Alabama Kitchen Remodeling Gone Wrong: Our Avoidable Mistakes List

A List Of Avoidable Remodeling Mistakes For Alabama Homeowners

Many homeowners who are planning a kitchen remodeling are so excited by the prospect of creating their dream kitchen that they fail to do their due diligence. After all, they've been clipping photographs and window shopping for the perfect range and the most beautiful flooring. When it's time to pull the trigger, they hire the first contractor that comes along because he's the cheapest, or he gave them a timeline that seems fast but is probably unrealistic.

There's nothing worse as a homeowner than setting high expectations, spending tens of thousands of dollars (or more) and ending up with a kitchen that's anything less than perfect. Renovating your kitchen is a massive undertaking with many variables and critical details on the way to your dream kitchen. A kitchen remodeling can typically involve wiring, plumbing, flooring, drywall, and design. The finished product needs to fit your lifestyle, meet your needs, and look aesthetically beautiful.

The best course of action is working with a professional design-build contractor who has experience and a process in place for your project. Educating yourself is the best way to make sure that your project exceeds your expectation. Let's take a look at these common kitchen remodeling mistakes so you can take the steps necessary to avoid them, so you're sure to end up with the kitchen of your dreams.

Remodeling Mistakes #1: Placing Form Over Function

Of course, we all want an aesthetically beautiful kitchen that's the envy of all our neighbors; however, focusing on form over function is one of the biggest remodeling mistakes you can make. Your kitchen is the most complicated room in your home, and it's probably one of the most used rooms in the house. If the result creates more work for you when performing your everyday tasks, it's not a bargain.

A good designer will ask you about your lifestyle what you love about your current kitchen and what's not working. They'll then work with you to create a design that focuses equally on form and function.

A good design will focus on work zones. For food prep, your stove refrigerator and prep area should be in close proximity to each other. Sometimes a poor design will put the fridge on the side of the island prep area. While the design may look good, those extra steps will have you quickly growing tired when you're doing prep work and cooking.

Floor Plan Design

Another common “form over function” remodeling mistake you'll find with inexperienced designers is not taking into account how cabinets, your range, refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher open. For example, when you open the dishwasher, does the door prevent you from opening the cabinet where you keep your pots and pans? Nothing is more frustrating than adding the step of emptying the dishwasher onto the counter because the cabinet door is blocked when the dishwasher door is open. While it might seem like a farfetched design slip, it happens more often than you might think!

Remodeling Mistakes #2: Doing it Yourself

Today we all are familiar with those HGTV shows that portray enterprising homeowners undertaking kitchen remodeling projects themselves. While there are plenty of projects around the home that a resourceful homeowner can easily do yourself, taking on a kitchen remodel is one of the biggest home improvement mistakes that you can make.

You May Not Know Enough To Be Your Own General Contractor

A kitchen remodeling is a complicated process that involves several subcontractor tasks, including plumbing, electrical work, drywall, plastering, tile work, flooring, cabinet, and appliance installation. In many older homes, you may need to update wiring or plumbing to meet new building codes.

In older homes, you may also come across hazards like asbestos that can be dangerous to your health if not professionally mitigated. You may have to deal with structural issues, mold issues, and permitting items that will need to be addressed early in the design stage. A kitchen remodeling is a complicated dance where one task must be completed before another can begin. Make a mistake, and it can cost you thousands of dollars to fix. Unless you're qualified to do the work, it's much cheaper, by far, to pay a professional who has the experience, knowledge, expertise, and subcontractors to get the job done right the first time, on time and on budget.

Remodeling Mistakes #3: Inadequate Cabinet and Counter Space

Kitchen design is as much science as it is art. You can't have a functional kitchen without adequate prep space and a proper working triangle (the relationship between the stove, sink, and refrigerator), A professional designer will have tricks up their sleeve to maximize both storage and workspace in your new kitchen. Whether it's configuring your design to incorporate a peninsula, or island or adding decorative elements like corbels to the ends of your base cabinets to expand counter space.

Cabinet Design is Best Left To Professionals

Storage is another essential element that is critical to a functional design. Whether it's adding an appliance garage of lift-out cabinet shelf to maximize counter space, or adding functional corner cabinets, or open shelving on the wall across from the island, a professional designer will maximize every inch of space available, even in a smaller space. The last thing you want is to design an aesthetically beautiful kitchen that doesn't meet your needs today or into the future.

Remodeling Mistakes #4: Inadequate Lighting

It's easy to understand how a DIY homeowner or inexperienced contractor might forget to include proper lighting in a kitchen remodel. A sufficient number of lighting fixtures is not only important when preparing food, but it can also perform as a design element in your kitchen. Lighting adds ambiance where needed, and can even keep you safer in the kitchen when you're working with knives and small appliances.

Professionals Understand The Physics of Light

The ideal design will incorporate three distinct types of lighting – general overhead lighting for illumination, task lighting that is focused and proper for safe food preparation, and ambient light fixtures like under-cabinet, over-cabinet or toe-kick lighting to accent the design elements you love the most in your new kitchen.

Remodeling Mistake #5: Not Preparing for Unexpected Costs

Whether it's mold, corroded pipes, outdated wiring, termite damage or asbestos-wrapped ductwork, almost every kitchen remodel has hidden problems that only become apparent after the job begins. Even the best contractor can't know what they'll find when the walls are opened up.

Do You Know What’s Behind Your Walls?

An excellent professional contractor will build a contingency of 10 or 15% into their estimate to cover any unexpected expenses. If they don't and something comes up, then you'll be forced to scale back on your wants - fixtures or finishes - to cover the costs of your needs like bringing the wiring up to code.

Make sure that your contractor does this practice. In the event nothing comes up, at the very least you'll save some money on your remodel, or you can take the extra budget and upgrade to custom cabinets, marble countertops instead of quartz, or that fancy chef's stove your been coveting!

Also, make sure that you have a clear change order process in place. Any changes to the job once the work begins should be added to the contract and described in detail so that it approximates the original scope of work.

Remodeling For Clients in Central and West Alabama

To avoid remodeling mistakes, working with a qualified professional design-build firm like Toulmin Cabinetry & Design is the smartest choice you can make when undertaking a major remodeling project like a complete kitchen renovation. The kitchen is the most important room in most homes, and it takes an experienced design professional that understands your lifestyle to create the kitchen of your dreams.

If you're planning a kitchen remodeling in the greater Tuscaloosa area, give the design experts at Toulmin Cabinetry & Design a call at (205) 366-0807. Let us help you realize your vision and design the kitchen you've been dreaming about!

Kitchen Remodeling Projects For Our Alabama Clients