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Feb 1, 2015

Be Prepared: What To Expect From A Kitchen Or Bath Remodel

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Few projects add more to a home’s appeal than remodeling the kitchen or bathroom. But before tackling such a big project, homeowners should know what to expect.

Lauren Hill, a designer for Markraft Cabinets, advises her clients how the process works well before they tear out their old kitchen cabinets. Her tips include careful planning, hiring a contractor, and being ready for some disruption of the household routine.

Planning starts with the layout. Keeping a kitchen’s existing footprint saves money; plumbing and wiring don’t have to be rerouted. Even so, about half of Hill’s clients do rearrange their kitchens to better suit today’s lifestyles.

Think about flooring and ventilation. Decide whether to put floors down before cabinets are installed – saving labor – or fitted around the cabinets, which can save on materials. Keeping the old floor? Be sure the new footprint doesn’t leave visible gaps. Will range hoods or bathroom vents need new ducting?

Then there’s scheduling. Hill recommends not starting demolition until the new cabinets have been delivered and are waiting in Markraft’s Wilmington warehouse. That will minimize any delays before the house is put back together.

Essential to planning is budgeting. In a full kitchen remodel, with new floors, windows and appliances, the cabinets typically are a third of the cost. Countertops add 15 to 20 percent. It’s always smart to build in a financial cushion for those unexpected situations that turn up only after “tear-out.”

Irregular framing, bad plumbing, obsolete wiring, sometimes even asbestos, all must be fixed before new cabinets go in. Even without surprises, enough work is required that Hill recommends hiring a general contractor to oversee and schedule the specialists: plumber, electrician, drywall finisher, painter and flooring installer.

Have a plan for how to live amid several weeks of disruption. That might include using the second bathroom, relying on takeout meals, or temporarily moving appliances to the garage. Also, don’t be too surprised if schedules slip. Parts may be back-ordered, weather may delay deliveries, subcontractors might encounter conflicts.

Be prepared for a lag of at least two weeks after cabinets are done and a “template” prepared before granite or quartz countertops get installed. During that time, temporary plywood countertops can make the kitchen or bath usable.

Throughout the process, it’s always helpful to stay flexible and keep a sense of humor. And look forward to how much you’ll enjoy your new space when it’s finished.

Since 1985, Markraft has specialized in cabinet and countertop design and installation in residential and commercial construction and custom remodeling. To learn more about Markraft, go to Contact Markraft at 910-762-1986 and like Markraft on Facebook at

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