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What to Consider before Renovating your Kitchen

Thinking of renovating your kitchen? Handy with tools and unafraid of getting elbow-deep in drywall? Looking to try your skills at a little plumbing, or laying down fresh tile?

Home renovations don’t always need a professional, and remodeling part or all of your kitchen can be a do-it-yourself project, but take heed: Every at-home project can pose a challenge, and you can avoid some common pitfalls by thinking ahead about how your kitchen job is going to work.

What follows are some key points to consider before deciding to renovate that kitchen yourself:

Tiles and Countertops:

Some of these require a little bit more patience and time than others — new kitchen tiles are likely to take longer than swapping out switch plates and rolling out a new coat of paint, for instance — but nothing you do to your kitchen surfaces is a probable candidate for major messes or injury. Countertops and whole cabinet units are eminently detachable and replaceable, but follow that old adage: measure twice, cut once. Take it from, you can always rent the tile cutter or other tools to get a manageable job done, and in an afternoon, for the average kitchen, you’re done.

Lighting, Plumbing, and Carpentry:

If you’ve some basic shop skills, a long weekend, and the ability to ask for advice from a knowledgeable hardware rep, you might be able switch out under-counter lighting fixtures, overhead lights, and/or change out faucets. If you’re decent with an electrical saw and know how to read your home plans for signs of load-bearing and electrical apparatus, cutting a section of wall between two rooms — to put in a service window or breakfast counter, say — is also a judgment call that can come in on the side of DIY. But anything that requires complicated surfaces or uncertain interior features — and certainly anything involving electricity that you feel at all unsure about — these projects probably call for outside help.

The bottom line is:

Safety and savings. Discovering the line between fee-free and personally satisfying projects and those on which you’ll want to take a back seat and let the contractors in the house depends upon your best judgment.

Figure out how many hours you have to throw at your kitchen-renovation idea, and err on the side of self-preservation when it comes to any tool or home component with which you’re not familiar (or qualified) to work.

As Canadian Home Trends points out: experienced, licensed home interior (and exterior) professionals have contacts on the supply side as well. What might cost you a figurative arm and a leg could come in for a lot less when a connected pro makes the call.

By James O’Brien

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