If you've ever received an estimate to remodel one of the rooms in your home you know that you start with a certain budget in mind. Often times when customers provide a list of 'must haves" and then give us their budget, it just isn't feasible. When this happens we will usually give the customer an estimate with all of their 'must-haves' on it that is over budget (sometimes by a lot sometimes not by much). We do this not because we want to go over their budget but to show them that it isn't a realistic budget for what they are asking for. When this happens if often times scares customers away...they either give up on their project all together thinking they cannot afford it or hire a company that promises them they can give them what they want within their budget that either takes their money and runs or does poor work leaving the customers leery of ever trying another remodel project.
What you should do when you receive your initial estimate is try working with your contractor to get it to a price you are comfortable with by removing items that aren't as important. This sometimes isn't as easy to figure out as you would think. Below is an excerpt from our Kitchen and Bathroom Remodel Survival Guide, it has an assignment that we recommend all potential customers do to help them narrow down what's really important to them. Often times customers find that they can still get a great kitchen/bathroom/basement without getting everything they initially thought they needed. Something to keep in mind is you can always add the items from your 'Desire' list at a later date.
Below is the excerpt from our Survival Guide which you can also use for a basement remodel.
To help plan your budget, you need to develop a list of “Needs, Wants, and Desires”. This list helps you prioritize the styles and functional elements you want to see in your new kitchen or bathroom and ultimately stay within your budget. To create this list, we recommend the following steps:
-Make a list of everything you don’t like about your current kitchen/bath. Once you think you have a pretty good list of “dislikes” (you can always add more later) take a few minutes to number this list with one being the most important change you need to make.
-Go through all of the design ideas you have gathered and make a second, separate list of every design and functional element you want to see in your new kitchen/bath. Be sure to leave room for new ideas that may come up as you’re shopping. Draw three columns to the right of your list labeled “Need”, “Want”, and “Desire”.
-With your list of “dislikes” close by, begin going through your list of new features. For each one, if it clearly addresses one of the things you dislike about your current kitchen/bath, put a check in the “Need” column. If it does not, put a check in the “Want” column for something that adds value, or check in the “Desire” column if it is simply an “oh wow” item, like decorative moulding or chocolate glaze. This is one of the most important steps, and the challenge here is to remain honest with yourself.
-Prioritize all of the items in each of “Needs”, “Wants”, and “Desires” columns, beginning with number one as the most important. Compare the item to what it “fixes” from your first list to help determine how important it might be. You might need to repeat this step a couple of times to make sure you are happy with the order.
-Rewrite the entire list, in the order you have just selected. This last step may seem trivial, but it gives you a final opportunity to make changes and adds a little peace of mind that you were thorough.
Once you’ve made your list, you’re ready to meet with the contractor who provided the estimate and adjust items as needed to fit within your budget.
Whether you choose to work with our company or not we highly recommend following these steps on any remodel project.. it will help to save a lot of time, stress, and money!
Contact our office today at 240-398-9003 for a FREE copy of our Kitchen and Bathroom Remodel Survival Guide !
There are so many decisions to be made when remodeling your kitchen, it can be overwhelming. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular countertops being used this year, we listed the benefits and the drawbacks of each and the average price range. Use our list to help you narrow down your options!
Engineered Quartz countertops are arguably one of the best choices for a kitchen, they are durable, with a rich, luxurious feel to them. They have virtually no maintenance and will outlast cheaper materials.
- Almost maintenance free
- Stain, scratch, acid, heat, and impact resistant
- Because of it's nonporous surface, it doesn't need to be sealed (unlike natural stone)
- It's extremely durable, because it's made from one of the hardest materials on earth
- Comes in a wide range of colors and patterns (has a wider range of colors than the other natural stones)
- Leaves less of a carbon footprint than granite
- Safer Choice- it is difficult for bacteria and other pathogens to develop on its surface (You can even
choose to add an antimicrobial agent to its surface )
- On the pricey side, however usually slightly cheaper than granite
- Can discolor over time when exposed to a lot of sunlight
- Heavy and should be professionally installed on sturdy cabinets
- Seams are visible, but less noticeable when a darker color is chosen
How it's Made:
Engineered in a factory and made up of approximately 94% quartz combined with polyester
resins and pigments for color. Some designs also use small amounts of recycled glass or metallic flecks.
$40-$185 per s.f. (installed)
- Great for resale value
- Has a high-end look
- Durable prep surface
- Comes in a wide range of colors and patterns
- It is a natural product
Pro/Con- Each piece is one of a kind- this is both a pro and a con because it may make it hard to find slabs that go well together, however no one will have the exact same countertop as you.
- Can stain easily, so spills should be cleaned right away, especially oils, wine, and soda
- Because each slab is unique, matching them can be tricky
- To keep in good condition, they should be sealed once a year
- On the pricey side
- Heavy and should be installed by a professional on top of sturdy cabinets
- Impossible to hide the seams
Types of Granite Countertops:
Slab- Most expensive and elegant option- a solid piece of stone cut from the ground in chunks, then cut and customized to your needs.
Modular- Mid-range price; comes in a range of pre-cut sizes.
Tiled- The most budget friendly option; tiles are placed edge to edge and secured with epoxy. Can be hard to clean because of all of the seams.
Polished- Shiny, glossy look
Honed- Soft, matte finish
How it's Made:
Granite comes straight from the ground; once granite is found, a quarry is made around it and large chunks are cut and drilled from the ground.
$35-$200 per s.f. (installed)
- Not easy to clean (even though it does not require special chemicals) it takes caution and effort
- Not as durable as natural stone
- Excessive or hard cleaning can cause marks and damage
- Can and will look dull and old if it gets damaged, can also start to peel due to wear and moisture exposure
- Easily cut and scratched (always use a cutting board)
- Not heat resistant and burn marks are NOT easy to remove
- Difficult to repair if damaged
- Because of it's raw particle board core, it cannot be used with an undermount sink
How it's Made:
Laminate countertops are made of paper blended with resins and fused to particle board
$10 to $50 per square foot (installed)
- It has classic beauty
- If you are looking for a white countertop, it will be almost impossible to find one that's as bright
- Naturally cool surface (which is especially great for baking)
- Heat resistant (but you still should NOT put a pot or pan directly from the stove on it)
- Very susceptible to stains
- Regular sealing is required
- Special care with acidic products is needed in order to prevent etching
- Sharp knives can scratch the surface easily
- Heavy pots or mugs can chip or even break off a piece (if slammed hard enough)
How it's Made:
Marble is a metamorphic rock that changes from it's original sedimentary form (limestone/dolemite) to marble under severe pressure and heat (the materials completely re-crystallize)
The more budget friendly option- cultured marble is made of crushed marble and a manufactured thermoplastic resin (stains are less of a concern with this option)
$40- $250 per s.f. (installed)
- Ideal for food prep-when properly sealed, you can even cut meat on it
- Budget friendly
- Highly heat resistant- you don't have to worry about hot pots and pans
- Can be mixed and matched with other countertop materials such as natural stone
- Has a warm natural appearance
- You can sand scratches out of it
- It is a quieter work surface (you won't hear the loud banging you would with other surfaces)
- Works with all design styles ( including Traditional, Country, French Country, Mediterranean,
Old World, Modern, Contemporary, Transitional, Eclectic, etc.)
- Warm to touch
- Can be made from recycled/re-purposed materials
- Easy on knives (the blades will last longer)
- Swells and contracts with moisture exposure
- Must be sealed properly or it's naturally porous surface will harbor bacteria and germs
- Needs frequent oiling; at least 2-3 times per year or more
- Must be kept dry around sink areas and after spills
How It's Made:
Can be made of almost any wood or a combination of woods. Usually made of strips of wood bonded together. Commonly made from Maple, although Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Teak are also used, and eco-friendly Bamboo is gaining popularity as well.
$35-$250 per s.f. (installed)
- Coordinate with any color
- One of the easiest to clean; all you need is a cloth and a mild soap
- The MOST hygienic countertop available (no mold, bacteria, or other common germs)
- Durable/ Industrial strength
- Resilient to almost anything- heat, water, stains, etc
- Has a non-porous surface- no liquids can penetrate into it (at all)
- Does NOT stain!
- Hot pots & pans can be placed on them without worry of heat damage (although it will make the surface under it heat up..the heat won't spread to the rest of the countertop)
- Will stay cool during the summer
- Custom made to fit your needs; you can even have your countertop made with an integrated sink ( no seams or edges to clean), can be cut to any size, seamless edges
- Can be strategically placed to create the illusion of a larger kitchen
- 100% recyclable
- The surface WILL get scratched! However after it's scratched due to usual wear and tear, it starts to patina, which is a look many people like
- Can dent if you are careless (or if accidents happen)
- Some think the stainless steel look is 'cold'
- They are noisy- clanging, etc.
- Considered low maintenance, but could also be considered high maintenance, due to it's tendency to show smudges, fingerprints, and small crumbs
How It's Made:
Made of a metal alloy that contains about 10% chromium. Stainless steel sheets are purchased then molded and welded according to the desired size and shape.
$75-$150 per square foot (installed)
- Can be cut into any shape
- Has endless color options
- Easy to clean
- LED lights can be used to illuminate the surface
- Non-porous surface (no liquids can penetrate)
- Versatile- can be used to house fabric/artwork between its layers or embedded with materials that mix browns, blues, greens, etc to suit any color palette
- Heat resistant
- Durable (make sure to get glass that is at least 1 inch thick and tempered)
- Can be made to emulate granite
- Pricey (if budget is a concern, you can use glass in conjunction with another surface)
- Can crack or break
- Scratches and fingerprints are visible
- Cannot be repaired, must be replaced if damaged
How It's Made:
Resins are used to bond together crushed particles of glass mixed with pigments, ash, or ceramics. Each company has it's own proprietary mixture which provides unique results.
$50-$200 per sq. foot (installed)
- Highly customizable in color and layout
- Mixes well with many different materials
- Energy efficient- when the temperature in your home rises, the concrete captures the heat and releases it when the temperature cools
- Flexible- Can be formed to any shape or size and has the ability to incorporate other functional features, such as integral sinks, butcher blocks, and drain boards
- Can be personlized with unique embedded items, such as pebbles and recycled glass
- No visible seams when a seam filler is used
- Stain resistant (when sealed)
- Unlimited color options
- Custom edges
- Extremely hard and tough
- Needs sealing-when made and every 1-3 years after
- Costly- costs about the same as Granite
- Hot pans will burn
- Can be damaged by water and heat if not properly sealed
- Even with proper sealing, moisture or oil can make it look wet or sloppy
- Producing cement for concrete and transporting the concrete, emits greenhouse gases
How It's Made:
Made of cement, light weight aggregates, and a combination of additives (such as fiber, sand, gravel , stone, and crushed glass).
Made 2 different ways-
Precast- Cast offsite in a shop where conditions are controlled, the concrete is poured based on a template of the layout, it's left to cure, then sealed
On Site- Poured right on top of the cabinets and set in place, can be formed to any client's particular needs
$70-$150 per square foot (installed)
- Highly stain resistant
- Bacteria/germ resistant
- Non-porous; it will never absorb liquids so you won't have to worry about spilling red wine or acidic drinks
- Available in a range of gray tones from pale green, light gray, to a dark, almost black, gray
- Does not require sealing
- Regular application of mineral oil can disguise surface scratches and dents
- Durable- available in a varying degrees of hardness
- Unique- No 2 slabs are the same
- If quarried in Brazil it will have veining like fine Marble
- Environmentally friendly- Can be 100% recycled, contains no sealers or toxins of any kind
- Good ROI (return on investment) from 50%-80%
- The installation is more cost effective, it does not require a specialist
- Scratches can be left as a part of natural patina or you can sand them out
- You can choose the texture-from slightly rough to smooth
- Scratches and dents easier than other stone; because it's a softer stone (but it can be repaired with sandpaper, mineral oil, and a cloth)
- If you choose a slightly rough surface, it can scuff China and glassware
- If you want it to darken, you will have to oil it regularly
- Limited selection- limited colors and patterns
- The installation is cheaper but the actual price of the stone is comparable to other natural stones
How It's Made:
Harvested from the earth and custom cut to fit your needs
$60-$105 per square foot (installed)
*Make sure to select architectural grade, NOT artistic grade (this type is meant for sculptures, etc.)
*Can be purchased as a slab or tiles
- Very durable and sturdy
- Comes in a variety of sizes and colors
- Heat and moisture resistant
- Easier to cut and shape
- Each slab/tile is unique
- Cheaper than Granite
- Very aesthetically pleasing
- Environmentally friendly
- Reflects light, making kitchen appear brighter
- If you don't fill and seal its pitted surface, food and bacteria can get trapped and liquids absorbed, making it more high maintenance (has a porous surface)
- Even minor spills can stain
- If you use your kitchen often, this is NOT the countertop for you
- Requires special cleaning products
- Mats should be used underneath hot dishes and cookware, place mats under ceramics, silverware, and china, and coasters underneath drinks to prevent damage to countertops
- Must be sealed once every 1-3 years
- Should disinfect regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria due to liquid absorption
How It's Made:
Combined with cement then smoothed and polished to provide a more uniform surface
Tiles- $25- $135 per square foot (installed)
Slab- $35-$150 per square foot (installed)
The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the home. It is also one of the most popular rooms to remodel, because of it's high ROI (return on investment). When you make the decision to remodel your kitchen, it is best to be prepared before you begin. Without proper preparation, a kitchen remodel can turn into a disaster. If you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen, contact us for our free, Kitchen and Bath Remodel Survival Guide.
Below are questions you should ask yourself before remodeling, it will help you and your contractor (if you're using a contractor-which we strongly recommend for kitchen remodeling!) get an idea of where to start.
1. Assess your current kitchen and the wants and needs of your family.
a. What do you like about your current kitchen?
b. What would you most like to change about your kitchen?
c. What would your dream kitchen look like?
d. What colors do you like?
e. How would you describe your home decorating style?
f. What feeling would you like your new kitchen to have?
g. Do you want/need multiple work stations in your kitchen?
h. How many people are living in your home?
i. How many 'chefs' are in your home? What are their ages?
j. Does anyone in your family have physical limitations? If so what are they?
k. How many times a month do you entertain?
l. When you entertain, do you have large events with a lot of people or small gatherings?
m. Do you want an 'open-concept' kitchen?
2. What activities will take place in your kitchen?
a. Cooking- does your family generally do fast easy meals or large family meals from scratch? Do you do gourmet cooking? Do you do a lot of baking? Do you do a lot of cooking for guests/entertainment?
b. Dining- Will you have a dine-in kitchen? If so what type of dining does your family do? Formal? Informal? How many people generally dine with you?
c. What other activities will take place in your kitchen? laundry, tv, school or office work, computer time, crafts, house work, etc.
3. What items will you store in your kitchen?
a. Food/Beverages-canned goods, fruits, veggies, spices, oils, coffee, milk, etc.
b. Cookware/Dishes- pots, pans, plates, cups, silverware, measuring cups, cookbooks, etc.
c. Other items- paper plates & cups, food storage containers, baggies, foil, pet food and supplies, and cleaning products.
4. What type of cabinet storage will you need?
a. Base Cabinets- full-extension sliding shelves, hinged swing-out wire shelf units, Lazy Susans, door-mount racks, slide out racks for storage bins and trash cans, etc.
b. Wall Cabinets- pull-down overhead shelf units, flip-down shelf, etc.
c. Other- storage cabinet for TV, ceiling-mount pot rack
5. What features will you choose for your kitchen?
a. Will you be doing any structural changes? Adding/removing walls? adding or removing a door or window? Building an addition to extend kitchen space?
b. Cabinets- What style will you choose? Traditional, contemporary, transitional, cottage, modern, etc.
What type of surface will you choose? Wood? If so, what species and finish. Laminate or vinyl overlay. Metal?
What door style will you choose? Full overlay (shows very little of the cabinet frame giving it a modern, seamless appearance or a half inch overlay (leaves 2 inches of the cabinet frame exposed between the doors giving a more traditional look)
Will you have other options- Such as multiple surfaces, cabinet hardware, an island, matching range hood, matching appliance panels, etc.
c. What type of surfaces will you use for your backsplash and/or countertop? ceramic tile, concrete, laminate, quartz, solid surface, stainless steel, stone (such as granite), wood, etc.
d. What options will you choose for your sink? Material- acrylic, cast iron, composite, enameled steel, solid-surface, stone. What configuration will you choose? Single, double, or triple basin? Apron front? Prep sink?
What fixtures will you choose? Faucet-Single-handle, bridge, high arc, pull-out, pot-filler, or wall mount? Will you choose a built-in water filtration system? Will you select a built-in soap or lotion dispenser? Will you have a garbage disposal?
e. What type of flooring will you choose? Bamboo, ceramic tile, concrete, cork, laminate, linoleum, sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, wood, engineered wood, stone, etc.
f. What type of ventilation will you have? chimney hood, custom insert, down-draft, island hood, microwave-hood combo, under-cabinet hood, etc.
g. What type of lighting will you have? under-cabinet lighting, accent lighting, sky light, task light, recessed lighting, or pendant lights.
h. What large appliances will you have? Conventional oven, convection oven, microwave, steam oven, cook top stove, free standing range, slide-in range, warming drawer, refrigerator, freezer, built-in refrigerator, built-in dish washer, regular dishwasher, washer, dryer, washer/dryer combo, etc.
i. What small appliances do you/will you have? toaster, toaster oven, rice cooker, slow cooker, blender, bread maker, deep fryer, food processor, coffee maker, espresso or cappuccino machine, juicer, etc.
With this list completed, you are one step closer to having the kitchen of your dreams! Call us today at 240-398-9003 and we can help you with this process or if you are interested in our free Kitchen and Bath Remodel Survival Guide, contact us and we will email it to you! or if you are on your smartphone...click here to call:<a href="tel:2403989003">Click HERE to Call: 240-398-9003</a>
Located in Fort Washington, MD. We service Northern Virginia, PG County, Montgomery County, and Southern Maryland, including Charles County, St.Mary's County, and Calvert County.