Today Cheri writes:
I am going to remodel my kitchen myself and I have read that there is a great deal of money to save in putting together and installing kitchen cabinets yourself. I’ve never done anything like this before, how do I know if I can handle this project myself?
Yes, there definitely is money to be saved in putting together and installing kitchen cabinets yourself. However you’ll want to make sure that you are not signing yourself up for a project that is above your head. And I don’t just mean that literally! If I had a dollar for every home owner that asked my advice after starting a project that they were unable to finish, I’d be writing this post on a sandy beach in the Bahamas sipping a drink out of a coconut! But since I don’t charge a dollar for home improvement advice, I’ll have to settle for sitting right here in my home office. That said, thank you for asking me before you had your kitchen torn up and ordered cabinets you may or may not have been able to use! Please read on before deciding whether or not you should put together and install your own kitchen cabinets.
First of all, if you are going to put kitchen cabinets together yourself, make sure you do your research and read all the product reviews first. Especially if you aren’t that handy at improvising when a screw hole hasn’t been pre-drilled or a piece is labeled backwards. This can all be avoided by just doing your research before making your purchase. Notice this concept has been repeated, it is important! The fact of the matter is that some companies just offer better instructions and/or product than others. And just because you are opting to put together your own cabinets does not mean you should go with the cheapest company possible.
Save the money on shipping and assembly but spend a little extra on a good quality cabinet. Maybe your budget couldn’t afford solid hardwood cabinets when you were pricing them already assembled, but maybe it can now that you are doing the work yourself? Also, if you’re planning on painting or staining the cabinets yourself, don’t you dare think of anything other than unfinished hardwood. Purchasing a melamine or particle board cabinet will only make the painting that much harder. What is underneath still counts, even if you are only going to cover it up!
When it comes to installation of kitchen cabinets, the information above still applies. Another factor to consider is whether or not you are physically able to install the cabinets. Especially the upper wall cabinets. Those take a fair amount of strength to hold in place and should only be done with another’s help. A previous client of mine decided to tackle this project on her own and broke her foot when the cabinet she was trying to screw to the wall fell and hit her. This is something you can avoid with proper preparation and patience. One way to make sure you’re properly prepared is to read up and watch videos on the correct installation. Had my previously mentioned client done this first, she wouldn’t have been saddled with a cast for six weeks!
It’s also important for me to mention that I’m not cautioning you against putting together and installing kitchen cabinets yourself. Rather, that I’m cautioning you on not being properly informed before you start the project. Truth be told if you can follow directions and enjoy putting other pieces of furniture together than you can probably do this yourself. And if you are handy with a drill, can use a level and have someone else available to lend a hand as needed, installation wouldn’t be that difficult. Just make sure you are not being penny wise and pound foolish if these traits do not sound like you!
In the spirit of getting as much knowledge on this subject as possible, I am leaving you with this great four part series on installing cabinets in your kitchen.
Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe (diva(at)homemakeoverdiva.com) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!