Manufacturers Examine Supply Stresses

Manufacturers Examine Supply Stresses

The DPH manufacturer concentrates on quality product and superior customer service. We are expected to provide both at competitive prices and with as little friction as possible, and I would say, most of us do. However, as we’ve witnessed the ‘Amazoning’ of the marketplace, amplified by a pandemic world, DPH manufacturers are fighting to maintain stability between logical expectations and ‘the Amazon effect.’ While we all appreciate the convenience of an Amazon marketplace, not all products can be treated equally. Unlike some other industries, hardware, plumbing, appliances and lighting often have specific shipping, installation and service needs.

Manufacturers are often viewed simply as marketers and salespeople, but as you may have seen when visiting a factory, manufacturing is a multi-faceted and complex business. Manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world are more tightly bound together through raw materials, labor and freight than may appear from a finished product.


Raw Materials: These are tied to industries as varied as oil and microchips. Most can be, and are, sourced nationally, but some must be sourced internationally. The flow of these products is regulated by countries, politics and commerce vagaries all around the world. In a normal year, price increases are expected and applied where necessary. In a COVID year, price increases have been compounded by national and worldwide slowdowns in supply, and increases are reflecting the upheaval.

Ben Alliker of HamatUSA explains, “2020 was not kind to many parts of the construction industry, mainly due to increased demand and decreased supply. Appliances and lumber both faced an initial crunch, and appliances remain on short supply and long lead times. For many DPH manufacturers, it was a mixed bag. Kitchen products, unlike a shower valve or new freestanding tub filler, don’t require an extensive remodel project. It’s relatively easy to install a new kitchen sink and faucet into an existing kitchen. Because of a huge number of people staying home across the world, and the relative ease of installation, HamatUSA saw a huge spike in demand over the summer and into the fall for kitchen sinks and faucets – both in the U.S. and in foreign markets.”

Production and Inventory: For manufacturers, this is handled in a wide variety of ways. That is to say some manufacturers work on a made-to-order, just-in-time basis with very little inventory, while others continually produce and maintain large inventories. There are pros and cons to both, but both take deft skills to balance output with demand and costs with profit.

Freight Costs: Costs associated with shipping have skyrocketed. The freight industry has been working throughout the pandemic, putting themselves at risk, but also realizing their undeniable necessity to the buying public. Their charges are reflecting their increased importance. ‘Fuel surcharges’ have become more common. Most DPH manufacturers have decided to keep freight rates as stable as possible, absorb many increases and/or set free freight levels.


Returns and Restocks: There is no easy fix for returns and restocks, which have become a flash point. We know, stuff happens. We all want to make these transactions as painless as possible. However, returns in our segment are not as easy as logging on and printing off a return label or simply scanning a QR code. Returns and restocks are expensive for everyone and cannot be ‘solved’ by simply raising prices to try and speed up the process. The customer changed their mind? It happens. But a faucet, toilet, steam unit, drain or tub cannot simply be Rambo-taped back into its packaging and dropped off. Return transport, reception and inspection, repair (if necessary), repacking (if possible) and return to inventory are only a few of the things that need to happen to a return. But, let’s be honest. We all know that a consumer wants a new product, so reselling product is difficult and frowned upon. What can be done with returned goods in our industry? How many ways are there to reduce, reuse, recycle? Manufacturers are often caught in a difficult position to satisfy consumers even when issues are not manufacturing related.

“Absorbing the costs associated with returns would most likely come with a price increase,” says Barbara Kratus of Infinity Drain. “Ultimately, it’s the consumer who will pay for it in the end, whether it’s Prime delivery or no-questions-asked returns – just as they do now on Amazon or any other online retailer where it’s baked into the price.”

Harris Wattles of Amba Products adds, “Re-stock fees are put into place for a variety of reasons, and a price increase simply to help offset a reduction/elimination of restock fees is not the answer to the problem. Increasing our prices for this reason will only make it harder to compete with other brands, especially the low-cost companies that you frequently see on Amazon, further eroding a company’s image while likely pricing our products out of the market.”

Labor Costs: In manufacturing, these are more competitive than ever. Recruiting, hiring and retaining the best people at every position is not exclusively difficult to showrooms or agencies. Most jobs in DPH manufacturing are not on assembly lines, but rather require trade training or artistic skill.

“Production facilities (during COVID) had less time/resources available for new product production. As responsible suppliers, we had to initiate protocols to keep production teams safe and healthy,” Alliker explains. “That universally meant less people in the factory at one time, and different production schedules, and thus decreased production capacity. We have seen COVID-related delays to the supply chain for new components as they also deal with COVID realities.”

Service: This is the other main component to successful manufacturing. We all remember bad service when we encounter it, and good service doesn’t always get recognized but is expected at all levels. Good service can be a simple smiling voice or a clear instruction about how to turn something on and off. Good service to a consumer can be slowly walking through how to operate a control, or good service can become bad service by not changing out that same control, that is working properly, because the user doesn’t like how the control operates. There is a fine line between the customer always being right and easy, on-site solutions.

Labor Costs: These are now jungle competitive in the field. Skilled tradespeople have never been as busy as they are now. Product support for warranty issues or installation inspections is a critical component in the overall experience of a product offering. Your warranty can be 100 years, but if you can’t get a professional to a job site, it’s not worth much. And we are all dependent upon how professional and experienced the tradesperson working with us can be during the initial installation or follow up servicing.

“I think products that incorporate tech could inspire young people to enter the trades,” says Kratus. “There are incredible innovations in building materials! We have to tout that at all levels of the building process.”

Patrick Weidl of ThermaSol adds, “ThermaSol, like many of us, is reliant on two trades – plumbers and electricians – to install the products. Have their expectations changed? Yes, absolutely. To meet those expectations, we introduced virtual trainings as it relates to product knowledge, installation and general 101s.”

The web runs the world. It would be an understatement to say that the web has gotten us through a lot this past year and we have all learned new angles to using it. It has become indispensable to our everyday lives. You can order a car, a boat, a diamond necklace, your groceries, birdfeed, a towel bar or a potty, all from the phone in your hand.

But as we all know, the web is a catch-22 for everyone selling product, any product, around the world. Amazon and similar companies ruled the web pre-COVID but now all companies have improved their online presence either as a seller or simply as a store window showing off their skills and products. Today, if your store front isn’t well represented on the web, your brick and mortar isn’t going to get the attention it deserves.We’ve all become accustomed to checking out a product or business on the web before we head out to see it. A web search can be simply to see what kind of COVID protocols are in place or to actually see if the product you want is on display or to read reviews of that product or business. 

Web views and reviews are, without a doubt, a crucial component to the future of business.We’ve seen how reviews shape the perception of a product or company and how reviewers, paid and unpaid, can affect mom and pop start-ups, large corporations and government agencies, to name a few. The world watches and reads what everyone has to say about a product whether what is being said is true or valuable. They can literally make or break a business. So, we ask, should we raise our prices to be more ‘Amazon-like’?

It’s been a challenging time for all, but the future of construction and renovation is bright, and we are hopeful.

Kimberly Frechette is the national sales manager at Americh Corporation. She has worked in manufacturing, distribution and sales in the bathroom segment for 30 years. Frechette has been involved with DPHA for 18 years and is a returning Board member.

The post Manufacturers Examine Supply Stresses appeared first on Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19

Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19

The last 18 months have been incredibly tough for everyone. As the pandemic took hold, we have all had to spend more time at home. For a lot of homeowners, this has highlighted the need for a bit of a revamp through the property, and renovating the kitchen is one of the most common requirements.

However, upgrading your kitchen is a big task, and as demand has increased, it has meant many contractors are now incredibly busy. This demand has also created a shortage of raw materials, which means remodeling your kitchen in northern Virginia can be a costly project.

This shortage has meant building materials and kitchen appliances are costing higher than normal. This means homeowners could now be looking at anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000, depending on the size and materials used. The majority of this cost will likely be split between cabinets and appliances.

Work with a proven contractor

While it can be a big investment, one of the biggest regrets homeowners have is not spending enough money on their new kitchen. With interest rates so low, taking out a loan could ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams. However, working with a respected kitchen installer in northern Virginia, like our team here at Explore Kitchens, can also help you to save money.

A professional contractor will not only be able to guarantee the very best installation and materials but also the most affordable prices. Working with wholesalers ensures they are able to get the best prices and products, while their designers will help you to maximize your space. However, with so many companies on the market, finding the right contractor can be tough.

When finding a contractor, the first thing that you should do is to thoroughly review their referrals. This can be done by speaking with existing customers or friends and family who might have used them or by reading independent online reviews. Where possible, you should also see their work in person, either at a former client’s home or in a showroom.

Another top tip when finding a contractor is to make sure you feel comfortable with them. They will be spending time in your house, so you want to ensure you are happy to be around them. You should also be wary of any contractor who is too eager, with demand at an all-time high, someone who is available immediately should be seen as a red flag.

Top tips for renovating your kitchen

If you are looking to transform your kitchen, then you want to ensure that you are creating as stylish of a room as possible. To help you, we have taken a closer look at the hottest trends for your kitchen:


When it comes to renovating your kitchen, your countertops should be one of your first considerations. One of the best materials to use is quartzite, which is a beautiful natural stone that offers similar styling to marble with the durability and resistance of granite.

Quartz or Dekton are another great choice for countertops. Not only are they affordable, but they are also highly functional and low maintenance. If you do decide to go for a natural stone countertop, then make sure you review the full slab, and not just a sample, to ensure you understand the complete pattern.


Another major factor of your kitchen interior is the flooring. Wide-plank white oak is one of the most popular choices at the moment, thanks to its durability and aesthetic appeal. While this style of flooring looks fantastic, the high demand is seeing prices rise, so if you are more budget-conscious, then consider waterproof vinyl planks as these are far cheaper.

Kitchen appliances

No kitchen would be complete without the latest appliances. There are many different manufacturers on the market, covering every possible price range. Speaking with your contractor will help you to ensure that you are able to get the perfect solution for your budget and your design.

Appliances are a major part of your interior, so they should be chosen before the design is finalized. When selecting your appliances, you should consider the space you have available and also the requirements you need in your kitchen.


Cabinets are not only a functional addition to any kitchen, but they are also a great styling solution. For those looking for an affordable solution, then laminate cabinets are a popular choice, and technology has come on significantly in recent years, making sure they are highly durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Another very popular addition is the use of frameless cabinets, which can help to increase storage space by up to ten percent. While floating cabinets are a stylish choice, they do require more maintenance when cleaning and can look cluttered.

Working with an experienced kitchen installer will ensure you are able to find the perfect cabinets for your needs, style, and budget. Good cabinet design requires in-depth expertise, and it is the minute details that help to bring the entire interior together.


Of course, one of the most significant aspects of renovating your kitchen is the space you have available. You want to ensure that room meets your requirements and gives you the freedom to cook and entertain friends and family.

Whether it is choosing a kitchen island, a breakfast bar, or multiple storage areas, make sure you discuss your requirements with your designed to ensure your kitchen meets your needs.


Finally, when choosing the design of your kitchen, it can be very tempting to follow what you see online. However, these fast trends might look great now but can quickly become outdated. That is why you should always engage a professional designer, as they will be able to create the perfect and timeless style.

Looking to renovate your kitchen?

If you are looking to renovate your kitchen during the pandemic, then Explore Kitchens is here to help you. Working across northern Virginia, including McLean, Fairfax County, Arlington County, and beyond, our experienced team can help you to create your dream kitchen.

Utilizing innovative design and the highest quality materials, we guarantee the very best kitchen installation services possible. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team today!

Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19



Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Decisions You Should Make Before Calling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

The post Top Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen during COVID-19 appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.

Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Kitchen remodel McLean Virginia


Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Porcelain countertops are quite popular in European countries for quite some time. However, these countertops have only recently gained attention among users in the United States.

While it looks like that the porcelain trend will likely grow due to its numerous benefits, there are some downsides of using this material that you must know and consider.

We will discuss all that in detail below.


What are porcelain countertops?

Porcelain is made from heating powdered stone and white china clay at an extreme temperature. The mixture is traditionally known as ‘kaolin.’

The extreme temperature causes the stone to vitrify into a thick, robust material, whereas the object maintains its shape because of the kaolin.

Various impurities such as silica, mineral oxides, and feldspars are present in the clay, and they further add and enhance its strength and shades making it one of the sturdiest out there.

However, things don’t go like that when porcelain slabs are manufactured for kitchen countertops. These slabs are further coated with a pigmented glaze that offers them an aesthetic appeal similar to granite, quartz, or other natural stones.


Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops

Because porcelain is not a natural or stone product, porcelain slabs’ available sizes are often sold as an advantage. We agree that porcelain countertops are simple to install with fewer seams and cuts to cover those long cabinet runs. But this advantage or selling point also works in a negative way. Below we’ll explain why.

As the countertop is formed, it’s possible for designs resembling marble and granite to be poured into the form along with the porcelain for aesthetically impressive results. We admit some porcelain countertops are flat-out gorgeous.

Further, you can also use it over your existing countertops as the porcelain can be too thin and light enough but keep in mind this is a mixed blessing and might bring up various challenges that you’ll have to deal with later.

Below we will discuss the porcelain countertop’s pros and cons to give you a better and clearer idea about this new thing in the market, along with our verdict.


The Pros of Using Porcelain

Of course, porcelain sinks, tubs, showers, and tiles look fantastic, and many people are using them. Neither are we denying their superior stain resistance properties and ease of maintenance. Both of these make porcelain suitable as a countertop material. Apart from these, porcelain countertops have other benefits as well. So, let’s check out the “pro” side of the porcelain.

Wide Range of Designs

As with any manufactured or “faux” stone product, porcelain is available or produced in a wide variety of designs. To some extent, we can say that the patterns and color combinations are a bit hard to find in natural stone. But this doesn’t mean that porcelain will give your space a whole “unique” look that you cannot get with granite or quartz.

Porcelain Durability

There is a common myth related to porcelain durability among the users that it is 30% harder than granite. While this is true but only for one specific product, it is not the norm. It depends on which stone you are comparing it with. Similarly, hardness is not the only consideration when it comes to durability.

It can be said that in terms of scratching and etching from both wear and chemicals, porcelain does well. The lack of porosity makes it nearly bulletproof to stains.

The hard, baked-on finish also prevents everyday scratches, but these are common characteristics of some natural stones.

Lightweight Material

In comparison to any natural stone, porcelain is much lighter. It is also simpler to work and use during installation, and depending on its thickness, you can also place it over plywood-backed countertops, such as laminate or butcher block. If weight is a major concern in the installation, this is a plus point of porcelain.


Houzz best of service awarded contractor
Houzz best of service awarded contractor

Ease of Installation

Porcelain is available in large slabs. This also means fewer cuts and seams. And as it is a lightweight product, it is easy to install. But that doesn’t mean that anyone can perform the installation neither it makes it a DIY installation.

The Cons of Porcelain Countertops

Honestly, with all of the benefits of porcelain that we have mentioned above, there are some ‘major’ negatives to record. Having said, here are some significant cons of using porcelain for your kitchen countertops as compared to the other natural stone countertops.

Can get damage with the Blunt Force

Porcelain countertops can easily chip, break, scratch, or crack by any blunt force, such as if you drop a tool in a sink basin, toilet, or bathtub. This is partly due to the hardness of the surface.

Furthermore, when any natural stone countertop gets chipped, you can quickly repair or buff it out. But when you have a porcelain countertop, most breakage will leave sharp edges and require professionals to do the job adequately.

Fragility during Installation

The more giant slabs and thinner material, along with the inflexibility of porcelain, make it too delicate during the installation. Porcelain slabs often crack or break during the installation. Moreover, these giant slabs are difficult to cut and require special tools and considerable skill to get clean, chip-free seams. In some cases, seams can also be hard to finish, so we don’t recommend porcelain countertops to our clients.

Limited Edge Options

In solid natural stone or quartz kitchen countertops, you have plenty of options for the edges. But that’s not the case with porcelain.

To be precise, you will only get two options: square or mitered. If you prefer round-over or ogee cuts, you’ll have to check out some other countertop material.

It has a Moderate Life Span. 

Porcelain is not only fragile, but its lifespan is also moderate. Hence porcelain countertops will not last for centuries like other natural stone countertops. If maintained adequately, you can also use them for one or two decades, and after that, you will have to replace them with other contemporary materials or natural stones.

Cracks, breakages, scratches are more frequent in porcelain countertops than the others and end up with a short or moderate life span.

It doesn’t enhance your Property’s like Natural Stones Do 

As we have mentioned above, porcelain is a fragile material with a short or moderate working life compared to natural stones. The real estate industry doesn’t see porcelain as value-adding because of its low reselling value and less lifespan.

Cost Comparison

As compared to other natural slabs like granite and quartz, the cost of porcelain is equal. In a few cases, porcelain’s price can go higher than natural stones.

Supply is Limited

Presently, porcelain has not been such a popular choice for kitchen countertops in the USA. As such, its market is small as compared to natural stones. Similarly, it cannot be easy to find a professional and expert fabricator who knows the material well.


Another reason why we cannot recommend porcelain countertops to our users is the low return on investment. The primary reason for porcelain countertops low ROI is that it is too new in the USA. Similarly, it’s too early to determine that users will get all the benefits.

On the other hand, granite or quartz countertops serve in our kitchens for decades and have proven benefits. Plus, they add value to your property.


dditional Concerns

As we know, porcelain can be laid over your existing kitchen countertops, but many contractors use it as a ‘selling point,’ which is unethical and just another advertisement tactic.

The central issue in this approach is laying porcelain over plywood will form double layer counters. Contractors can place them over plywood, MDF, or particleboard bases to make them more good-looking. Still, these double-layer counters can cause several moisture retention issues over time and are not beneficial in the long run.

Similarly, many will show you considerable savings in the demo but remember that the existing countertop’s demolition is not typically a significant expense in the kitchen remodeling.


We love and are always excited about new home improvement products and materials. We also like porcelain due to its versatility and patterns.

We feel that the drawbacks outweigh its benefits, so we cannot recommend porcelain countertops over other natural stones.

We will continue to offer high-quality and reliable quartz, granite, and marble from our exclusive wholesalers until we become convinced that porcelain provides a superior value to all of our clients.


Read More:

Decisions You Should Make Before Calling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?


The post Why We Can’t Recommend Porcelain Countertops appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.

Did you miss our previous article…

Nemo Tile + Stone Acquires Modern Stone

Nemo Tile + Stone Acquires Modern Stone

NEW YORK, NY — Nemo Tile + Stone has acquired Modern Stone Consulting, the leading specialists in the sourcing, project management and quality control of natural stone, the company announced. Modern Stone Consulting is active in both Europe and the United States, with consultants in New York, Boston and Carrara, Italy, a city known for its natural stone production and concentration. The company’s founders, Robert McArdle and Alvaro Torrecilla, bring over 40 years of expertise in the natural stone industry and will develop a comprehensive education program to complement the current knowledge and expertise of Nemo Tile + Stone employees to ensure a skilled and custom approach to stone project management, the firm added.

“We are thrilled to join Nemo Tile + Stone, and together, expand Nemo’s stone division in the company’s 100th year and beyond,” says McArdle. “With decades of experience in natural stone procurement, our team at Modern Stone Consulting is ready to arm Nemo Tile + Stone’s sales force with the tools to offer their customers the most competitive pricing, quality and lead times for any size project. This acquisition will diversify and modernize Nemo’s approach to stone selection and distribution.”

Modern Stone Consulting specializes in evaluating materials at quarries, assessing the quality as it is related to the budget of a project, curating alternate solutions specific to each client, and selecting factories for the work. Following the integration with Nemo Tile + Stone, Modern Stone Consulting will bring natural stone education to all sales channels, with a sharp focus on “cut to size” stone projects.

“As we continue to expand the portfolio of Nemo Tile + Stone, we have identified natural stone project management as an important segment of the design market that has been historically underserved,” says Matt Karlin, president and third-generation CEO of Nemo Tile + Stone. “Modern Stone Consulting’s comprehensive management package, as well as their connections to a large network of factories and quarries, allow us to curate an experience for our customers that exceeds what is currently offered in the industry. In turn, we can pass this benefit on to the design community, as stone projects are seamlessly made more efficient from a project’s concept to completion.”


The post Nemo Tile + Stone Acquires Modern Stone appeared first on Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Did you miss our previous article…

Wren Kitchens Opens Long Island Showroom

Wren Kitchens Opens Long Island Showroom

Europe’s kitchen retail specialist Wren Kitchens has launched its third U.S. showroom, this one located in Levittown, NY, bringing its total number of branches to 108 across the U.S. and the U.K.

The kitchen remodeler opened the biggest ever kitchen showroom in Milford, CT last November and its expansion plans will continue with the opening of showrooms in Selden, NY and Lawrenceville, NJ in the coming months.

The brand-new Levittown showroom at 2993 Hempstead Turnpike has created a significant jobs boost to the local area, with 30 new roles in retail. In addition to this, it’s created a further 30 jobs across manufacturing and logistics at its state-of-the-art headquarters in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where all Wren kitchens are made to order for its U.S. customers.

All under one roof, the new 19,500-sq.-ft. showroom has 61 full-sized kitchens on display, as well as various cabinet styles, colors, appliances, storage solutions, countertops, sinks, faucets, accessories and much more.

“The state-of-the-art showroom is a one-stop shop for everything that kitchen remodelers need to transform their kitchen space,” notes James Langdon, Wren Kitchens Levittown design manager. “We pride ourselves in offering quality luxury kitchens at affordable prices, and all of our kitchens are designed and made by us in the USA.”

At the heart of the showroom are two virtual reality studios where customers can use VR headsets to view their kitchen in 3D. It also encompasses two dedicated interior design suites that are free to use for local designers and architects to work with clients. Sessions can be booked by calling or visiting the showroom.

There are 16 design desks where customers work with expert designers to create their dream kitchen. They have L-shaped sofas and a large screen for customers to watch their dream kitchens come to life in 3D.

A child-safe kitchen is on display at the showroom, and it features design tips to keep children safe, such as door safety catches and locks, appliances located out of reach, cool-to-touch induction hobs and storage ideas for cleaning products.

Wren has invested $15.4 million in its 252,000-sq.-ft. facility in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and is transforming its onsite headquarters to provide support for showrooms across the East coast. Wren has also invested in its own fleet of trucks for delivery across the country.

All of Wren’s showrooms are pet and child friendly with play zones, baby changing facilities, a stroller park and a relaxing coffee area.


The post Wren Kitchens Opens Long Island Showroom appeared first on Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Decisions You Should Make Before Calling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor

Decisions You Should Make Before Calling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor


Having a poorly functioning kitchen can ruin the fun joy of cooking in no time, even if you are a dedicated cook. Your kitchen should be a place that makes your cooking tasks easier and encourages you in preparing great meals, not a sad scullery where creativity dies.

If your kitchen does more hindrance than support, it’s probably time to think about a kitchen remodeling. But going into a major kitchen renovation without a solid action plan can be a perfect recipe for disaster.

Before calling a contractor or even clicking on those beautiful photos on Pinterest (yes, we understand they are tempting but try to repel), it’s essential to determine precisely what you need and what you want to accomplish by remodeling your bath or kitchen. And to do that, you should ask yourself some critical questions.

Below we will share some less known secrets about the process. Are you ready?

The Approach

In reality, think about the process as you starting a small business, and whether you like it or not, you are the CEO of this remodeling business. Yes, we are serious. You will be engaged in a partnership with your contractor, and the primary goal will be to increase the value of your place and make your kitchen or bath better than ever before. To make your partnership and project a success, you need to be hands-on in the process.

This is the reason we request users to do some homework and research before calling any contractor.

Having said, before you start your small business, AKA, remodeling your kitchen or bath, here are a few things you must decide before calling or hiring a contractor.


Best of Houzz contractors 2021
Best of Houzz contractors 2021

Do the research and determine your budget.

We at Explore Kitchens try to offer higher returns for your bucks. We thrive our best to deliver the desired results within your budget. We request all of our clients to calculate what they can afford to spend realistically.

When you decide on your budget beforehand, your contractor can recommend or suggest the best products and designs without breaking your bank.

Once clients share their overall budget, many are pleasantly surprised at the options they can afford. Here are some vital things in this regard:

Secure financing or keeps funds available before hiring a contractor. It allows us to lock in the best deals, as prices and supply can change overnight.Ensure that you have set a realistic budget and you are comfortable with it. Don’t forget to keep some funds aside for any change in the order and the add-ons you decide on in the process.Get up-front pricing for as many items as possible to get a clear picture of the cost of your bath or kitchen renovation.

Establish a schedule.

No one likes the presence of contractors and teams in their homes for long. Hence, before you engage a crew of home improvement experts to rebuild your kitchen or bath, establish a schedule and try it as per your preferences.

Construction timelines can be tricky, and our primary goal is to finish the project on time. Unnecessary delays and changes to the schedule can be expensive.

Every project is our top priority, but please remember that you are not the only one to whom we are answerable; many others are on our calendar for your project.

Some other important things that you must think about are:

Consider your family calendar. Do you need your newly designed kitchen for a birthday, anniversary, or other family celebration?Are you expecting any guests that need the spare bath, which is under remodeling? That’s important to know.How soon will you be starting your project? Contractors need lead time to order material and products. Please try to reach out as early as possible for bath or kitchen remodeling projects.

Furthermore, discuss the schedule in detail with your contractor. It would be best if you had a clear picture of when they will start the work and when it will be completed and understand every milestone along the way.

Even if the contractor promises to finish the renovation in three months, you should ask them follow-up questions to ensure that they are well-prepared for potential setbacks and considered every contingency.

Some common but important question that you must ask your contractor are:

Are they working on any other project that might affect the timeline? How will they manage any delays in the schedule?Will they inspect any structural issues that can affect the renovation?Can I use my Kitchen during the renovation?

Not all owners can go on vacation or rent another place for the duration of the renovation. So, ensurethat your contractor has a practical plan to make a living as pleasant as possible during the process.

Note your existing space.

Have a cup of coffee and take your time to look over your existing kitchen and bath before opting for any significant change or before making important decisions about the renovation.

You may find there is a lot to love in your present kitchen or bath. While the renovation is tempting, it can be an expensive core, so as the CEO of this business, think wisely and make the right decision.


Mid-luxury Arley wholesale bathroom tile
Mid-luxury Arley wholesale bathroom tile

Here are some handy tips for you:

You can keep things that are in working order. If they require any change or design upgrades, your contractor can suggest a replacement that provides you the same feeling.Insist on replacing the things or accessories that you don’t use or like. You will have to live with them. Renovation is not the task that you frequently perform.Take some clear smartphone pictures to show your contractor. This is invaluable when it comes time to plan the job.

Spending some time planning the project on your own will give you a better idea about your space and what you exactly want. Thinking about colors, styles, and materials in advance will put you and the whole project on the right path.

How do you use the space?

Everyone is not a gourmet chef. Seriously, if you don’t need a massive granite island countertop to bake for an army, we don’t want to sell it to you. On the other hand, you want to include as many of the features you’ll use as possible. We want you to be deliriously happy with the kitchen or bath we install for you.

Need a large double vanity in your bathroom? Great! But deciding this halfway through the process will cost you time and money.

Start with the workspace; how much and what kind do you need?If it’s a bath remodel, go over your daily routine. Are there definite changes you want to make or features you want to upgrade?Consider tool and linen storage, appliance layout, and traffic patterns. Does your family eat in the kitchen? Do you need extra seating?

It’s all about your preferences and style

Don’t hesitate to share images of your dream kitchens with your kitchen designer and your contractor. Please make an idea file with pictures, notes, and links to all the sources.

However, if you’re not sure what your flair is, give our style a try. Whether you are looking for new and creative ideas or know exactly what changes you need in your kitchen or bath, consult with our professional designers early in the renovation process.

Designers at Kitchen Kitchens can provide you suggestions that will be money-saving, increase your storage option, add a unique touch, and you can get the maximum advantage of your space.

Some other vital considerations beforeCalling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor: 

With a positive mindset and approach, you can get your ideal kitchen or bath. In our opinion, it would be better to follow these simple things:

You should know the exact place to start working on your design palette.Provide your contractor with options instead of any specific demand in each category as it will give you the best chance to get your dream place.Be sure you incorporate the rest of your existing decor in your design decisions, especially areas that can be seen from your kitchen or bath.Select a color palette and some images of designs you can draw inspiration from. The more you bring us to work with, the easier our partnership will be.

Lastly, our experts are always willing to do the best for you. We’ve set up our site expressly to help you envision your ideal kitchen or bath. Feel free to consult the project with us anytime!


Read More:

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting


The post Decisions You Should Make Before Calling a Kitchen and Bath Contractor appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Brown espresso kitchen cabinets in Alexandria, VA


Are you looking to update your home? No matter whether it is your kitchen or bathroom, incorporating the right cabinets is essential. Cabinetry is a vital part of remodeling your home and finding the right style and design is crucial. If you are looking to transform your kitchen in McLean, Vienna, and Burke, Virginia, then the right cabinetry solution is essential.

You might think finding the right cabinets is easy. However, finding the right panels, hinges, handles, and doors for your cabinets can be a challenge. Choosing between the different styles and materials to use means it can be difficult to know the right solution for your home.

To help you, we have put together the ultimate guide to cabinetry. From kitchen styles to bathroom solutions, this guide will help you find the perfect solution for your home.


What types of cabinets are there?

Before looking at the various styles, it is first important to know the types available. Typically, cabinetry can fall into one of three solutions, stock, custom, and semi-custom. This refers to how the cabinets are produced, rather than their overall quality.


What are the best stock cabinets for your kitchen?

Stock cabinets are mass-produced solutions. Often referred to as Ready-To-Assemble (RTA), this cabinetry type is ready-made and offers no sizing customization. This type of solution does limit you on style, meaning you can only choose what is available.

However, there is also a range of benefits that come with stock cabinets. Firstly, delivery time is typically much quicker, with units ready when you need them. Equally, because they are mass-produced, they are often the most affordable solution.

While the pricing can be attractive, the lack of selection can be a problem. You will not be able to interchange styles, colors, or materials. Equally, mass-produced cabinets are often made from cheaper materials. This can lead to an increase in wear and tear, which in the long run can require them to be replaced sooner.

Stock cabinets are available in a variety of sizes, with the width starting at 9”. Typically, they will then grow in three-inch increments up to 48 inches. Depth wise, standard depth is 12” for wall cabinetry and 24” for utility, base, and oven cabinets.


What are the best semi-custom cabinets for your kitchen?

If you are looking for more styling options, then semi-custom cabinets can be a great choice. This type of cabinet offers you more leeway when designing your dream kitchen or bathroom. Semi-custom cabinetry gives you the ability to change certain dimensions such as depth, drawer size, and door fronts.

This customization ability helps to give you a blend of styles and flexibility at a price that is more affordable than full custom cabinets. However, while you can enjoy more design freedom, it is important to remember you will still face certain limitations.


What are the best custom cabinets for your kitchen?

Fully customizable cabinets will give you the bathroom or kitchen of your dreams. You will be able to adjust this solution to meet your exact needs in both style and dimensions. From the color and materials to the finish and size, you have complete freedom in the design of the cabinetry.

This makes this type of cabinet an incredibly popular choice for homeowners. However, the custom nature of their design can make them a costly investment compared to the other types. Equally, as they are built bespoke to your requirements, the delivery time is longer than semi-custom and stock solutions.

One mistake many people make is believing that custom cabinets automatically means high-quality. This is not the case, and stock and semi-custom can be produced to a higher standard. While custom cabinets are made to order, not all manufacturers follow the same protocols and quality control measures. That is why it is important you ensure you work with a proven and trusted custom cabinet manufacture.


Which is the right type of cabinet for my home?

Finding the right type of cabinet for your home can be tough. One of the biggest considerations is the importance of customization you require. If you are looking for more space to store belongings or need cabinets with specific functions, then custom cabinets might be the best choice.

You will also need to consider your budget. However, it is important to remember that buying cheap can often lead to lower quality materials and greater wear and tear. Whichever option you choose, make sure that it meets your storage needs.

Of course, when it comes to finding the perfect cabinets for your kitchen or bathroom, it is not only about storage. You also need to ensure that it is accessible and that they meet your functionality requirements.


What styles of cabinets are available?

Now you know the types of cabinets available, the next stage is to understand the style you want. This means deciding whether you are looking for a base cabinet, a tall cabinet, wall cabinet, or a utility option.


Base cabinets

Base, or lower, cabinets are a strong and sturdy solution. This type of cabinet is designed to support heavy countertops made from granite or quartz. Base cabinets are typically the solution that provides you with the majority of your storage space. They can easily accommodate shelving and draws, as well as providing space for appliances.

In some of the more modern kitchens, base cabinets can also feature toe-kick drawer options. This style is also able to come in a range of design options.


Wall cabinets

This style of cabinet attaches directly to your walls and is a popular choice for both bathrooms and kitchens. Typically, a wall cabinet will be hung over your base cabinet, increasing the storage solution of your room.

Certain types of wall cabinet can also incorporate a range of useful storage solutions, making them popular in every room in the home.


Tall cabinets

A tall cabinet typically refers to those solutions over 96” in height. These large solutions are perfect for storing large items, acting as a pantry, or storing clothes. However, many homeowners are increasingly utilizing these options to house larger appliances such as ovens and microwaves.

For a truly impactful finish, you should consider incorporating all three styles into your design. Not only does this create a more aesthetically pleasing finish, but it also ensures you have the ultimate storage solution.


What about the components?

With the style and type of your cabinet decided, your next consideration is the components you want to include. These are an essential part of the design and can give you that ultimate finish to the bathroom or kitchen of your dreams.

There are a number of finishing components you need to consider, but the most important is the framing.

This is often the first component to consider. A framed cabinet is the more traditional American style of cabinetry. This solution sees a frame at the very front of the cabinet that creates a box to which the doors attach. However, in recent years the more European unframed style has become popular. This solution features a thicker wall but limits the style to an overlay door only.

You should also consider the vertical aspects such as the stile and the horizontal frame known as the rails. These are typically joined by dowels, screws, or staples, depending on the quality of the cabinet.


There are a lot of different terminology used in cabinetry, so if stile, rails, or dowels have got you confused, here are some terms to remember:

Center Panel Kitchen Cabinet

This is the raised or flat section in the middle of your door.Center Stile Kitchen Cabinet

This is the raised rail in the middle of the cabinet door.Edge Profile Kitchen Cabinet

This is the shape on the edges of your door or drawer.Kitchen Cabinet Rail

The horizontal frame of the door or cabinet faceKitchen Cabinet Reveal

The distance between the outside edge of the frame and door.Kitchen Cabinet Stile

The vertical part of the cabinet face or door.


Don’t forget the doors

While framing is one of the most important aspects to consider, it is not the only component you need to think about. Your doors are an essential part of helping to bring your entire room together. While the style, type, and components are a functional necessity, your doors are the most visual part of the makeover.

This decision will help you to complete the look of your renovation, and cabinet doors typically come in five key styles. These solutions are useful throughout the home and can be used in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and beyond.


Shaker-style cabinet doors

This style of cabinet door gets its name for the furniture of the same name and focuses on bringing in simple lines and usability. This style of door is based on utility and is common in homes across America.

Shaker-style cabinets are incredibly popular thanks to their ability to conform to a wide range of designs. No matter whether you are seeking a contemporary or traditional room, a shaker-style cabinet will bring it together.

This type of cabinet is also able to be created using a wide range of materials and finishes, making it highly versatile. Alongside this, it is also a very affordable style of cabinet door.


Louvered doors

While quite a rare choice of cabinet door, a louvered door solution can add a distinct look to any room. These horizontal slats are immediately eye-catching and can act as a focal point to any room.

They are not only an aesthetic solution though, they also provide increased ventilation to the cabinet. This makes them popular in laundry rooms and bedrooms, where clothes are drying, or in rooms where electronics might require ventilation to reduce overheating.


Flat doors

Flat doors are one of the most affordable solutions on the market and are relatively simple in design. These simple solutions create clear straight lines, which helps to create a contemporary finish to your cabinets.

Thanks to their relatively simple design, flat doors are available in a wide range of materials such as laminate or wood. This makes them very suitable for every budget.


Inset doors

Often one of the most expensive styles of cabinet doors on the market, inset doors are a classic and elegant finish. This complex frameless construction requires exact measurements but can create a beautiful aesthetic design.

With this style, exposed hinges are not always included in the costs, which can quickly lead to a substantial increase in the price.


Distressed style doors

An increasingly popular style of cabinet door is the distressed look. This can give any room an antique, classical aesthetic, creating an eye-catching display. However, due to the production costs involved, these can be an expensive solution, so make sure they are definitely the style you want in your room.


re you looking to renovate your property?

Are you looking to transform your home? No matter whether you are looking to upgrade your bathroom or breathe new life into your kitchen, Explore Kitchens is here for you. We provide homeowners across Northern Virginia with high-quality and beautiful remodeling services. Covering the whole of Northern Virginia, our team has helped residents in McLean, Fairfax County, Arlington County discover their dream property.

With years of experience, we can work with you to create designs and solutions that meet your exact requirements. No matter what you envision, our talented team can bring it to life. Of course, when it comes to renovating your home, we know how frustrating it can be traveling from store to store. That is why we pride ourselves on being a one-stop-shop, giving you everything you need in one simple solution.

We love what we do, and your satisfaction is our number one priority. That is why we go above and beyond in our customer service to ensure you always enjoy the ultimate kitchen or bathroom renovation.

Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team today and find out how Explore Kitchens can help you.



Read More: 

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting

Standard vs. Full Backsplash: Which is Right for Your Kitchen?

Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom

The post Cabinetry 101: Everything You Need To Know About Transforming Your Kitchen or Bathroom appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.

Did you miss our previous article…

Lowe’s, AARP Collaborate on Aging-in-Place Initiative

Lowe’s, AARP Collaborate on Aging-in-Place Initiative

MOORESVILLE, NC — Lowe’s, the major nationwide chain of home-improvement stores, has announced a multi-year commitment to become “the leading retail destination for aging-in-place and life-change solutions.”

The launch of Lowe’s Livable Home “will offer expertise, services and affordable products, with a range of styles and budgets to meet any ability by creating a one-stop destination for universal design options,” Lowe’s officials said, adding that the Mooresville, NC-based company has developed a unique online and in-store collaboration in customer education with AARP.

“Nearly every family in America at some point faces the important and often intimidating responsibility of preparing a home for life’s changes,” said Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “Lowe’s Livable Home is uniquely positioned to help address customers’ desire for a one-stop destination with trusted resources and affordable solutions they need throughout every step of the journey.”

According to AARP, less than 1% of U.S. homes have particular features needed to support aging in the home, while 77% of people aged 50 years and older would like to stay in their current home as long as possible. In addition, eight in 10 adults aged 50 years or older want to stay where they live, but many lack the expertise or resources to adapt their home.

By visiting visitors can access a virtual library of articles and videos that will be updated regularly. AARP will help create educational online content on the site, focusing on taking age-friendly design action, Lowe’s officials said, adding that AARP will also assist in the training of Lowe’s associates.

In-store enhancements are currently underway in nearly Lowe’s 500 stores, the company said.

The post Lowe’s, AARP Collaborate on Aging-in-Place Initiative appeared first on Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Did you miss our previous article…

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be?

granite countertop Vienna, Virginia


4 Major Mistakes to Avoid During a Kitchen Remodel.

Renovating your kitchen is a significant investment that, if done properly, will improve functionality and increase the overall value of your home. For starters, consider your family’s needs and lifestyle. If you cook often, you may need to dedicate more of your budget to appliances. On the other hand, if the kitchen is a hub for socialization, entertainment, or homework—seating and counter space will be more of a priority. Kitchens are without a doubt, one of the most important rooms in the house, so if you’re planning to renovate, check out our most common remodeling mistakes.


1.Lack of Storage and Counter Space

Take advantage of unused like toe-kick storage located beneath cabinet door. It’s a creative place to store items that aren’t used on a daily basis. Maximize your kitchen’s floor plan to find additional storage that will keep your countertops free of clutter.

Countertops are the largest visual elements in a kitchen, and the right countertop will be a major selling point when you want to relist your home one day. Find ways to make the most of the space you have. Seemingly small add-ons and storage features like drawer dividers, pullout drawers, or a Lazy Susan will increase your kitchen’s storage and overall efficiency.


2.Overwhelming Kitchen Designs

Despite the latest kitchen styles you’ve seen in magazines and on home improvement shows, functionality should always take precedence. With positioning of the sink, stove, and fridge, it’s best to stick to the basic work triangle. While there should be enough space between each so you can flow from one area of the kitchen to the next, the refrigerator, stove, and sink should be near each other. Unique kitchen designs may seem appealing, but you’ll quickly realize the importance of keeping the work triangle intact. Give your kitchen personality but don’t get carried away with multiple marquee items. Functionality is key.


3.Making Impulsive Decisions

Some materials look much more attractive in a showroom than they would in your home. Buying on impulse is a major mistake and an unnecessary expense that will most likely put you over budget. If you have interest in a product (color, counter, cabinets, etc.), take a sample home to make sure it works with your current plan and budget. In the end, renovations should improve the efficiency of your space. Try not to rely on aesthetics alone as a selling point. Every element including your wall color, cabinet style, flooring, and hardware, should be complementary. Take your time to decide what fits best in your space.

Click here to sign up for subscriptions.

Top of Form


4.Not Considering Electrical Sockets & Space for Openings  

Be practical when deciding where to place electrical outlets for your appliances. It may be possible to hide outlets in an island or in a drawer, but your kitchen should have plenty of evenly placed sockets on nearby walls. Also, keep in mind refrigerators and ovens need clearance space. Assess your existing plan and be sure that doors from cupboards and appliances can open simultaneously. You never want a cramped kitchen, so be mindful of sizes and directions of doors for all appliances and cabinetry.





The post How Thick Should Your Granite Countertops be? appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.

Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting

Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting

Have you fallen in love with your kitchen cabinets but still want a fresh look? Explore Kitchens now offers kitchen cabinet repainting!

Table of contents

BackgroundThe ProjectOur ProductsClient ExperienceThe Result


Explore was approached by a homeowner in McLean, VA, who liked the cabinet facings they had installed custom when they built their home. They wanted a more modern look than wood grain with their kitchen remodel.

The cabinets were in good shape! Our team went to work on the plan. We were going to modernize their cabinets and countertops to add tremendous value to their house. Adding also beautiful new backsplash tile, modern decora devices, blinds, faucet, sink, and
wine cooler to replace the trash compactor.

After going through our standard discovery questions, we put together a proposal for the project.

We executed the project during the peak of the holiday season. Explore completed the kitchen remodel before the new year and the bathroom shortly afterward!

Explore Kitchens is dedicated to your home’s success and works to complete projects quickly and efficiently with an eye for quality.


The Project

Typically, Explore Kitchens specializes in brand new cabinetry. However, this was a great start into a unique offering of repainting cabinets with top of the line Benjamin Moore paint.

We didn’t stop at painting cabinets for this kitchen remodel project in McLean, VA. They had some very dated countertops.



Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting


Our Products

Explore Kitchens partnered with MSI Surfaces for new quartz stone countertops; the homeowner selected MSI Calacatta Miraggio.

MSI Calacatta Miraggio Quartz countertop

The counters and island turned out very elegant!

Explore Kitchens partnered with MSI Surfaces for new quartz stone countertops; the homeowner selected MSI Calacatta Miraggio. out very elegant!





One of the biggest challenges with older kitchens is lighting. We always work with our clients to identify their unique lighting needs for their kitchen and bath remodel. That is why Explore partners with the best lighting supplier in McLean, VA: Lamps Unlimited, going through Jon Ghareeb, a great friend of Explore Kitchens owner Jason Kidwell. Installed are new pendant lights bringing extra light to the dining area and new countertop surfaces.

Finally, we installed the very best tile from The Tile Shop in McLean, VA. We used subway tile for the backsplash in the kitchen and porcelain tile for the bathroom floors and bathroom walls.

Tile Shop

Client Experience

This project was one of the best projects we’ve done; the homeowners were terrific and went above and beyond in making sure their home was ready for us. They bought the crews lunch and set out snacks and drinks for our team.

The communication from the clients was terrific.

The Result

Take a look at the results for yourself and reach out the next time you need to repaint your kitchen cabinets.

The post Explore Kitchens Now Offering Kitchen Cabinet Repainting appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.