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Kitchen Renovation: Looking Before You Leap

Oct 25, 2007
Have you ever heard of the urban legend about the woman who wanted some new tiles for her kitchen? The legend goes that the woman not only got her new tiles, but a brand new kitchen, a gas leak and a $30,000 dollar debt as well. Such stories for some are actually not exaggerations but possibilities for homeowners who begin ideas for a kitchen renovation in their heads and never advance from there. A kitchen renovation for all intents and purposes is a change far from simply getting new wallpaper or a new dinette set. If you don't want to think out the difference between renovation and redesigning you could always hire a professional. But if you balk at the costs of hiring one, then you have no choice but to get down to the nuts and bolts of what a proper kitchen renovation should accomplish.

If you simply want to change your tiles or your cabinets then you should summon a force of will to do just that, nothing more, nothing less. But if you happen to be among 6 out of 10 Americans who suddenly discover something far more serious than ugly furniture, please be reminded that you have been warned. Houses grow old and kitchens especially bear the wear and tear of being a major hub of family activity. It is but natural that at some point, the problem may be more than just leaky pipes or bad drainage.

Ideally, depending on the age and condition of your home, the ideal time for a kitchen renovation should be about a year and a half if it's a brand new home. If it's an old house, you may want to renovate immediately according to you specifications. Old homes in particular make it easier for planning a kitchen renovation because you get to spot the problems almost immediately. As in any endeavor that involves labor and expense, planning and organization are important components that should be written down, not stored in your head. It would be better if you take a larger approach to your kitchen renovation rather than doing it piece-meal. If you make a thorough assessment but could not afford all of it, you can do the more important renovations today and do the rest later. The important thing is that you've taken the trouble of understanding your kitchen as a whole unit which means that you are better equipped to handle problems that may come along the way.

The primary concern that prompts a kitchen renovation is when the size is clearly no longer working or it may have structural problems. Renovation of this kind may mean expansion or a change of lay-out. Either way, this is a major renovation and would need some expert help. Don't worry about the extra expense because re-doing something you've done yourself is twice more expensive. Second major concern are kitchen components; not enough storage space? Outdated or worn out appliances, fixtures and cabinets? If you're doing the whole bunch and have concerns about design elements, pick complementary ones from a single retailer so you can easily match them with the rest of the kitchen.

Third major concerns are the kitchen's lifelines; is the plumbing and electrical wiring up to standard? Is heating and ventilation optimized? With all these in mind, not only should your kitchen renovation be successful but an experience that will never be the stuff of embarrassing urban legends.
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