Kitchen Countertop Planning
New Cabinets & Countertops Take Planning
Remodeling your kitchen and counters can be very expensive but it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of things that can save you money and the most important are planning, research and perseverance. Take the time to shop around and try to be open minded on the materials you will use. Some granite colors cost a lot more than others and some countertop fabricators charge more for the same labor. The internet can help, but you have to pound the pavement to save money. Doing all this work is so frustrating that most people give up, call a contractor and spend at least $10,000 more than you have to.
Planning a remodel job includes doing a lot of what-ifing when it comes to materials and labor. What if I hire a general contractor to do all the work or what if I want to be the project manager and bring the subs in as I need them? How much time and money will it save me? That all depends on the contractor and your ability and time to manage and schedule the sub-contractors. Piece of mind is sometimes worth the price if you have a general contractor you can trust, especially if your time is limited or you find it hard to manage multiple tasks. If you do have a general contractor you will still have hundreds of things to do and decisions to make during the process, like color selection, materials selection, appliance choices, paint colors, faucet types... the list keeps getting longer.
I remodeled my kitchen with no general contractor. I was confident in my ability to manage the project and do some of the work myself. The first order of things was the extent of the remodel and what I could do myself. I knew a granite countertop contractor that did great work for a good price that would work around my schedule. My wife and I were able to go the slab warehouse and select the slabs of granite we wanted, and even the layout of each piece of granite so the most beautiful part of the slab grain would be in the heart of the kitchen. We worked with the fabricator to have cuts in the granite where the seams would not be noticeable, like behind the cooktop instead of at the corners of the counters, making it all but seamless.
I had the fabricator install a new sink, but I did all the plumbing for the new faucets, garbage disposal and new dishwasher. I also did the back splash myself and rewired the electrical outlets and the electrical connection for the new oven and cooktop. I removed the old countertops, sink, faucets, disposed of them and replaced the appliances myself which saved me over $2500.
I also did the painting and new wood trim work need for the cabinets to be ready for the countertops. All these things are doable for the average handyman, but it takes a lot of planning to make it all come together.
And there will be problems! Things like thinking all 30” wide kitchen ranges are 30” wide. They are not. I was going to replace my appliances after the countertops were installed. My old KitchenAid range was a 1/2” narrower than all the ranges made today. As a result, I had to have a 1/2” of granite removed before a new range would fit. This turned out to be a very dirty project, one I won’t soon forget.
Look at your project, break it down step by step, and see how much of the project you want to do. Then make a time line and sub-project list and start shopping for all the materials and sub-contractors you will need. And one thing that you must factor in is that things will go wrong but you can overcome each and all of them--except time..It will always take longer than you expected..good luck on your remodel.
Tags: kitchen countertops, do-it-yourself, planning, granite countertop fabricator