Renovating your kitchen is an investment that increases the value and functionality of your home. It goes without saying that kitchen renovations are a huge job, and because your kitchen is likely the most high-traffic area of your home, it’s important to go in with eyes wide open to avoid wasting time and money. Over the last two decades, the team at The Wright Kitchen has seen just about everything, including some pretty terrible kitchen disasters. If your contractor isn’t properly trained, you could be looking at costly mistakes. We’re letting you in on some of our top reno red flags, and how to avoid them.
Remodel Red Flag #1: Your contractor doesn’t have a plan
If your contractor comes into your space, gives you some nice looking photos, and tells you that you’re good to go, it probably means that they don’t really put much stock into the kind of kitchen you actually want. When contractors don’t specifically outline exactly what kind of a remodel is taking place, they can claim a miscommunication when things don’t come out the way you had hoped.
Why It’s A Red Flag: Not having a comprehensive design plan usually means your contractor doesn’t want to stick to the plan.
Any kitchen designer worth their salt is going to give you an extremely detailed mockup of your new kitchen before any sort of renovation has begun. This goes doubly if any of this work is custom. The digital mockup, like the one above, allows for both the client and the designer to have an exact understanding of the expectations moving forward, and this completely avoids any future miscommunication on deliverables.
Remodel Red Flag #2: Your contractor suggests DIYing certain elements of the remodel to bring the price down.
Sometimes, if a kitchen renovation is out of budget, contractors will suggest doing some of the work and then leaving the rest up to you. Kitchen remodeling is serious business, with plumbing and electrical concerns that are extremely dangerous if not installed correctly.
Remodel Red Flag #3: Not factoring in your appliances in the design
Something we see all the time is a kitchen remodel where the appliances were thought of last. Why is this so problematic? Firstly, appliances take up a lot of space not only when they are closed, but when they are open. Figuring out the proper layout necessary for the fridge and oven are crucial to making your kitchen design functional.
Why It’s A Red Flag: Appliances are a key factor in the design of your space, and should never be overlooked.
When your designer presents you with your kitchen proposal, it should include appliance recommendations. If you want to change something up, it should always be done before any sort of construction has started, so that your contractor doesn’t have to waste time and money making it fit later on.
Remodel Red Flag #4: When your contractor says “don’t worry, we can change things later.”
If your contractor says this during the design phase, they unfortunately don’t have much consideration for your budget.
Why It’s A Red Flag: Cost
Once your kitchen renovation is underway, the cost of making any sort of changes will up the cost significantly. When it comes to kitchen renovation, there really is no such thing as “trying things out.” If there are elements you are unsure about, make sure that you have a written contract with your contractor that states how much changes will cost to avoid surprises.
Remodel Red Flag #5: No references coupled with low cost
Too many of our clients have come to us after a contractor with no references made a mess of their space. Even though the initial quote was low, these homeowners spent more than they expected to fix the damage and then redo their reno.
Why It’s A Red Flag: No references likely mean no experience.
Every single lead contractor we work with has had to spend years becoming an expert in all things kitchen renovation. This means that even if they do not have previous projects where they were the lead, they have work to show. A contractor without references is either a contractor who has never done a kitchen remodel or a contractor who does not want you to speak to their last client. This is often coupled with a very low proposed cost for the project. What often, unfortunately, happens in these situations is the contractor either finishes the renovation poorly or does not finish the renovation at all.
Renovating your kitchen is one of the biggest investments you will make in your home, and it’s crucial that when you choose your design team, they communicate effectively with you, show their proposed plans, and do their best to ensure there are no surprises. At The Wright Kitchen, our team of designers works together to create a comprehensive plan for your space that involves clear design expectations and elements, so that you can have the kitchen of your dreams.