Read This Before Doing A Kitchen Remodel

Doing a kitchen remodel can be a fun, exciting and great way to change the look of your kitchen. Its also a really great way to add more value to your home if you plan on selling anytime soon. But, before you visit any showrooms, buy any products, or meet with a professional, read my expert advice on how to create the perfect space you’ve always wanted!

What’s Worth Adding and What Should You Forget?

When it comes time to do a kitchen remodel, chances are you DO have a budget and you want to not only make that budget stretch, but you also want to add value and function to your kitchen. I don’t blame you! Here is a list of items you should add versus ones you should not – for now anyway.

Worth It

A second sink: Its a good idea to place this sink outside the regular cooking zone. This is a great idea if you have another Chef in the kitchen or you just want to have a place to clean fruits and veggies or a wash sink to clean hands before dinner.

Soft Close Drawers: You don’t realize how much you LOVE soft close drawers until you have them. These drawers (and cabinets) have a cool little device on them that keeps the doors from slamming shut. Instead, they glide shut, softly.

Full Pull Out Cabinets: These nifty cabinets tend to be longer than deeper and they are a great option for adding pots and pans, as well as lids. It keeps everything organized, and yet the cabinets are easy to reach into it.

Not Worth It

Glazed or Crackled Cabinets: Not only does this type of cabinet finish go in and out of style often, but it can also add an additional 30% cost onto your kitchen remodel. THAT is a lot of money! Think of it this way, if your entire remodel costs $15,000 just by adding on crackled or glazed cabinets, your cost can skyrocket up to $19,500. That’s an extra $4500 just for your cabinets alone. Its really not a good idea to consider this and there are so many other options available to you that ARE worth it!

Chef Ready Appliances: One thing you need to understand now is that there is a huge difference between Chef-like and Chef-ready appliances. Chef-like appliances will still allow you to have functional, quality equipment, but at a lower cost (and weight) than Chef-ready appliances. A lot of the professional kitchen brands out there offer residential appliances. Viking, for instance, is known as being a very popular brand in professional kitchens, but they also are huge pieces of equipment that way a ton and they tend to be thousands of dollars more than residential kitchen appliances. This is definitely something to think about! For example, a Viking range for a professional kitchen can cost around $8000. Yea. You read that right! On the other hand, a Viking home kitchen range can cost $1500 to $3000. Even $3000 is a lot but its way better than $8000!!!

Save More Money

One way to save the most amount of money is to keep the same layout you have now. You see, once you start adding walls, knocking down walls, changing plumbing connections and electrical wiring, THAT is when the cost starts to go up. But, if you forgo these options or at least slim them down, you can save a considerable amount of money so you can spend it on more important design options like that new floor you’ve been wanting to put in, or that Viking range you always wanted, or that coffee bar you need.

Save Money On Cabinets

One of the easiest ways to save money on cabinets is to stay away from custom cabinets. Custom cabinets are cabinets that you add your own customizations to. Instead, get standard cabinets with standard options – these tend to have no upfront charges.

Under The Cabinet Lighting Is A Big Plus!

Under the cabinet lighting or task lighting is a great way to add lighting to your kitchen, without overbearing and expensive overhead lights. These lights, as per the name, go under your cabinets. Two of the most popular types are LED and XENON. XENON goes for around $25 to $125 for a 24-inch installation. LED goes for $75 to $190 for a 24-inch installation.

Open Shelving

Not only are open shelves cheaper than closed cabinets but they also add personality to your kitchen. Its important, however, that you realize not everything can go on an open shelf. Shelves will collect dust so you should only be storing; cookbooks, serving platters that you can clean quickly and easily, and coffee cups and cereal bowls that you use and wash regularly, on these open shelves.

Buy A Proper Hood

If you bought a hood before and it seemed like it wasn’t working properly or it was making a lot of noise, there are a few factors you should consider when buying a new one.

– The size of the hood should be the same size as the range. So if you get a 30-inch range, the hood should also be 30 inches. Not only will this keep things working properly, but an overly small or overly large hood can look a little weird in your kitchen. If you do want to go a little larger, consider only going 3-5 inches larger/higher

– BTUs do matter: The BTUs and the CFM of a hood do factor into your hood. You want to make sure that its big enough, as well as powerful enough to use in your kitchen.

Gooseneck Faucets

A goose neck faucet is one of the most useful types of faucets. These have a long neck which makes them perfect for accommodating large pots, but they also have a sprayer that extends out of the top of the faucet. The design of this type of faucet. works for just about any kitchen. These also come in a wide array of colors and materials.

Large Single Basin Sink

Sinks are a factor that you will probably spend hours muddling over. There are just so many designs, styles, types, materials and more. But, I am here to tell you that the single basin is one of the best options to consider. Its nice and large which allows you to wash several things at once, but they also come with a flat bottom to keep glasses from tipping over and you can get the drain placed towards the backside of the sink so that water on top of dishes, won’t get the water backed up. Just make sure you choose one that is no deeper than 12 inches otherwise you will literally be up to your elbows in water!

Counter Top Edges

You might not realize the cost factor that comes into play when it comes to edges, but the cost is very significant! Eased edges are no extra cost. On the other hand, full bullnose is around $6 to $7 per linear foot. Lastly, Ogee which looks a little more ornate, but costs more is at around $8 to $12 per linear foot.

Alternatives To Granite

Lets be honest, everyone wants a natural stone counter in their kitchen. Most of the natural stones are super durable – you can even place hot pots on them, they are easy to clean, easy to take care of, absolutely beautiful and they look and feel luxurious. But, what if you simply don’t have the money for a granite counter? Well, I definitely wouldn’t suggest going with something cheap and cheesy like laminates. Yuck. These can look nice, but that’s not my issue. My issue with laminates is that they can chip easily, they are finicky when it comes to heat, and the surface can cause flecks of it to chip off. We’re not talking the usual chips on corners or edges, but the actual surface. If you can’t afford granite (usually costs around $100 to $225 per square foot) and you don’t want laminate, there are other options available.

Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive, (most commonly polymer resin, with some newer versions using cement mix). The two common stones used in producing these products are marble and quartz. The application of these products depends on the original stone used. For engineered marbles, the most common application is indoor flooring and walls, while the quartz-based product is used primarily for kitchen countertops. Related materials include geopolymers and cast stone. Unlike terrazzo, the material is factory made in either blocks or slabs, cut and polished by fabricators, and assembled at the work site. Engineered stone will cost between $100 to $180 per square foot.

– Concrete: From rough-hewn to refined, concrete countertops have moved beyond the drab slabs of the past. Advancements have catapulted concrete into the world of architectural-grade products, alongside popular stone and wood options. A concrete countertop is a serious contender for those seeking a customized material with a natural sensibility, it’s widely adaptable but is definitely not for those who cherish perfection. A concrete countertop will cost anywhere between $50 to $140 per square foot.

– Stainless Steel Counters: If you’re looking for a clean look with refined lines, nothing looks better than a stainless steel top. Plus, these are incredibly easy to clean, maintain and they are perfect for keeping bacteria away. Pretty much any professional kitchen out there has a stainless steel counter and its specifically for these reasons. Now if you plan on cutting right on them, lines from the blade will show up over time, but for some people, this simply adds character to the counter. If you don’t want this to happen, make sure that you only use the stainless steel counter for soft things like making dough and use a cutting board for cutting. Stainless steel usually costs anywhere between $40 and $130 per square foot.

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Benefits Of Marble Countertops

 

Choosing a new countertop for your kitchen can be a really overwhelming experience. This is mainly because of all the different costs, types of materials and colors that are available. But, worry not, this specific article is going to help you become more educated on marble countertops so that you can make a more informed decision. Below, we will be going over the different types of marble, benefits of using marble, as well as the different characteristics of marble such as colors, veining, and of course finish.

The 3 Major Types Of Marble Countertops

When it comes to marble, there are 3 main types; Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario. Each one has its own characteristics, styles, and looks.

– Carrara Marble: This is one of the most widely used types of marble. Its elegant and attractive, without being over the top. It tends to have a grayish white coloration to it, and the veins are less larger than other types of marble. In fact, instead of large veins, you will see smaller, more fine feathery like veins in Carrara marble countertops. This is also considered to be the more cost-efficient of the two.

– Calacatta Marble: This is a more rare stone which means it will cost a little more. This one tends to have more of a white appearance with little to no gray. The veins in Calacatta marble countertops are thick and predominate. Sometimes you can also find this type of marble with brown or even gold undertones.

– Statuario: This one is even rarer and its considered to be the most precious of the 3 stones in this article. While its very similar in style to the other two, it also has its own look; usually a very distinctive vein patterning that ranges in colors and tones, from white to gold to gray.

Benefits Of Marble Countertops

Obviously, if you want a material in your kitchen, you want one that isn’t only attractive, but functional and easy to maintain. Well, here are a few of the best benefits to buying marble countertops.

Unique In Looks: You won’t find another material that looks like marble. Some manufacturers like to say that their material is faux marble, but lets be honest, nothing looks as good as the original. While the above-mentioned 3 types come in mainly whites, grays, golds, etc you can also find other colors available. This has less to do with how its made and produced and more to do with where it comes from. Purbeck marble, for example, has a grayish brown color to it, and it comes from the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. Swedish Green Marble on the other hand which has a greenish tone to it, comes from Sodermanland Sweden.

Heat Resistant: If you cook or bake in the kitchen a lot, this should be a good benefit to you! Marble countertops are incredibly heat resistant. This means you can place hot pots or pans right on the marble countertops, without worrying about putting a pot holder down first. This is not something you can do with Formica or laminates!

Customizable: Even though marble is an incredibly hard material, it still tends to be a dream to fabricate. So if you are looking for decorative edges or other perks, this is a material to consider. Unlike granite, which is more difficult to cut, and can sometimes get damaged while fabricating, marble countertops will not. Add into the fact that we live in a more modern society and have tools like numeric control milling machines and modern computers for cutting, and almost anything is possible for your counters.

Easy To Find: Marble, unlike some other materials out there, is readily available. Almost any fabricator, stone yard, and manufacture will offer or have the ability to get their hands on marble for your marble countertops. This means less wait time for you to get it fabricated and installed and you won’t have to pay a ton for shipping it from another far off country. You no longer have to have some heavy expensive slabs shipped from Italy, you can do a more localized purchase. For example, if you live in South Carolina, there are some really great stores in Columbia and Lexington that offer marble.

Slab Format

When it comes time to actually purchase your marble countertops, its a good idea to buy in larger slabs rather than smaller. When you purchase a larger slab you have, you will have a more uniform look. On the other hand, when you purchase smaller slabs you have seams in the marble countertops which need to be matched up perfectly, if not, it looks sort of like a disjointed puzzle. If you do, however, need to buy smaller slabs, consider a book matching design, that way the pieces next to it have a similar mirrored appearance.

Veining Patterns

When you purchase marble countertops, you can expect that its going to come from different quarries. Even so, you should be able to cut a block of marble a certain way to create creative veining patterns. These techniques are called Cross Cut or Fleuri Cut and Vein Cut or Striato cuts. Cross cuts give you the appearance of veins with an open flowered pattern which is perfect for book matching. On the other hand, Vein Cut will cut a block of marble the opposite way to create a more one-dimensional linear look. Designers agree that both cuts look good and each one has its own unique look.

Finishes Available

Surely there are all sorts of finishes available for your marble countertops, however, you have 3 that are the most widely used and most commonly used. These finishes are; River Wash or Brushed, Honed and Glossy marble countertops. Again, each one has its own looks and benefits. River Wash, for instance, has an almost aged leather look to it. Glossy, is, of course, going to have a glossy, shiny and smooth finish. However, one thing that worries homeowners about the glossy finish is that acid etching can make the marble look dull. Honed is the answer to this problem. Since it already has a dull finish, acid etching is more disguised than it would be with a glossy finish. Essentially it all depends on you and what “look” you want for your marble countertops, but most people are partial to the honed finish rather than the glossy finish.

Maintenance

A sealer is a definite must for marble countertops, both honed and glossy marble countertops and its important that you always re-seal them after you, for example, get them professionally cleaned. One of the things to expect from marble countertops is acid etching. A few years from now, you might start to notice stains or even small divots in the stone. But, one of the great things about marble is that it can be refinished ie; polished or sanded down, so that is a definite plus! If you think you could appreciate the patina that will develop over time – and some people really do love the look of it once it does patina, then marble countertops might just be the perfect material for your kitchen needs.

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Benefits Of Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are one of those materials that look simply gorgeous. They exude luxury, elegance, and style. But these granite countertops aren’t just pretty, they also bring a whole array of benefits, features and custom options to your kitchen and bathroom too. In this guide, for granite countertops, you will find all the necessary information to make an informed decision on if this is the counter material for you and your home, or not. We’ll be going over the manufacturing process, benefits of granite countertops, how prices are factored in, cleaning and care aspects and more! Hopefully, by the end, you will be able to ascertain if this is the material you want in your home or if you want something else entirely.

What Is Granite and How Is It Formed?

Granite actually is compiled from a very complex process. It is created from a natural stone of course, but it is quarried from pyrogenic stone deposits which are found below the ground – these are found all over the world, not just North America. Originally the granite began as molten magma which flowed into other materials such as rock. It then cools at a very slow and low point. More natural granite tends to have a rougher appearance and feel to it, but it can also be ground and polished to create a more smooth and soft look and feel.

Granite Countertops Benefits

These are just a few of the best and most noted benefits of granite countertops.

– Incredible Beauty: When you see a granite counter all the other materials that you checked out beforehand will be pushed to the side. Really! Granite just has this fantastic look and feel to it that no other materials possess. Once you add in granite countertops to your kitchen or even bathroom, your space transforms into a more elegant and luxurious room.

– Durability: Granite countertops are not as durable and hard as quartz, however, they are more durable and hard than marble. In addition to being really durable and able to take a beating, granite countertops are also scratch resistant. This is going to be important to people that use their kitchens or bathrooms a lot, or they noticed in the past, with other materials that scratches were present after using the counters for awhile. Laminates for instance; they scratch and dent really easily. So if you have had counters in the past made from things like Formica or Laminates and you were unimpressed with how well they kept up with your daily life, your mind will forever be changed with granite.

– Lots Of Variety: Quartz counters have around 40 different colors. On the other hand, granite countertops literally have thousands of color options, finishes, patterns, styles and options available to you. This is a good benefit because it really allows you to not only match it up with a color you can love 15 years from now but also because it gives you the ability to complement the other colors of your kitchen or bathroom. Each company is going to have their own variations on the custom options for stones though, so that is definitely something to consider.

– Eco-Friendly: This is a natural stone, therefore, its Eco-friendly. If its important to you to have an Eco-friendly. or green friendly counter in your bathroom or kitchen, then this benefit should definitely pique your interest in learning more. Green friendly counters not only deal with the materials but how they are manufactured, what binders are included (if any) in the process of making the material and of course if its local or not.

– Scratch and Heat Resistant: Not only is scratch resistant and heat resistance important in the kitchen but the bathroom too. If you tend to use curling irons and you place these on the counters, the last thing you want is a material that won’t stand up to heat or scratches. Granite countertops and quartz are both very similar in that they are scratch and heat resistant. Marble is not. In fact, marble tends to be very fussy. Its not as heat resistant as the other two and it is not scratch resistant in the least.

Granite countertops are very durable, but you also need a minimal amount of care and maintenance in order to keep them looking good. This means cleaning up stains as soon as you see them, this also means that you will need to seal this material every few years. Try to keep acidic liquids from staying on the granite for long periods of time as well. Acidic liquids include things like; citrus, ammonia, and vinegar. Its definitely not as fussy as marble, but its not as easy going as quartz either – its sort of right in the middle in terms of care, looks, cost, and functionality. Lastly, when it comes to maintenance, make sure that you use cleaners that are specifically designed for granite countertops.

Granite Countertops Cost Factors

Lets be honest, a material can be attractive, durable and functional but another factor also comes into play, and that’s cost. Essentially granite will cost about the same as any other natural stone out there on the market right now. However, there are three major factors to consider when it comes to cost, they are:

1- The Grade Of The Material: As one would expect, the better the grade of the material, the more expensive it gets. There are 3 grades to granite; low grade, mid-grade and high-grade. These grades are placed on a material in terms of really, how its made and what its made from as well as variations in patterns, colors, and styles.

2- The Installation: If you hire a professional, vendor or a contractor to install your granite countertops for you, it will most likely cost a little more, but for good reason. This is not a Do It Yourself project. You should be hiring someone for this installation because a) it needs to be done properly and it’s incredibly heavy! If you want it done right the first time, hire an installer, plain and simple.

3- The Complexity Of The Job: This is sort of obvious but if you have a slab of granite for your granite countertops and the job of producing, fabricating and installing is super simple; you will pay less. On the other hand, if you want specialized edges, custom colors and your kitchen or bathroom design is more complex; the job will cost more.

Granite countertops will look and feel fantastic indefinitely. Its all going to depend on the installer, the material, and of course how well you take care of the material over the years that you have it in your home. Make sure that you schedule a re-sealing of the granite countertops every year and that you use precautions with the material in order to keep it looking in tip-top shape.

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Benefits Of Quartz Countertops

Over the years, kitchen materials for countertops have changed significantly. It used to be that materials like laminate were incredibly popular, but over the past few years, the popularity for laminates have gone down. Now, people are looking for a more beautified, functional, and durable material that they can have for years to come. If you’re looking for something different in your kitchen for yourself or you plan on selling your home down the line, and you’ve been looking at the kinds of materials available for countertops, one material not to dismiss is quartz.

The Manufacturing Process

So what exactly are quartz countertops made from? How are they made? Well, they are made from 93% crushed quartz and 7% polymers or resins as they are more commonly called. Quartz crystals are mined from quarries. These crystals are then ground up into a dust or an aggregate that also uses the resin binders and the two are fused at intensely high temperatures. This is where your slab formation comes from. If the customer wants a certain color to be added, this is when the pigments will be added to the quartz.

The Benefits Of Quartz Countertops

Whether you plan on using these quartz countertops in your kitchen or in your bathroom, they have a lot of different benefits to using this material.

– Extremely Durable: If you include the other 2 popular stones, marble, and granite, you will find that out of the 3, quartz countertops are the hardest of all. If you want a material that is going to stay looking beautiful for years to come, this is definitely the material you should be considering.

– Very Easy To Maintain: Quartz is also really easy to take care of. Even though it seems lime a luxury material that would be really finicky; its not. If you get quartz countertops, they will never have to be sealed. You also don’t have to worry about getting some expensive cleaner or hiring someone to clean them professionally because you can simply use a damp cloth to clean the surface.

– Custom Options: If you want a specific color, texture, finish or pattern, you can have this done with quartz !!br0ken!! Because these are made from a combination of both quartz dust and a binder it gives the manufacturer the ability to create all sorts of custom options in terms of aesthetics, but also sizes and shapes. This might really come in handy when you decide that you want a certain design element for your counters in your kitchen or bathroom.

– Incredibly Hard: Since quartz countertops are an incredibly hard material, though are also resistant to things like scratches. Marble on the other hand, while very beautiful to look at, can scratch over time. If you do a lot of cooking or baking in the kitchen, or you have kids, a quartz countertop might be just what you need.

– Non-Porous: When you have a material like a quartz countertop that is non-porous, you have a material that is not only resistant to staining from foods and liquids, but you also get a product that is resistant to bacteria.

– Long Lasting: Since this is a material that is extremely hard, durable, and scratch resistant, you can expect to keep your quartz countertops for years to come. Most pros say that these countertops can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, however, some companies offer a lifetime warranty/guarantee. It all depends on who you decide to work with.

Quartz Countertops Colors

When choosing a material for your counters, you absolutely want to be able to choose colors that complement your kitchen. While quartz doesn’t offer as many color options as, say, marble, it does offer a good amount of quartz colors. These range from light to dark and everywhere in between. Some examples of quartz colors for quartz countertops include; Spring Valley, Toffee, Thunder Road, White Zen, Yukon Gold, Midnight Black, Dove Grey and even Calacatta Vintage. Even though this is quartz were talking about, the Calacatta Vintage is a really nice option because it looks very similar to Calacatta Marble, and yet it has all the benefits of quartz countertops! There are somewhere around 40 different slab colors available for your quartz countertops, so while its not as many as marble or granite, you still have a very good selection of quartz colors available.

When choosing a color keep in mind that these are engineered quartz countertops which means whichever color you choose, is the exact quartz color you will get throughout the entire counter. You don’t have to worry about the colors, hues or even the veining changing throughout like you would with granite or marble.

Quartz Countertops Edges

Is quartz stronger than other materials? Yes. Its second to diamond, in terms of strength, But, that doesn’t mean you still can’t choose certain edges for your counters in order to really make them your own. Quartz countertops come in all sorts of edges from straight beveled to bull nose and from mitered to ogee; you can find pretty much any edge that you want in your kitchen or bathroom for your quartz countertops.

Quartz Countertops Finishes

Chances are if you’re getting these quartz countertops for your bathroom or kitchen, the color isn’t the only important factor to you. You also are going to consider the types of finishes available. Since this is an engineered stone, you have a lot of different options available to you in terms of the finishes. But, here are a few of the most popular options.

– Polished Finishes: A polished finish will have a more glossy almost shiny look to it. This is one of the more commonly used finishes. If you’ve ever seen a polished counter in any material you know that it has a very luxurious look and feel to it.

– Honed Finishes: Honed, sometimes called leathered, has a matte look and feel to it. When using this in kitchens or bathrooms, sometimes people prefer it over the polished finish, because this one does not reflect light the way the polished one does. Honed also has a very relaxed and casual vibe to it.

– Volcano: This has a very smooth feel to it, and yet the surface is a sort of bumpy texture, hence the word volcano.

Whether you choose honed or polished – or another option entirely is going to really rely on what type of look you want.

In the end, when it comes to quartz countertops, as you can see from the content above, you have quite a few options available to you in terms of design and creativity. Add on the fact that this is one of the most durable and easy to maintain stones around, and you can clearly see why so many people choose quartz countertops for their bathrooms and kitchens. If price is also a consideration for you, this is the least of your worries. Quartz countertops might bring a lot of luxury and allure into your home, but the price is just about the same as that of granite counters.

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What Kitchen Products Would You Purchase, If Someone Gave You A $2500 Shopping Spree?!

Just out of curiosity and for fun, of course.  I wanted to post something different than usual.  Imagine you are walking by a kitchen store like Williams-Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, Ethan Allen or the like and the owner comes out and tells you that you just won a shopping spree worth $2500.  You can buy anything you want BUT it has to be for your kitchen AND it has to be $2500 or less.  What would you get?

You can buy as many products as you want, as long as you stay under the $2500!

Lets use prices on Amazon as an example.  Amazon has almost everything you could or would ever want for your kitchen.  Here is their main “home and kitchen” page and here is their main “kitchen and dining” page.

 

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