What to Know First When Considering a Kitchen Remodel

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You moved into a new home and want to change everything out, such as kitchen cabinets, countertops, kitchen sinks, faucets, and your flooring. Or, you have lived with your current kitchen for decades and now want a new look to the place where you cook your food and the family gathers daily. There are several options to what you can achieve in getting your new dream kitchen.

One, you can do a full replacement with cabinets, countertops, and matching appliances, along with the kitchen sink. Second, you can have your cabinets stripped and sanded, if they are still sturdy and functional. Then, you refinish them and, if desired, add new doors and knobs.

Measure Your Kitchen First

Tools needed:

2 yardsticks, one roll-up measuring tool, sketch pad, pencil with eraser, and a calculator.

The image above shows a partial kitchen layout for one side, plus the corner turn, for measuring. The red line shows the full-length measurement across, which can be compared to the section sum of measures taken for windows and doors, including any framework.

Walls, Doors, and Windows

First, consider if the whole kitchen will be redone. Start creating a rough sketch of the kitchen first, as you will want to add the wall, window, and door measures into the sketch for each section. At the end, you can then total up individual measures to see how close you come to the full room length measure, as shown by the red line.

First measure the walls across, getting the inches from one wall corner to the next corner, or to the first door and outer frame edge on that wall. Include measures for any door, by measuring from inner door frame to opposite inner frame, including the height, as shown below. You should also include the width of the door frame itself, from outer to inner points.


If there is a window on a wall, get the measure from the wall corner (or door edge) to the outside of the window frame. Then measure from one outer window frame across to the other outer window edge of the other side. Get top to bottom outer frame measures the same way. Enter those measures into the sketch, along with the earlier inside window frame measures you got.

Now get the measure from ceiling to floor in your kitchen. Do this for each wall in the kitchen, even though it should be the same. But you never know. Note where the countertop meets on the wall height, where applicable, usually about 36 inches up from the floor. That measure is dependent on the thickness of the countertop.

Cabinets and Countertops

There are general industry sizes for most cabinets, unless you go with a fully customized cabinet creation, which will cost quite a bit. Measure from one edge of a cabinet, across to the next cabinet edge, and note if there is a spacer in between cabinets. These can range from one to three inches.

Get the height for each cabinet and places the measures into your sketch. Do this for both bottom and top cabinets. If you have a corner Lazy Susan cabinet, or blind cabinet (as shown above), then measure on top of the countertop, across to where the cabinet door begins. Also add on the full measure length to the end of the cabinet.

Note all windows and doors on wall measurements, and how they relate to the cabinets. Countertop measurements are taken from the span of the cabinets across the wall, and is figured out by your wall and cabinet measurements.

Kitchen Sinks

First, take a measure of the sink cabinet so you know what size you need to replace it. Check to see if the water spouts are directly above the drain pipes inside the cabinet.

Measure from the outer edge of the sink across, and then from outer back edge to front lip edge. Then measure from the inner edge of the sink the same way.

Finally, get the depth measurement by measuring from the drain to the top. An easy way is to lay a yard stick across the sink top, then take another yard stick and vertically place the 1-inch tip on the lip of the drain. Where the vertical stick meets up with the horizontal stick, should be the bowl depth measurement. From a plumber’s viewpoint, this shows if anything must be changed on the pipe mounts, so that it meets up with the new sink.

Types of Sinks

A drop-in sink mount means the old sink is removed, and a new sink dropped into the old spot, leaving your current countertop in place. An under-mount sink means that you remove the countertop first, remove the old sink, install the sink, then lay a new (or old) countertop over the edges of the new sink. It will depend on what you wish to have in your new kitchen. This also includes what type and style of faucets and knobs you want installed with the sink. Fixture holes may need to be drilled by the installer first.

Do not forget about adding a water sprayer off to the side, which is very convenient for rinsing dishes and sinks. This also affects whether a hole for that extender hose, needs to be added to the sink and countertop too. A plumber would handle most of this section for you, except for adding that hole in the countertop for a sprayer. That must be done before the sink is laid over the top, or if an under-mount, before the countertop is laid back on top.

When the Kitchen is Measured

Now that you have all the measurements done, you can take these to a kitchen specialist or designer who can add the preliminary design into a computer program. While it is not necessary to have perfect measurements, it helps in deciding what cabinets you can select and quoting the first price. At least you have some idea of what the project will cost.

If a specialist handles your kitchen remodel, then there will be a professional measurement done first to ensure that all selected cabinets will fit, including spacers. There will be no doubts about what options will be available after that.

Check for any specials going on, such as half-price cabinet or countertop sales or free installs, if buying a whole kitchen. The same is true with appliances. You can get a whole set of stainless appliances, with a mark-down if bought at certain times of the year. It pays to watch mailbox advertisements and to check online sales at various stores.

Make sure installers also guarantee the work and will adjust or replace anything that goes wrong. If doing a total kitchen remodel, prepare to eat out for about a week or more, while old cabinets, appliances, countertops, and flooring are removed, and the new pieces brought in.

Just relax and enjoy!!

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