DIY Money-Saving Kitchen Remodeling Tips

Renovating your own kitchen? Here are some handy tips from 10 Grand in Your Hand on planning, installing and shopping.
Kitchen After

Kitchen After

You can save a lot of money on your remodel by installing the kitchen cabinets yourself. Allow plenty of time for the job done and get some friends to help.

Tips for Hanging Cabinets:

- Remove all cabinet doors and drawers to make them easier to install and to avoid damaging them during installation.

- You'll need a pencil, tape measure and level to mark the exact position of the cabinets on the walls.

- It is easier to install the upper cabinets first, starting in the corner(s).

- To install upper cabinets, determine their location in relation to the base cabinets. Add the height of the base cabinet to the thickness of your countertop (base cabinets are usually 34-1/2 tall and countertops are usually 1-1/2 inches thick.) Then add 18 inches for the space in between the upper and lower cabinets. Your total should be about 54 inches. This is where the bottom of the upper cabinet will sit.
If the floor isn't level, find the highest point along the wall where the cabinets will be installed. Mark a chalk line across the wall then attach a 2x4 ledger into the wall studs to help support the cabinets while installing.

- Cut holes for the water lines on the back of the cabinet.
If cutouts are needed for electrical boxes, trace the box with lipstick then hold the cabinet in the correct place and press firmly. The lipstick will transfer to the cabinet. Connect the lines, drill a pilot hole and make the cut-out with a jig saw.

- Make sure you fasten the cabinets to wall studs. If a cabinet hits only one stud, use a toggle bolt to help keep it secure.

- When hanging cabinets, check frequently for plumb and levelness. Don't fully tighten the screws until the cabinets are plumb, flush and level. Use shims to help achieve evenness.

- Use clamps to hold together cabinets while securing to wall.

BC09_kitchen-02_s4x3

BC09_kitchen-02_s4x3

Finding Bargains:

- When shopping for appliances, look for floor models. You're usually only giving up the box the item came in. Be sure to check with the dealer about the warranty. They might be willing to extend the warranty to unload the item.

- Shop in early fall for appliances. Last year's models need to go to make room for the next year's models.

- Shop scratch-and-dent appliance sales. Make sure the scratches are cosmetic and not structural.

- Ask for volume discounts, some places offer discounts if you buy all your appliances in one place.

- When shopping for windows and doors, don't just check the big box retailers, go to your local building supplier, (where your contractor shops). The savings can be up to 20 percent.

- Look for cabinet retailers or wholesalers that offer free design services such as measuring your kitchen and planning your layout.

- Go directly to the place that sells granite slabs. You can save 25 to 30 percent by cutting out the middle man.

5 Things to Know About Gutting a Kitchen:

- To remove cabinets, unscrew them from the wall and pull them off. Don't use a sledgehammer, it will be much neater and the cabinets can be reused.

- When disconnecting the supply lines to the sink, always have a bucket handy to catch any leftover water.

- Before taking a sledgehammer to drywall, use a small hammer to make holes in the wall to check for any electrical or plumbing behind the wall.

- If the interior of the wall is clear of electrical or plumbing lines, use a reciprocating saw to cut out the wall section that you want to remove.

- Use a box fan in a window to help suck out the construction dust.

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