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HANDS ON: DO YOUR KITCHEN REMODELING JOB YOURSELF

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/7/2006 | Home Improvement

This is one DIY job that provides great satisfaction to the doer, however tedious the task may seem at first. We are, of course, referring to kitchen remodeling and the pleasure that it can bring you. And theres a practical aspect to it, too. According to real estate market surveys, kitchen remodeling increases the resale value of your house more than any other home improvement job. And since you do your kitchen remodeling job yourself, saving a packet on labor, you can recover almost the entire expense from the increased value.

Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective house buyer. Would you opt for a house that had otherwise elegant rooms but a grubby kitchen? Or would a moderately clean and plush house that nevertheless had a spanking kitchen with all modern conveniences impress you more? We thought so. Like you, most buyers tend to place a lot of importance on the kitchen and often reject or accept a house on the basis of what the kitchen looks like. After all, it lies at the heart of family life and is the place where everyone gathers at least once a day.

However, we have to make an important distinction here. Kitchen remodeling and a kitchen overhaul can mean completely different things. You might think the pipes need replacing, but the job is unlikely to catch a prospective buyers attention. However, a relatively superficial change like a new countertop will probably have more of an impact on the buyer simply because it is a more visible change. In fact, superficial changes are preferable to internal ones when it comes to your kitchen-remodeling job. Therefore, go all out to re-lay the floor, re-face the cabinets, and re-apply the paint.

Of these, a new coat of paint is obviously the easiest to apply yourself. It is also the most visible change that you can bring about in a kitchen, as well as the most affordable because you can do the whole job yourself. When it comes to choosing a paint color, concentrate on food colors like yellow and lime green, which are not only bright and sunny, but also create an impression of freshness. Since real estate is still more or less a conservative industry, dont go overboard in your choice of color and use a shade like cherry red!

Other than painting, we had also mentioned re-facing the cabinets. This is far less expensive than actually replacing cabinets, yet has added advantage of giving an impression of newness. Of course, if the cabinets are internally damaged, you will need to replace them.

Then theres the question of new flooring, which is almost as dramatic as painting in its effect on the look of your kitchen. You could use a variety of flooring depending on such factors as foot traffic and the climatic conditions of your area, but if you take our advice, a linoleum floor would work wonders, not merely because of its easy-to-maintain nature, but also because it is cost effective and great looking. An alternative is ceramic tile flooring, which is as easy to maintain but not natural material like linoleum. However, its greater durability is a definite plus.

Finally, you might consider changes such as new countertops and one or two new appliances like a new cooking range. When remodeling countertops, you can actually install granite or marble tiles over your old countertops if you so wish. However, cleaning the grout between the tiles may be a problem, so a better option would perhaps be to use faux stone or other synthetic material. Also, avoid solid colors, because they tend to show up stains and marks more visibly.

Remember, your kitchen-remodeling job need not be a hugely expensive endeavor that will inevitably require professional help. Choose only those kitchen-remodeling jobs that you can pull off yourself, and keep popular tastes in mind.