No matter how well you plan out your kitchen renovation, there will always be room for unplanned circumstances that leave the unpleasant flavor of regret on your taste buds. A contractor who fails to tell you a vital piece of information or get a permit within a certain time period, or a delivery person who shows up late with the materials you needed yesterday, or a shocking, larger than expected estimate from a subcontractor are all examples of things that you cannot control about your project.
The one thing these things all have in common is that they can leave you feeling regret about any choice you made that led to this pitfall happening in the first place. Believe it or not, there are steps you can take to keep the pitfalls out of your family’s kitchen renovation project. Here is some advice from past homeowners who unfortunately did not take these steps. Each one faced a different problem that is listed below, along with what you can do to avoid sharing their frustrations.
REGRET #1 – Letting the contractor have all the control.
SOLUTION: If you are paying the bills for the renovation, then you need to make the final decisions. You know best how you will use your kitchen once the renovations are complete. Your contractor might be able to offer up some really fabulous sounding ideas, but at the end of the day he is not the one who has to live under the same roof with them.
REGRET #2 – We chose the wrong countertop material.
SOLUTION: Is your undermount sink leaving your limestone countertop rough around the edges after you clean up your coast iron pots and pans after preparing and serving meals? Before you make the final selection on countertops, which are a big budget item, take time to talk to the retailer who sells the cabinets and do your homework. Know what material will best hold up to your family’s lifestyle, such as granite countertops for a large family who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.
REGRET #3 – I had a cabinet installed over my sink.
SOLUTION: The big mistake here is that each time you use hot water, the steam is forced to rice out and away from the cabinet, which could send the hot mist right into your face and arms. Forego the cabinet altogether and either save that money, or put it into a different part of the renovation like upgrading to a more durable countertop material, or splurging for appliances with an Energy Star rating.
REGRET #4 – My family outgrew our appliances.
SOLUTION: When you renovate your kitchen, you not only need to plan what you need now, but what you might plan in the future. Save money in the long run with lower utility bills by choosing Energy Star appliances. You might also invest in things like a bigger refrigerator and a trash compactor if you plan to increase the size of your family at any point of time in the future.
REGRET #5 – My earth-friendly floor is dirty and dingy.
SOLUTION: Some types of flooring material work better in rooms other than the kitchen, such as bamboo. Choose a floor that reflects your lifestyle as well as how much you use the kitchen. For example, hardwood floor is gorgeous but can show dust and scratches, even if properly sealed. Ceramic tile is more forgiving and very durable, but if you spend a lot of time standing in your kitchen then the hard surface can be rough on your joints.
REGRET #6 – We chose paint that does not match the cabinets.
SOLUTION: Check the color of the paint you select against the counter sample while in your kitchen, under lights that will be there after the renovation is complete. Otherwise you could mistakenly get paint that clashes with the cabinet color. You might think you are getting a neutral shade of eggshell that pairs nicely with black granite countertops with a white marbled vein pattern, and find out that you really got ivory that has an almost peach tint to the color.
These six regrets are not even the tip of the iceberg. Most homeowners, after their kitchen renovation is done, have something they would have done differently or a decision they would have either gone through with or retracted in hindsight. Before you gut the first wall or slather on the first paintbrush full of paint, talk not only to contractors but also to other homeowners who have been through and survived the war of renovation regrets.