Warning: minor re-dos to existing kitchen can be more difficult

needinfo1February 3, 2013

We are learning the hard way that a seemingly simple range and countertop replacement can be not as easy as it would seem. Here are some of the things we've come across, and I assume others would have different but similar difficulties or issues. So, I am giving some cautions to others about to embark on a seemingly simple upgrade/refresh.

1. We had an old JennAir dual fuel downdraft. As we researched we discovered that if one wants another downdraft, Jenn-Air is the only game in town now. We didn't read many positive things about the new Jenn Air downdrafts. So, we decided to buy a different style range and put in different venting.

2. The first range we had picked out and nearly purchased (we were doing final measurements before ordering it) was 1/2" too deep for our cabinet configuration. If we'd bought that, we wouldn't have been able to open a cabinet drawer. So, the lesson is to check on not just the width but also the depth of both the old and the replacement because measurements differ from model to model.

3. The range we did purchase is all gas and has larger BTUs than the old stove. This meant enlarging our gas line from 1/2" to 3/4", splitting the electric off from the 220 needed for the dual fuel, and moving the height of the outlet to accomodate the new range. It also meant nipping down our existing countertops to get that additional 1/8" or 1/4" or so of width we needed to be able to put the new range in place. And, our floor under the old range needed repairing to cover up the hole that had been there for the old downdraft. We now know different appliances have different installation requirements, so plan ahead for this and the additional expense entailed.

4. We now need venting since our downdraft range is gone. We are constrained by existing cabinet placement not allowing for an easy (or any) choice for a hood to fit, the location of the range on an internal wall on the first floor of a 2 1/2 story house, and the possibility that we may have some plumbing in the location in the ceiling where we are hoping to run the venting through the joists. We won't know until we knock a hole in the ceiling above the range whether we'll even be able to vent outside. Our lesson learned: there are a lot of unknowns and constraints when doing a replacement rather than starting from scratch with a blank slate. Plan for the unexpected, and learn you will definitely have to make compromises on what is ideal or desirable to you.

5. We are getting new countertops, which means the sink needs to be removed and a decision made about a sink. It is good that we like our old sink and plan to keep it because the unusual size and configuration of that sink means our drain pipes and disposal under the sink were tailored to it. Choosing a different style sink would have entailed redoing the plumbing under the sink. I never thought about this before.

6. Because of our existing countertop type (tile) and the materials and fabricator I have chosen to work with, we'll be without countertops and maybe (probably) sink/dishwasher for a couple weeks. Time without a functioning kitchen never occurred to me when I was thinbking about this seemingly simple upgrade.

Incidentally, this all mushroomed and started out because I wanted to get new countertops. We decided since our range was quite aged we'd replace it first so the new countertops could be custom fit around the new range. Naive soul that I was, I had no idea that this could get this complicated and expensive. And, it is really lucky that my husband is really handy.

"Let's just replace a couple things" can often become much more complicated than it would seem at first glance. And, I am not even talking about the effort, time and energy spent in trying to research and decide upon the brands and models and materials involved in a minor re-do. That is an entirely different discussion post topic.

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"Let's just replace a couple things" can often become much more complicated than it would seem at first glance.

Isn't THAT the truth! Four years ago I just wanted to change the paint color in my kitchen and by the time I was done I had new countertops, tile backsplash, tile floor, and an inground pool!

Who knew simply painting could end up being so dangerous and costly! :-)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Wow, from new paint to new pool...farthest project creep ever, lol!

I had the same problem with our new bathroom. I decided after the fact to paint the door. Just add new paint, that's it. Decided to change out the hinges and knob to match the room, should be fine, same exact size, etc. get it all reassembled, won't close. Ended up having to chisel out the hinges AND plane two sides to get it to close again. Now, of course, I need to paint the exposed wood. Good grief!

Any homeowner needs to hear your caution! Not one single "simple" project I have taken on has ended up simple.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:12PM
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I think the other thing that happens is the "while we are doing this, we might as well do this effect." It's happened more than once here.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Ahhh, you have entered the dreaded Kitchen Cascade.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Yup. Our dishwashwer and oven broke. Now walls have been removed, rooms have been gutted, and half our downstairs looks totally different. To borrow from Bee, if I hadn't run out of 1000 bills, we'd be swiftly moving through the rest of the house with our GC ;-)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:08AM
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I had never imagined that a simple request for a new range and new countertops would evolve into so much. I mean this is not a matter of deliberately saying we want to do more than necessary and want to do extensive things to our kitchen. It is a matter of the only way to get a new range and new countertops it is to do a whole bunch more than we'd anticipated.

I guess I should take that back. We could have minimized this if we'd replaced our range with exactly the same thing we had despite that fact that it was inefficient and today's newer model gets horrible reviews. However, even if we'd done that, I read that all of the venting on it would still need to be changed because he manufacturer made changes that necessitate re-dos even if replacing Jennair downdraft to Jennair downdraft.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:57AM
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My STBX GC DH used to say that the most expensive words in the English language are" While you're at it...."

Now, though, needinfo1. I'm looking forward to pictures!
That's why I stalk browse this board is because of the pictures. It's not that I need any help with my perpetual construction site or anything, just pictures. Yeah pics! :)

Good luck, dearheart. Arrrrrghhhhhh!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Yes, remodeling is an itch that if you give in to scratch it you can lose an arm and a leg :) I started a year ago to correct a little unevenness in the floor. After the foundation work was done and holes filled, it lead to new front and side yard landscaping, new windows, new HVAC, new interior painting, and now a new kitchen, and while we are at it, a new family room.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Same here in our kitchen, and also the rental condo we are "freshening up". We needed a new range, which led to a new refrigerator, new cabinet to hide the hideous black monolith, new finish on all the kitchen cabinets so the new cabinet would match, new countertops since we wanted to get rid of the tile countertops anyway..... you get the picture :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:30PM
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Have you run across If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

From Wikipedia:

The boy gives a cookie to the mouse. To eat the cookie, the mouse asks for milk. The mouse then requests a straw (to drink the milk), a mirror (to avoid a milk mustache), nail scissors (to trim his hair), and a broom (to sweep up). He then wants to take a nap, to have a story read to him, to draw a picture, and to hang the drawing on the refrigerator. Since looking at the refrigerator makes him thirsty, the mouse asks for a glass of milk, and "he's going to want a cookie to go with it."

LOL!! Just one question. Is this going to lead to the installation of a pool? That's the best of all.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:58PM
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I grew up in logging country and there was a piece of paper on the wall of the local saw shop about the $18,000 cord of wood. It started out something like "A guy decided to save some money by burning wood for heat..."

This phenomenon cuts across all facets of our society. My personal view is either gut the room completely or don't touch it except to fix something that is broken beyond repair.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:56AM
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Yup. And then of course, the new paint or whatever often makes the older stuff look like crap so... get on the merry-go-round.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:42AM
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One time I decided to replace a tacky wireless doorbell with a proper doorbell. Twelve tools, about eleven trips to the garage and two hours later I had completed the job. However, the newly painted front entrance looked good.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:11AM
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"Let's just replace a couple things"

It's never "just", no matter what you are involved in. :)


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:37AM
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My hubby goes ballistic when a tv or magazine article says they simply "bumped out" the wall a few feet because there is nothing simple about it. That simple few feet probably meant new foundation and new roof, as well as gutting the whole room that was bumped. Simple? No way. Make it a kitchen and it just turned into an expensive few feet as well.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:18AM
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I am grateful you posted and I plan to have DH read this. I'm not up for a renovation money or time-wise, but I need a new range.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:55AM
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Yes, I guess we never realized ahead of time that just replacing an existing appliance can often end up being a lot more complicated than just selecting the appliance and then simply fitting it into place.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:18PM
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And, my latest update on the never-ending list of the unanticipated. The fabricator was out and told us that our floors and counters are not anywhere near level. If we want to keep our current backsplash, we need to take out the entire first row of backsplash so the fabricator can create a row of soapstone backsplash to fit under the current tile. This is the only way to get a level appearance and level countertops. And, because of the odd contifutation of our counters (they are of several diffenent heights) he told us that some of the existing backsplash, where the tile is cut to go around the current countertop, might need some replacement tiles...........

So, what are the chances that we can actually take out that row of tiles without actually breaking tiles above them? Probably pretty low. So, this may now also mean an all new backsplash. More work and more money.

All because I said I just wanted to do a quick upgrade to our counter tops.......

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 2:02PM
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