Cheap kitchen remodeling creates rich results
by Susanne Clemenz
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Identify and prioritize your kitchen's most critical problems to score an inexpensive kitchen remodel. Assuming the problems aren't structural, there are budget-wise ways to achieve a new look.
List the most noticeable or embarrassing problems in your kitchen. Ancient wallpaper? Damaged countertops? Sagging, grimy cabinets? How about that big stain on your vinyl flooring or your old, energy-gobbling refrigerator? Decide on a budget and pick one or two annoyances to tackle right away. Have a garage sale to fund future items, and put a monthly amount in the same piggy bank for items further down the list.
For cheap: kitchen remodeling components
Consider any of the following tips on fixing up certain aspects of your kitchen at a low cost:
- Walls: If your wallpaper seams are brittle, torn, and curling, rent a wallpaper steamer or apply a stripping solution. Carefully remove any wallpaper backing and paste residue, as painting over them will make the paint crackle. Wash existing painted walls to remove food splatters and accumulated grime. Paint is an effective, low-cost kitchen remodeling technique if you use good coverage paint.
- Cabinets: Refurbish old cabinets by removing doors, drawers, and all hardware. Clean each appropriately. Fill worn screw holes with wood glue and a match stick or toothpick. Dry, then re-drill. Buy and install new hinges, door handles and drawer suspension systems. Adding new cabinet case veneers can save bundles over buying new cabinets.
- Countertops: If your countertop has permanent stains, cracked or missing tile or grout, or the pattern is worn off the laminate, new laminate can be your least costly replacement. Some laminate looks just like granite and marble, or choose from fascinating patterns and solid colors. Good news--Formica, WilsonArt, etc. are easier to care for than almost any solid surface. A bull-nose edge makes the stone look-alike even more authentic looking.
- Appliances: Big cities often have scratched or dented new appliance stores offering huge savings. Or, buy models without seldom-used features. Yes on self-cleaning ovens. No on ice-makers or crystal-washing cycles.
- Floors: Patch vinyl or tile if possible. If not, vinyl in tile or wood designs that come in strips with tabs that adhere to adjacent strips can "float" over a smooth existing floor. They are only sealed at the perimeter.
Be a sleuth for cheap kitchen remodeling. Haunt store sales, estate sales, and flooring remnants. Ingenuity and some elbow grease can create a budget-wise kitchen that looks like a high-priced showroom!
About the Author
Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and remodeled two others. She worked with architects and contractors on floorplans, electrical, painting, windows, flooring installations, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system and landscaping.
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