Budget Kitchen Renovation

Since the average kitchen renovation can run anywhere from$10,000 to $15,000, can she get the new look she wants?

Local kitchen designers say yes.

Carol Watts, of Gravelle Kitchen and Bath Studio in Burlington, says a limited budget doesn’t have to be limiting. Winner of an international award in 1987 for one of her kitchen designs, she points out that costs rise when major structural changes are made and when expensive materials are used.

Watts notes that many people give their kitchens an updated look by simply installing new doors, knobs, countertop and flooring.

When planning any renovation, the kitchen designer says a plan mapping out your strategy is essential.

According to Watts, a basic plan can cost as little as $75. Included in that should be a list of your wants, needs and things you are willing to compromise on.

She explains that laminate cabinets are the least expensive and even within this group there are varying prices.

When choosing doors for wooden cabinets, Watts says raised panelled styles are more expensive than recessed panelled doors. She adds that solid brass handles and knobs are more expensive than plastic ones. However, you could delay this purchase until you can afford exactly what you want.

As for countertops, she says post-formed laminate ones are the least costly, while self-edged or wood-edged laminate countertops are comparable in price to ceramic ones.

In flooring, Watts notes that vinyl tiles or sheet goods will be cheaper than ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring which are nearly equal in price get more information.

Like Watts, Dick DeKline, owner of Canadian Century Cabinets in Hamilton, says he isn’t stumped by clients who have tight budgets. All he needs to know is whether the budget includes new appliances, flooring, sinks etc.

“Once we know that then we can direct you to the line of cabinets that will suit your budget.”

Although wanting cherry or mahogany cabinets and being able to afford them are two different things, DeKline says there are ways around the dilemma.

“You could go with maple wood, which is less expensive, and have it stained to look like cherry.”

According to DeKline, he would rather see consumers save another six months to revamp a kitchen, than waste their money on poor quality.

He adds that when buying cabinets you can’t go by looks. Before being taken in by appearance and low prices, he recommends that people compare construction and materials used and ask for referrals.

“If a company isn’t willing to show you how their cabinets are constructed and finished, or if they won’t give you referrals, don’t deal with them.”

Mike Mark, a sales rep for Holiday Kitchens in Greensville, points out that money can be saved on a kitchen renovation without sacrificing quality, if you are willing to replace, rather than redesign.

Another cost-saver he suggests is in eliminating extras such as banks of drawers, roll-out shelves, pantry units and fridge cabinets. Expenses can also be kept down on custom cabinetry if you opt for a semi-solid interior such as plywood or melamine, rather than solid wood.

The following are some tips on how to judge cabinets:

Quality cabinets will have doors made of solid wood or plywood. A wood effect printed on hardboard indicates a cheaper quality cabinet.

On quality cabinets, the wood grain on doors will match the grain on the frame.

Drawer construction can be an indicator of overall cabinet quality. Self-closing drawers should be mounted on a pair of balanced metal slides with ball bearing rollers. The drawer slides should be rated to support 75 pounds or more per pair.

The drawers will be well made if they are constructed with screws and dowels or interlocking joints, rather than glue and staples. Look too for drawer bottoms that are as thick as the sides.

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