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Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to remodel a kitchen?

Although there are many factors that contribute to the amount of time it takes to complete a kitchen remodel, the general answer is four to eight weeks. The work usually wouldn’t get started until the cabinetry has been produced, and that could take anywhere from four to ten weeks. Once the work begins, your general contractor will provide you with a rough schedule which includes tear-out, rough plumbing and electrical, cabinet installation, counter install, backsplash, then finish work. As is probably obvious, the more work that needs to be performed, the longer it will take. Will the sink be moved? If so, that could add to the rough plumbing work. Will the floor be replaced? Wood and tile floors require time for preparation and installation. Other factors could include removal of soffits, addition of recessed lighting, and even waiting for inspections, if those are necessary. You’ll want this to last for a long time, so it’s not worth rushing or cutting corners to save a few days of inconvenience.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

That’s the most common question I am asked, and it’s also the most difficult to answer. The costs involved in remodeling a kitchen fall into three main categories: The cabinets and counters, the appliances and fixtures, and the cost of the contracting work.

An appliance package can cost about three thousand dollars for a basic range, fridge, dishwasher and microwave. A high-end appliance package consisting of a built-in fridge, commercial-style wall oven and rangetop, European dishwasher, and professional ventilation can top fifteen thousand dollars. On top of that, many people choose glass-door undercounter wine fridges, steam ovens, and built-in cappuccino makers that can add thousands more. A good quality sink and faucet will usually add another thousand, although hand-made apron sinks and specialty accessories like instahot and purifiers can add a couple thousand more.

The contracting work on a basic kitchen remodel can cost as little as ten to fifteen thousand if the appliances and sink aren’t moving, and if the floor and lighting are in generally good shape and don’t need to be replaced. The work can easily top thirty thousand if any walls are being removed, or if there are major modifications being made to the floor plan.

Which brings us to the cabinets and counters. A good rule-of thumb for cabinet cost would be to start with a thousand dollars per foot assuming middle-quality cabinets and an entry-level granite color. Once you move to specialty finishes, lots of decorative touches, and an exotic granite color with a premium edge, you can easily inch up past the twenty-five hundred dollar a foot range. Each kitchen, however, is priced up on a case-by-case basis, so these are just guideline.

Add these three elements together and that should get you to a basic budget.

Why does some all-wood cabinetry actually cost less than cabinetry made of other materials? Isn’t all-wood cabinetry the best and highest quality?

When it comes to the types of woods that are used to make furniture and cabinetry, there are many quality levels of solid stock and plywood. Some manufacturers that advertise “all-wood cabinetry at great low prices” do so by using low grade lumber and cut lots of corners in both finish and joinery. On the converse, all of the highest end European and Canadian cabinet manufacturers use high-quality flakeboard, laminates, and veneers for their box construction. The fit and finish is top notch, and the premium pricetag reflects the premium workmanship that goes into making custom cabinetry. Arm yourself with information before making a decision.

Can I buy the cabinets and install them myself or hire someone to install them?

Buying cabinetry from one source and having it installed by another puts you in the middle of two vendors that have no interest in each other, so if a problem arises during the installation, you will find yourself being told that a cabinet is defective by the installer, and that the cabinets were installed improperly by the cabinet rep, with no way to know which is right. By contracting your supplier to install the kitchen, you remove that risk.

Regarding the do-it-yourself types, do you really have the skills and experience to properly install the most important room in your house? Isn’t your marriage worth more than that?

What are the best surfaces for counters?

The answer to this question depends a lot on what you expect out of your counter and what type of person you are. Granite is generally agreed to be the best material for its hardness, density, and beauty. But what makes something beautiful to one person may make it unattractive to another. Natural stones contain imperfections that many find too distractive. For those people there are quartz surfaces that are manufactured from natural quartz, but made to be much more uniform than slabs of granite. They also require even less maintenance than granite.

Other materials include stainless steel, butcherblock, solid surface such as Dupont Corian, and even exotic woods can contribute to the beauty and functionality of your kitchen.