handle from a garage push broom can do double duty as the extender.

Cut in or do the careful edges where the ceiling and floors meet the walls before rolling the paint on the walls. Sand between coats with 150-grit sandpaper after the first coat is dry. Apply two coats. Plan to touch up the colour after the cabinet installation.

Install Kitchen Flooring and Baseboards

Some builders like to put in the flooring and baseboards after the cabinets are installed to save on cost, but you might prefer to do it before. No quarter rounds, base shoe, or floor mouldings are needed.

You might consider some eco-friendly, renewable choices. Cork flooring is made from stripped tree bark, leaving the trees intact. It’s warm and inviting, but cork can yellow in sunlight, it scratches easily, and moisture makes it swell.

Bamboo flooring is a grass, not a wood. It renews itself every three to five years. Premium bamboo flooring uses adhesives that don’t contain formaldehyde. Bamboo can be nailed, glued, stapled, or floated. It comes in both horizontal and vertical patterns. Don’t install it in areas that are likely to get wet.

Recycled carpeting comes from recycled plastic food and beverage containers. These vibrant colour options tend to last longer than nylon carpets. It’s a shock-free static product that doesn’t emit volatile organic compounds, which give conventional carpets that “new carpet smell” but can be lung irritants. Recycled carpeting is stain-resistant.

Linoleum flooring is a manufactured product made from natural raw materials such as linseed oil (a binding agent obtained from pine trees without harming the trees), renewable wood products, ground limestone, and jute, a natural plant fibre. Linoleum floors are stain-resistant. They don’t absorb water, and they’re biodegradable at the end of useful life, usually around 40 years.

Brazilian cherry and white tigerwood are wood floorings grown in South America and harvested from well-managed forests with renewable resources. Brazilian cherry is an engineered, 3-ply wood made that uses formaldehyde-free adhesives. It’s generally more expensive, but it’s resilient and more durable than oak.

Hang Your Kitchen Cabinets

Hire a professional installer to hang your cabinets. A pro will make sure the cabinets are plumb, level, and are correctly installed. The electrical work and plumbing should be complete before cabinets can go in.

There are two types of cabinets: wall cabinets and base cabinets. Wall cabinets are secured to the wall and don’t touch the floor. Base cabinets are also secured to the wall, and they do rest on the floor. The cabinets each line-up, get secured to each other and must be level with each other.

Your choices in cabinets typically include crown moulding and bottom moulding, plus scribes. Scribes cover the spaces between the wall and cabinets.

The company or store that sells you the cabinets should be able to provide you with qualified installers. It shouldn’t take more than a day to install the cabinets.

If you get someone to install the cabinetry, review the layout beforehand to make sure the installer knows where the cabinets should go. The cabinets won’t sit flush with the ceiling or the corners because no room is perfectly square, not even new construction. You might have to caulk the spaces and touch up the caulk with paint. 

Order Your Kitchen Countertop

The most prolonged delay with the kitchen remodelling work usually centres around your countertops. If you are having your countertops custom-made, then the installers will insist on measuring the template with the cabinets in place. This process can take as long as seven days to seven weeks from ordering to delivery. 

If you are looking for the most durable countertops, quartz countertops are heat resistant, hold up better than granite, and are timeless. They are a bit more expensive, but if you’re not planning to remodel your kitchen again for another 50 years, they are your best choice.

Install the Backsplash

Take a sample of your countertop and your cabinet door to your favourite tile store. Many tile stores employ designers who will help you choose the perfect backsplash. Some involve designs on the diagonal and may use various sizes and types of tile as accents. A backsplash can be an excellent way to incorporate a complementary colour in your kitchen.

The backsplash can be installed at the same time as the countertops, especially if it’s the same material or fabricated from the countertop material, such as quartz, granite, or soapstone. However, if you choose a material that differs from the countertop, such as tile, aluminium, concrete, or wood, the backsplash can’t be installed until after the countertops are in place.

If you install a heavy-stone countertop, an installer might require a few days for the countertop to settle before putting in a backsplash. If you don’t wait, it might leave an unwanted seam.

Choose the Cabinet Hardware

Cabinetry hardware—the pulls and knobs—can make or break your cabinets. Choose a style and type of finish that complements not only your cabinets but the age of your home. Avoid trendy finishes that will scream “time warp” in a few years. Although, the good thing with hardware is that it is one of the least expensive items in a kitchen to change, so in 5 or 10 years, you can usually afford a hardware redo.

Get Your Appliances Installed

Call the electrician and the plumber back to install your appliances. Electricians will finish out the installation by adding outlets and aligning your outlets with the backsplash.

Your range hood is usually the first item installed. This installation might require a roof jack to vent the exhaust. Never vent the exhaust into your attic.

When wheeling in your refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher, make sure your flooring is covered. Each appliance will need to be aligned and plumbed (if applicable).

If you have an under-mount sink, your countertop installers would have installed it already, but any other type of sink gets installed after the counters and backsplash are in place. The plumber will hook up your faucet, insert the airgap for your dishwasher into the countertop, and set up your garbage disposal if you plan on having one.

Before paying the contractors in full, check for leaks, and make sure every appliance is working correctly.

Final Say

A major kitchen remodels must be done in the right order for maximum efficiency. Time is money, and remodelling your kitchen in the right order will save you loads of it. Because of the time required to remodel a kitchen, it is best to understand the order to expect, regardless of whether you do the work yourself or you hire a pro.

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