Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

5 refacing snafus and how to avoid them

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

What's worse than losing your kitchen for days or weeks to a big remodel? Having to decide between settling for almost functional or doing it all over again because you made a mistake that could have been avoided. Fortunately for you, many people have stumbled down the remodeling path before you.

Here are five mistakes that can mess up a perfectly good cabinet refacing and kitchen remodel in a flash:

  1. Misjudging appliance size. It's typical to take appliances out of the kitchen before getting started on a refacing or remodel because they get in the way. When you do this, it's incredibly important that you not only get down the dimensions of your appliances but also figure out how much room is needed for them to open. Make sure all of your measurements fit with your new cabinet doors.
  2. Going big on the island. Putting in a kitchen island is a great way to supplement storage and work space. When they're properly sized, islands are wonderful additions, but when they're too big, they dominate kitchens, prevent cabinets and drawers from opening all the way, collect clutter and make getting around a pain. If you're considering this addition, think "functional." You shouldn't need anything bigger than ten feet long and 26- to 48-inches deep, no matter how big your kitchen is.
  3. Skimping on storage. Refacing those cabinets is sure to give your kitchen a great new look, but if you just covered up poor design with good wood, you're unlikely to be satisfied with the results. Talk to your contractor about maximizing the storage you already have and the possibility of adding on. Dishes usually need about four to six linear feet of cabinetry, as do your pots and pans. Hiding a trash can? Make sure you've got room for a 30-quart can near the sink.
  4. Not lightening up. Overhead lighting, no matter how nice, throws shadows that can make cooking an eye-straining activity. Ask your refacing contractor about adding lights underneath the cabinets to brighten your counter-top work areas. Even a little light in the right place can make a world of difference.
  5. Changing your mind. According to Consumer Reports, changing your mind in the middle of a kitchen remodel can end up adding around $1,500 to the final bill. Rather than incurring this four-figure penalty for being indecisive, spend more time thinking about what you want (and talking to your family) before things get going.

Keep all of these in mind, and be sure to talk with a bonded, licensed and insured* contractor about your hopes and needs. Even a relatively straightforward cabinet refacing job can end up taking longer and costing more because of these snafus.

*See terms and conditions on http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp

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