Costly Kitchen Mistakes to Avoid

July 11, 2016

General contractors do their best to keep jobs in line and on budget but want consumers to know that the process is a two-way street. A survey of 300 general contractors nationwide published by Consumer Reports in June 2016 detailed seven kitchen remodeling mistakes made by consumers that are guaranteed to cause problems for homeowners. Among them:

  • Changing your mind. Nearly 60 percent of contractors said that the No. 1 way to drive up costs is for homeowners to introduce changes after a project begins. Changes increase costs by an average of 10 percent.
  • Skipping the background check. Consumers who hire unlicensed contractors forfeit protections from their state licensing board. Licensed contractors are legally obligated to guarantee their work. The survey also found that licensed contractors are better at holding down costs when unexpected problems arise.
  • Using open-ended contracts. Contracts that lack details regarding materials and specific start and end dates leave consumers vulnerable to remodelers who may become distracted by another project mid-job.
  • Forgetting functionality. For example, rangehoods work much better at removing smoke and odors than does the built-in ventilation of an over-the-range microwave; undercabinet lighting helps eliminate shadows on kitchen counter workspaces; and drawers in base cabinets help maximize storage.
  • Relying on rough sketches. Vague, rough sketches do little to thoroughly address design challenges. Using 3-D drawings helps consumers visualize the space and identify traffic-flow problems, such as whether circulation is blocked when the fridge door is open. Virtual-reality software lets consumers immerse themselves in the new space before work ever begins.

About the Author


David Weissman is associate editor for Professional Remodeler. dweissman@sgcmail.com (link sends e-mail)