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.
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
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
- Interior of the cabinet can be melamine laminate that looks like natural maple
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Backsplash is 4” – 6” high section directly along the back of the countertop. May be material to match the counter or tile.
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.
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.
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!