Tips for installing a new kitchen

Take your time, and observe how your cabinets and counters were installed originally; take them apart the same way rather than trying to use force. Get a helper when removing wall cabinets so they don’t crash to the floor. Be gentle with the old cabinets so you can reuse them in your garage or basement.

Window: The window shown requires a ceiling higher than 8 ft., so it’s not for everyone. However, if you’re doing a complete kitchen remodel, consider a wider, crank-out casement or bay window. You’ll have to open up your wall for a new header to support the wall above the window, but you’ll get a new, “bigger” look in the room. Keep in mind, however, that the wider the window, the less cabinet space you’ll have.

Flooring: Since we decided to use ceramic tile on our floor, we put down 3/8-in. plywood underlayment directly over the existing floor surface to provide rigidity. A long-lasting ceramic tile floor calls for two layers of wood subflooring that total at least 3/4-in. thickness. For the best appearance, put down the tile after installing the cabinets – so the grout lines can intersect uniformly with the cabinet lines. Vinyl flooring in gadsden and thin prefinished hardwood are also usually installed after the cabinets are in place. Install full-thickness (3/4-in.) hardwood floors before the cabinets; it’s easier, and you won’t lose that 3/4-in. height in the toe space.

Electrical: Kitchen electrical requirements are tricky, and subject to the National Electrical Code or local codes. Most codes require outlets at each countertop 12 in. or wider. On larger countertops, all points along the backsplash should be within 24 in. of an outlet. Outlets must be on 20-amp circuits and be GFCI protected. GFCI protection can be either in the outlets themselves or the circuit breaker to which they run in the electrical panel. Generally, there must be at least One outlet per island or peninsula.

Two or more 20-amp appliance circuits are required for all of the kitchen outlets including the refrigerator’s. Separate 15- or 20-amp circuits must be provided for the dishwasher, disposer or other motor-operated appliances, or combinations of appliances. (Have an electrician do any work required in your electrical panel; that’s not do-it-yourself stuff.)

How can you possibly get along while you’re remodeling? Eat out. Well, for dinner at least. Maybe some of the time. But face it, a new kitchen can take a long time if you’re doing the whole thing yourself.

Hook the stove back up after you tear out everything, and just work around it. If you’ll be including the stove in your new kitchen, cover it so it won’t get damaged. Put the microwave and refrigerator in the dining room for a while. Wash dishes in the bathroom. Make a plan you can live with temporarily. It’s not as bad as you might think. After all, your great-grandparents never even had it this good.

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