Why a Kitchen Remodel Isn’t a Good DIY Project
You’ve done plenty of DIY projects that turned out well, but should you attempt a kitchen remodel? It can’t be that different from turning a shed into an office or remodeling a small bedroom, right?
While a kitchen remodel might seem like any other project, don’t count on it. If you haven’t been trained to perform a kitchen remodel, it’s definitely a task better left to the pros. Here’s why.
1. You might not foresee layout problems
It’s easy to envision the layout for a small shed or a child’s bedroom, but when you’re dealing with a kitchen, there’s more to consider. For example, with a kitchen remodel, you need to consider the workflow of everyone who will be using the kitchen.
One mistake you might make as a DIY remodeler is installing your dishwasher in the kitchen island. This might seem like a cool idea, but having a dishwasher in your kitchen island isn’t as functional as it seems. The only time an island makes a good spot for your dishwasher is when you also store your dishes in the island cabinets.
Dishwashers are often unloaded when the dishes are still a bit damp, which means you’ll be dripping water across the floor on a regular basis. When your dishes are stored apart from the kitchen island, unloading the dishwasher can damage your floor. To preserve your floors and prevent slips and falls, minimize the distance between your dishwasher and storage cabinets.
2. You’ll probably forget about traffic flow
Your kitchen gets more traffic than you think. Some of that traffic is a quick in and out, while a majority is lingering: people preparing meals, using the stove, looking for a snack, washing their hands, etc.
High traffic areas — like the sink, refrigerator, and stove — need to be positioned to allow for heavy use. For instance, you don’t want your refrigerator to be in the back corner of the kitchen and you don’t want your stove to be in a position where cooking will block the use of the sink.
Professional kitchen designers call this the “work triangle” and say you should be able to walk between the stove, refrigerator, and sink easily. This sounds like basic information, but unless you’re a professional kitchen designer, you won’t automatically incorporate this knowledge into your remodeling plans.
3. There is a correct order to select fixtures and appliances
What’s driving your desire for a kitchen remodel? Do you hate your cabinets? Do you want a lower countertop made from a different material? Chances are, you’ll want to start your remodel by purchasing whatever’s driving your desire for change. This seems to make sense, but it won’t usually work.
Say you’re tired of looking at old, beat-up cabinets so you buy your dream cabinets. After installing all of your new cabinets, you realize you don’t have much room for a stove. In fact, you’ve only got about 24 inches of space for your stove. That’s not going to work unless you squish the stove against the sink.
Professional kitchen remodelers will always tell you to choose your appliances first and the rest of the remodel will be performed around those appliances.
4. You might accidentally use fragile materials
As a DIYer, you’ve probably worked with a plethora of materials, both fragile and durable. If you have an idea for using certain materials in your kitchen remodel, you might not know those materials will behave differently in the kitchen. For instance, limestone is beautiful for DIY projects, but it’s vulnerable to water rings from soda cans and cups.
Other materials that may not be obvious to avoid include marble and recycled glass. Marble is prone to etching and staining while recycled glass is prone to cracking and chipping.
5. You could underestimate the amount of space needed
In your excitement to get your dream cabinets installed, did you consider the capacity of each new cabinet to make sure you’ll have enough space? If you were running out of space before, did you select cabinets with additional space?
When remodeling your own kitchen there’s a tendency to underestimate the amount of space needed when there’s an attachment to a specific set of appliances and/or fixtures. For example, your dream cabinets might not provide enough space for storage, but you won’t notice right away because you love the way they look.
Kitchen remodels aren’t a good DIY project
Unless you’ve worked on at least a few kitchen projects, hire a professional remodeling company to remodel your kitchen. You’ll end up with a functional layout, enough cabinet space, beautiful counters, and everything will fit together perfectly.