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Remodeling Kitchens and Baths

Maybe you’re planning a remodeling job to incorporate these changes. If so, plan to spend $1,500 to $2,000 for new bathroom fixtures, $5,000 to $7,000 for a complete revision by a contractor, and $15,000 or more if you want to expand your current 5′ x 8′ cubicle into a “super bath” complete with a large whirlpool tub, stylish tile work, and the best cabinetry. Kitchen remodeling can be just as expensive: New cabinets alone are $2,000 to $4,000, and a complete redo costs from $8,000 to $15,000 or more. The good news is that when you sell your home you’ll recover 70 to 100 percent of the cost of adding a new bathroom, 45 to 55 percent of the cost of remodeling a bathroom, and 60 to 100 percent of the cost of a new kitchen.

The typical bathtub is 16″ high, 29″ to 32″ wide, and 5′ long–a length that accounts for the standardized 5′ x 8′ bathroom.

Bathtubs are also made in other shapes and sizes and are available with accessories such as whirlpool pumps, flexible shower hoses, and grab bars. The three most common basic materials are cast iron and stamped steel–both ceramic coated– and glass fiber-reinforced plastic.

The cast iron tub is very heavy, solid and durable, and the most expensive of the three types. The stamped sheet steel tub is about half the weight of the cast iron tub and noticeably more flexible.

With some 6,000 manufacturers of kitchen cabinets in America today, you can count on one thing: variety. There’s a wide range of styles, materials, quality, and price to choose from.

Cabinets are either factory-made or custom-made. Factory-made units may come from large, nationally (or internationally) known firms or a local shop. Unless they are custom ordered, they will be made to standard sizes. Standard sizing, such as the height of base cabinets, assures a fit with dishwashers and other standard appliances. The advantage of factory-made cabinets is that you can see what you’re getting before you buy it. One sign of durability is the performance seal of the National Kitchen Cabinet Association (NKCA).

The advantage of custom-made cabinets, on the other hand, is that your kitchen may not accommodate standard sizes or you may not fit with standard sizes. If you’re shorter or taller than average and want counter tops you can work at comfortably, custom cabinetry offers you optional cabinet and counter heights and sizes. Custom cabinetry also offers you the option of using special woods or unique designs. Before you hire a cabinetmaker to do a custom kitchen, be sure to visit his past work.

Traditional wood cabinets are still two-thirds of the cabinetry sold today. Those of the highest quality are called “furniture grade.” They will be built with %” hardwood, mortise-and-tenon joinery, braced corners, the best hardware, and dovetailed or V-lap joints connecting drawer frames to their fronts. As you go down in price, you’ll find the wood to be thinner or replaced with particle board. Interiors will have rougher finishes, shelf and drawer hardware will be plastic instead of metal, and drawer components will be connected with staples and glue.

European cabinets were introduced to the American consumer in the late 1970s. These cabinets are known for their “clean” look of plastic-laminate doors covering the full face of each cabinet. Behind that look is a different construction method: There is no front frame on the cabinet, on which the door is hung with visible hinges. Instead, the door is hung directly on the cabinet with concealed hinges. And drawers have noticeably more space.

Matthew Millsap is a home improvement expert. He believes in consumer education. If you need more information or are looking for quality kitchen and bath remodeling please visit