Anxiety ridden before Remodel-questions still unanswered!

BerlinGirlNovember 4, 2012

Hi all. Have looked at this website a number of times over the years and most recently the past six months, but obviously haven't learned enough...(LOL, trying to keep it light as I'm feeling overwhelmed.) Wanted to post questions a number of times, but learning the nuances of that seemed hard, have now decided I'm in dire straights and could really use some advice.


Been in our house for the last eight years. Wanted to do a kitchen remodel before, but it's taken this long to get to this point. I grew to enjoy this old white kitchen, even the red counters and tile floor. Looked at kitchens in Big box stores wishing and hoping I could someday do my own. We decided this spring, we'd get a loan as now was the time. Wanted to get it done in the summer while my work schedule was lighter and have the house ready for fall, school, heavier work schedule. Didn't happen that way. (BOA sold our home loan in Mar, the new company HOMEWARD Residential lost our payment in Apr, then our credit was blown, found out when we were denied our remodel loan, and it took three months for us to get them to find our payment and for me to clean up our credit, so late Aug, finally loan approval) In hindsight, good it didn't happen then as our first KD choice and company she represents for cabinets wouldn't have been a good fit for us. She just did a kitchen for friends that was a tortuous now 6 month long nightmare for them as everything was wrong. (Things happen for a reason I know) After her, we talked to several professionals and KD's before we decided what we would do. Ended up at a Big Box store, the KD there came over to our home, was knowledgeable, had answers to questions. However, we could get NOTHING for prices out of them, except for the cabinets and materials which I ordered in Aug. Then came the whole quote. It was 15k over our budget. I told him we wouldn't be able to do that and he dropped us like a HOT potato. Wouldn't return phone calls, could not track him at the store, I don't even have a receipt. I wouldnt' have a picture of cabinet placement today if I hadn't emailed him and told him I have a garage full of cabinets and no idea where to put them. (he then scanned a picture and emailed it to me, no note.. NOTHING!) Left us in the dust. So next we interviewed a referred older builder GC and another young more "handy man" type CG who was doing a roof for a neighbor. We got a couple of bids and really liked the younger guy as well as his willingness to work with us.

First Question...

So, we have gone back and forth over the question of wood or tile in kitchen. We have tile now and it's old, cold and a mess. We have wood on both sides of the kitchen. (We'd planned to have wood installed in our new space with the KD at big box store.) We are taking down the wall between our tiny galley kitchen and dining room and opening up. Wanted a consistent flooring. However, I went to Lumber Liq this past week to buy unfinished flooring and was told a horror story on putting that down to match existing floor. I then tried both big box stores, nobody has a clue. Made an appointment to have a wood floor specialist come over. (took off work, he was a NO show.) Thought I could wing it and had our GC guy come over to help with the decision. Now he suggests tile. Thinks we could run heat under it so it would not be so cold. (we live 2 hours from Canada in East) . I don't know what to do, it's Sunday, demo starts Tuesday, we're both working more than fulltime now. (with kids.) (will also mention I've got a chronic illness that I successfully battle, but this is wearing) Sorry to be so wordy. We need to clear the kitchen and dining room today. Don't have a clue where to put anything. DH thought that contractor moves the appliances (we are keeping them) I said no, he expects to come and have it already moved. We haven't started and are in disagreement.

New kitchen will be Natural red cherry Shaker style cabinets with Dark Green Costa Smeralda (marble like) granite. This is a picture of my old kitchen into the dining area that will be opened up.

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Wanted to add a picture the Dark green Costa Smeralda granite slab, cabinet sample and the "possible" tile.

Thanking anybody who comments in advance for their time and thoughts!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Sorry you are having such a hard time. Hopefully, you will see progress soon.

I had a similar issue. I really wanted wide plank wood floors. It would not match my LR and DR oak floors and I was ok with that. What ultimately guided my decision to go with tile was the decision to install radiant heat. Radiant heat in the floor works very well with tile flooring and is not as efficient with wood flooring. Plus, the best wood flooring to put down on radiant heat is 3" quarter quarter sawn oak (to avoid warping) which was not the wide plank I wanted nor would it match my existing floors in the adjacent rooms.

Anyway, I used the radiant heat for the first time yesterday and its a real luxury. I love it. I will point out that radiant heat runs from a hot water heater. Also, it will raise the height of the floor (I believe 2"). I compensated by having saddles installed with a slight slope. Also, wood floor with radiant heat was expensive to install ($2000 additional plumbing cost) because some pricey underlayings were required.

I will also mention that radiant heat is not instantaneous. It takes several hours to feel the heat. It is recommended that you just set a temperature and maintain it as opposed to having the thermostat on a timer or manually turning heat up or down when you are home or need it. This is something I have to get used to as I normally turn the heat way down when we are all out of the house.

I am happy with my decision as tiles are more forgiving to mishaps, kids and pets. I think this was the right decision for us because the alternative was toe kick heater under kitchen sink and base board heating in an area I have planned for a built in dining banquette.

I installed a 6x18 wood look tile. Most people think it is wood.

Good luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Sorry you are having problems with your remodel before it is even actually underway. I really don't understand tradesmen and others not showing up when they've made appointments or not following up with estimates or contracts when they have come to look at a job.
I do love the granite you have chosen and your cabinet color. If you go with tile I think the one you show in your post is great. It looks like it is perfect match for the light veining in your granite. I have heated tile flooring in my bathroom so I can attest to how wonderful it is. The thermostat with mine is completely programmable for on/ off times, temperature, weekly or daily settings etc.
We have wood flooring in our kitchen but it was not under our previous cabinets and we adjusted a doorway so we had to add new wood in those spots. They actually had to tear out some of the existing boards to be able to weave in the new boards. The entire floor needed to be sanded and refinished but you really can't tell the old from the new. I'm sure you could add wood flooring and get it to be a match or very close match to your other wood flooring but it would probably require refinishing it all. You could possibly put in a different wood floor in your kitchen if you have a transition between the old and the new.
I think you should try to have another flooring specialist look at your space. Often they sell both tile and wood and they could give you estimates for the cost of each.
Good luck with your remodel.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Wood would be warmer without having the radiant heat. We went with wood instead of tile that being one of the reasons. Our wood is similair but does not match exactly so for me that would not be an issue.

I live in a cold area and right now my wood floors are comfortable.

A Red Flag to me is the issue about moving the appliances. Before they start on Tuesday, sit down and have every single detail in WRITING. That issue may just be the beginning of worse to come.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:06PM
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As dilly pointed out your tile floor could be heated with hot water heat but it can also be completely electric. It is my understanding that hot water heating( also called hydronic) heats at a lower operating cost than electric. Electric floor heating systems can be loose cables, mesh mats or solid mats. The size of your floor my dictate which would be a better system for you. Our bathroom tile floor is an electric heat mat. We did not notice any real difference in our electric bill with our bathroom floor heating but it is not a very large space.
Whatever system you would need, if you go with tile floors I think you will like heated floors.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 1:14PM
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A good wood floor guy would have no problem matching new wood to old wood. The best way to do this involves the old floor too. Sand the old and new wood floors, stain all of it the same color and apply new poly to all of it. A bit more trouble and cost, but it will give you a seamless transition on the look of the floors throughout the house.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:29PM
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You need a wood flooring specialist. But to match the new to the old will require re-finishing the old. That means emptying out the rooms for a week or so while that's going on. Get a POD when the time comes, but for now, do NOT get in a hurry to make decisions that you will live with for a very long time.

I'm also concerned about a "handyman" removing walls. Did you have a structural engineer look at them to design the beam to carry the weight? Is this handyman actually licensed and insured and has he pulled a permit? Those would all be huge red flags.

And I have so say also, that even though big box stores are noted for being high on labor, saying that they were 15K high for your budget to me means that you had an unrealistically low price in your head as to how much the projects that you want done will actually cost. That's another reason to slow this down and make sure that you have chosen the right contractor and the right materials. Because another red flag here is mentioning that your neighbor had a six month long remodel with several errors. That is NOT at all unusual, and speaking about it like it's uncommon, says that perhaps your expectations for your timeline are also not quite as they should be. Especially since you haven't made decisions on major items. That will cause delays. Major delays.

I don't think you are at all ready for demolition to begin on this project. Slow down and do more research.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:44PM
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I'm sorry for your troubles so far. Finding a good contractor is your main priority in any remodel. I have never heard anyone say they had a great experience with a major remodel handled by a big box store.

I would not hire someone unless I had several references, preferable at least one from somebody I know. The fact you are not clear as to who will remove the appliances is a red flag for me, too. How many kitchens has this young guy done? Did you see any pictures?

I'd say go with the tile. We had our red oak floors refinished and it was a looong, drawn-out nightmare. The dust was never-ending. It gets in your ventilation system and continues to come out for months.
They can't just "stain the new floor to match" because the old floor color will have aged and changed depending on UV ray exposure, etc.

Can you call the handyman and just ask him if you're supposed to remove the appliances? Have you given him any money yet? If he is difficult to reach now, it is only going to get worse.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Refinishing my wood floors in the kitchen, dining room and hallways after adding new wood was a 2 day process and was not a dust disaster at all. I had it done by wood floor professionals and they used an atomic dust containment system that was wonderful. Very little dust any where in the house. The new wood and 24 year old old wood matched perfectly.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 3:36PM
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I would like to thank everybody who has taken the time to respond and give their opinions.

I want to clarify a couple of things. The "handy man" was my "slang", he is actually a contractor, he's just a "younger" man newer to the contruction business, not one who has been displaced from building homes by the recession like the "other" one we interviewed and received a quote from. The GC from the "big box store" was also one who had been active in the home building side in our town during the boom town years of the mid 2000's. We have actually received a glowing referral from our neighbors who he has done a number of projects for.

Live Wire Oak, our friends who have had everything under the sun go wrong with their kitchen remodel had referred us to the first person we attempted to work with. It wasn't the GC we have ended up with. This lady is a KD, who happens to sell cabinets also. After our friends were several months into their debacle we were actually happy we didn't go any further with her. They are close personal friends with her and her husband. We have had a number of contractors look at our plan. The only wall to be taken down is the one in the picture I posted. It is not load bearing. We have a very detailed contract with this young man. He is insured. He plans to be working at our house for a month.

As for the budget...I have found that the big box store is a great option for somebody who has unlimited funds. None of the other quotes we received came close to that high amount and were very realistic we found. No, we wouldn't have had to lift a finger if we'd taken their quote and gone with it, but we're not rich people and it wasn't an option. This will be our one and only time that we will ever remodel our kitchen and downstairs half bath and we will never build anything ever.

Thank you dilly, badgergal, debrak, chispa and art teacher mom for your hard wood flooring thoughts. It appears we all have I am certainly going to be open to exploring the tile option. I would certainly make the tile flooring heating a priority. We are putting the tile in our half bath with an electric flooring mat.

We have paid a sizable deposit to our guy already and I will need to make a quick decision on the floor. I plan on revisiting calling the flooring people tomorrow and seeing if that is an option. We called our contractor today to clarify what we needed to do. Need to move fridge, set up temp kitchen in house somewhere. He takes care of stove and dishwasher. We then spent several hours at our Big Box store today picking up all our other materials. The first KD designer we worked with there working, she helped us and gave us designs layouts, etc for our contractor.. She apologized about the lack of follow through from her co-worker. I am feeling now alot more confident.

I will keep the board up to date on what we decide. I'm still torn. In love with wood, but warm tiles wouldn't kill me. Honestly, we were on the north end of the Sandy storm and were very fortunate we didn't sustain damage like so many others. This is a small matter at best and I thank everybody for their thoughts.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:03PM
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Oh boy, I remember those nervous jitters right before demo.
We're 8weeks into this reno (kitchen, diningroom, familyroom), and we just past the half way mark.
Really difficult to "live" in just the livingroom and office w/ 2 young kids/2 adults.

We just installed hot water radiant floor heating. OMG do I love it!!!
Like Dilly said, the toughest thing we have to get used to is the setting it and forgetting it part. So used to turning it down to 56degrees when we went upstairs...

BUT I highly suggest you get a quote before you consider it. My whole radiant was significantly higher than $2K.
It was my main splurge of this reno.

The kitchen/DR will be 3/4inch thick 3inch wide 100% rift-sawn white oak, while the familyroom has 3/8inch thick 12x24inch tiles.

- tiles and engineered flooring are recommended for radiant
- prefinished wood floor is NOT suggested for over radiant heating
- to reduce gaping/expansion/contraction, etc: quartersawn oak is highly recommended. I didn't like the "sparkle" of the qtr sawn so I went w/ second best: rift sawn.

let me know if you have any questions.

Suggest you post your layout just for some review and suggestions.
GW has been AMAZING!!! I could never have gotten my dream kitchen/layout/design, etc w/out GW.

good luck,

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:43PM
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So the remodel has started...onto day three a few's almost 1a and an issue has come up. Actually it came up last night after the carpenter left and I was looking over the gutted kitchen.

First off, the floor problem has been solved. I called a number of professional wood installers on Monday and got quotes. Also called the one who was supposed to come last month on Tuesday as I got another referral for them. Long story short, they were very sorry for the missed appt and came out today. They are the best in the area and will make a wood floor happen within a week if need be. I have confidence in them.

Now, have an issue with a hole cut into my ceiling for the canned lights 1/2 inch off of where it should be. They don't line up and my eye caught the error. They are not straight. Thoughts on this by those who have lived though this? Does the entire ceiling need to be replaced or can it be patched. The soffits were removed already as you can tell. I believe he was going to patch those. I want this done right. I know if I push to have it done, it will be but don't want to make the carpenter replace it if it can be patched. Am I making sense? or am I just trying to be nice?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:08AM
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Do you have a link to your remodel on here? I don't know how to navigate this site very well, but would love to see.

Thanks for your the thought of hot water under tile, but am sticking with wood. $$

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:13AM
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I'm here for you as far as having lived thru things like this. Misaligned outlets, canned lights, sconces, switches, (stop me) and other things.
Let me be PC about this.

It's not ok.
If your eye caught it now, it'll catch it FOREVER

I swear. I know. I can see something that's 300 yards, off by 1/4". I know those measurements because the butt-head who rebuilt my barn didn't level the window and I can see it (to this day) from my kitchen window. Needless to say I still remember his name and don't hesitate to share it: Mike Palino of J Square construction (doing side job) here in Maryland. Plus, he disappeared with $1000 of my $$ for other work. I digress.

Do not let them tell you when it's finished you won't notice.
You will.
Your eye already caught that tiny measurement.
Any contractor with any sense of self-preservation would realize right NOW, that it'd better be perfect because YOU can see it.

It's how you choose to proceed, though. If you let this pass, it'll geometrically increase.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:36AM
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I just wanted to clarify the statement I made above since Huango and perhaps others may have misinterpretted my meaning.

"Also, wood floor with radiant heat was expensive to install ($2000 additional plumbing cost) because some pricey underlayings were required."

By this statement I did not mean that using radiant heat over conventional was $2,000 more. It meant that my quote for radiant heat with tile was $x more than extending my existing heating system and adding toe kick heaters (without consideration of new gas boiler). The radiant heat with wood floor would be $x plus $2,000.

Sorry I do not recall the amount of $X.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:12AM
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The light certainly can be moved and the ceiling patched. When the electrician was at my house for my kitchen remodel, I had him change out some lighting in my great room and it resulted in some holes in the ceiling. The GC's carpenter patched the holes and finished it off to match the rest of the ceiling texture. We did have to paint the patch but we were able to blend it in without reprainting the whole ceiling. I imagine your whole ceiling is going to be painted any way so it shouldn't be a problem to patch it.

You do need to keep your eye on very detail. Remember its your kitchen and your paying to have it done the way you want it. Crooked, uneven or misaligned things bother me and lots of other people so you are not being too picky. And it is certainly easier to correct mistakes sooner rather than later.

Glad to hear that you figured out your flooring. Good luck with the rest of your remodel.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:17AM
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Yay on starting.
As for the misallignment, it MIGHT be something in the way that they have to work around. I worked w/ my electrician in planning where things go and I completely understood when/if something has to shift over due to a joist or something.
But yes, it can be moved and patched w/out having to be completely ripped out.

I have lots of little threads (which sconce, backsplash up to ceiling, etc) going around about my reno, but no main one.
You can email me directly by clicking on my username, or see one of the thread linked below.

Just ride w/ the glitches...

We've been waiting for our wood floor delivery for over 1 week and I was so excited to see them yesterday.
BUT they delivered the wrong wood. So now we have to wait for another 2-4days for the replacement. Their claim was that they in NJ didn't have power, so they couldn't check their computer system. Ugh.
Problem is that nothing can go down until the wood acclimates to the heat, then install, stain, seal, coat1, coat2 (coat3 goes on after cabinet/appliance install).
So no floor = no progress.

dilly: thanks for the clarification. I only got 1.5 quotes - the 0.5 was a guestimate over the phone. So I was really hoping that I didn't completely overpay, for something that was a luxury (all three rooms already had sufficient heating).


Here is a link that might be useful: Amanda's reno

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:27AM
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