Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My affordable DIY Kitchen remodel tips.

So I was in desperate need of doing something with my kitchen cheap cabinets, wood grain laminate counter tops, improper stove placement and so on. Yes my kitchen was a mess and ugly and impractical. But as most of you out there in these tough times I didn't have a truck load of money to hire a contractor or go out and buy all new cabinets, counters and such.

I also had the problem of a stove that worked but only in a manual mode ( me manually turning it off and back on after it cooled) as it had one temperature full blast. So a new stove had to go in the budget. Now while stainless is the obvious style of choice now there were two problems with that option. 1. I already have a fairly new nice white refrigerator. 2. You pay about $150 or more for the same stove in white or black or my choice ( you'll understand why later) white/black.

So now to my cabinets when I said cheap I mean as in pressed wood with wood grain laminate plain flat no hardware kinda cheap. So refacing wasn't really a solution ( if I would have removed the old facing they would probably have fallen apart). So my option paint and trim out doors and add hardware.

And this is where I need a color scheme. So white fridge, white/black faced stove hmmm? Okay I guess I'll go with white paint black hardware. So I removed all the doors pulled the drawers out washed them all down real good. And primed cabinet fronts and drawer fronts and edge and painted with semi gloss white latex paint.

Now a trip to Lowe's for cabinet hardware some one by's ( remember I said the stove placement was wrong) to use for backing mount that wasn't properly used before as I have to remove upper and lower cabinets to move stove layout. And also while at Lowe's I'm looking for ideas on what to do with counter tops. While looking in paint section I come across the station set up for garage floor finishes hmmm,,,. If I take some black paint ( not what they were selling for the garage floor $59.99 a gallon) and some of the sprinkles they have for the garage floor kit and a few good coats of polyurethane I could probably get a kinda black marble look.

So I stroll around the paint section having noted that the garage paint was just an oil based paint, and yes I know latex is much easier app, and clean up but I picture dropping a pan or knife on my newly latex painted counters and can see a big peel off thing happening. So I'm going with the mess I browse a little and find a gloss black farm and ranch paint at $24.99 a gallon the price is right. I go back grab the tube of grey/white paint chips the poly and my plan is hatched.

No I also need some trim for the cabinet doors I browse the trim section stuff is pretty expensive by piece then all the way at the end Wallah I find the 7' 12 piece white primed bundle pack around $22 perfect and again the price is right and cuts out the primer even better! Now my next problem is I have no miter saw ( really want one but $119.99 don't got one) Hmm here's a hand saw miter box kit $12.99 price is right and my arms could use the workout anyway!

See all 19 photos Before

Before After

 Click these to get full view.

So now I'm home my first step and oh yeah I also bought some 3" foam paint rollers cause I need a smooth finish. So I start a coat of black on the counters knowing I'm gonna have at least a good overnight dry time for the oil base paint. Get them all painted next measure all my cabinet doors noting how many pieces each size I.E. 2 doors same size at 16 1/2" x 21" means I need four pieces at 16 1/2" and four at 21" cut using the 45 degree angle in the miter box.

So another day got all my measurements but first paint is dry on counter tops so I put my first coat of poly on and apply sprinkles by pouring in palm and then blowing them out of my hand for a more random look so as to not just look poured on. I found just trying to sprinkle them I ended up with too many were I started my sprinkle. So trust me go with the blowing them from your hand. Three to four hours dry time and then I will lightly sand with about 220-240 grit sandpaper.

Now to the miter box with my bundle of trim and measurements and we saw and saw and switch hands and saw and saw woo did I say my arms needed a good workout. Okay break time and a sandwich, a soda, a few aleeve a little ice for the elbow and back to the miter saw. Oh wait I think it's been three hours maybe I should sand the counter tops. So sandpaper in hand here we go, now here's where you gotta have a little trust.

Your gonna think when you look at the nice glossy shiny counters I can't rub sandpaper on that! But trust me you need to because you want about three coats and you can't just start rolling another coat on that glossy finish. Here's where you also want some stuff called tack cloth you'll find it with the varnishes and polyurethane its name pretty much describes it a tacky mesh cloth. Note this is to remove the dusting left behind from the sanding also note wear some gloves when you handle the tack cloth the residue doesn't wash off well with soap and water.

All sanded and dust removed roll on your next coat and another three-four hours to dry. Oh goody now I can get back to sawing and saw and saw some more whew last piece. ( I really need a good compound miter saw for Christmas ). So now my new stove's in I replaced the cabinets using a proper backing boards for the uppers.

To explain this better I explain how the previous home owner had my cabinets mounted. You know how you have studs behind you wall right. And you realize when you start putting plates and glasses and can food in bunches in your cabinets well it's gonna get heavy so you want to have your cabinets screwed into the studs. Okay now picture holding your cabinets and even if you did mark your studs on the wall it's kinda hard to see or follow the up and down line thru the cabinet backing.

So solution you take some one by one's or one by two boards you pull a common measurement say for instance 12" down from ceiling and say 48" up from floor you mark this the length your cabinets will span and then you can screw these two boards into your studs. Now you can just transfer these measurements as you place your cabinets up and as long as your say 12" down you can put a screw thru the support boards in the back of your cabinets. A little hint here make the measurement for you bottom one by flush with were you want the bottom of your cabinet to set you can then take a few blocks of the one by and screw them temporarily to the bottom of your backer board kinda making a foot or L shape. That way you can set the cabinet on this lip and then once you've secured it to the backer boards remove your blocks and move for the next cabinet.

Okay now my cabinets are properly positioned and mounted securely. I put my stove in place and hook it up. And now another sanding, tacking and another coat of poly to the counters. Then I set my cabinet door fronts out on the floor and separate the proper trim pieces for each and put a tube of heavy duty construction adhesive in my caulk-gun and begin caulking a line around the outside front edge of the door. You'll wanna only caulk one or two doors at a time you wanna let the adhesive set for about five minutes and then start placing your trim pieces on.

When you have all your pieces attached and set you'll then want to take a tube of paint-able caulk clear is best because we still need to paint a coat of our semi gloss latex paint. But first take the caulk-gun and run a line of caulk around the inside seams of your trim and the seams where your angles cuts line up wiping away the excess. I find it works to have a rag handy and just run your finger down each seam you just caulked and wipe off your finger after each seam. Now once this dries apply your coat of paint the caulk will make for a much cleaner solid finish with no seams.

Now it's on to the hardware I bought all black pulls and knobs while at Lowe's. And one other detail I forgot is my old door hinges were a rustic gold color ( and a few were just rusty) So while at Lowe's I thought about this and purchased a can of Gloss black spray paint. I then having removed all the hinges painted them noting that only part of them were visible so I mainly focused on spraying the parts that would be seen. Then once dried I reattached them to the doors and proceeded to mount my pulls and knobs. Note they sell a template for placing your pulls and knobs it helps you mark the for the proper size pull etc, so you can then drill your holes it's very cheap and a must have for ease of use.

So I now just have on more sanding, tacking and one last coat of poly. I had a few of those little push lights I picked up at a Goodwill store so I mounted them under my top cabinets. I also wanted to add some stainless effects as I had also changed out my hanging light in my dining room and added a three spotlight bar where my old ceiling light was. And I picked them in a Silver finish. So I bought silver outlet and switch-plate covers and two silver finish plastic back-splash sheets they have at Lowe's. You can find these in a display back where Lowe's has their display kitchens. The only bad thing about them is the price just for the two pieces behind my stove cost me over $40. But I needed the look it really stepped my remodel up a notch as you can see in the pics.

I did also score a can of miss matched paint that you see on the walls it's almost a sea foam color and at $5 for the gallon well the price was right. And I also got use from it in a bathroom that had two different wall papers and one strip painted for a total three different colors so the paint really paid off! So there it is for the most part including the stove I think this all cost under $500 it was a good investment I think.

And there you have it I'm sure I might have left some things out so if you have any questions or comments please feel free. I'd be glad to share in any way.

An added not I have since seen an add recently from Lowe's where they actually sell a kit for the counter tops that is exactly what I did catch they want around $149 for the kits so trust me just DIY.