Cheapest way to do a kitchen remodel? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We want to remodel our kitchen with our tax refund. Our ideas include new flooring, paint, new cupboards/cabinets, new countertop and adding a dishwasher to a house that has never had one. And venting our stove outside instead of using our hood that rotates air.

We have an appointment with a kitchen/bath place who has a package for $4k that includes cabinets, countertops, appliances (stove, fridge, dishwasher, vented hood, microwave, faucets, sink).

Problem is, we don't want just that package. We want flooring and paint, which is not included in the package. We don't necessarily want new appliances, except for the dishwasher and disposal. Our sink and faucet are relatively new, we'll keep them.

Our kitchen is very small. I think with this package we're considering we can pick and choose a few things and possibly remove items we don't want from there (such as sink/faucet, fridge, stove) to lower our cost. We have an appointment on Thursday to see them.

then my next thought is we'll buy the supplies and hire a handyman to do the painting and flooring, because I'm pregnant and can't paint and my husband doesnt want to do the work (and we'd like it done all at once instead of bits and pieces here or there which we're bound to experience if we did it on our own with 4 kids!)

I will also need to check reviews on the appliances included in the package, and the cabinets, to see if they'll even hold up to all the use a small kitchen will experience in a large family. And see if they'll give me a price breakdown for each item to see if I can't find it myself cheaper and maybe just hire them to install everything (thy offer that option, too).

We've never redone a kitchen. What should I look for during the appointment, what are red flags to consider with hiring a company to do the work? How can we make this cheaper w/o diy?
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#2 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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One way to make everything cheaper is a good solid plan! Everything from outlets to sconces. Your detailed list will save time and money. Also I know several people who have used IKEA for cupboards with the right plan they could save money too.
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#3 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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Yup, I was gonna say Ikea as well for cabinets. And do the paint yourself if you can, that saves a lot. There is a kind of paint that doesn't have the fumes, that is what we used when I was pregnant.
Are there folks in your area that you could ask for recommendations for contractors? And give just a small percentage up front. A red flag would be a person/company that wants more than half the money up front and does not show you samples of what they would be putting in (flooring samples, countertop samples, etc.). We ran across some shady folks when we did the remodel in our old house.
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#4 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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The 4K package is a marketing gimmick. Recognize it for what it is. Just like when you walk into a big box store, they have kitchens set up with fixed prices. The price you end up paying for what you actually need and want will have no relation to their package, and neither will the price.

Prices on all the things you mention vary hugely. Cabinets can be made out of mdf or solid wood and the price difference is enormous. Counters can be laminate or quartz. Flooring can be vinyl tile or hardwood.

Do some research and figure out what you really want and need. Your public library has some kitchen renovation books. There are great forums at gardenweb.com. Go to some kitchen places and look around. Then have a basic plan of attack and a knowledge of costs before you go in.

We did a DIY remodel last summer. We got very high quality, solid maple cabinets, Corian counters, a good quality laminate floor, new lighting fixtures and no new appliances. It cost us around $14K, and our kitchen isn't particularly large. That doesn't include labor other than $250 to move a gas line.
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#5 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Another vote for IKEA cabinets - they have some features that you normally have to pay extra even in more expensive lines. Some other options would be looking at local cabinetry/reno stores and seeing if they have any kitchen displays that they are planning to replace. They normally are not that big so some may work well in a small kitchen depending on how the pieces work in your space.

4K is an amazing price for all the items you listed though! Definitely get a very detailed list of what is included (in terms of products and services, and specifications of each product). I'd be extra sure to check their references and see their previous work in person if you can. See how the quality is (of the product and the installation), how well they kept to the timelines (living with no kitchen is awful! even if you don't have kids!), what the service was like in terms of responding to issues or resolving complaints.

Also, if you can put any deposits on a credit card (and pay it off asap, of course!) I'd do that. In case anything happens you would have some recourse. We learned this the hard way recently when a long-time local company went out of business - it's the only way we got our money back.

Oh, another recommendation for gardenweb.com forums - they have a lot of info and helpful people.
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#6 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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We did a top to bottom kitchen remodel for 10K.
Cabinets, counters, rearranging of plumbing, paint, marmoleum floor, new fridge and dishwasher. The 10K also included labor, one way airfare and u-haul rental to our nearest IKEA. Everything was waiting for us when we got there. We were short one door pull which my mom bought at her Ikea and mailed to me.
We saved money on demolition of the old kitchen by putting it on craigslist free to anyone who could remove it without damaging our walls. We had over 100 responses over night. We were able to choose a guy with contracting experience.
Just wanted to add...we shopped around A LOT for appliances. We did some haggling too. We ended up with a 3K fridge for less than 1K...it was on the sale floor for 1500. We chatted up the salesman who told us it would be marked down further in a few days. He sold us an excellent Bosch dishwasher at a deep discount as well. Salespeople have a fair amount of freedom to negotiate these days. Don't be shy to ask for discounts.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 07:56 AM
 
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Another vote for Ikea cabinets/countertops. We had them in our old house for 5 years and for one year in this new one. They are very well made, very sturdy and I read somewhere, the cheapest out there for the same quality. They have different style doors and basically your price will differ just based on the door style you choose, the cabinets are all the same. You could play with their online planning tool and see for yourself how your new kitchen would look like and also how much it would cost you. If you have Ikea in your area, they do installation as well, highly recommend it too. Both our kitchens, one in US and one in Europe were installed in two days, from start to finish. We saved money on doing the demolition and painting ourselves.
In Us we had tiles on the floor put in by Home Depot contractors. They were ok, nothing to write home about, but their prices were good.

In our first kitchen we got butcher block for the countertops and some boat varnish from a sailing supply store. We put about 5 coats of varnish on the butcher block and it held up beautifully.
Now we have laminate countertops, also from Ikea, just because I wanted a different color, still very good.

Good luck!
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#8 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much ladies. We have an Ikea about half an hour away. My husband hasn't been pleased with their quality though as we have a Ikea bunkbed and a few other things and he isn't pleased with how they're holding up. We might look into the cabinets though, maybe they are built differently.

I am going to take some books out from the library and my husband and I are going to start a notebook to compare prices/options and take notes on the best way to do this. We want it to increase the value of our home, but we don't want to spend the entire refund in the kitchen.

Where are some good websites to help us, maybe check lists, helpful tips, etc? Places you wouldn't think about to buy supplies that would be cheaper than specialty stores or big box stores? Good places to check reviews on kitchen supplies like cabinets, etc? Where can I learn about our options with countertops? What should I know about back splashes? Kitchen paint? Ack!

We've just begun but I'm starting to get overwhelmed. We want to keep it simple, really!
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#9 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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The cheapest is to do inexpensive lower cabinets that you paint with top quality kitchen paint (yourselves) in the color of your choice; you use open shelving instead of upper cabinets. Pour concrete countertops or buy butcher block countertop from ikea...,

Have you considered painting your existing floor? If it is wood or if there's wood subfloor under linoleum, it can be painted with floor paint. Do as much as you can with paint! I'll post some pictures of our (very cheap) remodel if I can. try this (the pictures are on the bottom of the page: http://rosemaryscottfishburn.shutterfly.com/

Making a March 9th sandwich with a Halloween filling.
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#10 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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We did a kitchen remodel, and one of the best things we did was NOT change the footprint in terms of where the major appliances were. That saves a lot of money, because you don't need to get plumbers and electricians in.

For our 13' x 13' kitchen (shaped like an L with another peninsula with counter-height seating and a sink):

2500 from Ikea bought cabinets, wood counters for the "L" section, and a double sink
900 bought a really nice Kenmore Elite French Door fridge from the "scratch and dent" outlet
650 bought a really nice Kenmore Elite 5 burner flex fuel stove from "scratch and dent"
500 bought a new Kitchenaid dishwasher from Lowes
750 bought a "bullet" shaped peninsula top in a Formica that kind of looks like granite

We're fortunate in that our floors (on the whole first floor of the house) were a housewarming gift from my dad, and the labor was mostly DH and FIL.

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#11 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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This discussion couldn't have come at a better time. We, too, will be getting a good tax refund and are seriously thinking about redoing our kitchen.

I've found cabinets in the IKEA catalog that I love but I, too, am concerned about quality. We have 3 kids, cook almost every meal at home and use are kitchen a lot because we homeschool. We also plan on living in this home forever so I want the kitchen to last.

We've had a variety of Ikea furniture and I've been concerned about some of the quality...especially where the hardware connects one piece to another. My friend has done a lot of research on kitchen cabinets and she said that their kitchen furniture is much higher quality than their other furniture. She also said that they use very high quality hardware for kitchen cabinets. We are going up to IKEA on Saturday to check it out.

Last weekend I went to a local cabinet place and it seems so much more expensive. I want cabinets that will last but I want to be careful about how we spend our money.

I'll post again after we go to Ikea.

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#12 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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From what I understand (not having them myself) the IKEA cabinets are a whole world above their other furniture. One of the good things is that you assemble them yourself (or hire someone to) so you have the ability to use wood glue in addition to nailing them together, etc. You can do extra things to reassure yourself that they are done well. Also if you look at the warranties they have available they are much higher for the kitchen components.

For appliance I'd have a look at your local craigslist or similar. Many people seem to sell off their appliances when they upgrade to stainless ones. Also scratch-and-dent places or just clearance sections of regular stores. I don't know if you have a Costco but they carry a (limited) selection of appliances also. IKEA has appliances too, although you'd have to research on their reviews - I do know that they are made by Whirlpool.

Some resources for you:
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/ (check out the Kitchens forum)
http://ikeafans.com/ (their forum is not quite as intuitive IMO but they are all IKEA kitchens; I'd definitely check out what kinds of problems people run into; also they often do "hacks" to modify the stock cabinets to meet different needs spaces which can be very useful)

FWIW we will be putting in an IKEA kitchen in for my mom, most likely later this year. From what I've seen they look like much better quality than what you'd get, for example, from Home Depot. Not quite the same as custom-built cabinets but those are crazy expensive usually. A lot depends on how solidly you construct them IMO and all those little finishing touches - that's what gives it the professional look.
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#13 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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If I were redoing a kitchen, this is what I would do. (And I recognize that my style is not necessarily what everyone would want.)


Rip out all cabinets/sink/etc.

Paint everything myself. (Use low/no VOC paint if you worry about fumes.)

Buy a big vintage farm sink. Buy stand-alone pieces of furniture rather than built-in cabinets. I'd have a china cabinet for dishes, maybe an old dresser for silverware, napkins, towels, etc, topped with butcher block for counter space. I'd either have a built-in pantry closet, or use an old wardrobe. I'd have a big island/old table for work area. I'd have a honking-big old gas stove, and try to find a small refridgerator that has a vintage look.

Anyway, this is what I would do just because I like the style, but it would also be cheap. I bought an ugly china cabinet for $60 a year or two ago, and painted it turquoise and it looks amazing now and is my favorite piece of furniture. I see Hoosier-style cabinets all the time for a few hundred dollars...a little bit of restoration and/or paint and they would look brand new. I'm positive I could do all this for under $4K. (probably for well under 2K if I shopped around for the best deals, and was willing to do a lot of sanding, scraping, and painting.)
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#14 of 18 Old 02-10-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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We're almost finished our kitchen reno (14x11) and we've spent maybe 3k. It was completely diy and are keeping our 5 year old appliances which are still good.

That includes venetian plaster walls, fake tin tile ceiling, new chandelier, new base cabinets (we don't want wall cabinets), dh is making the doors/drawers because they are crazy expensive to buy, 26ft new countertop, high end vinyl tile (i hate ceramic) flooring that was on sale for 50% off, new sink and taps....some new drywall, moving the entry way 4 feet to the right, white tile backsplash with a blue glass tile border.

Dh did/is doing everything himself. He was going to build the base cabinets (would have saved $400) but it wasn't worth the time it would have taken.

The key to an inexpensive kitchen reno is to do as much as possible yourself. Paying someone to do anything, makes it expensive.

Over on garden web (where they all have $50k+ kitchens are are extremely picky) Ikea cabs are highly reviewed, they have superior hardward included. They don't deliver to where I live and they were more expensive then what we ended up going with so we didn't use them.
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#15 of 18 Old 02-11-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I don't know the age of your house or the quality of the existing cabinets, but people make the mistake of ripping outdated and ugly cabinets and replacing them with lower quality stuff all the time. If your cabinets are solidly built I would consider new hardwear and repainting/refinishing them first.
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#16 of 18 Old 02-11-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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It's hard to find any sort of comprehensive review of things like cabinets, because brands tend to be regional and one can pay for a variety of features, like material, closures, finishes, etc, that affect the quality (and price) greatly. Consumer Reports has some articles comparing countertop materials and how to save money. If you want to pm me your email address, I can get you more info.

I bought some things online and saved, in particular cabinet hardware and faucets. You can also sometimes save on flooring, but I didn't do that.
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#17 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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We remodeled our kitchen when I was pregnant also. (NOT a great time!)

Cost estimate = $20,000 including labor if we had paid my husband who is a carpenter.

We went as green as possible with new materials, and that added cost, but found excellent deals on fixtures & appliances by simply watching the sales, and tacking on online coupons from home depot & sears. We found all of our cabinet hardware on ebay. (Excellent quality, style & price.) Our non VOC paint came from an eco store. They had a section of mistakes, so it was 1/3 of the normal price.

As a carpenter's wife, I just have to say that you will get what you pay for. Those package deals are so attractive, but DH spends a lot of time fixing and finishing where they left off. If you want to increase the value of your house go for the best reasonable quality you can. Keep it simple too. Buyers want to see that they can easily make the space their own.

DH says that IKEA cabinets will endure light use over the years, and that some are better than others. That's all I can get out of him!
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#18 of 18 Old 03-01-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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It's an expense that's for sure. I'm thinking about doing it too. My sink literally fell apart at the pipes and is now being held up by soup cans.

Someone sent me this article on twitter when I mentioned it. General tips about kitchen remodeling, but a really interesting stat.

Quote:
Kitchen remodels in the $50,000 range recouped 76% of the initial project cost
http://www.houselogic.com/articles/7...en-remodeling/
I'm definitely not going to spend maybe even 10% of that, but it's good to know that it could potentially add value, get money back and not be a money pit.
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