Kitchen Redo Update Quartz Marble Subway Tile Herringbone backsplash

Kitchen Remodel – Lessons Learned

A detailed guide of the steps we took in our kitchen remodel!

When we decided to redo our kitchen we had no idea where to start. I didn’t know if it was something we could do ourselves or where to get help if we couldn’t do it ourselves. I tried asking friends in my area and neighbors if they knew of a countertop installation company but no one had redone their countertops yet.

I was hoping to find a guide on someone’s blog of how they went about finding a countertop installation company but didn’t have any luck. So for anyone out there that has no clue where to start, here is how we tackled our kitchen remodel!

1. We Decided What We Wanted Our Kitchen to Look Like

We went on pinterest and picked one picture as our inspiration look. From that picture we knew we wanted quartz that looked like marble (because marble has more upkeep) with an eased edge (square edge) and subway tile in a herringbone pattern.

2. We Took Measurements

We drew up a floorplan of our kitchen with measurements of all the counters so that we knew how many feet of quartz we needed. This was great because we sent it to all the people we got quotes from.

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3. We Looked For Help

I decided pretty early on that this wasn’t a project I could DIY. So I really needed to find a good countertop installation company.

I first tried asking friends to see if anyone had redone their counters and backsplash and knew of a good countertop installer but none of my friends had tackled that project yet.

Then we went to Home Depot and Lowes and got quotes but I thought their costs seemed really expensive. One of the stores had a $500 project manager fee which to me seems like a sneaky way to increase the price. Not Cool.

After some Googling I ended up finding a website called Thumbtack where you type in the service you are trying to find a professional for and then people who are in that business start sending you messages through the website.

What I loved about this site was that there were reviews from other people and I was able to ask about 10 different people about pricing before I had anyone come out to the house to measure. I would definitely use Thumbtack again for any project or service that I needed to find help for.

4. Got Some Quotes

In order to get truly comparable quotes I sent all our options the same message asking them everything I could think of so that they knew I wanted an all in price quote.

“Would you be able to give me an online quote? The countertop area is a total of 29 sq feet and I am looking for a quartz countertop that looks like marble with an eased edge. For the backsplash I would like white tiles that are approximately 2×8 inches laid into a herringbone pattern. I have attached a drawing of our kitchen and an example picture of the look I am going for. Also, our sink is a top mount sink. What size thickness are the countertops that you install? Can you tell me what the total cost of removing old countertops, installing new, sink cut outs, backsplash, all labor and materials would be? Do you require a deposit?”

Once I had quotes that included all the work to be done I made a list of all my options and chose the one with good reviews and a fair price.

5. Got an Official Price

I asked the professional that I thought had good reviews and a good price to come out to our house and give us an official price. The guy brought samples of the quartz and we chose the Silestone quartz in White Arabesque with an eased edge. I showed him what I wanted the backsplash to look like and he said he could get the right tiles.

Once the two big parts were decided he had a lot of other suggestions for us to think about as well. One of the things he suggested was adding the same countertop material to the windowsill, which I REALLY love, and it didn’t add a lot to the price.

We decided at that point that we would prefer an undermount sink without the middle divider for a clean look. We hadn’t thought that we would want a new sink but when I found out we could get a sink without the middle divider I got really excited!! The undermount sink was definitely the way to go for us because it makes cleaning up so much easier! Everything on the counter can just be swept right into the sink! Genius!

We also made sure to tell him at this point that we only wanted one hole drilled for the faucet because I didn’t want to use the faucet plate or the soap dispensers that came with our new faucet.

He then emailed us a quote that we thought was reasonable so we scheduled a date for the work to be done.

The highest quote we got was from Home Depot ($3,900) and was for the countertops only. Compared to what we ended up paying this would have been robbery. Most of the other quotes were in the all in the same range of what we ended up paying.

Another thing I thought was interesting was that Lowes was going to charge a fee to come out and give us a quote. After going through the whole process and seeing that they were the only ones that had this policy I’m pretty sure that this is not the norm and you should not have to pay someone to come out and give you the official price.

6. Paid a Deposit

Our countertop installation guy asked us for a 60% deposit on the total price and at first I was really shocked. I googled to see if this was a common practice and it did seem pretty common since they do have to buy all the materials before coming to your house for the installation. My dad suggested that instead of paying 60% of the entire amount (which included labor) that I ask him if he would be fine with 50% of the materials cost. He agreed to that and it worked out fine. I’m not going to lie though, I was still pretty nervous about giving money to someone I didn’t know!

7. Getting ready for the Big Day

Our installer told us that we needed to buy the grout because he didn’t want to be responsible for us not liking the color. I thought that was a bit odd since I just wanted white, but it was $10 and really easy to buy at Home Depot/Lowes so it wasn’t a big deal.

We also took everything off the counters and walls in the kitchen and moved it to another room.

Things I wish we had done:

Took everything off the walls in rooms that shared a wall with the kitchen (we had a picture frame break in a neighboring room).

Also, we have most of our glasses and plates on open shelves in the kitchen, I wish we had moved those to a different room too because they got really dirty!

8. Clean up

I didn’t realize how much cleanup there would be, there was dust everywhere and all the cabinets and drawers ended up full of dust too. We ended up putting most of our stuff in the dishwasher right away and then cleaned all the floors.

Also our contractor let us know before the project that he didn’t install faucets or garbage disposals, so we installed those. They were both easy, the faucet came with instructions and we youtubed how to put the garbage disposal back together.

The main issue with the garbage disposal was that they took our old sink which had a lot of the parts we needed for the garbage disposal still attached. We went and bought new parts ($15 at Home Depot/Lowes) so it wasn’t a big deal. Link here for the video we used on youtube to install the garbage disposal.

We also decided to change out all the knobs and handles in the kitchen which took less than an hour and made big impact! We purchased those from either Lowes or Home Depot.

In the end

We really love how everything turned out, it ended up taking two days and costing $3,600. I don’t know how that price to compares to other kitchen remodels but it was worth it to us!

Breakdown of our costs:
Counters $1,760
New Sink $200
New Faucet $250
Labor $982
Backsplash Tile $340
New Knobs $80
Unsanded Grout $10
New Garbage Disposal Parts $15

Before: (so average)

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After: (so pretty!)

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