Remodeling Kitchens
Do It Yourself vs. Contractors
Safety First!

kitchen contractors

Remodeling Kitchens Have the Best Return On Investment (ROI).

You've heard it before, and It's True!

Kitchen contractors may be able to do it faster, but expect to put $5,000 to $10,000 in labor on a small kitchen remodel!

The kitchen is the most focused on room in the house.

On the surface, it might simply seem like the room where the cooking gets done and the pots get stored!

However, many family members spend a long time each day in the kitchen, and much more goes on there than simply cooking.

Therefore, it is very important to focus on the ways that you can make your kitchen exactly what you want for yourself or what would appeal to your buyer or renter.

Related Pages to Remodeling Kitchens:


Remodeling kitchens can be very complex or as simple as a thorough cleaning!

Before you start, have a well thought out plan and a set budget. Research all the changes you want to make by talking to professionals, retailers, or you can Ask Your Questions Here. It takes a long time to complete larger projects (shouldn't be more than 30 to 60 days), and you can expect to make mistakes along the way. 

However, at the end, you'll find that you have a great kitchen that adds value to Your Home or your investment property!

What the Kitchen Should Be

Your kitchen should be Functional! This means when working in your kitchen, you should be able to:

  • Prepare Food (counter space)
  • Cook (the Work Triangle – everything accessible)
  • Clean (have a place for everything)
  • Store Food (cupboards and pantry cabinet)
  • Store the Tools that you need in the kitchen
  • Eat your meals comfortably

A functional kitchen is one where you don't need to go to another room to; mix ingredients, get utensils, or is too crowded. When remodeling kitchens, keep in mind the functionality of the kitchen should be self contained room for all it's intended uses.

luxury kitchen

Kitchen Cabinets

A kitchen can have beautiful luxury kitchen cabinets (when affordable), or can be the eyesore of the home. Kitchen cabinets are the first thing to catch the eye, and right there... May be the deciding factor when a home is purchased, sold, or rented.

Choices about Kitchen Cabinets

Should changes be made? 
Should the cabinets be Replaced, Refaced, Painted, or simply Washed? 

If you want top dollar for an investment property, great looking kitchen cabinets can be under $2,000 not including labor when you're the do it yourself type.

When remodeling kitchens for an investment property you need to keep your costs within a budget.

Yet, you want the same ease of functionality and the pleasant welcoming kitchen features you would appreciate in your own home, and that your buyers would be impressed with without the high cost.

Some Cost Choices to Consider:

  • Buy a $1,500 set of kitchen cabinets instead of a $3000+ set of cabinets
  • Buy $600 appliances instead of $1000 and $2,000 appliances
  • A $75 kitchen faucet instead of $250 faucets
  • A $75 kitchen sink instead of a $350 sink
  • A linoleum floor instead of a ceramic floor
  • A laminate counter top instead of a granite counter top

However, don't rule out granite counter tops to quickly.
They are impressive, offer high quality appeal, and could make a difference for a faster sale. See this granite counter top site for some nice choices.

Get the idea?

When remodeling kitchens for homes you're going to sell or rent, you can dramatically reduce the costs from the choice of materials and products your buy.

Over improving a kitchen for on an investment home today is high risk, with the exceptions of the higher end homes in the $250k and up range.

The comparative suggestions above are still not the bottom of the line!

For instance; a $1,500 set of kitchen cabinets is a custom made to order set of Maple cabinets! Cheaper cabinets than that may backfire and devalue the overall project and effort.

Here's the Real Winner...

Doing the work yourself when remodeling kitchens is a huge labor cost savings! When I'm saving $5,000 - $10,000 in labor, I can easily afford the better quality products.

When considering a do it yourself kitchen project, or hiring a contractor, You want the project to get done correctly and within a reasonable time schedule.

There are some things that you are going to have to keep in mind.

Making changes in a kitchen may require you to make changes or alterations with the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems in your home.

NOTE: Safety First! 
If your not familiar with the skilled trades tasks, call a licensed contractor and be safe!

For some refresher ideas on safety, review in the section on Construction Safety.

Additional Contractor Charges

In addition to the labor costs, contractors may charge at least 10% on material costs. There may additional costs for travel time, equipment rentals, or sub-contracting fees. These cost are usual and customary, but it's best to expect those charges before you do any hiring.


  • Take your time and do your research
  • Plan your Budget exactly
  • Get 3 Estimates
  • Plan your Project Sequence

Planning to move from one project to another easily, and staying within your budget, will make for a smooth going project.

Scope of Work

When remodeling kitchens, a Scope of Work for yourself, and or for each contractor is being very efficient. The Scope of Work is the SECRET SHORT CUT.

A Scope of Work can be as simple as the written work and material list written out on a piece of paper... It doesn't have to be a special form.

When hiring a contractor, they will have their contract forms...

... In the "Work to be Done" section, attach the scope of work you prepared for:

  • exactly the work you want done
  • the way you want it done
  • the time frame
  • the clean up (every day!)
  • the payment method
  • Music, noise, smoking, abusive language restrictions
  • Penalties if the work is not done on time
  • A not to exceed price
  • And any condition you want for your project

Return on Invested Time and Money

The kitchen is the room that will give you the most Return On Your Investment (ROI). Even minor changes made in the kitchen can increase the value of your home, and make it easier to sell. If you aren't selling your home, making small changes in the kitchen can make it a more enjoyable place live for you and your family!

Do It Yourself

Okay... There is a Home Depot or a Lowe's in just about every Major City for a reason. We Like To Do The Work Ourselves! We like working with our hands and the Home Depot and Lowe’s make it easy for use to get the materials much easier than back in the day about 20 years ago.

They will even provide you with a Blue Print on your new kitchen plans for free! Hoping you’ll buy your kitchen cabinets from them - of course.

Some people struggle with the do it yourself method when it comes to remodeling kitchens. But once again, Home Depot and Lowe's make it easy with workshops in their stores for their customers to learn how to do it themselves, while watching a demonstration, and being able see how it's done like on the job training. Sometimes, they even provide food or snacks.

Again, they want you to buy their products; that's only fair - I would say.

It may take you a bit longer to do it yourself, but you will save substantially on labor costs. That's about $5,000 to $10,000 in labor on a small kitchen.

If that's a worth while savings to you, enjoy the project at your own pace, no pressure, for your own pleasure.

The rewards are tremendous when you stand back and look at the completed project, that you did, with your own two hands. 

That's a lot to be Proud about!

You can see how I enjoy it, I call it My Passion For Work.


If you are still thinking about contracting out your kitchen remodel, the tried and true practice is to get at least 3 estimates. Invite contractors to your home or property and explain to them what you would like them to do.

Put It In Writing!

A "Scope of Work" is merely the work you want done in writing! You can change it: add to it, and delete from it.

Use the same scope of work for each contractor – that's important. Then you'll get competitive estimates for the exact same amount of work.

Note: You can always review the scope of work you prepare with the retailer sales people you are going to by your materials from. They usually are knowledgeable on the process of installation and labor intensity. Many of those sales people have worked in the trades for many years before they took a sales position.

When the estimates are in... look for any changes or additions the contractor may have added. Have Each Contractor make changes on a separate piece of paper.

Revise Your Scope of Work

From the three estimates you received, review the changes each contractor made.

Consolidate all the changes you agree with from each contractor to one page, then add it to your original Scope of Work. (Chances are, each contractor will have something different from the other contractors.)

Consider the changes the contractors made as advice, recommendations from their experience, or maybe an oversight in your planning. Now is the time to make that mistake!

No materials have been ordered or purchased yet – Right?

Now resubmit the changes to each contractor outlining the changes to your original scope of work you prepared. Everyone is now on the same page! All three contractors are now bidding on the same project that each had a chance to make changes to, including you.

Lowest Price is Not Always the Best Contractor Choice!

Remember to ask for:

  • Proof of Contractor's License
  • Proof of Liability Insurance
  • Proof of Workers Compensation Insurance
  • References
  • Identification (Their Contractor's License matches their Drivers License)

And don't for get to get a Waiver of Lien before final payment is made.

There is more to remodeling kitchens than just the cabinets...

More Considerations:

  • Flooring
  • Lighting
  • Electrical plug outlets
  • Plumbing supply to refrigerator
  • Counter Tops
  • Sinks, faucets, and back splashes
  • Appliances
  • Hood fans (ventilation for cook stove)
  • Paint color choices
  • Moldings and trim work
  • Door and window changes
  • Wall modifications
  • A variety of choices for accents


Remodeling Kitchens are Big Projects and can get very expensive!

If your kitchen remodel is for your own home, you can spend as much as your budget will allow.

If the kitchen project is for an investment property... Keep a Sharp Eye on Your Budget! Over improving can prove to be high risk and a loss of profit! 

Remember a financial loss on an investment property gets even worse when considering your personal time. It may become a huge waste of time and money!

So Keep It Real

Don't get taken in by the Reality TV Home Makeover show! Flip This House, Extreme Make Over, and the DIY networks that make it look so easy for remodeling kitchens.

Bottom Line: That's Entertainment!

They're not just remodeling kitchens, they're selling commercials and are financed by manufactures. It may be all the rage, but not necessarily the smart choice if you’re looking for a return on your investment (ROI).

If you want to truly get a good return on your investment, diy kitchen remodeling can prove to be profitable and rewarding. 

Do it yourself for home owners can save tons of cash in labor so you can afford more of the higher end materials, cabinets, and appliances. 

If you like it well enough, side jobs remodeling kitchens can add up to a strong deposit on your next investment home.


Remodeling kitchens is Hard, Heavy, and Dangerous when you're not familiar with that work environment. Be careful with Electrical and Natural Gas lines.
Use the Proper Tools for the Proper Jobs.

Protect your Eyes, Lungs, Back, Head, Feet, Hands... Okay - your whole body. You are also responsible for anyone that enters your work area. Have extra safety gear on hand for them too.

Your ROI goes out the window if you or anyone gets hurt!

"It's Better to Lose a Minute of Your Life,
Than Your Life in a Minute." - Safety First!

That's not to scare you, just to slow you down a bit and remind you to enjoy the process. The work involved is a real pleasure, interesting, challenging, and a very positive experience! There's no rush...

Do it after the Holidays, not before. Staying within budget will relieve a lot of stress too.

Do the hardest work on your feel good days and take plenty of breaks. Do the easy tasks when your feeling the pain like; shopping for materials, clean up, or painting.

Remodeling kitchens has great rewards!

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