Kitchen Remodeling: an Overview of Items to Consider
Kitchen work can be overwhelming and intimidating. There are so many choices and options available: do you just replace countertops? Add an island? Change fixtures? The sheer range of possibilities can be staggering.
Among the most important choices you can make is that of a kitchen remodeling company. Everyone that comes in is going to tell you that their service is head and shoulders above everyone else’s. Perhaps the worst part of the entire process is that there isn’t anyone to help you make your decision—it is, in the end, all on you, and you need to figure out how to push through the fog of salesmanship and figure out which kitchen remodeling service is the right choice for your needs.
Fear not—there are a few basic things you can keep in mind that will lighten the burden of choice, and help you make the ideal choice for your kitchen remodeling process.
We’ll look at each of these steps in detail in upcoming blogs, but here’s a quick overview.
Think About It
This is a major decision. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the excitement and pressure and just make a snap decision. Once you get started on your kitchen remodeling project it will be like a snowball rolling downhill, taking on a life of its own.
While you can always make a different choice, going back and undoing things that have already been done can be expensive, so you want to make sure you get it right the first time around. Step back, breathe, and take your time making the choice.
Do Your Homework
Don’t stop at a single company’s presentation. Even if at the outset they seem perfect, you should still talk to several others and see what they can offer. Compare quotes, statements of work, and look up the companies on the Internet to research customer reviews and complaints. Any company that tries to dissuade you from doing your due diligence in researching their work and services is probably not one with whom you want to deal, anyway.
See For Yourself
Almost everyone that comes in to pitch their services is going to have a gorgeous brochure that shows the kitchen of everyone’s dreams. These brochures are obviously tools to sell you on their service. While they look lovely, they may not be an exact representation of reality.
Don’t be afraid to ask the representative for photos of actual, finished products and material samples for things like cabinet and drawer materials, refacing samples, and the like. Also take stock of how the salesperson appears and acts. If they are dressed casual or sloppy, you can expect to get casual, sloppy work. If they are dressed professionally and are personable and ready to listen as well as talk, this is a good sign.
Take a Close Look
The whole point of kitchen refacing is to look good. Every job is going to look ideal at a glance—surface materials are made to give a sharp first impression. But how will they hold up to years of heavy use? After all, the kitchen is probably the room in your home that takes the most beating. You want your materials to stand the test of time. Are they good quality wood? Are they heavy and solid?
A good salesperson will be able to provide you with a cross-section of the materials they use so you can see this for yourself. Examine any materials you can, feeling for stability, weight, and imperfections. If you can, try to arrange a visit to one of their prior customers’ home so you can see the finished product for yourself.
Pick Up the Phone
If the company is a franchise or part of a larger corporation, talk to the home office. You’ll want to know what level of experience, training, and product knowledge the owner of the franchise or manager of the branch has.
You’ll want information on warranty and service guarantees. The home office will be able to provide you detailed information about the franchise owner, or the branch manager. If the company is a small, privately owned company you will want to know how much experience and training they have as well, and calling the main office can often yield this information.
Ask Other Customers
Word of mouth cannot be underestimated as a source of information about a company’s products and services. Does the company come recommended by neighbors, friends, or family? If so, ask around to see how their work holds up. If you don’t have a direct reference, ask the salesperson if they have a list of prior customers that you can talk to, so you can get references for the work. If the salesperson refuses a list, citing privacy concerns or some other excuse, this may be a red flag.
Prior customers can give you information not only on how solid and quality the materials and work were, but how personable the remodeler was. Was he gruff and loathe to explain what he was doing, or was he friendly and eager to explain the details of the job, and listen to your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions?
Don’t Settle For Less
If the quote you are offered seems high, the salesman might offer ways you can save money by cutting corners. This is rarely a good idea—it might save you money at the get go, but you may not get the best service for what you pay. If you can afford it, put quality over cash every time. In the long term, you will save money and be much happier for it.
Know what you want to do. This will help cut down on the sheer number of options available to you. For example, you don’t want simple counter resurfacing if you’re planning to redesign the layout of your kitchen. However, if all you need is a bit more storage space, you don’t want to be talked into moving your plumbing stack to create an island in the middle of the kitchen. Know what you want to do, know what you need, and don’t let pressure sales tactics talk you out of it.
And be sure to research kitchen remodeling costs and their return on investment before you start planning your kitchen remodeling project.