DIY Kitchen Remodel that You Can Do

My wife decided to remodel our 20 year-old kitchen that looked more like it was 30 years old. She knew what she wanted to do with the space, and she knew how she wanted it to look. I readily agreed! So, we drew some plans, and we submitted these to some well-known and respected kitchen remodelers. What they submitted back to us was shocking. One would think by the price that we were installing gold faucets. Perhaps our naiveté about construction prices led us to believe that we could have the work done for around $25,000.

We were not about to pay the high price for this work, so we began to think about how we might get the work done for far less costs. It was not so much a concern over the value of the work proposed by the contractors as it was a concern over spending so much money.

So, we set out to see what we could do ourselves. Fortunately, our plans used the same plumbing lines, and the electrical outlets and switches would not change. We added two outlets and one switch, but this was not a big task.

Since we planned to “gut” the kitchen down to the studding, we arranged for a dumpster to be set in our driveway so that we could load all of the discarded material for easy disposal. Taking the cabinets down was easy. The countertop was a Formica product that was easy to saw into manageable pieces. The appliances were easily removed and loaded into the dumpster. The sink and garbage disposal were also easy to remove. Since our stove was a gas stove, we had an expert shut off the gas and disconnect the stove. The cost was $35; the savings was probably the entire house.

Next, we removed the sheet rock or wall board to expose the studding. This was an easy task but a messy one. We installed a sheet of construction plastic across the opening to the rest of the home to contain the dust in the kitchen.

Having made measurements of the cabinet sizes we need, we began our search online for the cabinets that we wanted. We discovered at least 20 discount cabinet suppliers online, and some had showrooms within driving distance. We visited three showrooms displaying discount cabinets, and we found exactly what we were looking for. I made pictures of both the interior and exterior of the cabinets so I could compare the product we purchased with the cabinets we saw in the showroom. We purchased beautiful maple cabinets for under $1,500. The company charged $100 for delivery and renting a trailer would cost $50, so we opted to have the cabinet company deliver the cabinets and accept responsibility for their arrival without damage

Installing the upper cabinets was easy. I saw an installation device that was two pieces of 1 x6 boards bonded together at a 90 degree angle. A friend helped lift the cabinets in place and I supported them with my homemade support and then my friend used a power tool to screw the cabinets in place. We had previously marked the studding so we knew where to drive the screws.

Installing the bottom cabinets required using some wood leveling pieces which helped us get each cabinet level. Once the lower cabinets were set in place, we secured them by the same method that we used to secure the upper cabinets.

It was at this point that we asked the granite counter top people to come out to make their measurements. The counter top fit like a glove; it was beautiful.

Next we hung the drywall. I bought a book for $1.95 at the big box store that showed how to install the drywall and what materials to use to secure the drywall and cover the seams. This task was far easier than I imagined it would be. Sanding the joints was probably the toughest part of the job, but only because it was so messy.

We painted the walls next so that we could spare the new floor and the counter top.

Now we were ready for the flooring to be installed. Once again we turned to the internet and found numerous types of flooring available and in random lengths. We were fortunate to find a showroom and sales office just 35 miles from our home. This was a discount flooring company and the prices were exceptional. We selected some flooring that came from a demolished factory in New England, and it was absolutely the most beautiful wood we had seen.

The big box store in town conducted workshops on various home improvement projects. We were fortunate enough to have to wait only three weeks for a workshop on flooring installation. Meanwhile, the three weeks proved valuable for the wood flooring to become acclimated to the home’s interior climate.

We were thrilled with our work and the price.

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