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4 Renovation Regrets You Can Avoid

DON’T HAVE REMODELING REGRETS – JUST LISTEN 

 (Or... the reason we have two ears and one mouth)

  If you tell a contractor or designer about something you want in a remodel, and they respond with, “Oh no, you don’t want THAT. What you really want is…” they may not be listening to you.

On the other hand, they might know that your request won’t actually work for you; like materials that might be harder to maintain, or a look so trendy that you’ll be tired of it in a couple of months. If you have a good relationship with your contractor or designer, you can both be honest about what you believe would be the best fit.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of remodeling decisions you could regret, if your team isn’t working together and communicating.


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REGRET #1 – CHOOSING THE WRONG MATERIALS

Virginia Kitchen and Bath notes that countertop choices in particular are something you should discuss in depth with your builder or designer, because not everyone wants to commit to the regular maintenance needed for some higher-end materials.

Countertops

· If you tell your designer that you want an easy-to-clean kitchen, but you won’t compromise on green marble countertops, you may need to do some listening. The Spruce notes that marble requires annual sealing, and can scratch or stain easily: “Even standing water can penetrate the stone and discolor it.” Acidic spills usually end up being permanent stains.

· Limestone should be a well-thought-out choice. Loren Wood Builders warns that limestone is very porous, and easy to etch: “If you cut your limestone with a knife, drop a large item on it, or bump a corner with a cast iron skillet, there is a good chance that it is going to chip or scratch.”

· Concrete countertops, while trending, are not usually the best choice. Concrete needs to be sealed like marble, and even after sealing, there is still a chance that concrete will absorb oils and liquids.

Flooring

· While hardwood is still a popular choice, keep in mind that it can cup or buckle in high-humidity areas, and scratches easily in a high-traffic room. It can also stain, especially from pets. All wood
should be screened and re-coated every 3-4 years.

· Despite its need for high maintenance for countertop applications, marble is great for radiant floor heating.

· It should be noted that ceramic tile flooring, while durable, has its cons. The Spruce says tile flooring “can be cold, hard on the feet, and time-consuming to install.” Ceramic tile grout also needs to be sealed regularly to repel stains.


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REGRET #2: THINK THROUGH YOUR LIGHTING NEEDS

Kitchens need more power in more places now, with all the quick-cooker pots, mini-grills, and soda-streams. Horizontal outlets are an option, depending on where you will use these appliances. Erin Kestenbaum, a DIY blogger, summarized a few kitchen remodeling regrets about lighting and
power:

· Where will you be working? If you have a good idea of the area of the kitchen you will spend most of your time, get the lighting right for that space. Overhead light, lamps, and other types of lighting all have their best applications.

· Will dimmers be useful? (DreamMaker designers would make the argument that they’re good in every room!)

· Outlets, outlets, outlets! It seems there are never enough! Outlets with USB charger ports are becoming the norm anymore, and they can be placed inside drawers to make tidy charging stations.


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REGRET #3: FAILING TO CONSIDER ORGANIZATION/WORKFLOW

Your designer should have a deep understanding of how you use your space, so they can help you make make it as functional as possible. For instance, a kitchen renovation will require you to ask the following questions:

· What do you keep on hand? If you are a warehouse-quantity buyer, or you like to be being prepared for any meal, drawers inside the cabinet help you see your inventory – all the way to the back.

· Do you have a cookbook collection, and a cache of spices/oils? What location makes the most sense for them?

· If you have room for a large island, how big can you make it? Not only will you have enough space for food prep and buffets, you can utilize cabinets underneath for recycling/trash bins, and pet food. Tall, narrow cabinets for storing things like bakeware and cutting boards are also easy to place under an island.

· Will you need a desk? A kitchen island normally becomes the “catch-all.” If there is a dedicated location for bill paying, homework, mail, and office supplies, it’s easier to keep the island tidy.

· What’s the best space for the microwave? Over the stove? Under an island? On the countertop? Depending on how often you need to access it, placement will be important.


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REGRET #4: GOING CHEAP

Hindsight is 20/20, and you get what you pay for. The budget you plan for in a remodel, sometimes isn’t spent on what you thought you needed. Erin Kestenbaum and others have made lists of “what they wished they had splurged on,” including:

· A big sink – If you have the room, get a sink more than 30” wide and/or deeper than 10”. Bigger sinks make it easier to fill and wash larger pots and pans and bakeware.

· A larger/wider (36”) range or cooktop – A great option, if you entertain often. The larger cooktops usually have 5 burners, if not 6. Larger ovens can also accommodate both that 24-lb. Thanksgiving turkey and the stuffing, for example.

· Get higher quality cabinets, and consider the finish – Get matte-finishing on cabinet doors, or clearcoat the cabinets to hide those inevitable smudges and fingerprints. However, if you have a busy kitchen that needs frequent cabinet cleaning, gloss finishes wipe up better.

· Get a natural slab backsplash, or a full-height tile backsplash (versus one that just goes up a few inches above the countertop) – It’s easier to keep clean than a partial backsplash, looks luxurious, and is a better heat-resistant surface, especially for behind cooktops/ranges.


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BONUS TIPS ON AVOIDING KITCHEN REMODELING REGRETS:

Oxsana lists her many regrets on their fixer-upper, in a two-part blog. Her main points are:

· Measure everything a million times, then have someone double-check your measurements!

· Get help with paint – Even if you happen to be somewhat experienced with paint, ask for recommendations from your designer or contractor on the right hue for the light in your space. Paint choices might look great on the swatch, but once applied, can easily be a mismatch for the other
materials you’ve selected.

MDV Remodeling agrees, and adds in these two wise notes:

· Perform due diligence when planning for a remodel – Get someone who can inspect for any insect damage, water problems, foundation cracks, electrical issues, etc. before you start. Be sure to budget for any repairs as part of your project.

· Plan for disruption – You may not have a kitchen that’s functional for a fairly long period of time. Make a plan for where you might eat/cook for the duration.

It does take teamwork to come up with the right remodeling solutions for the person who has to live with it in the end. Our point is, if you’re spending a lot of money on what might be a one-time remodeling project, be sure to communicate honestly, and listen to your designer or contractor, and you are unlikely to have any regrets in the long run!


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If you have a new kitchen in mind, we don’t want you to regret anything. Call DreamMaker today to discuss ALL of the options. Call 734-669-4000, or email us at info@dm-remodel.com.

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Shannon Janeczek

Shannon is the Marketing Manager for DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen Ann Arbor. If you'd like to contact us with a guest blog post, or a remodeling story, just email her at marketing@dm-remodel.com.

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