How to Avoid Kitchen Renovation Disasters

06 December 2020

As home renovations and remodeling has grown in popularity due to a number of reasons, so has a subset of contractors that perform suspect work.  Contractors that cut corners should be avoided and you should always make sure the bulk (or at least a decent portion) of the job payment is reserved until the project is completed to the agreed upon specifics of your contract.  Speaking of which, it is a good idea to always sign a contract that includes a timeline for completion, the anticipated total cost of the project, who is buying the materials and a payment schedule if necessary.  The following points will help you select a contractor that gets the job done right the first time.


When you decide to hire a contractor for your kitchen renovation, sifting through your options can be overwhelming.  For this reason it is best to utilize some tools at your disposal to narrow the field.  Primarily you will want to use online tools that fairly rate local contractors like Angie’s List or to whittle down your search to 3 contractors.  Next you should schedule a meeting with those 3 and make note of their punctuality, attentiveness and overall willingness to show you their current and past work.  These indicators can let you know if:

- The contractor is too busy – may not always place your job as top priority

- The contractor is not busy enough – possibly uninterested or poor reputation

- The contractor is tardy – attention to details is not a priority

After looking for those red flags, you also want to note the positives like a portfolio they are willing to show you and the backup documents showing their employees are fully certified and licensed.  Based on this criteria you should be able to select a contractor that can meet your standards.

1st Meeting

After you’ve selected your contractor but before you setup the first meeting, it is important to have a pretty accurate architectural rendering of your project to show them.  You can reach out to a professional design to help you create a mock-up that will give your contractor the most possible direction on your project.  The importance of communication of your expectations to the contractor cannot be understated – the more forthcoming you are, the better your kitchen renovation will turn out.


After you’ve locked in your contractor and they have agreed to your design, you can start to shop for appliances, which will dictate how your kitchen space is used and how the layout may or may not be changed.  Appliances are a good place to save money by comparing prices and shopping for sales, so do your homework and decide what you really need.  For instance the following five things to look for will keep you from overspending:

- Energy efficient appliances with Energy Star ratings

- Ease of use

- Safety

- Burner output

- Ease of cleaning

Common Mistakes to Avoid

- Contractor issues – You are hiring a contractor because you are not one.  Don’t attempt projects that are out or your scope and use the steps above to select the right contractor for the job.

- Losing focus – Stick to your original plan and incorporate a few items from your wishlist folder, but otherwise stay the course to maintain your budget and completion date.

- No paying in advance – You want a new kitchen, the contractor wants a good wage.  One cannot come before the other, so setup an agreed upon payment schedule with the contractor with no more than 30% of the total paid up front.

- Finish the design – You cannot fault the contractor if your kitchen doesn’t come as you liked if he is not given clear instructions on the design.  Failure to do this will prevent him/her from accurately providing a good estimate of the work.

- Solid bases – Countertops, flooring, drywall and cabinets will all ultimately stick, crack or break without interior structures that are sturdy and level, so do not overlook the time it takes to build foundations properly and make sure your contractor understands this as well.

These tips and strategies will help to give you the best possible starting place for a positive relationship with your contractor on the way to getting your dream kitchen on time and on budget.

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