1. Consider why you want to remodel

Making changes to your kitchen can be an exciting and daunting endeavor. There are many reasons why you may want to do this and focusing on your main reasons may help you decide exactly what you ultimately do. For example, are you looking to improve the value of your home, make the kitchen more usable, increase storage space or simply replace old and worn cabinets? Depending on your needs, you may take a completely different path from a complete remodel to a refacing project. A knowledgeable and professional contractor will help you focus on the areas that are right for you.

2. Cabinets

One part of your remodel will likely be replacing or refacing your cabinets. Ask yourself questions such as do I have enough storage space, do I like the finish of my cabinets, do I have the right type of cabinets and drawers for my needs, are my cabinets the right size and places, do I have the kind of fixtures I want, are my cabinets operational, do the hinges perform properly? All these answers can help you make the major decision of complete replacement or refacing of existing boxes. Make sure your contractor helps you understand what type of cabinets will fit your needs and provide long term performance and appearance.

3. Countertops

As part of your remodel you may want to update or replace the countertops. Again, there are many options and considerations. Some things to think about include durability, aesthetics and maintenance as well as cost. Consider things such as softness and the way you use your kitchen. Granite is relatively hard compared to marble or limestone, but engineered rather than natural stones can be even more durable. Solid surfaces offer seamless designs and often are more resilient to stains or scratches. If you need a more economical countertop, laminate materials come in a wide array of colors and designs. Also consider the edge type and if you want to invest in something a bit more decorative than the standard square edge, for example, bullnose or beveled.

4. Sinks, faucets and handles

Technology and options for kitchen hardware provides many choices to compliment your new kitchen including granite, cast iron or stainless steel sinks. Options also exist for faucets and handles. Be sure your contractor has a wide selection of quality materials that can be professionally combined with your colors and styles to create a kitchen worthy of a magazine.

5. Flooring

As you consider remodeling your kitchen, you may also want to replace the floor. Does your contractor have options and ability to complete this work at the same time? A professional design consultant will help you select a flooring type that compliments the cabinets and countertops and your family’s use. Like with other selections, consider durability, maintenance and design when selecting flooring to complete your kitchen remodel. Also think about things such as noise and how much traffic and abuse the floor will receive in your type of household.

6. Extras

While there are major decisions to be made around cabinets, countertops, flooring, and appliances, consider all the “extra” items that may make your kitchen special. Can you include these type items in your turn-key kitchen remodel? Look for options for backsplash, cabinet interior hardware, lighting, cabinet interior hardware, lighting and more. Spend the time to create your dream kitchen with a professional who can deliver on all of the aspects of your project from one source with full project coordination.

7. What is included?

For a complete kitchen remodel, there may be work needed on cabinets, counters, plumbing and electrical. As you redesign your kitchen, make sure you understand which of these items is included in the project and which is not. A complete, turn-key project will provide you peace of mind that the entire work effort is coordinated and completed by one entity without extra work and coordination on your part.

8. Know your installation contractor

Is your contractor licensed and bonded? Does your contractor have adequate insurance? What warranties do they provide for both materials and labor? Does the contractor obtain the proper permits and follow all local and regional codes and regulations? How reliable is the contractor? What work have they done in your area? Be sure to ask these questions of each prospective contractor your hire. Place your home improvement project in the hands of someone you trust.

9. Warranties and after sale service

One of the most important elements of any home improvement project is the service you receive after the installation is complete. Does your contractor offer a standard warranty? What does that include: product, labor, parts? For what length of time does the warranty cover? Is there an extended warranty? What does that include? For how long? What does it cost? How are service calls requested? Is there a cost? Will the company be around for the next 10 years if you need them?

10. Price isn’t everything

The natural inclination is to find the lowest price. While price should be a consideration, the most important part of the decision should be value and return on investment (ROI). Will the contractor charge you a fair price and one that covers the cost of quality products and installation? Do the features and selections for your kitchen match your aesthetic, care and comfort needs and your lifestyle? Kitchen remodels can be costly, but Remodeling Magazine shows an average ROI of 72% for a major remodel and 78% for minor remodels, some of the highest values of all home improvement projects.