Keeping Kitchen Renovation Cost in Check

kitchen remodelIf you’ve done your homework, you’re well aware that kitchen renovation cost is considerable. Although it will never be cheap, it’s possible to keep your kitchen renovation budget in check by planning your kitchen remodel wisely.

Don’t Compromise Quality

Before we begin discussing the right way to keep kitchen renovation cost in check, we should emphasize that it’s never a good idea to skimp on quality. In the end, low-quality construction will come back to haunt you. Because you will ultimately have to replace shoddy work and perhaps repair any resultant damage, shoddy construction is often more expensive than doing the job right the first time around.

That being said, the below guidelines will help you keep your kitchen renovation budget on track without compromising the quality of your new kitchen.

Increase Efficiency, Not Size

Today’s kitchens are ever expanding in size and function, and increasing your kitchen’s size may be desirable, especially in older homes with smaller kitchens. However, expanding your kitchen by only 200 square feet can cost up to $48,000. Increasing space efficiency through well-placed storage and making the most of wall space can increase your kitchen’s functionality while avoiding costly expansions.

Refurbish and Refinish

Cabinetry, countertops and flooring are some of the most costly aspects of kitchen remodeling. If these elements are in good enough shape to be refinished rather than replaced, doing so will cut back your kitchen renovation cost significantly.

Use In-Stock Fixtures

Special-order fixtures and plumbing cost significantly more than in-stock materials. If possible, use items that are already in stock for your kitchen renovation; they’re just as good as custom-ordered and are much more cost-efficient.

Be Realistic with Features and Amenities

Today’s gourmet kitchens are chock-full of features, luxuries and amenities. Although these amenities are convenient, they rack up kitchen renovation costs, and aren’t necessarily required in most cases. Consider your priorities for your new kitchen, and if you won’t get much use out of a potential feature, you may want to consider doing without it.

Over to YouHave you recently renovated your kitchen? If so, we’d like to hear all about your own budget-friendly kitchen remodeling ideas. Tell us all about it in the comment section.

Best of Kitchen Renovation Trends 2013

Kitchen RenovationKitchen renovations are some of the most popular home improvements, and for good reason.  A full kitchen renovation creates a great space in both form and function.  The kitchen remodeling market is ever-evolving, with new kitchen renovation trends surfacing all the time.  Here are some of this year’s most popular kitchen remodeling ideas.

Stainless Steel

Up to 63% of new kitchen remodels now include stainless steel elements in the sink, stovetop, appliances and even countertops.  Stainless steel has long been a fixture in industrial kitchens, and is both attractive and functional.

Chef’s Stoves

High-end stoves are a must have for many of today’s homeowners.  Many chefs prefer gas ranges, as they provide quick, even heating.  If you’re looking to go ultra-modern, consider an induction range.  Induction ranges use a magnetic field to directly heat your pots and pans rather than simply heating the area underneath like conventional gas and electric stoves.  This allows not only for ultrafast heating, but also leaves the range cool to the touch once pans are removed, preventing burn hazards.

Let in the Light

Today’s kitchens typically have many more windows than in the past.  Efficiently designed storage space frees up more wall space for windows, allowing a more open, brighter kitchen.  If your kitchen opens directly to the outdoors, you can also opt to install glass doors to let in some light without making major renovations.

Think Green

Environmentally friendly materials have surfaced on the home renovation market, including in kitchen remodeling.  Greener options for flooring, paint, cabinetry and countertops are increasingly popular, as are more eco-friendly appliances.

Glass Backsplashes

In the past, tile backsplashes have been the norm, but glass backsplashes are now increasingly popular.  Art glass backsplashes are an excellent way to add some color and personality to your kitchen, making it a style all your own.  Glass is also easier to clean than tile, and doesn’t need to be re-grouted.

Over to You

Have you remodeled your kitchen in 2013?  If so, we’d love to hear what features you included in your kitchen remodel, and your own take on current kitchen renovation trends.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Kitchen Cabinets: Refinish, Reface or Replace?

kitchen remodelKitchen cabinets are one of the big-ticket items for kitchen renovation, but updated kitchen cabinets can go a long way towards freshening up your kitchen’s décor.  However, if your kitchen cabinets are in reasonably good shape, it’s possible to refurbish pre-existing work to freshen up your look without breaking the bank.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets and replacing hardware is relatively easy and inexpensive.  However, before you start picking out colors, be sure that your cabinets are paintable.  Solid wood, wood veneer and metal cabinets handle paint well, but laminate and melamine cabinets aren’t paintable, and refinishing these two types is best left to a professional.  Luckily for kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available for small and large jobs alike.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re looking to do something a little more than skin deep, you can also reface kitchen cabinets.  Kitchen cabinet refacing involves either installation of a thin veneer over existing cabinet doors or alternatively replacing doors but leaving the cabinets intact.  This is a little pricier than refinishing, but may be ideal if your doors are dinged up or if you’re looking to update the woodwork itself.  Just make sure that the underlying cabinets are in good repair and that you’re satisfied with the layout before your invest in refacing kitchen cabinets.

Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets are in rough shape or if you’d like to change the layout of your kitchen, replacing your kitchen cabinets may be the way to go.  Stock or modular cabinets will be cheaper than custom cabinets, although some homeowners prefer custom cabinets that are tailored to their needs and to the home’s décor. Whatever your choice, be sure to purchase cabinets made of high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.

Updating your kitchen cabinets will be a huge improvement to your kitchen’s décor, and you’ll be glad you’ve done it.  The extent of the job is up to you as a homeowner; consider your budget, personal preferences and the condition of your existing kitchen cabinetry before moving forward.  Also don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional in both the planning and construction phases of your project.

 

Kitchen Sink Selection

kitchen remodelGourmet kitchens are gaining increasing popularity, and today’s homeowners are seeking kitchen designs that are both stylish and functional.  There are a plethora of kitchen sinks available today, and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming.  Here’s a rundown of the most popular kitchen sink options with the pros and cons for each.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel sinks are both durable and affordable, so are a great way to cut your kitchen renovation cost.  Stainless steel sinks are also easy to maintain and clean, and come in a variety of finishes to best fit your kitchen’s design.  However, because stainless steel sinks are made of a thin sheet of steel, they can be somewhat noisy as dishes and other objects brush against the side.  Additionally, they may develop fine scratches with repeated use, and although there are a variety of finishes, the color will still be silver.

Enamel Sinks

Enamel kitchen sinks, which consist of either stainless steel or cast iron with an enameled finish, come in many colors, and are also affordable.  This could be a good way to customize your kitchen remodel without going over budget.  Enameled cast iron, while heavier, may also be more durable, so is the preferable choice so long as your countertop can support its weight.  However, both kinds of enamel sinks are prone to chipping and scratching, so should be used with care.

Composite Sinks

Composite sinks are made of either acrylic or fiberglass, and provide a sleek, shiny look.  They are moderately priced, and will cost a little more than stainless steel or enamel, but are cheaper than composite granite or integrated sinks.  However, composite sinks are prone to scratches from improper cleaning or knife usage on the sink’s border.  Because of their low tolerance for wear and tear, composite sinks may not be the best choice for diligent cooks.

Stone Composite Sinks

Stone composite sinks are comprised of either granite or quartz and acrylic.  Because they are part stone, they are more durable than standard composite sinks.  They will not chip or scratch with dropped pots and pans, although harsh abrasive cleaning can still leave scuff marks.

Integrated Sinks

Integrated sinks are manufactured along with the countertop, similar to most bathroom sinks.  Integrated sinks create a smooth, seamless look, and spills can be swept directly into the sinks.  However, integrated sinks aren’t available in all of the media described above, and are typically either composite or stainless steel.

Ultimately, your kitchen sink selection will depend upon your home’s décor, your projected wear and tear level of your kitchen and your budget.  A reputable home renovation professional can help guide your decision, and can also ensure that your new sink is properly installed.  For kitchen renovation Toronto-area homeowners have many well-qualified contractors available.

Are you currently remodeling your kitchen or looking to replace your kitchen sink?  If so we’d love to hear your own thoughts.  What kind of sink did you ultimately select, and what impacted your decision?  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Planning Your Basement Renovation

Basement-Remodeling-InteriorBasements represent an untapped resource in most homes, as they’re typically left unfinished and used haphazardly for storage and/or as a storm shelter.  Basement renovation, also known as basement finishing, makes your basement into usable space for any number of applications.  However, any basement finishing job should be carefully planned from the beginning.  These basic considerations will get your basement remodeling project off on the right foot.

Why Basement Renovation?

Basements are typically equivalent to about 30% of a home’s square footage, comprising an average of 600-800 square feet.  If you’re feeling cramped in your current living space, basement finishing can substantially increase your usable square footage, and finished  basements can be used as living space.  Alternatively, if you’d like specialized space for your hobbies or other interests, a finished basement can be customized to meet your specific needs without compromising your currently available square footage.

Waterproofing

One of the biggest concerns for finished basements is the potential for water damage.  Because any major pluming mishaps present a flooding threat for your basement, it’s important that your flooring, paneling and insulation are waterproof or at least water-resistant.  Additionally, insulation should prevent moisture accumulation from humidity.

 Identifying you Priorities

Develop your basement floor plan carefully before beginning your project, potentially with the help of a professional.  Luckily for basement finishing Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available.  Consider what potential uses you’re developing your basement for, and develop a floor plan that meets your priorities.

 Professional or DIY Basement Finishing?

You should also decide which (if any) aspects of your basement finishing projects are best left to professionals.  If you’re not an experienced handyman, you may want to hire at least some aspects of the job done.  If you’re interested in DIY basement finishing, plan accordingly by selecting design features that can be installed cheaply and easily.

Basement renovation can be very rewarding, and increases your home’s resale value and your family’s enjoyment of it.  If you plan your project carefully, you’ll have a new space to enjoy for years to come.

Are you currently in the process of remodeling your basement, or planning a basement renovation?  If so, we’d love your input and ideas in the comment section.

DIY Basement Finishing

basement-finishing-contractorIf you’re looking to make better use of your basement without breaking the bank, a partial basement renovation may be the best option.  You can also save money by doing part or all of your basement renovation on your own.

 Here we discuss some potential basement renovation options that will make your basement more inviting, but are also inexpensive and easy to install.  For a cheap basement renovation, you may also opt to only install some of the options and leave other features unchanged.

 DIY Basement Flooring

 The most important aspect for any basement floor option is that it be waterproof in the event of a flood.  This protects your investment and helps to prevent costly water damage.

Stained concrete is among the cheapest and easiest basement flooring options.  This involves prepping the surface such that it is smooth and doesn’t show seams using a sander and perhaps a thin layer of special finisher concrete, and then applying a specialized concrete stain and sealant.

If you’re looking for a more advanced but inexpensive option, laminate flooring is another potential basement flooring option.  Advanced amateurs can typically install laminate flooring, but if you’re inexperienced in home repair it may be best left to professionals.  For basement renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent basement remodeling contractors available.

 DIY Basement Walls

 Simply painting bare walls can significantly improve you basement’s appearance, and the color scheme can be customized to your personal preference.  This is an easy job even if you’re fairly inexperienced in home renovation, and can usually be completed within a day or two.

For a more polished but inexpensive look, you can also use wooden side panels or house siding.  These options are typically a few hundred dollars, and are easily installed by intermediate amateurs.

 DIY Basement Ceilings

 Exposed ceiling are actually quite stylish at the moment, so a simple coat of paint could be an excellent finished basement ceiling option.  We recommend opting for darker colors that minimize contrast.  A paint sprayer might make this job easier.  Most local hardware stores offer fairly inexpensive paint sprayer rental.

If you’re after a more polished look, you can also install a drop ceiling, similar to those seen in office buildings and schools.  This is easily installed by most amateurs, but if you don’t have much home renovation and repair experience, it may be best to consult a professional.

We’d love to hear about your own DIY basement finishing experiences and ideas as a homeowner.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Basement Finishing Ideas

basementMost homes are sold with unfinished basements, which are usually used for extra storage space or as storm shelters.  However, your basement is an untapped source of extra square footage, and a finished basement can be a great place to enjoy your family and entertain guests.

 Because a finished basement is considered to be bonus space in most cases, the possibilities for basement finishing ideas are endless.  There are many potential uses for a finished basement, and your family’s hobbies, interests and priorities will play a role in determining the best fit.  A Toronto basement finishing contractor can help you to develop a customized renovation plan to fit your needs.

Family Friendly

Finished basements make an excellent play space for younger children.  If you are looking to designate part or all of your finished basement as a play area, choose wall and flooring options that are durable and resistant to wear and tear.  Also make sure that your design and décor are safe and kid-friendly.

Older children or teens may appreciate some recreation space with games and TV.  Allowing some flexibility in your finished basement design will help you to transition your setup as your kids’ interests change over the years.

 Entertaining and Hosting

 Many homeowners use finished basements as a space for entertaining guests.  Wet bars and entertainment systems are often popular options if you’re intending to use your finished basement to host parties or other visitors.

You may also want to convert your basement to a guest bedroom if you plan to host out of town guests on a regular basis.  For a basement guest bedroom, it’s ideal to install a full bath so that your guests can enjoy convenience and privacy.  This also makes company a little less intrusive for homeowners.

 Home Theatre

 Finished basements are also frequently used as home theaters.  A basement home theater setup can be as simple as a TV and couch, but can also be very advanced with a projector and specialized theater audio and seating.

Most homeowners opt for a happy medium between these extremes.  Your basement renovation contractor can help you determine the scope of this project.  Fortunately for basement remodeling Toronto homeowners have many well-qualified contractors available.

 Multipurpose Space

 You can also use your finished basement for two or more purposes, for example as both a playroom and entertaining space.  In this case it may be best to divide your space by installing additional walls.  This makes the basement renovation a little more advanced, but also makes the finished product more enjoyable.

If you’re currently in the process of finishing your basement or are planning a basement renovation, we’d love to hear your own basement finishing ideas in the comments section.

Finished Basements Apartment Design

If you are looking to generate some extra income, renting out a finished basement apartment may be an excellent option.  Toronto real estate prices are currently very high, meaning that the extra rent generated could potentially be very profitable.  However, it is important to design finished basements appropriately so that they will be convenient and desirable to tenants.

Floor Plan

Basement planningYour first concern should be convenience for you and your future tenants.  This will vary based upon your home’s floor plan and upon your personal preferences.  You should design the floor plan and points of egress such that a tenant can come and go with minimal disturbance to the rest of the household, and preferably such that a full bath and laundry facilities are available within the basement.

It may be best to consult a professional to make sure that you’re going about things properly.  Fortunately for basement renovations Toronto residents have many qualified basement design professionals available.

Design and Decorating

Finished basements are of course an absolute must, and you will want to have a basement design that lends a homey feel but is also generic enough to appeal to a wide variety of tenants. Generally for finished basement flooring, carpeting lends a warm, home-like feel.  Neutral and complementary tones on the walls, door frames, baseboards and molding create a comfortable environment and coordinate nicely with most furnishings or other personal preferences that a tenant may have.

Again, it’s best to consult a professional if you are unsure here.  The last thing you want to do is invest in a basement remodel only to have it be unappealing to potential tenants and thus difficult to rent out.  Fortunately for basement renovation Toronto residents have many available qualified contractors.

Renting out your basement as an apartment may be an excellent way to generate extra income to help pay your mortgage, and a basement apartment can also increase your home’s resale value.  However, make sure that a basement apartment is compatible with your lifestyle, and plan your basement design carefully.