How long should a new kitchen 'last'?

gibby2015December 10, 2006

My new kitchen is now about 18 months old - so far it's not showing much wear and tear - just a couple dings. Last night I was at a party in my neighborhood at little newer 70's house than mine. These people had already gotten a new kitchen 10 years ago. It was quite nice - kind of a contemporary with slab cabinets so it looked pretty timeless - though some of the cabinets looked pretty worn. Someone else I know - who built a new house well under 15 years ago also just got a new kitchen.

I consider my "new" kitchen to be the only one I and this house are ever going to have - at least in my lifetime. I'm not the type to re-do my kitchen just because it's "dated". If it's really worn out then I will feel the need to fix it up. All this has me wondering - how long do you think a new kitchen should last - not until it's dated - but until it's getting beat up and showing serious signs of wear and tear and really not lookin' good anymore.

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That is a good question and I guess it depends on the people using it. And also are there a lot of kids or is this just a couple? Different wear and tear. Did they start with high quality well made materials or cheap junk?

Some people take excellent condition of their cabinets, counters and floor. They might last 30 years or more if they were from a material that was made to last. Other people totally trash their kitchen in 5 years. Abuse the heck out of it.

We just replaced our kitchen that came with our 1971 house. We could have gone on indefinitely with the custom built cabinets and the tile counters. They were beginning to show wear but maybe we could have just refinished them and regrouted the tile. The only other thing we needed to replace was the built in ovens because they were starting to not work. We mainly replaced everything because we wanted a different style and to make it more current. And we wanted to get the all new and improved drawer glides and pull out trays.

How long can kitchens last? My mom has the same exact kitchen that came with her house built in 1951. She has replaced the appliances a couple of times and the floor once or twice but she still has the same solid birch cabinets and same laminate. She did have the cabinets refinished about 25 years ago. The countertops are showing their age but the cabinets are fine. And since she is 88 I don't think she will be doing any remodeling soon.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 1:17AM
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This is a good question. I could have gone on in my old kitchen, I suppose. The appliances were serviceable enough, but the electric coils and the bisque fridge were starting to look so old to me. I hated them. I never felt like the kitchen looked awful, but I knew this was my last chance to remodel. The women in my family decorated ONCE and never looked back. I liked the consistency of their homes as a child, but I didn't think I could look at those soffits etc. for another 20 years. No matter what happens now, I AM DONE in this kitchen, unless an appliance breaks on me.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 4:07AM
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In my case, forever. I hope! This remodel was a once in a lifetime event for me. Yeah, I might replace appliances as needed in the future, but I don't intend to do anymore major remodeling in there. My kids are almost grown and out of the house so between my husband and me, we won't be giving it a whole lot of abuse.

My goal in this remodel was to get the very best I could afford and exactly what I wanted in all aspects. It cost a nice amount, but the intent was to do it once and do it right. And the list of OTHER things I want to do to this house is so long, by the time I get through it I'll probably be ready to kick the bucket!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 10:59AM
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Until things start falling apart. I remodeled my old kitchen because the vinyl floor was cracked and curling, the bottom of several cabinets had broken, and the formica counter had cracked by the sink and water was ruining the wall and underlayment. Rather than throw good money after bad, I gutted the kitchen and replace everything.

I'm sure plenty of people remodel because they don't like what they have, and who knows, I may do that with my next house (now that I'm TKO, how hard can the next one be?!), but for me it was because the kitchen was becoming dangerous. Remodeling gave me a chance to get rid of the soffits, put down a wood floor and get things I probably wouldn't have gotten if I had just fixed individual parts.

I love my kitchen, and after almost 3 years, it's still new to me.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 11:35AM
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Our kitchen is 6+ years old, and to me, it's still beautiful (and new LOL). I think if I wanted a change down the road, I would end up painting the cabinets, changing out the counters, change the hardware and faucet, lay new flooring, new appliances (they *do* reach a life expectancy), and paint the walls a complimentary color. The cabinets are solid and sturdy maple. The reason I would paint them is because the wood tends to change color over time, a good freshening up would be in order, and I love the look of painted cabinets. The above named things would totally transform the room and wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg...which would make DH happy ;o)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 12:25PM
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It depends upon the person I guess. For me, my kitchen will last until it no longer suits my needs which I'm guessing will be the rest of my life. My old kitchen lasted 20 years and if we had stayed in that house we would have redone it to put it 42" upper cabinets for more storage space, update a lousy gas stove, replace cabinets that were pretty worn looking, increase the size of the eating area so that a table bigger than 3'x3' would fit in it, etc.. However, I know people who redo their kitchens every 5 to 10 years just because they can or else they redo them because they have more money now than they had when the kitchen was new so they didn't get everything they wanted then or else their current kitchen has bottom of the line cabinets, etc., that were bought with the intent of upgrading in 4-10 years, etc. when they could afford better. Also, I think that if you have a kitchen that was designed for that it will last longer than a kitchen that was designed for someone else.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 3:38PM
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My kitchen will last as long as I'm in this house. After that, who knows? I've moved an average of every 7 years in my adult life. I like to think that I move into a place that's not very attractive and make it beautiful. Then I get bored and move on. I did go back in 2005 to see a house I remodeled in 1995 - just knocked on the door, introduced myself and was invited in. It was eerie to see it all there - the wallpaper and paint colors in all the rooms and the drapes I agonized over, the kitchen cabinets I painted, the backsplash and floors I tiled myself, the brass chandelier in the dining room. The house had changed hands twice, but everything was just as I left it and the owners said they loved it all and were not planning any changes. And my first husband's second wife seems to enjoy the cherry cabs and granite topped island in the house I remodeled after that (LOL). So I guess from my perspective, the kitchens last forever, it's everything else that changes. A part of me envies those that stay in one place long enough for their kitchen remodel to get dated, but somehow I don't think that will ever happen to me. At least I can say that every kitchen I've done has ended up nicer than the one before it!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 9:46PM
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honeyb - you remind me of a friend of mine. They move - she re-does the house - gets it perfect - and then they move again and she starts all over. Sometimes I think they move because redoing the home is her hobby and when it's done, they have to move so she can start a new project. Her home is always beautiful - like a magazine. I'm more like the people in your former home. In fact, the people who built our house stopped in awhile after we'd moved in. We didn't buy the house from them - the woman was just driving by one day and we were out in the driveway so she stopped in. She came in and took a look around and commented that we still had the original drapes in the living room (must have been about 25 yrs old at that time). That was about ten years ago and I still have them - I like 'em - and they were apparently excellent quality. I guess she'd be pretty shocked now to see that we finally got something new - a kitchen!! But like I say - I won't be the type to remodel it when it's dated - it will have to be worn out.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 11:46PM
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It depends on a lot of factors. What kind of household do you have? Are there a lot of kids using it and do they take care of it? What kind of finishes are put in? Do you have a delicate countertop? I live alone, so mine will last forever.
Then there is the style factor. Eventually most kitchens will go out of style, some much faster than others. I had a seventies mustard yellow kitchen. It just had to go!!
My new kitchen will be with me forever, so I hope I like black lacquer.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 8:34AM
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donna - your kitchen is timeless - it will be beautiful forever!

gibby - I wish my house looked like something out of a magazine! Anyway, your friend does sound a little like me, but really there has always been something that is a catalyst for the move (twice it was my kids' school, then divorce, then remarriage). And when those things happened I would pick someplace that was the best location that I could afford, even if it really needed a lot of work. Then I would go about dreaming and planning whatever renovations seemed realistic within my budget - and that is really the fun part. Then when it's done, it's been time to move again and all my hard work pays off because I can resell at a nice profit because what was once a "dump" looks like someplace a person would actually want to live. Until now, I mostly got my fun out of figuring out how to make a place look great on a shoestring. The money I got from my last remodel made it so this time I had the resources to actually do a really top-notch kitchen redo and get things like a paneled dw and a prep sink and I'm loving it. If my husband got transferred tomorrow, they would have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming. But I'm sure we will move eventually - it's a big house now that the 5 kids are gone. And someday someone else will be enjoying my kitchen while I'm off getting excited about some creative ideas I have about how to turn a down-at-the-heels derelict of a house - with a great ocean view - into my dream house! Then, I'll be ready for the nursing home....

Oh and gibby P.S. - I left little messages in a couple places on the Discussions side saying I love my hood niches which were inspired heavily by yours - but i didn't know if you ever saw them. Anyway, I saw pix of your hood, fell in love, and did my best to copy - hope you're flattered and not miffed! I do love them.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 4:13PM
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I did some research on this last year and found out that the average kitchen remodel is every 7 to 10 years. Go figure.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 4:23PM
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honeyb - thanks for letting me know about the hood niches. I didn't see your posts on that - of course I'm not miffed - I'm glad something I offered was helpful.

We are a household of two adults and three cats so I'm expecting our kitchen to hold up well for a long time. Our old kitchen was about 30 years old but had counters and appliances replaced once in that time. The cabinets and floors were original though and really beat. We thought about doing something more cosmetic like painting the cabinets, new floors and counters but the layout was really bad - blind corner cabinets just terrible. I would have to lay down on the floor and reach back in and just feel around for stuff. We decided we would be staying in the house long term so it would be worth reworking the layout and doing something more grand. I never thought I would be able to do something like this - and I certainly don't expect to be doing it again. I feel so lucky to just get to do it once in a lifetime - I can't imagine being able to do this very often. The friend I mentioned above remodeled a five year old kitchen that looked perfectly good to me - in fact I would have LOVED to have it instead of mine at the time.

So there's remodeling because you don't like it anymore - and remodeling because it's worn out. Since I don't plan to do much unless something wears out, I'm wondering when that might be. We have a lake cabin that is now about 15 years old - cabinets are showing real signs of wear and tear. In fact they are in much worse shape than the cabinets were in my 30 year old kitchen - something about them must not have been made as well - I guess something about the finish is not as good as that is what's deteriorating. I will NOT be doing any major remodeling there....but I am thinking about some new laminate counters and I'm sure the appliances will start to bite the dust soon.....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 7:42PM
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