Welcome back for a continuation of ‘Facelift or Remodel’. In last month’s issue we discussed general strategies of addressing concerns that arise, sometimes as a surprise, when remodeling a kitchen or bath. More specifically, the flooring, be it of stone, tile, or wood. I discussed the basic strategies I use to begin all remodel projects and the criteria to base your decisions on whether to do a facelift or a complete remodel.
CABINETRY - When deciding whether to remodel or do a facelift with regard to cabinets, the question is really, do I replace the vanity and surface completely, or do I resurface the cabinetry and the surface? Big question, but again, really a simple one…. What do you want your end result vision to be? What is the style, color, and condition of the vanity, counter top, sink, and faucet in. The good thing for those on a tight budget is these improvements can be done for much less than complete replacement of the vanity/counter top/sink/faucet and can be done in multiple stages over a period of time allowing you, the remodeler, to divide the cost of the project over time. Let’s discuss this each individually.
What do you do about your vanity? Well…. What is your ‘End Result Vision’? The decision of what to do here will be a little more difficult only because of the options you have if you decide to replace the vanity. If the concern with the vanity is that it is not tall enough, because say, you r previous home’s counters were taller. If that’s your only concern, you can always change the sink to a vessel sink and the faucet to a vessel faucet, so at least your actuating of the water will be raised without replacing the cabinet. What is offered in most builder homes with regard to bathroom vanities are custom fit, cabinets that occupy from wall to wall in your bathroom. Replacing your custom fit cabinetry with new custom fit cabinetry can be pricey, but is the ultimate way to go. That is one scenario, where you have walls on each side. A more competitive way to go, still buying a new cabinet is to purchase a ‘boxed vanity’. These come in standard sizes i.e., 24”, 30”, 36” 48” and 60” there are a few 72” vanities available as well. Being a ‘boxed good’, your choices are obviously more limited than custom, what is available is what that particular manufacturer provides. Usually one color or two per style and sometimes, size. A ‘boxed vanity’ is a furniture piece, to be placed either in the center of the opening or all the way to one of the walls. These vanities are finished on the sides for this exact reason. Something else to keep in mind if the work is being done by a professional and a permit is being pulled, that many plumbing codes have changed over the years. So, what may have been code approved in your bathroom when your home was built,may not be code approved today. I recently encountered a client that was replacing a bathroom cabinet with a new beautiful contemporary vanity of exactly the same size as the one she was replacing. Unfortunately, the code changed on the distance allowable from the end of the vanity to the middle of the toilet, so they had to purchase another smaller vanity for the job and go thru all the headaches that returning the original one brought.
If either your budget does not permit or your cabinet is in good shape, or you just don’t care for the particular door style and or color. The way to go is resurfacing the existing cabinet. Obtain your three quotes from your three trusted resurfacing contractors and have at it. There are many different materials and styles of cabinet covering and doors, upgraded hinges, new style cabinet pulls. At the end of the day, you can really change the complete look of your cabinet area with as little as a resurfacing job to as high as a complete replacement of your current vanity.
With regard to the counter top, the situation is pretty much the same as the cabinet, but with different materials and products. This is what I mean. When deciding what to do with your counter top, ask yourself the same question. What do I want my counter top to look like in my ‘End Result Vision’? What kind of condition is it in and what is its current style. Basically, follow the same strategies. In this case, most cabinetry resurfacing contractors can set you up with, if they don’t do themselves, with a counter top fabricator. They usually deal in granite and marble, but many also deal in man-made materials such as quartz, volcanic limestone, glass, and even thin coverings of many of these materials, that can be placed directly on top of your existing counter top. When doing the latter, the resurfacing over existing material, make sure you have a qualified contractor, as this can be tricky operation.
I will leave the discussion on faucets and sinks for the next article, as it can get rather detailed due to the many options and how the options are intermingled with the counter top, faucet, and sink installation options.