kitchen remodel

Kitchen Remodel Tips and the Top Tools needed

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​Are you looking to do a home renovation and don't know where to start? I'm going to assume since you're on this post that you're probably a little bit handy. You don't need to know very much to completely change the look of the entire rooms and do it yourself. It's will be a great kitchen remodel tips for you.

One of the most important parts of beginning a job is to get your hands on the right tools. You may be able to borrow them, rent, or if needed buy them. Simply having the right tools may be the only thing saving you big money.

Everyone who is in remodeling started without knowing anything.

Contractors and big home remodeling companies do not really want you to know that it's not very hard to change the finishes that make the biggest differences. 

We all know that paint can make a dramatic difference in the way a room looks. It may surprise you that simply adding a bottom piece of trim or crown piece of molding can entirely change the perspective ​of a room. Image changing everything else on your own as well.

If you're willing to put a little effort in and you can change the cabinets, countertops, flooring, trim, paint, and appliances all on your own. Yes even if you've never done it before.

Keep in Mind

  • ​Tile can be done by anyone, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on granite to get hard surfaces on your countertops.
  • ​There are cheap and easy ways to replace your cabinets
  • ​Tools can be rented
  • ​There are ways to save literally thousands on the materials

​All of this comes down to having the right tools and a few good tips to follow and just about anyone can accomplish the work.
Tile, wood flooring, counters, and cabinets are way more expensive than they need to be if you hire someone to install them.

Usually, contractors will not only make money off the service but they will also mark up the products so that they can make money off the materials as well.

If you're not interested in doing the work yourself some of these tips can still help. If you just want to get an idea of how much it will cost to hire people, then here's a great resource to find pricing on kitchen or bath remodels.

First let's talk about some of the tools of the trade

Granite countertops or other various hard materials may cost you anywhere from 40 to 100 a square foot. If instead, you decide to tile that same countertop you can get the entire job done for as low as ​5 a square foot. This is a savings of thousands of dollars. You can even use large 24 inch tiles or granite tile and still save a fortune. The cost will depend on what material you choose.

To be able to do this all you need is three simple tools and the willingness to follow direction.

There are a million posts on YouTube on how to tile countertops so you don't need me to explain the directions since these are readily available. What I am going to do is explain to you how you don't have to spend very much on tools and what tools you need. In addition, you will find some great tips on how to save money on your project.

​Tile saws

​There are simple tile saws that utilize a small 4-inch blade and can cut any size tile. The saws are made to sit on a countertop or work table and you fill them with water as you go. They are not the easiest to work with if using large tiles. This style of tile saw ranges anywhere from 75 up to around 200 or more on the high end.

​On the opposite end, there are great big tile saws that will cost all the way up to 1,000 or more.

The bigger saws are obviously way better to work with. They offer exceptional cutting abilities, faster cuts, cleaner cuts, and different angled cuts. These features can speed up your job significantly.
You just need to be aware of the size of the tile you are cutting and the limitations of these bigger saws.

The other tile cutting option would be a tile breaker. I would not recommend this to a novice as these are difficult to learn how to use and you have to make a large investment to get one that works really well.

If you're looking to do a simple job such as your countertops that should take you no more than a week at the most. It would take a professional only one or two days to accomplish. If you plan on doing other tile projects then you may want to consider buying a nice large saw in the price range of 500 to 1000. If you only plan on doing this once and not tiling again I recommend going down to your local tool rental company and simply renting a large wet tile saw. You will probably need it for 4-5 days.

​One last alternative would be to buy a tile saw from harbor freight. Harbor Freight isn't exactly known for quality tools that last. Generally speaking, contractors would not buy power tools from harbor freight, that is if they expected them to hold up and stand the test of time.

I have personally used a wet tile saw from harbor freight and it lasted long enough for me to do an entire house of tile. I'm talking flooring, kitchen backsplash, kitchen, and bathroom countertops.

Sure it didn't last any more than a year but I got my money's worth and it provided me a tool to use until I could afford a nicer model. If you are a homeowner and just have a few projects I would highly recommend spending a few hundred dollars a tile saw at harbor freight.

​The number two tool when doing tile

A grinder

​​Yes, a grinder can be used to sand polish and even cut various services; both metal wood and otherwise. It all comes down to what kind of blade or bit you have on it.

​​It won't take you long to figure out why you need a grinder. The first time you're cutting a tile and it breaks, in the end, you will realize how important it is to have a grinder. Can you get by without a grinder, sure? Would I recommend it? no. A grinder can be used to.

  • ​​Clean up tiles that didn't cut right
  • ​​Cut out the hole for sinks
  • ​​Cven drill holes in tile with attached tile bit

​Some tile installers will rely on a tile grinder for all cuts that will not be visible just to simply save time.

Grinders are relatively inexpensive and I would not rent them and I would not buy a cheap one. I bought a Bosch from Home Depot for less than 50.

A trowel, float and a sponge

​Yes, that's it for the simplest installation all you need is tile, a tile saw, a trowel /float, and a sponge.

There is another alternative where you could use glue instead of mortar to attach the tile to your countertop. However, glue is not recommended for flooring purposes or shower purposes and should only be used in the recommended areas. I personally prefer using a mortar mix.

A pack of sponges will cost you less than ​10 and you will use this to install the tile and finish the tile.

A Notched trowel sized according to the type of tile you are installing is what you will use to spread the mortar mix. These are less than ​10 as well

The float is a spongy material that you will use to fill in the tile spaces with gorut.

For literally under ​200 you can get all the tools you need to install the tile. Like I said this post is not to teach you how to do these ideas tasks but to show you that they're inexpensive if you want to attempt them on your own. All you need is the right tools.

Changing out a kitchen sink

​Simply changing out your old sink and installing a new more attractive updated sink and faucet may take you a day or two to do, but will save you anywhere from​ 500 to 1,000 not having to hire a plumber.

​Tools needed

​Quite possibly a pipe wrench for a cheap one, under 20.

Some kind of saw, maybe two types that will cut plumbing pipes. If you have copper you will need a small copper pipe saw, these are approximately 15. Most likely you will have PVC underneath your sink and I generally use a sprinkler PVC cutter which also costs around 15.

Drain wrench:

​​Let's just depend on how tight your drain is. You may need a drain wrench if you plan on reusing the drains out of your old sink. You won't if you plan on tossing them out with the old sink.

You will also need a caulking gun: To seal the edge of the sink, it will need to be silicone. You can find a simple caulking gun for under ​10.

A few adjustable wrenches- if you don't have these I would buy a high-quality set. If you buy quality hand tools they should last forever.

How can you save money on faucets and sinks

​Beyond just looking for clearance sales and online discounts I have found that eBay offers substantial savings over any of the hardware stores. You do get what you pay for, many of the products are not name brands.

I would make sure the seller on eBay has been around for a long time has good reviews on their products. I have found savings as much as 70% when replacing faucets bought from eBay.

Tile flooring

​It's literally the same tools as above for doing counters plus a drill gun. Laying a floor is more difficult than laying a countertop and takes a lot more time planning it out and a lot more skill. It's harder to make sure your floor is straight and level across the entire surface.​

When starting with a countertop you already have a straight, level surface to go off of. Many times the flooring needs to be leveled during the installment of the underlayment. Not to say that you can't do it, it just may take some practice to get the hang of it.

​I have messed up huge tile flooring jobs because I did not make it level in the beginning. Toward the end, I ended up with almost an inch of mortar mix underneath the tile which is not a good idea.

Laminate flooring

I still don't understand why anyone would hire an expensive contractor to install the laminate. All you literally have to do is follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

A pro  installer can have an entire house done in one day, we're talking over a thousand square feet started prepped, installed and finished in one day.

I say as a novice give yourself a week. You will probably make some mistakes that have to be fixed. But in the end, you will save yourself a lot of money.

Tools needed to install

​A saw made for flooring, skill makes a relatively inexpensive model or a miter saw or a table saw or even a hand-held circular saw.

​Yes, just about any saw with wood cutting teeth can be used to cut your laminate floor so you can install it properly.

In addition, there's a simple laminate installation kit that will come with shims, a beating block, and a pry bar. You'll probably spend no more than 30 for all the specialized tools you need to install laminate flooring. When my son was 10 he literally learned how to do this on his own, so yes you can do it.

The only thing I would recommend is if you have a back or knees then you may want to consider hiring someone because both tile and flooring are extremely hard on your back and knees.

Save thousands on cabinets

I have no idea why people are spending 20 to 30 thousand or more on custom cabinets.

I built a house and did the cabinets myself. I spent exactly 5,259 on beautiful Italian maple RTA cabinets. I know what you are thinking, what the heck is an RTA cabinet?

Ready to assemble cabinets come in a flat box usually sent by pallet, and come with all the components needed to assemble each individual cabinet.

On a skill level of 1 to 10 I give assembling cabinets a solid one with 10 being the highest level. 

Now make no mistake, these are exceptionally high quality cabinets at a fraction of the cost, but what you save in money you will make up for in your time.

I ordered enough cabinets to do a large kitchen, island bookshelf cabinets, and three bathrooms.

Once I received them, I literally spent over a week assembling them. Yes, I saved over 15,000 versus the quote I got from the local cabinet maker. Yes, I would do it again. Just know to go into it it will take a lot of time to assemble everything.

One feature I love about ready to assemble cabinets is that they are made out of real plywood. Most cabinets that come from Lowe's, Home Depot, or custom cabinet makers are made out of particle board or MDF. MDF is a heavy engineered material that actually doesn't do well in wet areas, makes me wonder why we use these cabinets in the bathroom, or in high humidity areas.

Tools needed to install and assemble your own cabinets

I'm not sure if I would recommend a novice to install their own cabinets, but if you're willing to give it a try and you're careful then you can always fix your mistakes.

What I would recommend is that you assemble them yourself and then hire an installer to finish the job. If you save thousands of dollars on the materials then you probably will be happy to pay 1,000 to 2000 to get someone to install them.

Simple kitchen cabinet screws are used to hang the cabinets and attach the cabinets to each other. Other items needed:

  • ​​Drill
  • ​​Drill bits
  • ​​Clamps
  • ​Levels

​If you don't have a quality drill, that's where I would start. Do not waste your money on inexpensive drills that do not last. Make sure to only buy lithium battery-powered drill motors and always make sure to have more than one battery. When it comes to levels I would just buy a relatively inexpensive model but make sure to buy a few different sizes.

​Looking at clamps you'll probably be surprised at how expensive a quality clamp is but I assure you that buying a brand name like Irvin is worth it. I recommend having various sizes of four clamps, this will probably run you around 60 to 70.

Installing cabinets does not take many tools, what it does take is proper measuring, leveling and care. Besides it would be very hard for a novice to install upper cabinets by themselves.

I hope this post helps set you in the right direction. Remember if you're going to buy a tool then it makes sense to buy a quality tool that will last. I hope you love ​kitchen remodel tips​. Please let me know if you have any questions below.

About the Author Kim Brown

A passionate blogger! Editor at Toptennotch. I love to travel & writing. Regularly writing about different topic for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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