The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide: What You Need to Know

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide: What You Need to Know

 

A kitchen remodel is an important and exciting decision. Your Kitchen is a personal retreat, the place where you start your mornings and unwind at the end of the day. Like the rest of your home, your Kitchen is a reflection of your personal style. But keep in mind that this room is also one of your home’s most purposeful and often serves multiple family members. Finding this balance between style and functionality makes a Kitchen remodel a thoughtful process.

This guide will help you evaluate your goals, ideas and options for your remodel. Hopefully your research will steer you to the best professionals for the job and to the design that will bring you the greatest pleasure.

Kitchen Remodeling

What is Cabinet Refacing?

“Cabinet refacing” is an industry term used to distinguish the refacing process from refinishing and replacing. The word “refinishing” is used to describe the process of re-painting or re-staining the existing cabinets. “Replacing the cabinets” means that the existing cabinets and boxes are torn out, and replaced with new cabinets.

With Gehman Remodeling Cabinet Refinishing, we will:

  • Remove and replace cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • “Reface” the exposed portion of your cabinet box frames with a wood veneer to match your new doors and drawers

With Refacing, you get new doors, new drawers, and a new cabinet face, without having to tear out your existing cabinet boxes.

With Gehman Design Remodeling Cabinet Refinishing, we will:

  • Re-paint or re-stain the existing exterior visible parts of the cabinets, such as doors, drawer fronts and cabinet boxes
  • Install new hardware – pulls / knobs and hinges

 

Cabinet Replacement

Some homeowners would prefer to replace their cabinets with completely new stained or painted cabinets. But, understanding your cabinet choices can be confusing – especially if you meet with multiple sales representatives from different companies. Here’s a quick guide to help with your selection.

The 5 major components of a cabinet

1. The Finish

This is the first thing you notice when looking at the cabinet. It could be a beautiful stain color that is rich and enhances the grain of the wood or a smooth painted finish that brightens the room. Whichever you prefer, it’s important to note that not all finishes are the same. Most quality cabinets use a process called conversion varnish. Sparing the details, a conversion varnish provides the most durable and longest lasting coats, whether a clear-coat on top of a stain, or paint.

2. The face frame, doors, and drawer fronts

These components come in a variety of types of wood as well as engineered products. Our focus at Gehman Design Remodeling is on solid wood components. Different wood types have different densities or durability. Softer woods will dent and scratch easier but typically cost less. Harder more dense woods will be more durable but will cost more. Gehman Design Remodeling has simplified the process by narrowing the selections down to the most common choices of wood species.

3. The Box

The box of the cabinet is where you put all your dishes. It may not be the most interesting part of the cabinet, but in some ways it’s the most important. The box is what gives the cabinet it’s strength and will ultimately play a major role in how long your cabinets last. Again, there are a variety of choices, from particle / furniture board to plywood. And this is the part where a “salesman” can really confuse people. For instance, better quality cabinets will use plywood boxes, not particle / furniture board. However, if that’s all you ask about, a “salesman” will show you a cabinet with a plywood box, but it may only have a 1/4” piece of plywood for the back and sides, or a plywood skin over particle / furniture board.

Gehman Design Remodeling offers GBB – Good, Better, Best cabinets. Our lines of cabinets are designed to provide you a cabinet with all the bells and whistles, but at an affordable price.

  • Good – particle / furniture board boxes covered with laminate film that looks like wood to match the solid wood front, doors and drawers
    • Interior of the cabinet will be laminate film that looks like natural maple
  • Better – 1/2” plywood with finish wood veneer to match the wood species and finish of the solid wood front, doors and drawers
    • Interior of the cabinet will be melamine laminate that looks like natural maple
  • Best – 5/8” or 3/4” plywood with finish wood veneer to match the wood species and finish of the solid wood front, doors and drawers
    • Interior of the cabinet can be melamine laminate that looks like natural maple
      • More durable to be wiped clean with a damp cloth
    • Interior of the cabinet can be natural maple wood veneer
      • Unparalleled beauty but it isn’t quite as durable as melamine

4. Drawer Construction.

The common theme for cabinets is that each part / component can be made on a quality spectrum ranging from poor to great, and everything in between. Our cabinets drawer boxes are always solid hardwood with dovetailed corners. We never use particle / furniture board, melamine or plywood drawer boxes for stained or painted cabinets.

5. The door and drawer hardware.

Soft-close concealed cup hinges and undermount drawer glides are standard on all cabinets offered by Gehman Design Remodeling.

Kitchen Remodeling

Countertops, Sinks, Faucets, and Backsplashes

Generally, a Kitchen update includes countertops, sinks, faucets, backsplashes, lighting and flooring. Gehman Design Remodeling offers complete Kitchen remodeling services throughout Bucks and Montgomery County. 

The advantage of using us for your cabinets, countertops, sinks, and faucets include dealing with one company that is responsible for coordinating the installation of all these items. Gehman Design Remodeling uses employee tradesmen for most of the Kitchen remodeling process. The few exceptions include the installation of stone (granite and quartz) countertops. These items require special equipment for fabricating the stone products and for the delivery and installation of the countertop. Our Project Manager will be on site for all work being performed.

Kitchen Countertops

Countertops come in a variety of materials and colors, including laminate tops, solid-surfacing, granite, concrete, and quartz. Countertops are one of the most defining features of your kitchen remodel, so it’s important to take the time to understand all of your options.

Laminate Countertops

Advantages

Laminates come in a wide selection of colors, patterns and designs, and textured surfaces. It’s incredibly easy to clean and doesn’t require special sealers or cleaners. It also happens to be the most affordable option as well as being naturally stain resistant.

Disadvantages

Due to being softer material, laminate countertops are more prone to scratches than other materials. Hot pots and pans can also damage the surface if placed directly on it. Sink options can be a bit limited as laminate only allows drop-in sinks due to its construction.

Solid-Surface Countertops 

Advantages

They’re more durable and higher quality than laminate, yet still cheaper than quartz, granite, and concrete. Like laminate, solid-surfacing is very easy to maintain. Scratches can easily be buffed out.

Disadvantages

Although higher quality than laminate, it can still be damaged by hot pots and pans as well as be scratched. Also, chemicals such as nail polish removers and some specialized cleaners can damage the surface. Only available in ‘matte’ non-shiny sheen.

Granite Countertops

Advantages

Easily one of the most beautiful countertop materials available, natural granite is a staple in many American homes. Due to the hardness of the material, it is resistant to scratches and is heat resistant (not heat proof, DO NOT set hot things directly on any countertop). Various price levels based on the beauty and availability of the stone. The prettier the stone the more it costs.

Disadvantages

Aside from being rather expensive, granite countertop corners may chip or break if a heavy object falls on them. Must be sealed every 12 – 18 months to avoid stains that get into the porous stone that may not be able to be removed. Also, improper sealing can lead to less to ugliness.

Concrete countertops 

Advantages

Concrete countertops are incredibly durable and can be custom-formed to fit any size or shape. These trendy countertops aren’t always grey either, they can be pigmented to achieve just about any color you want and can be further personalized by embedding shells, tiles, beads of glass, or stones.

Disadvantages

For such a hard and durable material, they need to be regularly sealed otherwise they can be easily stained. Must be sealed every 12 – 18 months to avoid stains that get into the porous concrete that may not be able to be removed. In addition, and arguably the most important, concrete countertops are often the most expensive countertops.

Quartz Countertops

Advantages 

Unlike other countertop materials, engineered quartz requires minimal maintenance. It is non-porous, doesn’t need to be sealed, and is super easy to clean. Quartz is natural stones that are ground into small pieces, mixed with a resin and put back together in a specific color and pattern. Therefore, each small piece of stone is sealed inside resin making it stain resistant. Manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty.

Disadvantages

Hot pans or pots right off a stove burner should not be placed directly on the surface. Also, direct sunlight from a Kitchen window can cause fading over time.

 

Kitchen Remodeling

Sinks & Bowls

Sinks have options galore. single bowl, bowl and a half, double bowl, bar, square, oval, round, rectangle, elongated, etc. Your selection won’t be right or wrong as it’s best based on your personal preference.

Installation types

Self-rimming / drop in – sit on top of the countertop. This is the only option for laminate counters. The traditional type of sink installation. Leaves an edge where the countertop and sink meet that may be difficult to keep clean.

Undermount – fastens underneath the counter leaving the edge of the counter around the sink exposed. This type of sink is NOT an option for laminate counters because the substrate under the laminate won’t hold up to moisture / dampness in the sink.

Apron front / farm sink – the sink extends through / takes the place of the false drawer front of the sink base cabinet. Front edge of the sink is finished because it’s visible.

Integral – available only in solid surface where the sink and countertop are made with the same resin materials that are fused / welded together for a seamless appearance. Easy to clean because there isn’t an edge to work with.

Stainless steel – a metal alloy made up of various metals that are 100% recyclable. It’s worthwhile paying for premium stainless because it will be easier to clean and look better. May be purchased with a coating of insulation on the outside which will keep dish water warmer longer and soften noise from dishes hitting the metal.

Porcelain coated cast iron – comes in many colors. Cast iron body holds temperature. Very durable but can be chipped if something heavy and hard is dropped on it.

Porcelain – solid and heavy used primarily for traditional farm house style apron sinks

Acrylic solid surface sinks – generally used for integral seamless sinks with solid surface counters but may be installed as an undermount in stone countertops.

Faucets

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take your pick many styles and finishes. Solid brass body is important. Many manufacturers offer lifetime warranty. Wide spread, Single lever, pulldown sprayer, separate spray hose.

Backsplashes 

Backsplash is 4” – 6” high section directly along the back of the countertop. May be material to match the counter or tile.

Wallsplash

Wallsplash is the section of wall at the back of the countertop up to the bottom of the wall cabinets. This area can be finished in many ways.

Painted, plastic laminate, wood that is stained or painted, stainless steel, granite or engineered quartz, tile.

Tile is the most common wallsplash material these days because it’s available in many shapes and colors and can be installed in specific patterns for a custom look.

Outlets

Code requires a GFCI – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter 120-volt duplex wall outlet every 4’ of running wall space along the back of the countertops as well as any solo section of counter that is 9” wide or more. Outlets on the end of peninsula counters and both sides of islands.

Outlets are necessary but often ruin the look of a beautiful tile wallsplash. An option is to move the outlets into angled power strips installed under the back of the wall cabinets. Switches can also be installed under the cabinets.

Lighting

General ceiling lighting can be surface mounted fixtures or recessed lights. Most Kitchens use LED pancake lights on dimmer switches to supply ample light to the entire space. Dimmer switches are a nice feature that can be installed on all other lights as well.

Decorative lights are used for pendant lights over the sink, island / peninsula and eating table. This is a great place to show your personality through use of color, shape and style.

Task lighting is LED strip lights under the front edge of the wall cabinets.

Ambiance lighting are LED strips inside glass door cabinets, inside deep cabinets such as pantries, lazy susan corners (base and wall), appliance garages, etc. LED strip lights may be installed on top of wall cabinets and under toe kick of base cabinets.

Interested in a remodel?

If you’re ready to take the next steps, give us a call or fill out a form and someone from our team will reach out!

Choosing the Right Kitchen Lighting

The Kitchen is a busy space in the house. In fact, for many families it is the hub of the home. Not only is it used for meal preparation and eating, but it is also a place for kids to do homework and the gathering spot to entertain. Thus, it is important to have the right lighting located in the right spots of your Kitchen.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0034-150x150The type of Kitchen lighting that will work best will depend on the type of activity you are doing in that space and the size of your Kitchen. Where visibility is essential to Kitchen safety, such as the primary food preparation areas, the lighting installed should be bright. The goal is to provide plenty of light for the cook’s needs.

Start by selecting overhead lighting, which will light up the entire room. Recessed lighting, decorative chandeliers or other overhead lighting fixtures all apply soft general lighting to the entire Kitchen.

From there, choose task-specific lighting. For more counter top light, under-the-cabinet LED lights can be installed, and both the battery-powered and hard-wired versions can be easily turned on and off as needed. For working at a kitchen island, hang pendent lights that will provide focused lighting in that area. Pendent lighting fixtures are usually only an option forKitchens with higher ceilings because they often need hung approximately 30” from the base of the ceiling, which doesn’t work in Kitchens with lower ceilings.

In storage areas, such the pantry, lighting is important so you can easily find things. If you have a walk-in pantry, recessed lighting should provide you with ample light, and instead of a standard switch, think about having a push-button switch installed into the door jam that will turn on when the door opens and turn off when it is shut. This will keep your hands free for the task ahead.

Another spot to consider lighting is the inside of cabinets with glass inlay doors. These accent lights can add a touch of elegance to any kitchen space and will create an instant focal point in the room. Additionally, you can add small recessed lights to call attention to meaningful collections, such as antique dishes. Keep in mind, decorative display lighting should be soft and muted.

Choosing the right kitchen lighting doesn’t need to be a difficult task. Simply consider the size of the kitchen, the area of placement and the amount of light needed. Doing so will allow you to create a beautiful kitchen space that is well lit and beautifully accented with the right lighting choices.

Kitchen Organization for Tight Spaces

One of the most common complaints homeowners have about their kitchen is the lack of storage space. One solution is to hire a contractor to remodel your kitchen; but if you aren’t quite ready for that project, here are a few tips to help you create a well-organized kitchen in your existing space.

One of the best ways to increase storage space in the kitchen is to think vertically. Installing shelves, pot hangers and other vertical storage options will allow you to conveniently store many kitchen items – decreasing clutter within cabinets, drawers and closets. Other vertical spaces in kitchens that can double as storage options are the backs of doors, tops of cabinets and above the island. Basically,
b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0114B-150x150anywhere you can add shelves or hanging storage units will help with kitchen organization.

Stackable food containers are a great way to achieve kitchen organization in pantries and other areas where you store food (including the refrigerator). Airtight plastic containers are easy to reseal, they keep foods fresh, and because they are stackable, they keep things neat and orderly.

Store everyday cleaning supplies under the sink or in a designated area, and hang a broom and dustpan holder in an out-of-the-way-yet-convenient spot, such as the little gap beside the refrigerator. All other cleaning supplies that aren’t used as often can be stored in another area of your home – perhaps the garage, basement or laundry room.

Closet, cabinet and drawer organizers are available for purchase at most department stores – all are designed to keep your kitchen tidier. If you don’t find the solution you are looking for in the housewares department, check out office supply stores. They have many handy options that can easily be used in the kitchen.

Finally, if after organizing you find that you still have too much clutter in the kitchen, it may be time to downsize your kitchen belongings. Instead of keeping all of your rarely used small appliances (such as the ice cream maker or the bread machine) on the countertop or cabinets, find another home for them – a hall closet, or a shelf in the garage or basement. You can grab them when you want to use them, yet they aren’t taking up precious kitchen storage space.

By implementing these tips, you should be able to organize your kitchen space so it is more functional, less cluttered and overall more enjoyable to cook and entertain in.

How to Get the Kitchen Remodel You Expect

b2ap3_thumbnail_2012-07-11-08.36.51-300x201You’ve lived with a Kitchen that you don’t necessary like for years. Perhaps it has functioned fine enough, but it isn’t your style; or your kitchen works – but doesn’t work well and you need more storage. No matter the reason, you’ve saved the money and now you’re finally ready to remodel your kitchen.

But where do you start? Here are three critical things to keep in mind so that you get the Kitchen remodel you expect … and deserve.

Use a reputable contractor

Although you are handy, you’ve already determined that remodeling your Kitchen isn’t a smart DIY project to tackle. It is an important room in the house, and it needs to be remodeled with expediency and it needs to be built correctly and to code. However, picking a contractor that is right for the job isn’t an easy task. You don’t want to just open up the phone book and start calling numbers listed under “remodeling contractors.”

One way to find a good contractor is to check with your friends, neighbors and family who have had work done to see who they’d recommend. Also, check with realtors or other area professional business people, who know who the reputable remodeling contractors are in your area. You’ll also want to check with your area home builders association or other trade organization and pick one of their members.


b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0216-300x201Use Quality Materials

Saving money on a Kitchen remodel does not necessarily mean skimping on materials. Often, you get what you pay for. If you are using cheaper materials, such as inexpensive cabinets or countertops, in your Kitchen remodel project, your Kitchen may not provide the pizzazz you’d hoped for. Consult your remodeling contractor about the materials you select for your project. He’s knowledgeable on the ways you can cut spending in particular areas yet still get the quality Kitchen you want. Additionally, be truthful with your budget – as your contractor can only help you get the Kitchen you want while staying in budget if he has all the facts.

Finally, Don’t Be Afraid to Get What You Really Want. While on the topic of budget, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on quality, comfort and design. This is a Kitchen you will live with for many years to come. If you are taking the time and money to remodel your kitchen, you might as well get what you really want.

Kitchen Update on a Budget

Are you dreaming of a newly remodeled kitchen? You long for new cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances – and to knock down a few walls and rearrange the traffic pattern to get more functionality out of the space – but it’s just not in the budget anytime soon.

b2ap3_thumbnail_7-16-08-19A-150x150You can still get an updated kitchen without a full-blown remodel. Here are seven ideas to update your kitchen without busting the budget:

  • Pick one. Is there one item in the kitchen that you really want to update? Perhaps your countertops are falling apart or it’s your cabinetry that makes the room look tired. Pick one and update.
  • Budget countertop option. Speaking of countertops, do you like the look of the more expensive countertops but think you can’t afford it? Think again. Consider installing two types of countertops. Use the more expensive countertop (such as granite or other natural stone) for the island, which is a smaller space, and install the less-expensive option for the remainder of the space. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how nicely it pulls together.
  • Walls and windows. Give your kitchen a fresh look with a new coat of paint and new window treatments. Maybe you elect to fit a tile backsplash in one area of kitchen to create a focal point. With unlimited options for paint color and wall coverings, you can really spice up your space by focusing on changes to just these two items.
  • Flooring. Another option to refresh the space is to install new flooring in your kitchen. You can improve the look of the space with new laminate, vinyl or wood flooring.b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0073-150x150
  • Fixtures and hardware. A simple way to update a kitchen is by changing out the plumbing and lighting fixtures, and the cabinet hardware.
  • Appliances. Updating appliances doesn’t need to be expensive if you shop around and watch for sales. Consider what features you need versus which ones would be nice extras. Often the cost of appliances varies greatly by the “bells and whistles” you select.
  • Focal point. Do you have a collection that you want to display or a piece of art that would go perfectly in the kitchen? This might be precisely what your kitchen needs to give it a new look.

Of course, the Internet is a great resource for finding other ideas to renew your kitchen. Some popular websites are Houzz.com and Pinterest.com. The key to updating your kitchen on a budget is to figure out the best solution for the money you have to spend.

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