Sunday, May 25, 2014

DIY or Professional? When it Pays to Pay a Pro

For many homeowners the cost of a kitchen remodeling project is prohibitive. As we've noted before, remodeling projects nationwide range from a relatively "minor" investment of $18,856 to a "major" investment of $54,909. A homeowner can expect to pay 10-25% of a home’s value for a high-quality kitchen remodeling project.

To cut costs, many homeowners choose to perform DIY renovations. In theory, a DIY renovation is a fabulous idea: a thrifty and handy homemaker can make a lasting kitchen upgrade at a fraction of the cost. If you possess professional skills and an abundance of free time, a DIY project might be your best choice.

Most DIY homeowners understand that kitchen renovation work is laborious and time-consuming. However, many DIY homeowners neglect the importance of technical expertise--the DIY craze has convinced many homeowners that renovation is as simple as following "Five Simple Steps to a New Kitchen Floor."

In fact, renovation is not as easy as "Five Simple Steps..." Blood, sweat, and tears can only get you so far. Without a great deal of technical know-how you're DIY project might be doomed from the start.

At MKBD, we've talked to many homeowners who have started DIY projects only to abandon the work halfway through. Most of these homeowners are determined and capable, yet they lack the technical know-how to solve unexpected problems.

We've seen crucial design mistakes, cut power lines, and water pipes spewing water. And all of this costs money--the precious money the DIY homeowner hopes to save!

Some DIY jobs are easily accomplished and some are best left to to the professionals.  To save you some hassle, we've compiled some simple tips below. Hopefully, these tips will help you save some money by answering a simple question: Should I DIY or call a professional?

DIY or Professional?

Kitchen Cabinets

The work of building and installing new kitchen cabinets is best left to professionals. Here (from the National Kitchen and Bath Association) is just one example of the technical expertise required to properly install kitchen cabinets:

"Once the base kitchen cabinets are lined up and connected, your contractor will be able to tell what kind of "shimming" may be needed on the walls and floor. A shim is a narrow wedge of wood that works much like a matchbook placed under the leg of a wobbly table in a restaurant. If your floors or walls are at all ‘wavy,’ as is the case in many older homes, shimming will be necessary."

Does this make sense to you? If not, make sure you call the pros. 

However, you can easily perform your own kitchen makeover by simply painting your old cabinets. Just prepare yourself for some hefty lifting. Each cabinet must be removed before painting. Then, once you’ve removed the cabinets, clean each cabinet with a sponge and soapy water. Next, sand the cabinets, then apply your primer. When the primer is dry, paint the cabinets with several coats of your new color, allowing the cabinets to dry after each coat.

For this Main Line project, MKBD created custom-made maple kitchen cabinets

Kitchen Floors

While the installation of a new kitchen floor does require some technical know-how, the biggest investment is sweat equity. If you want to install your own kitchen floors, prepared to work! Ripping up old flooring requires tremendous amounts of time and effort.

Thankfully, you can cover a kitchen floor with as many as three layers of new flooring before any removal is required. Just ensure that the new installation covers a smooth, clean surface. And remember to clean and vacuum your old kitchen floor thoroughly; any debris might later appear through the surface and damage your new floor.

And, of course, before you begin, make sure you get a precise measurement of your square footage. You don't want to purchase more flooring material than you need!

The verdict? If you're ready to work hard, and you can simply cover your old floor with a new layer, a DIY floor installation might be reasonable.

However, if you must rip up your old flooring, or if you want to install a specialized floor material like ceramic tiles or wood, we suggest contacting a professional.

In this North Wales, PA project, MKBD installed butterscotch wood floors. Wood floors are best left to the pros.
Install Appliances

The installation of a new appliance is rarely as simple as plugging the appliance into an outlet.It should go without saying that any electrical or plumbing work should be performed by a professional.

Electrical outlets should be properly grounded and installed according to code. And believe it or not, plumbing is often the most complicated element of a renovation. Just ask DIY Advice:

"Plumbing is the most complicated aspect of most bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects. Plumbing must conform to building codes to prevent dangerous and unhealthy conditions. The National Uniform Plumbing Code applies generally to the entire country.

You also must follow local codes, which may be more stringent. When planning your project request information about local plumbing codes from your local building department. Have the plans approved before starting work and perform all work to the satisfaction of the inspector. Draw a detailed plan that includes a list of all materials."

For these reasons, MKBD suggests leaving the installation of appliances to the professionals.


FREE Kitchen Appliances with any Full Kitchen Remodeling Project 

At MKBD, we partner with our customers to provide competitive prices. And now, for a limited time, we’re leveraging our buying power to offer you a tremendous deal: FREE kitchen appliances with a full kitchen remodeling!

To qualify for this offer, you simply have to schedule a FREE, no obligation kitchen design consultation—a value in itself! During our brief consultation, we will help you draft the kitchen design and layout of your dreams. Best yet, all consultations include a FREE, no obligation estimate. Call now to take advantage of this limited time offer: 215-355-474.

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