5 things to ask a contractor before you plan your kitchen

Every day I go to a different house and speak to a different person about their goals and plans for their new kitchen.  I always start with the same opening line, “So, are we keeping this layout, or were you planning on changing things up?”  The answer to this usually gives me a pretty good idea of where they are at in their research (or lack of it).  Whether you’re planning on your own or hiring a professional, here are five things you should know beforehand that will make things easier for everyone.

1. Budgets are a reality

I’ve had plenty of customers who had very lofty ideas of rerouting plumbing/gas, removing entire walls, and so forth.  Those things are not impossible to do, but they may very well be way outside of your budget.  Your contractor will be able to tell you what is load bearing, what is not, and will be able to give you options and pricing for structural alterations.  This is huge.  Don’t be discouraged if some of your ideas turn out to be too far outside your budget.  You can still have an amazing kitchen.

2. Flooring

Are you replacing the flooring?  No?  In that case, we need to keep as close to the existing footprint as possible.  The flooring almost never goes under the existing cabinets.  If you don’t plan for an existing footprint, you’ll end of seeing some exposed foundation.

3. Look at the ceiling

Take note of where your vents, can lights, ect are.  Sometimes a customer will want deep pantries in an area where there were previously shallow wall cabinets.  Those shallow wall cabinets may have ac vents or lights directly in front of them that would be covered up by a deeper cabinet, and would need to be moved.

4. Under cabinet lighting

Odds are you will need some extra wiring to accommodate under cabinets lights.  Know if you’ll want them to linked to a specific switch.

5. Appliances

Some appliances are a really big deal to move, and some are not.  Refrigerators and dishwashers tend to be less of an ordeal.  Things that are a really big deal are gas ranges, vent hoods, and adding a built in oven in a different location.  Gas is always a big deal to move around, and sometimes, in older homes, moving the gas will also mean bringing up to code.  You need to know if your vent hood vents out.  Meaning, there is a hole in the ceiling, or in the wall, behind the hood and if the vent moves, the hole needs to move.  I encountered a few cases where the vent hole went straight out the back of an exterior wall through stone and brick veneers.  In those cases, moving the hole was way too costly and we ultimately decided to leave the vent where it was.


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