August 14, 2016

A kitchen renovation is a substantial cost for most homeowners. The benefits of upgrading your kitchen are an increase in the overall value of your home and functional, beautiful space that lasts for years.

We compiled a list of challenges and mistakes homeowners often encounter during a kitchen remodeling project. For the best chance of completing your project on time and near budget, you should avoid these five.

1. Rushing the kitchen remodel’s planning phase

Before starting demolition, be certain to work out your plans, measurements and details with precision. Ambiguity in details is the enemy of both your budget and timeline.

Before any hammer hits a wall, do a thorough walk through with your contractor and discuss the entire scope of work for your project. This way, the contractors can flag potential issues ahead of time. For example, a very common mistake is not reviewing the power load for your appliances or fixtures. Discovering you have too little power for your new equipment can cost you big bucks, especially if it’s not discovered until after the work has begun.

In the planning phase, don’t pass on small add-ons, such as storage, drawer dividers or pantry pullouts. If you wait to decide on these options down the road, it will be much more costly.

Lastly, an essential part of your kitchen remodel is creating a budget. To avoid breaking your budget, you should decide what elements of your renovation are most important to you and work backward to distribute your remaining budget accordingly.

2. Getting few proposals or choosing the cheapest bid

Never accept the first proposal you receive. It’s important to compare at least three different contractors. The proposals you receive from contractors can and will vary enormously depending on the particulars in each. Be sure to go over the same details with each contractor you meet. This way, their proposals will be easy to compare.

Get at least three proposals to guarantee you’re not paying too much or too little. The smartest decision will most likely be selecting the proposal that lands in the middle. Always remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Not hiring an interior designer for full remodels

If your project is small, such as painting or refinishing your floors, you most likely won’t need an interior designer. But if your kitchen remodel is a full gut project and includes tile, stone, cabinets and paint, then you’ll benefit tremendously from hiring a designer.

Without a designer on your team, you’ll be scrutinizing hundreds if not thousands of selections. Narrowing down materials and brands can easily hold up the entire renovation.

One of the most important elements of a kitchen design is the counter. If you hire a designer, they can help you pick countertop materials that complement your kitchen’s busiest areas, such as the sink, stove and refrigerator. Sometimes this means mixing and matching materials. A designer will make sure these areas and appliances are in the most efficient location and look great.

Lastly, a designer can help you narrow down the best storage solutions for your kitchen. This can really maximize kitchen space, making it more livable.

4. Spending money on the wrong kitchen features

Do you cook a lot? Do you socialize with family in the kitchen? Are you having issues with your current cabinet space? Keep these factors in mind when choosing your new kitchen’s features or when considering its overall design.

You should invest money on the features you will use most often and family or guests will enjoy. Make the best use of your budget by reserving the largest amounts to the spaces and features you’ll use regularly.

By planning these areas first and working backwards to determine the other details, you won’t miss out on key elements. For example, a large counter space may be important if you have a large family, or having a great cooktop may be essential if you love to cook. To offset the costs of these important features, remodel the unimportant areas with simpler finishes, and spend less on lighting, storage and backsplashes.

5. Staying in the apartment or moving back during renovations

You likely be stressed while overseeing your renovation, but living in the midst of it will multiply the stress. While completing your kitchen remodeling project, make sure to protect your home’s other rooms and surfaces from paint drippings and remodeling debris.

If you decide to — or have no other choice but to — live in your home during renovations, expect contractors to be working around you. You’ll likely trip over each other, which will slow down your project. Deciding to stay in the home during the renovation is not the healthiest decision, especially if you have children or pets, because you’ll be living with a lot of dust and debris.

Renovating or remodeling your home is not an easy task. You can save both money and time in your project by avoiding these five mistakes.

This article first appeared on Angie’s List — here

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