Kitchen remodeling is one of Bob's specialties!
Perhaps you just want your kitchen cabinets refinished? Or would you really rather have your entire existing kitchen gutted and completely remodeled from the ground up? Either way (and for everything in between), Bob and his team have the expertise and experience to bring your vision to reality.
Depending on your budget, chances are that we have a spot for you—everything from a minor kitchen remodel (for example, stripping and refinishing your existing kitchen cabinets), to major kitchen remodeling projects (and anything in between) as outlined in the "Cost vs. Value" section on this page.
COMPLETE KITCHEN REMODEL:
Looking to have your entire kitchen remodeled? Bob and his team have you covered.
Here's a sampling of Bob's services:
Deciding to have your entire kitchen remodeled is a big decision, and it can feel overwhelming, given the wide variety of tasks involved (and knowing that part of your home will be a construction site for a while!). Working in close consultation with you, Bob and his team can turn the entire process into a turnkey operation—the deep knowledge and experience that Bob and his team bring to their flooring, cabinet and painting work will be focused on a single goal: realizing your vision for your new kitchen, with as little fuss as possible!
Did you know that homeowners typically recoup a substantial percentage of the cost of a kitchen remodel when they sell their homes? That's an important fact to consider when deciding on a kitchen remodel—and it makes sense, given that the kitchen is often cited as one of the biggest things that sells any given home (ask any real estate professional).
On this page, we've included information on the cost vs. value for kitchen remodeling (see item 1 in the "Answers to Some Frequently-Asked Kitchen Remodeling Questions" section below), with cost figures provided for minor and major remodeling projects, in both mid and upscale ranges. As you examine those figures, keep in mind that this is one area where a remodeler's experience makes a particularly big difference—in Bob's case, his 30 (and counting) years of experience often means that you'll get many of the features typically associated with an "upscale" remodel, but at a cost that is closer to a "midrange" price point! That's one of Bob's strongest skills—knowing exactly how to use your hard-earned money to get you an upscale look and features at a good mid-range price!
We specialize in cabinet touch-ups, refinishing, replacement doors and solid-surface countertops, as well as the reliable laminates.
STRIP AND REFINISH:
ANSWERS TO SOME FREQUENTLY-ASKED KITCHEN REMODELING QUESTIONS:
Deciding to remodel your kitchen is a big decision, and it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the questions surrounding it:
Click on each numbered section below for answers. Want more information? Call Bob (757-851-9618) with your questions, or to set up a personal presentation; he will be happy to supply you with an informational booklet containing the data provided here.
Ask any real estate professional and they will tell you that "the kitchen is the big thing that sells the home." It is not unusual for someone to call us and say that they are going to sell their home in two or three years and would like to remodel the kitchen now, so that they can enjoy the new kitchen in the meantime, then sell it for more when they do sell.
Given that fact, let's look at some data; specifically, let's look at the following two items:
1. What are the national averages for the amounts spent on minor and major kitchen remodeling projects?
2. What percentage of those expenses did the homeowners recoup when they sold their homes?
Minor Kitchen Remodel:
Description and Scope of Project: In a functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, leave cabinet boxes in place but replace fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware. Replace wall oven and cooktop with new energy-efficient models. Replace laminate countertops; install mid-priced sink and faucet. Repaint trim, add wall covering, and remove and replace resilient flooring.
Job Cost (National Average for 2008-2009): $21,246
Major Kitchen Remodel, Midrange:
Description and Scope of Project: Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets, including a 3-by-5-foot island; laminate countertops; and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling.
Job Cost (National Average for 2008-2009): $56,611
Major Kitchen Remodel, Upscale:
Description and Scope of Project: Update outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of top-of-the-line custom cherry cabinets with built-in sliding shelves and other interior accessories. Include stone countertops with imported ceramic or glass tile backsplash; built-in refrigerator, cooktop, and 36-inch commercial grade range and vent hood; built-in warming drawer, trash compactor, and built-in combination microwave and convection oven. Install high-end undermount sink with designer faucets, and built-in water filtration system. Add new general and task lighting including low-voltage under-cabinet lights. Install cork flooring, cherry trim.
Job Cost (National Average for 2008-2009): $110,964
So how much of these expenses were the homeowners able to recoup when they sold their homes?
According to Remodeling Magazine, these are the national averages:
For the Minor Kitchen Remodeling project: 98.5%
For the Major Kitchen Remodeling project (midrange): 91.0%
For the Major Kitchen Remodeling project (upscale): 84.8%
In other words, homeowners were able to increase the selling price of their homes by at least 84.8% of the cost of their kitchen remodeling projects (in the case of the Minor Kitchen Remodel, they were able to add 98.5%--almost the entire cost--of the amount spent on their kitchen remodel!).
In short, if there's one remodeling project that will affect your home's resale value, it's a kitchen remodeling project!
Data provided by Remodeling Magazine Copyright (c) 2008 Hanley Wood, LLC. Reproduced by permission. Complete regional and city data from the annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded for free at www.costvsvalue.com.
You might have noticed a section on our site called "Remodeling Gone Wrong." On the pages in that section, we discuss the importance of choosing a good contractor, and the mistakes that people commonly make in the process. We thought we'd list these common mistakes here once again, given the importance of "doing your homework" when it comes to making such a critical choice:
Mistake #1 : Picking a contractor based only on price!
Mistake #2 : Thinking that all contractors are the same.
Mistake #3 : Always having 3 or more contractors competing with each other for your work.
Mistake #4 : Thinking that having the right equipment is all a contractor needs to do your job.
Mistake #5 : Not giving your contractor enough time to complete your job properly.
Mistake #6 : Selecting contractors who don't guarantee their work.
Mistake #7 : Not bothering to ask for references.
Mistake #8 : Not asking for explanations if you don't understand the "lingo."
Among the mistakes listed above, it's easiest to make mistake number 1--picking a contractor based solely on the price they quote you for a given job. As we repeatedly mention on this site, the old adage really still does apply : "You get what you pay for." This is most especially true in the contracting business. If you want good work, you should deal with the contractor that provides the best overall value, and NOT simply the lowest-priced one around. Price is only one component of the overall value:
Total Overall Value = Quality + Service + Price
It is impossible for any company in any industry to offer the lowest price, while having the highest quality and providing the best service all at the same time.
You can get high quality and first-rate service, but you can't get both and still get the lowest price.
Just as in your own business, the best long-term results are obtained when you hire the best people and buy the highest-quality products--consequently, you will have to charge more for your services than others who do not have a long-term, maximum-value view.
It's perfectly reasonable to want to avoid spending more than you need to; but in the case of kitchen remodeling in general (and kitchen cabinets in particular), it's not always obvious why two seemingly identical sets of cabinets that you saw in a showroom can be priced so differently. An article in a recent issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News contains a very telling observation, gathered from a survey of people who had just remodeled their kitchens:
"Researchers also found that more than three out of 10 remodelers said they would spend more money on a kitchen remodel if they had to do it over, while only 7% said they would spend less. Of those who would spend more, the key things they would do differently next time are upgrading the cabinets and increasing the size of the kitchen."
This point has been discussed among several kitchen remodeling experts; among them, California Certified Kitchen Designer Peggy Deras weighed in with these thoughts on her blog:
Now cabinets are a big chunk of your outlay when putting together all the things you have to buy when remodeling a kitchen. They can easily amount to a quarter or half of the total budget.
So why do you think these (now) experienced remodeling consumers would spend more on the biggest part of their kitchen budgets? I think I can answer that question:
1. The cabinets are not as sturdy as they assumed, and are not holding up.
2. The shelves are not thick enough and are bending under the weight of their dinnerware.
3. The drawers are very shallow and items catch in them all the time.
4. They keep chipping plates trying to get around center dividers in two door cabinets.
5. The shelves in their cabinets are fixed and not adjustable, or the adjustments are drilled too far apart to give real adjustability.
6. The shelves in their base cabinets are 2/3 depth instead of full depth.
7. Their drawers are made of skimpy materials, like particleboard, and are breaking.
8. Their cabinets are unfinished on the insides and require shelf paper and drawer liners.
9. Their cabinet hardware items (hinges, drawer slides, etc.) are flimsy and not holding up.
10. The finish on their cabinets is lacquer, and is not holding up.
The fact is, these people assumed that the beautiful cabinets they saw in the showroom were all the same because they could not SEE any difference between the set that cost $8,000 and the set that cost $24,000. And now they have LEARNED the difference by living with their choices.
Now, I am not saying that you have to spend three times what you would like to spend to get a quality cabinet. But what I am saying is that you have to look at what you are buying with a critical eye. And you MUST do the research to know what features you absolutely must have in cabinets.
Then, you must spend whatever is needed to get a quality cabinet...Otherwise you will regret spending less, as those consumers in the study did.
They also regretted not expanding their kitchens, either by opening up the walls, or adding on...
Most people get only one shot at a kitchen remodel in their lifetimes, so these mistakes go on and on.
Don't regret. Do it right.
So there you have it. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Note : In an effort to help you choose the right contractor, we've compiled several contractor-selection criteria in the form of a questionnaire, and placed them in a downloadable, printable document. You can download the file (it's a PDF file), then print it out and use it when evaluating potential contractors. To view the contents of the file, simply click here; to download the file, simply right-click on the link, and choose "Save As..."
You may have read or heard about the methods available for refinishing cabinets. Even though some of the words used to describe these methods may sound familiar, there's often a very distinct meaning associated with them when they're used in the context of cabinet refinishing. It's all part of the indusry-specific jargon, and it can certainly be confusing. Here's a brief run-down of each refinishing method, with some plain-english explanations:
The Least Expensive Choice :
Oil Finish: means using a clear finish produced by rubbing an oil, such as linseed or tung oil, on bare or stained wood. The oil is rubbed to a soft, glowing finish. This is also called a Danish oil.
Polishing: means using a very hard-drying, short oil varnish used for interior woodwork, furniture, etc., and capable of being rubbed with abrasive and mineral oil lubricants to a very smooth surface for a desired degree of gloss.
The Worst Choice:
Clean, Prime and Re-coat: means using solvents that do not soften the finish to clean its surface; light sanding, and applying a primer coat (Kilz) before applying finish coats.
Sometimes a Safe Choice:
Clean and Re-coat: means using solvents that do not soften the finish to clean its surface; light sanding, color glazing, spot coloring and topcoating with an appropriate finish.
The Safest Choice:
Stripping: means using chemical paint and varnish removers, scrapers, steel wool, scrub brushes and/or rough sandpaper to soften and remove all finish down to the bare wood.
Preparation: means rough-sanding, patching, bleaching, fine scraping and fine sanding to make the woodwork ready for finishing.
Finishing: means to apply stains, glazes, sealers and topcoats to the wood surface. Perform sanding between coats of finish and use pigmented and dye stains for coloring. Finish can be varnish, shellac, oil, lacquer or waterborne coatings, and may be applied by rags, brush or spray.
The labor and material differences in these procedures vary so much, unfortunately many consumers are making choices based solely on short term cost as opposed to long term values. You must be extra cautious when choosing this investment because there really is a right way and a wrong way in the refinishing field. We have had to fix several kitchens because of dishonest or unlearned salespeople. You really do get what you pay for when refinishing. Experience is a must for a lasting job. Bob has over 35 years in this field and has a proven track record as a professional finisher--read what some of his customers have to say, if you haven't already!
Just as there is a fair amount of jargon associated with the methods for cabinet refinishing, there can also be some confusion surrounding the different types of materials used in the finishing process. To make matters worse, different contractors or salespeople will often use certain terms interchangeably and confuse the situation (and the customer!) even more. Stains, Acrylics, Enamels, Alkyds--a trained and experienced finisher knows the precise definitions of each of these, as well as the best applications for each of them. Here's a run-down of the materials used in the finishing process, and what you most need to know about them (and how they are used)--presented in plain english, as always:
It's important to be familiar with the types of finishes available, because the best cabinet job in the world can be ruined by a sloppy finish. The first major decision is to decide if you are happy with your cabinet's current look, or if another look entirely is in order. This will determine how much work will be involved in getting your cabinets from where they are to where you want them to be.
There are three main types of wood cabinet finishes: the "Stain and Clear" finish, the "Undercoat and Paint" finish, and the "Glaze" finish. Note that unfinished natural wood cabinets are a thing of the past--in today’s land of cabinetry, a transparent topcoat is added to your unfinished cabinets to protect the wood from dirt and grease and maintain its beautiful look.
Stain and Clear Finish: Staining your your cabinets is a great way to add color to the wood without ruining the beauty of the wood grain. You want to be careful when picking stain colors because manufacturers use all different names. The same name might be a completely different color under another company. Your best bet is to select the wood you prefer and then consider the final look you want. At that point it will be easier for you to decide whether a stain with a light, medium, or dark tone will be best for you. A stain alone will not protect your wood, however. A good penetrating stain will soak into the wood and allow for a better bond. Some cheaper woods may not allow this as the beauty is just not there and you have to use a topical stain. You must first apply a finishing coat over the stain to protect it. In most cases, a good quality spray lacquer sanding sealer followed by a finish lacquer will give you a nice, furniture-quality finish. If the cabinet is in a high-moisture area such as a spa, you may even need to change to a marine varnish. This type of finish is one of the longer-lasting low-maintenance finishes.
Undercoat and Paint Finish: The wonderful thing about paint is that you have such an enormous range of colors to select from. When you are looking for a smooth, glossy finish, paint can do the job! First, you want to pick the correct primer. This is the most essential undercoat layer of paint. For a long-lasting finish, the primer must be absorbed into the raw wood, as it is “the glue that holds the paint to the wood." The oil undercoaters tend to be far superior to their latex counterparts as far as absorption and sandability for a slicker professional finish. The best finish to apply at this point will be the harder Alkyd Oil Finishes. This is another of the longer-lasting finishes.
Glaze Finish: With a glaze you have the option of using it by itself or applying it over a base stain or paint. Once it is applied, it is then wiped off by hand. As you wipe off the glaze, it settles in the cabinet's open grain areas and defines its details. Glazes can also be tinted any color. Contrasting the color of the wood with the color of the glaze creates a uniquely attractive look. This finish can look nice but does not have the longer life expectancy.
The Critical Importance of Wood Prep :
It's worth reiterating that without proper preparation of the wood, even the best finishing job will fail. The Hardwood, Plywood & Veneer Association has noted that 95% of the problems with refinished cabinets are caused by inadequate wood preparation prior to finishing. The remaining five percent are caused by inexperienced painter–finishers, poor finishing conditions, or unsuitable finishing procedures or products.
Let’s break down the finishing system by percentages: preparation should take 30% of the time spent on the project, stain application and sealing should take 30%, and topcoating and sanding between coats should take 30%. That leaves 10% of the project time for protection prior to and after finishing. These are standard percentages used in the wood finishing industry. However, custom projects with special finishes or painting may require a different approach.
It is the painter–finisher’s responsibility to understand the characteristics of the wood he or she is about to finish and properly prepare the wood prior to finishing. Be warned: if proper preparation procedures are not followed, the final look and performance of the finished woodwork will not be of a premium level and might be rejected. This is yet another area where the experience and skill of a trained, veteran finisher will really show.
So what exactly is a "stain" for, and what about the other finishes--paints, lacquers, varnishes, etc.?
Stain: Staining your cabinets is a great way to add color to the wood without ruining the beauty of the wood grain. You want to be careful when picking stain colors because manufacturers use all different names. The same name might be a completely different color under another company. Your best bet it to select the wood you prefer and then consider the final look you want. At that point it will be easier for you to decide whether a stain with a light, medium, or dark tone will be best for you. A stain alone will not protect your wood. You must apply a finishing coat over the stain to protect it.
Lacquer: Lacquer is the workhorse of all finishes and has been around the longest. It has its limitations, but used correctly it will give you a lifetime of service. It is very user–friendly and easy to touchup. Some lacquers are now being made with low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Conversion Varnish: Conversion Varnishes are more durable to abrasion, chemicals, and moisture, but most brands come with a short pot life and are sometimes touchy to catalyze. I have been told that the pot life is going to increase, and some are being manufactured in low VOC formulations.
Waterbased: Waterbased finishes have advanced over the years and are becoming more popular. They are user–friendly with no or low VOCs, but good heat and air ventilation is needed for spraying and drying performance. The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) still does not rate waterbased finishes as a premium grade finish, and I would recommend only using them for topcoats and not for sealers.
UV Polyurethanes: UV finishes use radiation to crosslink and cure the finish and are improving and gaining popularity in the finishing industry. They are ultra–durable, dry in seconds, and some have no VOCs or formaldehyde. However, UV finishing systems are very technical and carry a costly capital investment.
I feel all the above finishes have a place in today’s finishing marketplace and I recommend that you investigate which finish will suit your needs and situation best before specifying one. Feel free to consult me if you have any questions on which finish is best for your particular situation.
Lacquer Cabinets: Lacquer cabinets became available in the 1920's after WWI (they had to use all the left-over cotton from gun powder somewhere). Lacquer is an excellent finish, especially the moisture resistant type. It is also the most widely used furniture finish.
Lacquer itself has a long history in the far east, dating back over 2,000 years in China. The Chinese are experts at applying several thin layers to achieve the look they want.
Lacquer cabinets are a good choice. Each manufacturer of lacquer makes lacquer with varying degrees of elasticity, color, and resistance to water, solvents, acids and alkalis. Ask your supplier which lacquer is right for you. We always had good luck with any Sherwin-Williams lacquers, and found them to be the best in our custom cabinet shop, whether it was in application or durability.
The Properties of Lacquer
• Lacquer is a complex finish, meaning it is made of several components. Often it is made partly of cotton or wood, but most of it is a resin.
• Lacquer is a film finish. That means it does not penetrate the wood, but rides on the surface.
• With each additional coat of lacquer, the lacquer that's already on the piece re-melts and all the lacquer becomes one. This is unlike shellac, varnish, and polyurethane, were each coat is a separate layer and the layers do not melt into each other.
• Lacquer is easily applied with spray equipment, you can brush it, but it is difficult because it dries so fast.
• Because lacquer dries fast, it eliminates dust problems.
• Under normal circumstances, lacquer dries to the touch within 20 minutes, and can be scuffed and re-coated within two hours.
• Lacquer can be applied in all types of weather (you may need to add retarders, thinners, etc., but it can be done).
• Lacquer is resistant to water, and more resistant to heat and solvents than shellac.
• You can lacquer cabinets with a clear lacquer, white, black, cream or several other colors.
There are 2 types of lacquer, nitrocellulose and cellulose. Nitrocellulose is the one you will find. Cellulose was used occasionally because it is much less amber in color and yellows less over time, however, it is more expensive then nitrocellulose. With the introduction of water-base finishes that do not yellow at all, the use of cellulose lacquer diminished. We used cellulose once in our custom cabinet shop, and found it to be a little "plastic" like, and if the wood was scratched the least bit, the finish seemed to peel off there. The only advantage cellulose has over water-based finishes is that it doesn't raise the grain of your wood. Raising wood grain can be a real challenge for a finisher using water-based finishes.
Keep in mind that, as with any type of finishing, the proper application of Lacquer to produce the desired result requires more than just patience and persistence (although it certainly requires both of those!). In addition to the right solvent to be mixed with the Lacquer, one needs to take into account the atmospheric conditions (humidity level), and the thickness of each coat of Lacquer applied. What's more, Lacquer is dangerous to use, and the solvents needed are highly-flammable, toxic, and air-polluting. As such, the spraying process should take place in a well-ventilated area, and even then, only with ventilator masks. An experienced finisher will be very accustomed to taking all the necessary precautions, and will have all the necessary equipment.
Cleaning Lacquer Cabinets (as noted in the Kitchen And Hardware website):
Lacquer cabinets are easy to clean:
• Use a mild soap (Dawn dishwashing liquid, Ivory, Murphy's Oil Soap, etc.) and water.
• Don't let water sit on the wood.
• You can clean with a good furniture polish (this is a good idea if you wash a lot, because washing with too much water will, over time, hurt your finish if done in excess).
• You can use a lemon oil on the wood (it cleans and brightens), but not until your finish is at least six months old. Lacquer does not fully cure for six months.
• If you use lemon oil or a furniture polish, know that because you are putting oil on your finish, it may cause problems in the future if you actually need to refinish your cabinets. The oil may cause fish-eye (a pooling and cratering of your finish due to the oil under it).
Lacquer cabinets are beautiful and the finish will last a long time.
The Paint : Acrylic Enamel vs. Alkyd Enamel:
The paint used for woodwork can be either acrylic (water-based) or alkyd (oil-based). There are advantages and disadvantages to either one:
· Easy clean-up with soap and water
· Usually has less odor
· Lower volatile organic compounds
· Thins with water or a water-based paint conditoner
· Not as durable or washable as alkyd
· Not as sandable as alkyd
· Retains gloss or sheen well
· Dries fast but may not level out
· Quick to dry but this may cause lap marks
· Cannot be applied over surfaces previously painted with alkyd paint
· Acrylic enamel is convenient in many ways. The clean up is somewhat easier, it dries fast and has less odor
· Cleans up with mineral spirits
· Is thinned with mineral spirits or Penetrol
· Is very durable and washable
· Dries harder and is easy to sand
· Usually has a smoother finish than acrylic
· It has the best finished look
· Some have strong odor during application but quickly goes away
· Has stood the test of time as the preferred finish for woodwork
· Slower to dry than acrylic
· Usually will cover the previous finish better
· Can be used to paint over other alkyd or acrylic paint
The advantages of alkyd paint far outweigh the downsides. The rich, smooth, porcelain-like finish cannot be matched by acrylic paint. When properly applied it has no equal.
In an earlier section (see section 3, "The Many Ways to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets"), we covered the different methods used in cabinet refinishing. Here's our take on each of the methods:
Oil Finish/Polishing: This is one application we rarely need to do for the customer as it really doesn’t take any special skills to apply this (just a lot of elbow grease).
Clean, Prime and Recoat: This application was invented by the paint companies to try and get rid of oil base products.You may remember many cars in the last 30 years that the paint peeled off in sheets due to this same principle.Your cabinets were originally finished with a hard finish such as lacquers,varnishes,enamels etc. Primers such as Kilz, Bins, etc. are made of a softer material which needs to be absorbed into unfinished wood. Once applied over a hard finish, since it cannot be absorbed, it creates a sandwiched layer of a hard finish /a soft primer/& a hard finish which will create a great potential for your cabinet finish to chip off. We simply refuse to follow this method even though it is considerably a cheaper way for a short-term finish. It will usually last a couple of years before it needs to be completely redone or at some point new cabinets installed--we've seen too many examples of this, even in high-end homes.
Clean and Recoat Method: This procedure we have found to be your best method short of completely stripping and refinishing your cabinets. To do this your cabinets need to be in good shape except for minor chips or minor bad marks in your wood. If your wood has lost its luster this procedure might work for you without a complete strip. First the cabinets need a complete and thorough chemical cleaning, a scuff sanding as well as an extensive cover-up for spraying if possible. We then apply an etching coat (grabbing coat) to the old finish. This is still a hard coat (as opposed to the soft primer coats used in the "Clean, Prime and Recoat method" described above). The finish coats are then applied as needed--either a clear coat or colored finish. This will now give us a Hard finish/Hard etching finish/Hard finish. Since all coats are hard-finished we find this to be a good fix in some cases.
Strip and Refinish Method: This is the only real tried and true method to bring your cabinets back. First of all your cabinet quality needs to be worthwhile as far as this investment is concerned. Many of the older cabinets were custom built and were certainly not made to be throwaways. It is very important to remember that if your older cabinets are still in generally good working order, you will surely be better off having them refinished properly than you will by buying a newer but mediocre piece of hardware (such as the ones made with particleboard or Medium Density Fibreboard materials). It would be a terrible shame (and waste!) to see custom cabinets that were structurally built for a lifetime of use become a lost thought of the wiser generations, while mediocrity is becoming all too familiar with the new. Most of the cabinets of today will not have the life expectancy as the custom cabinets of yesterday. The more cheaply made non-fitting cabinet boxes & doors made of particle boards and MDF materials last even less than 10-20 years and unfortunately continue to fill the landfills. Replacement of new replacement & refaced cabinets will be a must as even the new finishes will wear out considerably quicker because of lesser material applications (fewer coats of finish). Luckily for some of us the hardware (hinges/pulls) and cabinet finishes of old usually gave us between 15-30 years before they lost their original beauty. The real wooden doors and boxes were actually built for many lifetimes of use if the finish (cabinet protection) is kept intact.
This procedure is certainly the only true method of a real professional refinish. We start this operation with a chemical degreasing wash, and follow up with a major rough and medium sanding of face frames, cabinet boxes, as well as doors and drawer fronts. Next we follow with an extensive sweep-up as well as a complete cover-up of work area. Two coats Clear sealer or Minwax Stain with two coats of clear sealer (or two coats of enamel undercoat) is then applied. A fine finish sanding and then either two coats of finish paint or three coats of clear topcoat. Spray finishing when possible. (Absorbed primer coat(Glue coat)/Hard Finishes).
Here are a couple of good examples of just how well our time-tested finishing procedures can really "bring your cabinets back" (click on either image to enlarge it):
The Top Ten Countertops
(reproduced with permission from interior designer Tammy Franklin)
There are lots of options on the market for kitchen countertops. Our list of top picks gives the pros and cons of the top 10 choices so that you can make an educated choice when you remodel your kitchen.
1. Granite Counters
Granite is the countertop material of choice when there are no other things to think about - like money. It defines elegance in a kitchen. The beauty of the stone contributes to the beauty of even the most modest kitchen.
PROS: holds up to heat; comes in beautiful colors; looks permanent and substantial.
CONS: very expensive, requires lots of maintenance, including periodic sealing; absorbs stains; can crack; limited range of colors available.
2. Engineered Stone
Engineered stone is composed of quartz particles. It is available in a larger range of colors than granite and has a nonporous surface that resists scratches. It's easy to maintain, without the annual sealing required by natural stone. Brands on the market are DuPont Zodiaq(R), Cambria Quartz, and Silestone.
PROS: resistant to stain and acid; easy care.
3. Solid Surface
Because solid surface counters are just what they're called, solid, any scratches can be sanded out. The countertops are custom-made to your specifications by companies such as Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone.
PROS: comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns; seamless; stain resistant.
CONS: vulnerable to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface; can be moderately expensive.
4. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile is durable and easy to clean. Add to that inexpensive and you've got a really good choice for countertops for the average home. Because it's installed a section at a time, it can be done by most resourceful homeowners.
PROS: takes hot pans; easy to clean; wide range of price, color, texture and design.
CONS: counter surface is uneven; tiles can easily chip or crack; grout lines become stained; custom-designed tiles are very expensive.
Laminate counters bear trademarks such as Formica, Nevamar, and Wilsonart. They're made of plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth surface that's easy to clean. The pieces are cut to size and finished on the ends.
PROS: you can buy laminates in lots of colors; easy to maintain; durable; inexpensive.
CONS: scratches and chips are almost impossible to repair; seans show; end finishing and front edge choices can be pricey.
6. Wood or Butcher Block
Wood countertops offer a beautiful warm look and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods.
PROS: easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed as needed.
CONS: can be damaged by water and stains over time; scratches must be oiled or sealed according to manufacturer's instructions.
7. Stainless Steel Counters
For a really contemporary and industrial look for your kitchen, stainless steel is a good choice. They are heat resistant and durable. Because they're constructed to your specifications, you can have a seamless countertop.
PROS: takes hot pans; easy to clean.
CONS: Expensive; noisy; may dent; fabrication is expensive; you can't cut on it.
8. Soapstone Counters
Soapstone is generally dark gray in color and has a smooth feel. It is often seen in historic homes but is also used in modern homes as both a countertop and sink material.
PROS: rich, deep color; smooth feel; somewhat stain resistant.
CONS: requires regular maintenance with applications of mineral oil; may crack and darken over time.
Because of it's extremely high price tag, marble is not often seen on the countertops of whole kitchens. To get the luxurious look, use it on an island or as an inset at a baking center. Marble requires constant maintenance, as it easily stains. Some new sealers retard staining.
PROS: waterproof; heatproof; beautiful.
CONS: expensive; porous; stains easily unless professionally sealed; can scratch; may need resealing periodically as per manufacturer.
10. Concrete Counters
If you have countertops in unusual shapes, concrete may be a good choice, as they're often cast right in your kitchen. The high price tag may be beyond most people's budget.
PROS: heat and scratch resistant; can be color-tinted; looks exotic and unusual; new treatments eliminate cracking; additives reduce porosity; new finishes are more decorative.
CONS: mid to high range on cost due to custom work; cracking is possible; can look somewhat industrial; porous but can be sealed.
What can you expect from having Bob and his crew perform your kitchen remodeling project? First and foremost, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that Bob holds a Class A License, is bonded and insured, and has 35 years of experience in the field. That level of experience brings with it a set of "best practices" that he uses to ensure that the job gets done right, on budget and on schedule, while minimizing the fuss and inconvenience that can be associated with a major home renovation project. Oh yeah, and he absolutely loves what he does.
Here's a typical timeline of how a kitchen remodeling job proceeds, from start to finish:
To keep as much of the mess out of your home as possible the first thing we do is to pull all your doors and drawers and take them back to the shop/unless we are replacing them. If we are changing countertops /floorings/doors/or trim we will take measurements at this same time, so we can order these as well as hardware or any miscellaneous items that may be needed to keep the work in your home to a minimum. At this point it will be 1-3 weeks before we return to start work in your kitchen .This allows us time to get doors finished as well as materials brought in for a timely completion in your kitchen and you time to clean out your cabinets. The time in the house is usually less than 1 week on smaller kitchens and 2-3 on larger kitchens.
During this time working outside your home we'll do a thorough cleaning of the doors/drawers and a major stripsand if necessary. Next we will apply our stains by hand and/or sealers/or undercoaters to the above by airless spray application. After this we do a light finish sand and then follow up by spraying our finish coats. We believe it is a necessity to put plenty of finish on for a lasting finish, and we typically do the following:
Over the years, we've done a great number of kitchen remodeling jobs of varying sizes; in the process, we've come across several methods for estimating the budget required to perform a given kitchen remodeling job. Here is a great way to go about it:
Consider the fair market value of your home to determine your kitchen budget. The kitchen represents 10-20% of the fair market value of a home. Investing less than 10% of the fair market value may result in a kitchen that doesn’t meet expectations; exceeding 20% makes it more difficult to recoup expenses upon a sale.
Of the kitchen budget, 50-65% of the cost should be designated for cabinetry and countertops (or 50% cabinetry and 15% countertops). Another 15% can be expected for appliances, flooring and other goods like lighting, plumbing fixtures, etc. The remaining 20-35% includes the costs of labor, design elements, contracting services, etc.--since many contractors figure their costs on a "per finished square foot" basis, this amount would include the square footage of your kitchen times the cost per square foot.
Sample Kitchen Budgets:
For a home worth $100,000:
Cabinets and countertops (50-65% of total budget): $10,000-13,000 Appliances, flooring and other goods (15% of total budget): $3,000 Labor, design, contractors, etc. (20-35% of total budget): $4,000-6,000
Total Budget: $20,000
For a home worth $250,000:
Cabinets and countertops (50-65% of total budget): $25,000-32,500 Appliances, flooring and other goods (15% of total budget): $ 7,500 Labor, design, contractors etc. (20-35% of total budget): $10,000-17,500
Total Budget: $50,000
When you get around to talking to contractors about the work you want performed, you may encounter deals that seem too good to pass up. On this subject, Bob has this reminder:
If it is a onetime "today-only" deal, it is called a high pressure sale and that sales person probably needs his commission as he most likely will not be doing the actual work in your kitchen. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
We thought we'd end this section with some words from John Ruskin, a 19th-century English art critic and writer (1819-1900):
It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done.
If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.
This is as true today as it was over 100 years ago.
Call Bob at (757)851-9618 so you won't be singing the kitchen remodeling blues!
Call Bob at (757)851-9618, and put his experience to work for you.
Bob is a Class A contractor
and is registered with
the Better Business Bureau.