Kitchen Remodeling Guide

by Pam Germundsen

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my kitchen was a little larger”, or “I sure could use more cabinet space?” Frequently, an undertaking of this magnitude is very overwhelming and continues to remain a wish. Sunshine Construction, Inc. offers some simple guidelines to help you have your dream kitchen.

As trends have changed in today’s busy world, many families find the kitchen is the busiest room in their home. Kitchens have become focal points in many households for entertaining, relaxing, as an extra workspace or homework area. As a result, kitchen remodeling is ranked as one of the most common home improvements. Whether you are thinking about a simple remodel or possibly even an addition, here are a few basic guidelines that will help ensure your kitchen improvements go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Start gathering ideas from your family members, friends, magazines and showrooms. Compile a notebook with pictures, drawings and samples of all the features and functions you want in your new kitchen. A well-thought out, detailed plan is a must.

Dream a little! This is the time when you can have your fixtures, appliances and cabinets located where you want them! How would you like to handle food storage, preparation and clean up? Don’t be limited by your existing walls. Many of Sunshine’s customers are removing walls, extending kitchen and family rooms thus opening small boxy areas into large spacious rooms.

Once you have determined the layout, style and size of your new room, you will be ready to start sorting through all of your options. You may optimize the dollars you spend by identifying what is truly important and what would be nice to have.

The five major categories in planning your kitchen are:

• Cabinets
• Countertops
• Flooring
• Fixtures
• Appliances

There is a vast array of styles, colors, finishes and manufacturers available to you. Remember, the more decisions you make now, the fewer you will have to make later.
All work, whether it is a remodel or addition/extension should be performed with the proper permits. This will benefit and protect you, the Homeowner.

Choosing a Contractor
A contractor can help you to pull together all the elements of your kitchen, working around the existing limitations, addressing technical issues like plumbing and lighting, and help give you ideas about products and material selections.

It is recommended you obtain at least three written estimates. If you make a detailed list, you will avoid confusion about the products to be used and the work to be performed. Your bids will be more accurate and easily compared.

When receiving an estimate, all allowanced items should be listed (An allowance is a dollar amount for a particular item not yet chosen or purchased. The allowance is the portion included in the estimate or contract the Contractor will purchase in the future).

Find out from all Contractors how long your improvements will take. Check the Contractor’s references and ask if the work he has done for them is of the same complexity or style as your project (keeping in mind no two projects are exactly the same). It is also advisable to visit some jobs in progress or completed jobs (you will take in the most by actually seeing some of their work). Always verify the Contractor’s license with the Contractor’s State License Board to make sure their license is current, active and in good standing. Get a current certificate of workers compensation and liability insurance.

A signed contract is the contractor’s authorization to start your project. Have it in writing! The written contract protects both you and the contractor. Do not sign anything until you review all of the terms with the contractor and completely understand what you are signing. Be sure the financial terms of the contract are clear. The contract should include the total price and the payment schedule. If you add work after the signed contract, substitute materials or equipment, or change the completion date, make sure clearly worded and signed, “Change Orders” are created.
By following these simple guidelines, you will have many years of enjoyment with family and friends in your new dream kitchen.

Decisions: Make the Right Ones on Your Kitchen Remodel

by Pam Germundsen

The big day is here! Its demolition time for your old kitchen! You’ve spent a lot of time meeting with general contractors and comparing estimates. After all, the contractor and their employees will be an integral part of your life until the job is complete. You’ve made all kinds of difficult decisions on what home improvements you want done, how much you want to invest in your project, and now you’re finally ready to get started. Even if you had to have plans for your home improvements, the blue prints are ready and have been approved by the city. At this point, the job is getting off to a great start!

But this great start doesn’t mean all the difficult decisions have been made! The decisions really have only just begun. The truth is you probably will never have to make so many decisions in such a short period of time that will affect the way you live your life as you will in the next few months. In fact, the experts at Sunshine Construction, Inc. caution homeowners that a job can come to a major slow down or a complete stop when it comes time to deciding on such things as appliances, cabinets, granite or tile, fixtures, paint color, flooring, trim, windows and doors.

One of the first tips offered by Sunshine involves simple communication with your general contractor. Most general contractors have established accounts with businesses that they have worked with on a continuing basis. These businesses might have set up some kind of discount with them in order to continue getting their business. It can’t hurt to ask your contractor if he will pass on these discounts to you. Who knows? It could make the difference of you getting that upgraded stove!

Believe it or not, there seems to be a logical order to making this next phase of decisions as each seem to be more interrelated than one might realize. The first two major decisions involve appliances and cabinets. There are about as many selections of appliances as there are homeowners and the style, colors, finishes and manufacturers are unlimited. While the multitude of options and possibilities might seem overwhelming, the decisions you make will be a way to express your personality and sense of style in your house.

Equally important, the cabinet manufacturer will need to know the size of your appliances so they can build the custom cabinets to fit around the appliances. Custom cabinets can be crafted in a wide range of styles and colors, again reflecting your unique style and taste.

The next decision is what type of countertop surface and backsplash you are going to choose. Countertop choices range from very durable, yet very expensive materials like granite to the less expensive, but attractive choices of ceramic tile and laminates. Tile can be fun to pick out, but in some cases, the job may slow down because the tile needs to be custom-ordered or back-ordered. Another consideration in choosing a countertop is knowing what type of edge detailing you prefer. Again, there are numerous choices to help you achieve the look you want for your new kitchen.

If you decide to use granite, a visit will usually be scheduled by your contractor to tour the showrooms of several granite fabricators where you’ll see an impressive display of slabs for you to select from. Remember that scheduling a fabricator is often a matter of timing and coordination. Fabricators need to wait until the cabinets are in as they must create a template, cut in openings for sinks, and take final measurements. From cabinets to countertops, the time needed in completing this phase can easily add up to a week or two after the cabinets go in before getting finished countertops.

Fixtures are very important and work hand-in-hand with most aspects of the entire project. For example the cabinets are dependent on the fixtures (sink, faucets, and garbage disposals). The countertop is dependant on the sink style (under-mount, or over-mount). And drywall must be installed to accommodate the type and style of light fixtures you choose (recessed, can, etc.). It’s easy to see why it is beneficial to do as much advance research as possible before these crucial decisions are needed.

Paint color might seem pretty straightforward — you could just go with a color already in the room or one that complements your new granite or tile. But again the experts at Sunshine Construction point to some popular trends of using faux finishes to add more depth and texture to your kitchen decor. With most faux finishing, one or more accent colors are applied over a base coat of a main color. Once you decide on the colors you will use, you then must decide on what finish you want such as sponge or rag rolling. Be forewarned though! These painting techniques could add more time to your job. Another tip to consider: look at the natural lighting you will have after the remodel/addition is complete. This could change the paint color dramatically as to whether you should use darker or lighter colors.

Most homeowners are now so excited to actually see their addition or remodel taking shape, that they visualize their first big get together. Who are they going to invite? What are they going to serve? But what about the flooring? Are you going to use hardwood, tile, linoleum, carpet or a combination of floorings? So keep making plans for that party to show off your home in the future, but don’t forget to stay on track with such important decisions as what kind of floor covering you are going to invest in so you’ll get the best look, durability and use in the future.

At long last the work is completed, the punch list is done, you’ve signed off and made your final payment for the job. You can now sit back and enjoy your beautiful remodel/addition knowing that all your decision-makings were worth it.

Sunshine Construction, Inc. would like to share their portfolio and references with you and offer a competitive bid on your next upcoming project. Please feel free to call them for an appointment and a free estimate at their toll free number, (800) 953-0053 or (925) 932-4072.