For 80 percent of homeowners, the kitchen is one of the top three most important spaces. Improved lifestyle, energy savings, modernity, and deterioration are some of the motivations to remodel a kitchen. Also, a contemporary look to a kitchen adds significant appeal and value to your home. The national average ROI for an upscale to your kitchen for 2020 ranges from 54 to 77 percent. Arguably, remodeling contractors are not only out to improve the outlook and usability of your kitchen, they know a good kitchen impacts your daily life. In 2017, 33 percent of homeowners agreed they have healthier lifestyles after renovating their kitchen, 50 percent enjoyed more family time, and 41 percent cooked more at home. When looking for a top-class kitchen remodeling contractor near you, the following questions will help guide your choice.
Kitchen remodeling contractors are expected to hold a general or home improvement contractor license in 35 states including California, North Carolina, Georgia, and Massachusetts. In states like New York, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where a state-level license is not required for a general contractor, licensure is granted by county or city authorities. To determine licensure requirements for kitchen remodeling contractors in your area, contact the state licensing board or the local consumer protection agency. A license is the basic guarantee that any contractor near you has the expertise and experience to handle your job effectively. Hence, request to see a copy of the remodeler’s license. You can confirm the status of the license by contacting the licensing agency.
Annually, construction workers record thousands of work-related fatalities and injuries. As of 2019, occupational fatality rate for these workers was 40 per 100,000 laborers while non-fatal incidence rates was over 200 per 10,000 laborers. Common injuries result from cuts, lacerations, amputations, falls, slips, sprains, and exposure to harmful substances some of which lead to permanent disabilities. The probability of an injury occurring at work informed the decision to stick with contractors who are appropriately insured.
To insure against possible property damages, third-party bodily injuries and medical expenses, contractors require general liability insurance. Additionally, for workers under the contractor, holding the Worker Compensation Insurance is essential to protect against employee injuries and loss of income that may occur in the course of the project. Request to see a copy of these insurance policies before hiring a contractor, to stand protected from further liabilities consequent upon injuries and damages from your project.
Similarly, ensure your contractor holds a surety bond. Bonding requirements differ by jurisdictions. Contact your local building authority or consumer protection agency to determine the bonding requirement for home improvement contractors in your area. A bond protects you from financial loss due to contractors’ default on their own obligations or failure to complete your job as agreed. Consider hiring another contractor near you, if the kitchen remodeler you are talking to cannot provide evidence of a surety bond.
When it comes to kitchen remodeling the capacity of your contractor to complete the job matters. Kitchen remodeling projects come in three levels, basic remodeling, mid-range remodeling, and deluxe remodeling. Note, a deluxe remodeling will involve installing a lot more custom-fit and high-end designs and accessories. Hence, it is important to inquire about your contractor's experience in fitting a kitchen of your magnitude. Also ensure you do not give a big kitchen remodeling job to a contractor that specializes in kitchen renovations.
Similarly, you want to be sure a remodeling contractor near you is proficient in the type of kitchen layout you desire. There are six kinds of kitchen layouts, including galley, one-wall, U-shaped, L-shaped, G-shaped, and Island. Each layout influences the level of work required for plumbing, flooring, and other fittings. Discuss with the contractors your preference and determine they can help achieve your style perfectly.
Kitchen remodeling involves different activities such as plumbing, woodworking, flooring, lighting, painting and other installations. Your general or home improvement contractor may be a kitchen remodeling specialist firm with various departments catering to the different requirements to complete the job. Alternatively, your kitchen remodeling professional may subcontract tasks to different specialists. Hiring contractors and subcontractors near you help save money on the total cost of a project due to proximity.
Invariably, your kitchen remodeling contractor will involve a team of specialized workers to complete your project. Hence, it is important to know the project manager responsible for your job and each individual worker that will be attending your site. You may also request a schedule detailing who will be on site per time. This will enable you to keep up with the progress of work.
Also, determine that each worker or subcontractor is appropriately licensed, bonded, and insured before you sign off on the paperwork. This will shield you from any financial liability in case of injuries, defaults, and incomplete tasks by any of the professionals. Note, if you live in areas with strict licensing regulations, you may be penalized for working with unlicensed personnel employed or subcontracted by your kitchen remodeling firm.
Homeowners can get two types of warranties during kitchen remodeling. The first is a warranty offered by the kitchen remodeling contractor for the contract work done. It may be valid from one to twenty years depending on the contractor. During its validity period, the contractor will attend to any labor-related defects that arise after the completion of the job.
However, most contractor warranties do not cover issues resulting from client faults such as carelessness, misuse, negligence, or inadequate maintenance. Therefore, any contractor near you reserves the right to inspect a customer issue report to verify that it is within the terms of the warranty before accepting responsibilities.
The second warranty covers the products, appliances, and fixtures that were installed by the contractor during the job. It is noteworthy that contractors do not issue this warranty, rather it is issued by the manufacturers or dealers of the products. This warranty guarantees that the manufacturer will repair or replace a product if it develops faults that are attributable to the manufacturing defects.
To forestall future disagreement on the terms of a warranty, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends obtaining a warranty in writing. Note, orally issued warranties are not covered by the federal warranty law, also known as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Permits are approvals from the government that allows you to run a construction, remodeling, or renovation project on your property. Permits are obtainable from local agencies in the municipality where the project will be done. The requirements for a kitchen remodeling permit vary across different localities. Note that a kitchen remodeling project involves a lot of several other tasks including plumbing, carpentry, flooring, electrical fixtures, and wall finishes. In most municipalities like the City of Philadelphia, permits are required for some of these sub-tasks, most especially plumbing. Hence, it is recommended that you contact your local building department to determine the types of permits that will be required for your remodeling project. A professional contractor near you knows the specific permits required for your project and how to obtain such documents.
References serve as reviews from clients that help you ascertain the credibility, expertise, and experience of a contractor. It is recommended that a prospective buyer may request as many as three different references from prospective contractors. You are at liberty to contact these references to determine their satisfaction with the contractor’s workmanship.
Alternatively, you may find reviews from clients near you on the contractor on third-party sites including Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Google Review.
Remodelling a kitchen affects the kitchen layout and structure. As such, most of the common problems kitchen remodelling contractors face are structural and layout issues. These problems may not only affect the aesthetics of a kitchen, they may also affect the operational workflow. Some of the common kitchen remodelling problems include:
- Poor layout planning
- Insufficient storage space
- Inadequate layout spacing
- Poor ventilation
- Lack of recycling space
- Not enough task lighting
- Electrical wiring faults
A National Kitchen & Bath Association report provides a rough estimate for the different components of a kitchen remodeling project as follows (in percentages of overall budget):
Labor and design fees account for the rest of the budget (26%).
In actual fees and depending on your location, the cost of a kitchen remodel ranges from $13,319 to $37,643. On average, kitchen remodeling costs $24,459. By square foot, it costs an average of $150. Here is a kitchen remodel cost list based on the remodel elements and their price ranges.
Based on the kitchen size, the total costs are as follows:
The total cost of a kitchen remodeling project depends on a number of factors. The factors include:
Travel expenses, material carriage cost and other logistic costs may add significantly to the total cost. Hence, it is recommended that you hire contractors near you to save on these costs.
In addition to being licensed, insured, and bonded, a kitchen remodeling contractor may obtain certifications to boost his credentials. Obtaining such certifications may require various formal and professional training in the specified area of interest. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), there are different levels of certifications for remodeling contractors. There are outlined requirements for each level, and some of these levels include:
It is common, although not advisable for homeowners to engage the services of handymen nearby for various home improvement needs, including kitchen remodeling. Handymen typically engage in various general maintenance and repair activities. Generally, handymen do not specialize in any field. Most of the handyman duties are minor jobs that do not require a license or permit. Their lack of expertise makes it a financial risk to work with them, especially because most of them are not insured.
Due to the technical and complex nature of most kitchen remodeling operations, you may require a contractor near you who specializes in kitchen remodeling to handle your project. A typical kitchen remodeling project involves specialized skills in flooring, cabinetry, plumbing, lightning, and countertop installation. It is important that each contractor/tradesman handling each task must be duly licensed, certified, insured, bonded, and with the appropriate work permit, as the case may be. Only professional kitchen remodelers would have guaranteed all these coverage for their subcontractors and technicians to forestall any financial risk accruing to you.
Cleaning up the dirt generated is a key cost consequent upon the completion of your kitchen remodeling project. However, some contractors would have billed for this task in their quotation to you. Where such expense is not billed for, it is your responsibility to look for an independent cleaner to complete the job.
Other less common expenses down the line may include failed accessories, leaky pipes, and disjointed woods. Also, such defects should have been negotiated in the written warranty signed with the contractor. Hence, the cost of rectifying these faults does not accrue to your account. However, the redemption of such warranty claims depends on the manner of use.
Every year, one out of every 20 insured homes file a property damage claim. These damages are majorly caused by wind, water, fire, burglary, etc. Generally, homeowner insurance (also known as hazard insurance) offers coverage for the structure of your home, liability protection, personal belongings, and additional living expenses (ALE). Typically, it will cater for your kitchen remodeling expenses if it suffers damage owing to any of the perils covered under the policy, which includes the furniture and plumbing expenses. However, if the damage was caused by your negligence, the insurance company may be indemnified of every responsibility. It is advisable that homeowners ascertain the full scope of a homeowner insurance policy and the ensuing terms and conditions before signing an agreement.
Like most small businesses today, kitchen remodeling contractors near you would accept digital payment through methods such as mobile banking, bank transfers, eWallets, and credit/debit cards. These electronic payment methods have certain benefits over the traditional means, such as ease of use, availability, accessibility, faster processing speed, and stronger security. Confirm with your kitchen remodeling contractor the payment method that is suitable to them.