Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Taking on a home remodeling project of any scale can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences a homeowner will undertake. With countless design choices, layers of dust and a revolving door of workers, just thinking about it can send even the most laid-back person to bed with a mind-numbing headache. Whether it’s truly your blood, sweat and tears going into the remodel or just in theory letting professionals take the lead, there’s no doubt about it, remodeling is complicated. The silver lining, however, is the sense of accomplishment and homeowner pride once the project is complete and your design dreams are realized.
One of the best ways to keep stress at a manageable level is by working with a professional. This especially holds true when planning for a kitchen or bathroom remodel — two of the most trafficked areas of your home with the highest potential for return on investment. Working with a professional can make the remodel process much smoother by avoiding budget pitfalls, schedule delays and a crushed design dream.
Here are just a few of the ways a professional kitchen and bath dealer can help:
Visualizing the possibilities
Most reputable kitchen and bath dealers have a showroom to best showcase their work and the products they specify. As a customer, you should expect a neat, organized showroom with friendly staff to listen to you, help get some of your upfront questions answered and show you your options. Kitchen and bath dealers specialize exclusively in these rooms and have knowledge of the latest trends. They have the tools and experience to walk you through the design process, set the budget and troubleshoot to meet your goals for aesthetics and function. In fact, many kitchen and bath dealers and their designers are certified by leading industry associations such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), among others.
Setting the budget
Nowhere will using a professional pay off more than in setting the budget. If you’ve never done a major remodel, you probably don’t know how much to budget for. Or, perhaps you have a budget in mind and need help knowing where to save and when to splurge. Your dealer and design team will make this process much easier for you. Throughout the design and installation, they can work within your budget parameters, specify the best products and alert you of potential overages before it’s too late.
Doing the legwork
We’ve all heard the old adage, “measure twice; cut once.” Knowing how to take the right measurements is imperative in a successful remodeling project. The wrong measurement can set off an unfortunate chain reaction of very costly events. Professionals are skilled in this area and will get the job done right the first time so there aren’t delays in the schedule. Once the measurements are taken, a dealer will put the plans to paper and manage the ordering and installation steps.
Realizing your dreams
Eventually your remodel will be complete and you’ll no longer have to make do with your makeshift kitchen in the family room or fight with family members for time in your only functioning bathroom. After the dust has settled, the end result will be a beautiful space you and your family can enjoy for years to come. And, if you worked with a knowledgeable professional, you are left with both your dollars and your sense.
When purchasing a new sink for the kitchen, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the many different materials and choices available. Should we choose stainless steel? Granite? Fireclay? Porcelain? Let's look at the pros and cons of some very popular options.
- Stainless Steel: The most popular material for kitchen sinks, stainless steel is durable, hygenic, rust free and will last a long time. It is available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and depths to suit any situation. There are even stainless steel apron sinks. One can choose between very straight lined designs with sharp, crisp edges which blend well with contemporary looks, or curvilinear designs with radius edges for a softer look. For a good quality stainless steel sink, look for one that has at least 18-gauge thickness and with at least an 18/8 percentage of chromium and nickel in the steel. The chromium provides the luster, and the nickel gives the strength. A thicker gauge stainless steel is also quieter. The best stainless steel sinks will also have sound-deadening material on the bottom. Stainless steel can scratch, however, and will develop a patina of tiny scratches over time. A sink grid can help minimize scratches. Stainless steel is very easy to clean, but harsh chemicals should be avoided, and the sink should be wiped dry after use to prevent water-spotting. Some manufacturers are offering water-spot and fingerprint resistant finishes on some of their top-of-the-line models.
Blanco #516213 Precision
- Granite: Granite sinks are available two ways--one can have a sink made out of granite slabs, which are beautiful, but very heavy, and expensive--or one can have a composite granite (or quartz) sink made of granite dust, combined with acrylic resins in about an 80/20 ratio and molded under high pressure in one piece. They are very hard and durable, heat, stain and scratch resistant and are available in many different shapes, sizes and colors.
Blanco IKON 30" Silgranit apron sink
- Fireclay: Fireclay sinks are molded from china clay under high pressures, dried, then coated with a porcelain glaze under very high temperatures (1600-2000 degrees) to make a hard, non-porous surface. They are resistant to acids and other stains, and resist scratching and chipping (though they can be chipped). They are not available in as many sizes and colors as composite granite sinks.
Franke Orca sink, white
- Porcelain: Long a classic in the kitchen, porcelain sinks have a cast iron core and are covered with a porcelain glaze and fired under high temperatures. The result is a smooth, glossy finish and a timeless look. They are available in drop-in and undermount models and in a wide range of colors. Porcelain sinks are very durable, and with proper care last a very long time. Harsh abrasives and chemicals should never be used to avoid wearing away the glaze, and care should be taken in placing objects in the sink to avoid chipping. The sinks are very heavy and do require additional support for their weight.
Kohler Riverby equal bowl, white