Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

The cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom have a difficult life. Constantly being opened & closed, residing in an environment with water & moisture, and being run into by people, vacuums, pets, and any number of household items. Given this wear and tear, your cabinets are very likely to be inadvertently scratched. How do you touch-up your cabinets to make those little mishaps disappear?


Most new cabinets come with a Touch-up Kit. These typically include a fill stick and a touch-up marker. If you do not have a kit, or it has wandered off over the years, you can purchase one from your cabinet dealer. Hardware stores also carry these touch-up markers and fill sticks, however, the color match will not be as close as the one from the cabinet manufacturer.




Fill Stick

Think of the fill stick as a big crayon. It is used to fill in bigger scratched or indentations in the cabinetry. This includes nail holes, gouges, cuts or deep scratches. Simply apply pressure to the fill stick to completely fill the scratch. There will be excess around the damaged area. Gently use an old credit card to smooth and match the surface. Finally, wipe off the area with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth.


Touch-up Marker

The touch-up marker is used on spots where the finish is damaged and raw wood is seen. This includes scratches, joints where two pieces of wood/molding meet, areas with excessive wear, or the edge of a piece of cabinetry. Before starting, most markers need to be shaken to eliminate settling of the colors. Once shaken, take and run the marker over the damaged area. It will likely take more than one coat to cover the damage. Wipe any excess off using a clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Recap the pen to prevent it from drying out.

As discussed in a previous blog, remodeling a kitchen can be expensive. One alternative is refacing cabinets instead of replacing them. Refacing cabinets can be a viable option, however, there are situations in which refacing cabinets does not makes sense. Let’s look at what refacing is and the advantages/disadvantages of this option.

With cabinet refacing, the existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts are removed and replaced with new doors/drawer fronts. The exposed face frames and cabinet ends are covered with material to match the new doors/drawer fronts. New molding is installed to cover any raw edges or exposed areas. Typically, the new finish is painted or stained wood.



The key advantages of cabinet refacing are:

  • Cost – Typically, refacing cabinets will cost less than complete replacement. That said, the difference versus replacing cabinets may not be significant as it involves replacing the most expensive part of the cabinet … the door and drawer front.
  • Time – Refacing cabinets will take less time than removing and replacing cabinets. Most refacing projects take around one week, while replacing cabinets typically takes four weeks.
  • Cleaner – There will usually be less mess/dust with refacing.
  • Convenience – During the cabinet refacing, you will still be able to use your kitchen in the evening.


Disadvantages of refacing cabinets include:

  • Poor kitchen layout – Many remodeling projects are undertaken to improve the functionality or layout of your kitchen. Refacing cabinets will not solve this problem.
  • Tired cabinets – In many cases, the existing cabinets are tired … sagging shelves, falling apart. Refacing will not fix worn out cabinets.
  • Structural issues – There may be structural issues in the home, including floors that have settled, causing problems with the cabinets. Refacing cabinets will not correct these structural issues.
  • Cabinet accessories – Today, there are a growing number of wonderful cabinet accessories to improve the storage, functionality, and design of kitchens and bathrooms. In a refacing project, you will likely be limited in the ability to incorporate these accessories into the existing layout/design.

Refacing cabinets is a good option for some kitchens, however, if any of the above issues exist, examine all the options before making your final decision.

You are getting the itch to renovate your kitchen. When you go to the internet, Houzz, Pinterest, and other home décor sites are your first stops. While dreaming, a couple of questions continue to nag you … “How much will a kitchen renovation cost and can I afford it?”.

While a variety of factors impact a project’s cost, you can use a rule of thumb to get a general idea of the required budget. Remodeling experts estimate a kitchen renovation costs around 15% of your home’s value. So, if your home is valued at $200,000, the budget for an updated kitchen is approximately $30,000. For a $350,000 home, you would spend $52,500. The biggest cost element of a kitchen remodel will be for cabinetry. One industry source breaks down the elements in a renovation budget as follows:

  • Cabinets                       40%
  • Countertops                 10%
  • Appliances                    9%
  • Lighting/Electrical        8%
  • Wall Covering               4%
  • Floor Covering              7%
  • Labor/Installation        20%
  • Miscellaneous               2%
  • Total              100%

As mentioned above, a number of items influence the final budget. For example, removing existing walls increases the labor cost. If you are a serious cook, appliances will likely cost more than a typical kitchen renovation.

Your budget should consider how long you plan to remain in the home. If you are only planning to remain in the home 1 – 5 years, there is less time to recover your investment in appreciation. This mentality reduces the overall amount you should plan on spending.

If you expect to stay in your home for a long period of time, you want to ensure the renovation works best for your family. Typically, this results in a larger budget as you enjoy the benefits of the renovation for a longer time.

You should also plan on encountering surprises impacting the budget. Often these are not significant. However, we have encountered projects with significant electrical or plumbing issues requiring resolution. Fixing these problems can have a big effect on the budget.

Finally, the specific cabinet, countertop, flooring, appliance, and fixture selections you choose drives the final budget. Using experts will help you avoid making costly mistakes and identify opportunities where spending less may equal more. Typically, any fees paid to experts is more than offset by the added value they bring to the project.

With your nagging questions answered, go ahead and return to planning your new kitchen with better knowledge of what you can afford.

Cabinet Inspirations & Ideas

Wood is Wood ... Or Is It?

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So much thought is put into the desired cabinet style that it may be easy to overlook the type of wood used for those cabinets. After all, wood is wood, right? Actually there are quite a few differences between wood species, including durability, grain variation, and color. Let's examine some popular wood choices for cabinetry and their specific characteristics.

Maple has become the favorite choice in cabinetry.  It is desired among families in large part because of its durability and clean, uniform appearance. Paint adheres exceptionally well on this wood species. With the current popularity of white painted cabinets, maple is an excellent choice for today's cabinets.

Cherry - Easily recognized by its deep red undertones, cherry adds an elegant look to any room. Cherry has a fine grain, and its texture is sometimes referred to as "satiny." Though the wood itself is lightweight, it is still considered a durable hardwood that resists scratches. Maybe the most sought after characteristic of cherry is its transformation as the color deepens over time. From a cost perspective, cherry cabinets generally cost more than other wood species.

Oak - Strong and very durable. Oak contains a rich, coarse wood grain which accepts a wide range of stain colors very well. More affordable than other wood options, oak has stood the test of time and has been a consistent favorite for many years. Rift cut and Quarter Sewn are wood cut options often available when choosing Oak.

Hickory - Similar to oak in strength and durability, hickory is known for its dramatic grain patterns. Color and streaking vary greatly, even within a single door panel. Adding to the rustic appearance of hickory are the random pinholes, knots, and streaks of color. These only add to the charm of hickory cabinets and are not considered defects.

Alder- A lesser known cabinet option, alder is considered a medium density wood and is slightly less durable than maple, oak or cherry. With a similar grain appearance to cherry or maple, alder can be stained to look like cherry without the higher cost. Choosing "knotty alder" can add a rustic feel to your room thanks to unique wood grain patterns. wormholes, knots, etc. The versatility of alder can take you from the sophistication of cherry to the rustic feel of a cabin.

Even with this brief rundown of the different wood species and their characteristics, it is always best to go in person and look at various samples in order to fully appreciate what each species can offer. Hopefully, then you can choose the right wood and the right style for your room.

Stopping in our Carmel Indiana showroom to see samples of the various wood species is an excellent way to help determine the best species for your renovation project. We look forward to seeing you.

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