Finn Turner | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011
No other home improvement project has as broad a spectrum as a kitchen remodel. The possibilities and their relative cost run the gamut from a simple update and facelift, to a massive overhaul with state of the art lighting, appliances, and cabinetry.
The first step in managing a kitchen remodel is developing a plan and a budget. If you're considering hiring a kitchen remodel contractor, it's advisable to shop around during the planning phase since a contractor will be able to help you set realistic expectations based on time, money, and scope of work.
Finding a kitchen contractor
Kitchen remodels often make up a big portion of remodeling contractors work, so finding an experienced remodel professional should not be too difficult. A good place to start is by asking friends and neighbors for recommendations.
When hiring a contractor you should ask for references and past work examples. Sometimes kitchen remodel contractors have a particular style, or routinely work with the same materials, so make sure their past experience fits with the vision for your new kitchen. In order to compare contractors' past work, there are services available such as Angie's List, which reviews contractors and service providers.
Experienced contractors are responsible for project management, acquiring the necessary permits for the job, and they often develop different options for the remodel based on your budget and expectations. A general kitchen contractor will also hire and manage subcontractors including plumbers, electricians, tile setters, and cabinetmakers.
What to expect from a kitchen remodel contractor
In the long run, hiring a general contractor for your kitchen remodel will save you time. Rather than finding and hiring a variety of subcontractors yourself, you'll only have to communicate with one person. A general contractor usually charges between 15 and 25 percent of the total project cost.
An experienced contractor should also be able to tell you which building permits are required. These permits vary depending on location and range from general city and county building permits to more specific plumbing and electrical permits. In some areas, the local water company might require a permit if the water system or drainage is modified.
Before signing a contract and beginning work, address all the details of the kitchen remodel, from large structural changes to the final fit and finish. Items such as what type of fixtures and hardware, as well as materials like countertops, flooring, and cabinetry should be chosen ahead of time. This will prevent costly change orders and the stress of dealing with hidden costs later in the project.
To get started with planning your new kitchen, fill out the form on this page and begin collecting quotes from local kitchen remodel contractors.