Should I replace or reface my Pretoria Kitchen?
Your kitchen can look as good as new without replacing all the units, If you are thinking of selling your house in Pretoria, you don't want to be spending money you have no way of recovering, but a good looking kitchen is one of the three main reasons people buy houses.
It is also one of the first things people will replace to make a house their own. I once redid a kitchen in a house before selling it and 6 months later the new owners pulled it out and redid it. Reface rather than replace in this scenario, If you plan on staying for the next twenty years, replacing may be the best option.
Refacing your kitchen in Pretoria has financial advantages but it can limit the design to exactly what you had before. If your current kitchen works great, then redesign is not important, If however, the work flow in your kitchen is very poor, a redesign may be the way to go. This is the first decision you need to make. On the whole I would say that half of the kitchens I redid over the years could have reused the carcasses and that there is between one third and and a half of the cabinetry cost that can be saved just there.
If my clients were replacing rather than refacing, I would take the kitchen units that were there and donate them to people in Pretoria that could use them rather than just dumping them, only the worst would end up on the dump. Most of the others could have reused a few of the carcasses even though they would need a few replaced.
How do I know if my kitchen in Pretoria can be refaced?
You know that a kitchen in Pretoria, can be refaced by checking a few things. Check the kitchen to see if the carcasses are good for reuse, start with the sink unit, get in there and sniff, you will immediately smell a mouldy smell if there is water damage, A second check is to run your hands over the shelves and the sides feeling for bumps.
If the melamine is smooth the unit is good, The next units to check are above the sink, above the stove and above the kettle. Next have a look at the floor line and check that there is no water damage on the plinths or kick plates. Any bumps or break away corners will need to be assessed.
If the plinth (kick plate) is showing signs of damage you will need to check your carcasses behind the kick plates more carefully, The kick plate is already damaged, so pull it off and look at the units behind them, If you are lucky the units are standing on legs, so they won't have water damage.
If the kitchen units are not on legs and they are old fashioned carcasses with notches for the kick plate, inspect them from front to back, if they are flaking it's probably not a good idea to try reusing them, because at some point they will collapse. You don't want to be spending money unnecessarily, but at the same time you don't want to be spending money unwisely.
Mark all units that are damaged so that you know which ones need replacing. I often find that the only unit, that is not reusable is the sink unit.
Should I replace the handles on my Kitchen in Pretoria?
The hardware can add a huge chunk to the cost of renovating a kitchen. Being as you are wanting to save money, look at the existing handles, are they plastic or are they made with metal, there is not much that can be done with plastic handles, but metal ones can be cleaned and reused quite easily, Old brass handles and stainless steel handles can look brand new with very little effort. Take some vinegar a sponge and some salt, Immerse the sponge in vinegar, squeeze out the excess, dip the sponge in the salt, gently scrub the metal and then rinse with clean water.
If you have wooden handles, take them off, get some 120 grit cabinet paper and rub them down till you have the wood, next take some 180 grit cabinet paper and smooth them to the touch. Get some sealant. I like woodocs wax sealants personally, but any varnish will do the trick. do about 3 - 4 coats for the best results, lightly sand between coats with 320 grit cabinet paper.
Should I replace the hinges?
There are two types of hinges most commonly used in kitchens, there are the self closing ones with the finials most often used on wooden cabinets with a frame and door construction, and the pothole hinges used on carcass and door construction associated with melamine kitchens. The finial type will often stop closing because the spring in the hinge wears out, replacing them is easy, just buy the identical hinge and swop them out.
Pothole hinges come in many variations and various brands, The premium brands like Grass are very pricey. Variations include soft close, push to open and self closing. The soft close and push to open are really nice but factually add nothing to the look of the kitchen, and are triple the price of a good contractors hinge. In all the years I have never seen a premium hinge outlast a contractors hinge in the average lifespan of a kitchen. I have had to replace both Grass and Blum hinges on kitchen units in the past.
You can buy between 4 and 6 contractors hinges for the price of 1 Grass hinge of the same style and type. Having said that most often the problems with hinges are related to misuse and not following the specifications for fitting, Pothole hinges are designed to carry a specific weight, doors should not exceed 600mm wide, a standard cabinet door of 720mm high needs two hinges, a tall wall unit at 1080mm needs 3 a grocery cupboard at 2.1 m needs 4 and a full height door at 2.4m needs 5.
Saving a few rand on these hinges is folly, I once worked out that someone had saved a total of 6 hinges on a kitchen, saving a massive R 24.00 based on todays prices. The most hinges I have ever seen saved was about 14, so less than a R 100.00 and the problems associated with this are the hinge screws pulling out of the cabinets. This is the one place you don't want to save on your kitchen renovation.
Can I repaint my kitchen units?
I have seen videos on YouTube of people painting melamine cupboards, and I just know this is a bad idea, Melamine is a non stick material, this is why people don't use glue assembling kitchen units unless they rabbet the joints. I have heard of special primers to use on Melamine, but even sanding, using a self etching primer and then a top coat will never make Melamine look good, you are better off cleaning the Melamine if the doors are not damaged at all. White Melamine will not look better painted any other colour and if you have the fashion colours and you no longer like them, painted is going to look worse. It's like painting tiles, they may look dated but when you paint them they look worse. Melamine is not that expensive, replace the doors and faces, you will be much happier after.
There are two types of doors I don't recommend painting, Melamine and Vinyl wrap. Vinyl wrap for the simple reason that the paint will flake and peel, plastics are not good surfaces to paint, and vinyl is even worse.
Doors that were painted before, can be painted again. If you don't know what they were painted with before and don't want chemical reactions, get a good water based primer and prime them first. Solid wood can also be painted, or stained and varnished to make them darker, or sanded and varnished to renew the original wood. If you visit your local hardware shop, you will find some interesting coloured stains for lightning and colouring wood.
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