No one likes to cut a budget, especially when it's his or her own. But when it comes to planning a remodeling project, homeowners must establish a realistic budget . . . and actively manage it.
Preparing for a remodeling project is a lot like preparing to buy a car. You may know the room and style you want, but the options you choose may drive the price higher than you can reasonably afford. But there are ways to stretch the remodeling budget and end up with stylish results within budget.
-The most important step is finding a professional remodeling contractor for your job.
-Hire a professional contractor who is familiar with the building codes in your area. Updating work that does not meet code can be extremely expensive.
-A well–written contract can prevent costly mistakes or additions to the scope of your project. It is a critical step in maintaining your budget.
-Save money by planning ahead. Go through the design process first and choose everything you want to include in the new kitchen, from appliances to light fixtures, etc. This will define your budget and prevent hasty (and costly) decisions later in the project. Be sure to include all your product and material selections in the contract to avoid confusion and unnecessary change orders. Include the model, size, color, and other specifications. It is also wise to save 10–20 percent of your budget to allow for items added to the scope of work.
-The number one way to decrease the cost of your remodeling project is product choices. Look around to determine whether you can achieve a similar look with a less expensive product.
-In addition, pay attention to how labor intensive some design features may be, for example laying ceramic tile on kitchen countertops and the backsplash.
-Compare products and their prices carefully before you make final decisions. And keep an open mind when you discuss product and design ideas with your contractor
-Make decisions based on value and quality, not just price.
In the Kitchen
-If at all possible, reuse existing appliances, and build your new cabinets around them. This could save you anywhere from $1,500–5,000 easily. However, be aware that appliances, like anything electrical, are sensitive to change and may develop problems if they are moved. Should you decide to avoid potential appliance "burn–out" and purchase new appliances, choose energy conscious models for a reduction in your utility bills.
-Maintain present location of major fixtures, appliances and utilities relative to the plumbing, gas and electrical outlets. This could even apply to the location of the telephone. Moving plumbing, wiring and jacks can be extremely expensive.
-The faucet can be a costly item. The least expensive selection is chrome. Even a high-end chrome faucet is considerably less than a mid-range brass or porcelain version. A standard two-handle faucet generally costs less than single handle. Faucets and handles are sold separately, so you may want to choose a chrome faucet with brass or porcelain handles for a different look. Faucet caution: The price variances in faucets reflect the various internal and external features. Always choose a faucet with replaceable internal parts. You won't want to have to replace the entire faucet if it breaks – it's simply not cost-effective.
-Choose neutral colors in fixtures and appliances.
-Good floor covering is important. It ties one room to another and provides visual consistency. Familiarize yourself with the prices of the various flooring materials to make the best decision for your home.
-Consider your cabinet options carefully. Those choices will drive the overall price. You can add some options at a later date to defray some of the initial cost. Some that are easy to add include tilt front doors, spice racks and slide out wire baskets. However, if you decide to wait, make certain that the option you want will be available and can be added after installation. Note of caution: Waiting will cost you more in the long run. Adding new cabinets often requires installing a new floor. Refacing existing cabinets not only eliminates the need for new flooring, countertops and appliances altogether, it is a major savings in any kitchen remodel.
-Go with a simple design in the kitchen employing single height wall cabinets, blind corner cabinets rather than those with Lazy Susans, and other standard options. Watch your upgrades.
-Choose cabinets that can be operated without the addition of hardware (those that are finger–pulled).
-Install cabinets without soffits to decrease the labor cost. Also consider cabinets without trim moldings or with simple trim.
-If you are going to put in new wood trim (in your crown molding, trims, and door casings) to match the new cabinets, order pre–finished trim instead of having the painting or staining done on–site. This will decrease labor cost. Ordering finger–jointed vs. clear vertical grain also will save you money.
-Connect fluorescent light fixtures to the existing ceiling fixture box instead of installing new recessed lighting, which may require a new ceiling because of the recessed features.
Find a licensed, bonded, and ethical remodeler at www.greaterphoenixnari.org.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry – Greater Phoenix Chapter is a 501 © 6 organization. NARI’s core purpose is to advance and promote the remodeling industry’s professionalism, product and vital public purpose.
Greater Phoenix NARI PO Box 26985 Scottsdale, AZ 85255
www.GreaterPhoenixNARI.org Phone/fax: 480-419-1631