Tips for a Proper Kitchen Renovation

Are you interested in renovating your kitchen, but not sure where you should start? It’s an understandable predicament. Most people start with the kitchen when looking to renovate their home. Research shows that most families spend a huge amount of time in the kitchen, and with all of the appliances, gadgets, and necessary functional space, it’s a necessity when it comes to renovation projects. Unfortunately, having so many different areas to focus on all at once can be overwhelming, not to mention expensive.

So where do most people start when it comes to kitchen renovations? It varies from project to project and house to house. There is no exact guide for where to start, so it’s up to you to decide what needs the most attention or what is most important to you. Some of the most common kitchen renovation projects are:

  • Replacing appliances
  • Replacing cabinets
  • Installing new flooring
  • Replacing countertops
  • Changing the décor

All of these projects will dramatically improve the look and usefulness of your kitchen. Many of these projects can be fairly expensive, but will absolutely pay off in the long run. If budget is an issue you can always look into thrifting for used pieces, or upcycling if you’re crafty.

Most people use their kitchens several times a day, so it’s totally worth it to spend some time and energy making it a more functional space, or even if that just means a more aesthetically appealing space. Let’s take a look at what each of these renovations entails:

Replacing Cabinets

As far as useful storage space goes in the kitchen, cabinets are one of the most important areas. While almost all kitchens have some sort of cabinetry installed, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it always looks nice, or is the most functional set of cabinets. Modern cabinets have an incredibly wide range of useful tricks for added storage, organization, and ease of use.

Most older cabinets just have shelves to aid with organization, but are often deep and require you to dig around inside to find what you need, which we all know can be a pain. Lower cabinets can be especially irritating because in order to see what’s in the way back you have to get way down low. More modern cabinet systems make extensive use of sliding rails so most low shelves can be pulled out most of the way, if not completely, for easy viewing and selection of whatever it is you need. Many companies will work with you to create specially organized drawers that you can divide up any way you like. For people who need everything organized like me, this is incredibly useful.

Probably the most exciting part of installing new cabinets is getting to customize the look of your new kitchen. In most cases, cabinets take up the vast majority of wall space in the kitchen, so you can completely redefine your space with a new set of cabinets. You can go from the drab, spartan cabinets that were there when you moved in, to magnificent custom cabinets in any color or design style you could possibly imagine.

The only drawback when it comes to replacing cabinets can be the high price tag. Generally cabinets have to be made custom to fit your home, which can drive the price up a bit. That being said, getting custom woodworking projects, like cabinets, allows you to get them made precisely to your specifications. So, while cabinets can be pricey, it’s usually well worth it to be able to have creative control over the design and create your own custom organization solutions.

Replacing Appliances

Appliances are what make the modern kitchen work. It would be very difficult to function without a refrigerator, freezer, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. In addition to those main players, there are a whole handful of secondary players as well. When it comes time for kitchen renovation, it’s generally a good idea to replace all of your appliances. Many people, if they can afford it, opt to get a whole set at the same time, so everything matches aesthetically.

One nice thing about replacing appliances is the fact that you can replace them one at a time over a period of months. It’s not necessary to buy all of your new appliances at the same time and rack up a huge price tag all at once. It’s pretty common to buy them gradually over the course of a year or so.

Having a modern set of appliances can increase the functionality of your kitchen in a big way. Many appliances now come with an Energy Star rating, meaning they can save you money on utilities by using less energy overall. In addition to saving you money, new appliances can also save you lots of time when it comes to cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. If you’re anything like me and still have a wood-paneled microwave from the 80’s, it might be time to move into the future and upgrade to some more recent appliances.

Replacing Countertops

Replacing your kitchen’s countertops often goes hand in hand with having new cabinets installed. It’s usually easier to do these at the same time, since they are almost always two halves of a whole. You want to make sure your new countertop matches with your new cabinets and vice versa, and your lower cabinets are most likely what is going to support your new countertop.

Most homeowners these days opt to go with granite or engineered quartz for their replacement countertops. Stone countertops are very popular these days, due to the many benefits they provide. Firstly, they last forever, and I’m not really exaggerating when I say forever. They’re incredibly hard, which means you don’t have to worry too much about scratching, melting, or denting them. With proper sealing, they are very easy to sanitize and keep germ-free.  In addition to all those benefits, they come in a spectacular array of colors and patterns, so they’re easy to match with the décor of your home.

If you are thinking about installing granite countertops on new or existing cabinets in your kitchen, make sure to either tell your carpenter (for new cabinets), or check with the granite installation crew to verify that your counter can support the immense weight of a granite or quartz slab. It’s important to choose a reputable granite supplier and installer to take care of your new countertops. You want to make sure the job gets done right, because there’s no going back once it is installed.

Installing New Floors

When renovating the kitchen, many people choose to get their flooring replaced as part of the process. If you’re spending the money, time, and effort to have your appliances, cabinets, and countertops replaced, you probably don’t want that dingy laminate floor that was there when you moved in taking away from the look of your new kitchen.

The most popular floor options for kitchens today are hardwood, stone tile, or laminate. Personally, I recommend hardwood, as it lasts longer and looks nicer (to me) than other flooring options. Laminate tends to get grimy after a while, and lose its luster, and stone tiles can be very expensive. That being said, it all depends what kind of look you are going for with your kitchen remodel.

No matter what you’re trying to accomplish with your remodel, it will probably benefit from an upgrade of your current flooring.

Changing the Décor

This one is entirely up to you! There are many resources out there for kitchen remodels that will show off a myriad of styles you can attempt to recreate, or just use as the inspiration for something entirely different. The possibilities are truly endless if you’re doing a top to bottom remodel. Since your countertops and cabinets will most likely be custom, you are completely in control of what the final look will be.

Renovating your kitchen can be a very rewarding process, and give your home a more personalized feel. Unfortunately, it can carry a pretty hefty price tag with it. Many homeowners choose to do these upgrades in waves so they aren’t paying the whole amount all at the same time. These basic guidelines will hopefully give you some direction when it comes to starting your own remodel.

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Comparing New Construction & Replacement Windows

If you’ve been considering upgrading windows in your home, you’ve probably run across the term, replacement windows. But maybe you didn’t know that this term applies to a particular type of window – one that is specially designed to fit into a pre-existing opening. As we’ll see, replacement windows are not the same as new construction windows. Let’s take a look at the difference:

Replacement Windows

These windows are designed to minimize the difficulty of the installation process. More specifically, replacement windows are designed to be installed without the need to take apart and remove elements of the interior wall, window trim, or exterior materials on a home. As a result, the installation process is faster and more efficient. Construction time and cost is minimized.

One window manufacturer, Renewal by Andersen, is known for taking measurements to the nearest sixteenth of an inch. This allows replacement windows to be installed with the minimum of time and on-site alterations. Other higher-end replacement window companies have similar processes.

New Construction Windows

These windows are designed to be installed on new homes. Rather than fit a precise opening, the general expectation is that other interior and exterior elements of the home will be built to fit the new construction windows window. Unlike replacement windows, these are designed to be hammered directly onto the frame of the home.

Why Their Differences Matter

The cost of a window is always a key consideration. So potential window buyers may be encouraged when they see new construction windows with somewhat lower prices. But the price of the windows is only part of the equation: Installation has to be considered, too. Installing new construction windows will require replacing parts of the window opening as well as both the interior and exterior; when this process is factored in, the overall cost of installing new construction windows will be higher.

Does this mean that you should always choose replacement windows for established homes? No. New construction window may be the right option if the studs or framing around your window need to be replaced due to damage. This may also be true if you are already planning construction around the window; if you are already replacing your siding, for example, you may also be able to install new construction windows without any extra work or cost.

What to Do

Before deciding on which windows to install, be sure to confirm pricing for both windows and installation. You may find that the least-expensive windows do not always yield the lowest project costs. So don’t rush. Do take your time. Look at several types of windows, and get quotes from several installers before making a final decision.

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What You Need to Know About Water Damage

Water Damage

There are few things that homeowners and property managers fear like extensive water damage. Water damage is one of the most common types of household catastrophe, and it can be extremely expensive and difficult to repair. Water can easily rack up thousands of dollars of damage in the space of a few hours if left unchecked. Generally if you’ve experienced water damage in your home you want to get in touch with your local water damage restoration company. It’s important to have professional contractors inspect and repair the damage to make sure that your home remains structurally sound and free of mold after extensive water damage. You may be able to handle the initial cleanup, and some of the repairs, but water damage can cause huge problems down the road if the damage is not assessed and handled properly at the time of the incident.

Common Sources of Water Damage

Unfortunately water damage can happen from a wide variety of different sources and any homeowner should be aware of the areas in their home that could be a source of excess water. Some of the most common appliances that can cause water damage are dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, and showers. Making sure these appliances are hooked up properly can save a lot of money and trouble further down the road.

Inclement weather and poor construction are also huge sources of water damage. If your roof has a leak, or your gutters aren’t cleaned regularly, you could be at risk for water damage every time there is heavy rain or snowfall. Snow can be especially bad because the added weight can exacerbate pre-existing issues, allowing water into the home once the snow begins to melt. Poorly installed plumbing and cracks in the foundation are also common sources of water damage. Homes that have a basement are usually at increased risk for water damage, especially if they are haphazardly sealed or older construction.

Types of Water Damage

Not all water damage is created equal, and it’s important to address the severity of your damage in order to determine what will need to be done in terms of water removal and repair. The categories of water damage break down as follows:

  • Category 1 – This type of water damage refers to water that is clean and poses no threat to humans. This can be anything from a sink overflow, to a leaky dishwasher or washing machine. This is one of the easier types to clean up, especially if it’s caught quickly before any damage can spread.
  • Category 2 – This kind of water damage is referred to as “gray water” and indicates that the water is contaminated and may cause sickness if ingested. This kind of damage usually comes from overflowing toilets, broken sump pumps, or seepage. Again, if this is dealt with quickly the threat of illness can be minimized.
  • Category 3 – This category is referred to as “black water” and it is completely unsanitary. This designation is given to water that absolutely contains bacteria and other organisms that cause illness. This type of damage is usually caused by sewage backups, or contamination of standing water. Category 3 damage is very dangerous and should be dealt with immediately. It generally requires special protection and equipment from the water damage repair contractor that is dealing with it.

Water damage is also broken down into different classes of damage, which are important to know when trying to figure out the best way to deal with the damage. The classes range from 1 to 4 with 1 being the least amount of damage, and 4 being the most extensive damage.

Ways to Avoid Water Damage

The best way to avoid water damage is to be aware of the possible sources of damage in your own home. Check out all connections for any appliances that are going to use large amounts of water, like dishwashers, laundry machines, toilets, showers, and outdoor faucets. Make sure everything is connected tightly and free of rust or corrosion. Check your basement for condensation on the walls, or any cracks in the floor that might allow water to well up from underneath. Look for water spots on ceilings, and check the floor of the basement for any areas that look as though they’ve had standing water before.

Knowing which areas in your home are risk areas is the first step to making sure you don’t have to deal with extensive water damage. Take note when it rains if there are any leaky spots or if your gutters seem to be overflowing. Excessive water in your yard and around the foundation of the house can also be a source of water damage.

By taking simple precautions you can go a long way towards protecting yourself from water damage, but sometimes accidents happen or things break and begin to leak. You should have the number for your local water damage repair specialists on hand in the event that you have water damage issues. Taking immediate action is the best way to make sure that water damage doesn’t cause further issues like mold or structural damage.

If left unchecked, water damage can cause serious health issues for you and your family and could even end up in your home being condemned. So take the time to check out your risk areas today and look up your local damage repair contractors. That way you’re prepared in case of emergency and you can deal with the problem quickly and effectively with as little stress on you or your family as possible.

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