Cabinet refacing cost boosts kitchen remodel savings
by Susanne Clemenz
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
"People compliment our 'new' cabinets before they comment on any of our other kitchen remodeling elements," say Jeanne and Bob W. of Phoenix, Arizona. "Our cabinet refacing costs saved us several thousand dollars. But even with refacing, we compared kitchen cabinet styles and learned why some are more expensive than others."
Jeanne and Bob are savvy shoppers. You too can score tremendous savings on a kitchen re-do.
Kitchen cabinet styles are one potential savings
- Simplicity saves: The fewer details a cabinet style has, the cheaper it is to build. A slab-style door costs less than a Craftsman style, and Traditional style with its inset moldings cost more. Curves and routed edges cost more than straight and undetailed. Eliminating crown moldings is another saver.
- Labor savings: Remove and replace old doors and drawer fronts yourself. Order unfinished doors and paint them even if retaining stained wood cabinet cases.
- Wood choices: Oak and maple can cost less than cherry or teak. Select grade costs more than normal.
- Ready-made cabinets: The cabinet department of your building supply store will usually save substantially over custom refacing.
- Countertops: Forego granite, with its fussy upkeep. Choose easy-care granite-look laminate, and squared edges over rounded.
- Flooring: Laminated vinyl strips in wood and tile styles look authentic and have adhesive-tabbed edges for installation over many existing surfaces. Note: Unlike many flooring choices, they're manufacturer-rated for kitchens and bathrooms.
- Appliances: Wait for sales, of course. Open a credit card account for additional savings on sales, then close the account once appliances are paid off. Find a discount "scratch & dent" retailer with imperceptible surface flaws on appliances. Choose a colored surface over fussy-care stainless. Get Energy Star appliances for monthly utility savings.
- Lighting: For long-term utility savings, use task lighting and cool Energy Star CFL bulbs. There are even CFL reflector and dimmer-type bulbs.
- Paint: A top quality paint that covers in one coat usually saves both labor and supplies over cheap paint. Buy test-size cans to analyze color and coverage. Do your own painting.
- Handicapped accessible: Making the kitchen accessible with knee spaces under the sink and cooktop, pull-down cupboard racks, and roll-out drawers saves thousands annually over an assisted-living apartment.
Not up for DIY to make your kitchen remodel a reality? Compare prices between two or three retailers or contractors. They can make your home's busiest room delightful for cooking and entertaining.
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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