The August issue of Consumer Reports will include a comprehensive kitchen remodeling package and as a sneak peek, the magazine has given us four simple renovation rules to follow.
One of the first steps in planning a kitchen remodel is to determine an approximate cost.
For the August issue, Consumer Reports took top-performing products from extensive lab tests and created three design schemes - a do-it-yourself makeover for $5,000, a plan that costs $15,000 (the average amount spent on a kitchen remodel) and a full-scale gut renovation for $50,000.
(The $15,000 plan is shown below, with the $50,000 plan shown under that.)
The design schemes are meant to give consumers a sense of how far their money will go. But the magazines said that no matter what the cost of a kitchen model, these four rules apply:
1. Don't rush.
There are many kitchen products available that combine value, performance, and good looks. Take time - from a few weeks to several months, depending on the scope of the project - to meet with pros, browse the Internet, and visit showrooms and home centers. A recent survey of almost 3,000 Consumer Reports readers on remodeling revealed that haste can be costly - respondents who changed their mind after the work got started typically added about $1,500 to the cost of a kitchen project.
2. Don't get stuck on a size.
Bloated showpieces are out. In addition to being expensive, huge kitchens can be exhausting to work in and keep tidy. The National Kitchen & Bath Association provides guidelines for how much space should be in between appliances, cabinets, and islands. The beautiful HGTV kitchen at right provides lots of function without too much size.
3. Beware of budget busters.
When remodeling, leave a 10 to 15 percent cushion for surprises such as unexpected structural repairs. Remodelers should not settle for a cheap option with the mindset that someday it will be replaced with what they really want - chances are they will never get around to it.
4. Get everything in writing.
When using a pro for a remodel, the written contract should list each phase of the project; every product, including the model number; and copies of each contractor's license and workers compensation and liability insurance to confirm that they are still in effect. Call references and, if possible, visit them for a visual inspection.
The full report on kitchen makeovers is featured in the August issue of Consumer Reports. The issue also features a checklist of when to refurbish or replace cabinet and a list of the top small appliances based on Consumer Reports' lab tests of more than 260 products and Ratings of ranges, cooktops, wall ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, flooring, countertops and appliances stores.
"When remodeling a kitchen, functionality is every bit as important as style," said Celia Kuperszmid-Lehrman, deputy home editor of Consumer Reports. "Fortunately there are many products available that look good and work well so there isn't as much as a sacrifice as there once was.”
The issue of will be available on newsstands June 29, and online at www.ConsumerReports.org.