Consumer Reports: Avoid kitchen remodeling mistakes

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If you're thinking about a kitchen remodel, Consumer Reports has some tips to keep you on budget (WLS)

More than 2 million kitchens will be renovated this year, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. That has manufacturers and contractors salivating at the prospect of record-breaking sales. If you're thinking about a kitchen remodel, Consumer Reports has some tips to keep you on budget.

Looking to get the most bang for your buck on a kitchen remodel? Consumer Reports says take care, to avoid the biggest budget busters. Like changing your mind. It can drive your budget up an average of 10 percent.

"The average kitchen remodel costs around $28,000. So spend a little longer on the design and stick to that plan no matter what," said Dan DiClerico, Home Editor, Consumer Reports.

So don't rely on rough sketches. These days, 3D drawings and even tools like virtual-reality software help you visualize the space before you even take down a wall.

"As a veteran kitchen designer, I can't imagine making a large-dollar purchase, that I will hold onto for decades, without having a full sense of standing in that space ahead of time," said Sheri Meradante, a kitchen designer.

Also, don't overpay for high-end materials. Forgo pricey, exotic marble countertops for less expensive, low-maintenance quartz - top-rated by Consumer Reports.

You can get the look of hardwood floors for half the price with more durable, porcelain tile look-alikes.

Remember, while looks are important - don't forget function.

Save room in the budget for things like a range hood to keep your kitchen well-ventilated, under-cabinet lighting to ease food preparation, and improved storage, like drawers in the base units.

"It's not the sexiest stuff, but it's these little things that you interact with every day that are going to influence your long-term satisfaction in a major way," DiClerico said.

Your dream kitchen can be a reality if you plan wisely.

It's also important to do your due diligence about who is doing the work. Consumer Reports found that accredited contractors are better at holding down costs on remodeling projects when unexpected problems crop up.

Check the references of contractors on your short list, asking clients about their experience of working with the contractor and how the work held up over time.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2016. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
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