Kitchen Remodel 101

Before You Purchase New Cabinets, Make Sure You’ve Done Your Research

So you’ve made the decision to finally join the millions of Americans in the quest for kitchen remodel this year. Now what? The decision to remodel your kitchen is an important step in home ownership. After all,it is the busiest room in the house and one that often needs the most improvement. Before selecting the products that will turn your old,outdated kitchen into your family’s dream kitchen, make sure to do your research.
Spending quality time looking through magazines, watching home improvement shows, and visiting kitchen showrooms and retail home improvement stores is a great way to begin your search for the perfect kitchen elements. Many homeowners desire a custom look for their kitchen, but can’t afford custom features. In addition to high quality “custom” cabinetry, the industry also offers “semi-custom” cabinetry, which offers most of the features of “custom” cabinetry, but at a lower price point. Even today’s “stock” cabinetry offers more choices for consumers at affordable prices. It is estimated that the average kitchen remodeling job costs between $15,000 and $20,000. About half of your budget is going to go toward your cabinets. Based on that information, there’s a lot to consider during the selection process.

More Than Meets the Eye

Decorative features that reflect the homeowner’s personal style are often a primary concern driving these decisions. Equally as important as style are the performance and quality of your products.

“Most homeowners will only replace their kitchen cabinets once in their lifetime,” says Dick Titus, executive vice president Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA). “We encourage consumers to become educated buyers of kitchen cabinets. Our newly revised Web site with colorful photography offers useful information about selecting kitchen cabinets so consumers can feel confident they have made a smart decision.”

To make sure you are getting long-lasting investment, look for cabinets that comply with industry standards for performance and quality. For over 40 years, KCMA has sponsored the nationally recognized testing and certification program for cabinets. Homeowners should look for a unique blue and white seal located on the inside of the sink base cabinet. This seal assures that the cabinet has been independently tested and deemed durable under the toughest kitchen conditions. These cabinets are recognized by specifiers and in the marketplace as a quality product able to perform satisfactorily after a rigorous battery of tests simulating years of typical household use. Cabinets are selected at random from the production line or inventory and tested in third party, independent testing laboratories. Participating companies must test samples of their products annually. No other program subjects cabinets to such rigorous performance and quality requirements. In addition, the standards regularly are reviewed and updated consistent with stringent procedures of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that are strictly enforced. The KCMA certification truly is unique and a real benefit to consumers.

In order to meet the requirements for the KCMA certification program, cabinets undergo five structural tests to measure their structural integrity, two drawer tests, two door operation tests to measure durability, and four finish tests. To learn more about the tests cabinets must pass to earn the right to bear the distinctive KCMA blue & white certification seal, visit the KCMA web site at www.kcma.org. A listing of 100 manufacturers who comply with the standard also is available on the KCMA web site. In addition to the KCMA certification seal, customers should also look for products that offer a reliable warranty. Typically, five years is considered a good warranty.

Convenience is Key

Now that you are more educated about purchasing cabinets, you are almost ready to begin remodeling. But first, remember to consider the convenience of your purchase. Find out if you will be able to order cabinets through retail chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, or if you will need to go directly to a kitchen dealer. Also, the timing of your project may impact your decision. Find out how long the products will take for delivery and installation, and whether the installation is provided with your purchase. Working with a certified kitchen and bath designer from a dependable kitchen dealer or retailer will help ensure you not only get the quality kitchen design you want, but that they will be installed properly and that all your questions are answered, too.

Check with your cabinet manufacturer to see if they offer homeowner care kits to replace or touch up their cabinetry. This helps ensure that your cabinets will maintain their new look for years to come. Some manufacturers offer extra advice and tools to help keep your cabinets in their best condition.

For most families, the kitchen is the hub of the home — the place where they prepare meals, entertain guests and do homework or prepare finances. Make this room the comfort zone of the home for your family. Purchase wisely!

For more information, visit www.kcma.org for a listing of cabinet manufacturers. From the KCMA Web Site you can link to KCMA members’ web sites to review detailed product information useful to you in your pre-purchase research.

Photo Caption: When purchasing new kitchen cabinets, look for the blue and white KCMA certification seal.

Courtesy of ARA Content