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Everything You Need to Know About Remodeling Your Kitchen: An Interview with Tim Todd of T. A. Todd Construction Inc.

By Tim Todd

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

T.A. Todd Construction was formed in 1987 in Georgetown TX, where we started out performing handyman and minor remodeling services. Tim Todd the owner was basically a one man jack of all trades, handyman/remodeler. No stranger to the construction industry Tim had honed his trade as a carpenter, mason, and concrete finisher, working on custom homes, commercial projects, and as a concrete contractor from 1978-1986. Over the years we became known for quality work with a personal touch and as a result the demand for our services grew along with the size and scope of our projects. We continually expanded our services and the company grew along with the economy.

During the late 1990's up until 2002, Tim built approx 200 homes in Round Rock, and North Austin.

"On Sept. 11, 2001, I distinctly remember the exact home I was in when the passenger planes struck the twin towers in New York City plunging the entire country into shock."
I began to question my commitment to building the homes I was constructing at that time, the long hours I was devoting to that endeavor, and the reduced quality expectations that went along with that particular niche of the homebuilding market. What I would describe as production homebuilding of semi-custom homes. I decided to return to what I really enjoyed doing and that was remodeling. I had never really stopped remodeling, but our focus had shifted away from remodels. I decided to reverse course and we became strictly a remodeling company with our primary focus on whole house remodels, high end kitchens and baths and the occasional custom home. We doubled our sales every year for the next 8 years. We incorporated in 2005.

We became and remain involved with trade associations such as The National Association for the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the Greater Austin Homebuilders Association. Tim is a NARI Certified Remodeler (CR) and a Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler (CKBR).

When the economy slowed way down in 2009, 10 & 11, we out of necessity slowed down as well and we downsized as a result. Due to the very good reputation we have fostered over the years, through repeat clientele and referrals we managed to continue our mission, which remains the same as it always has been, to provide high quality construction and remodeling services at a fair price.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We provide custom building services of all shapes and sizes:
We love whole house remodels.
We are expert at full kitchen and bath remodels.
We design and build additions.
We also provide exteriors such as re-cladding houses and replacing windows.
We offer general contracting and consulting on any project.
We build custom homes.
We remodel commercial spaces, such as offices, restaurants, and medical clinics.

What are the pros and cons of the different floor materials?

Hardwood, porcelain tile, and linoleum, (a generic name for flexible flooring originally made from renewable materials, but today is mainly sheet vinyl) are all examples of attractive, long wearing, hard surface flooring. Other examples might be ceramic, or travertine tile, cork or bamboo, stained concrete, granite, or marble. All of these wear well and last a long time. The primary difference is in the cost of the material and installation, of which there is a wide range.

My experience indicates that flooring is primarily a matter of taste and aesthetic appeal. Wood imparts a warm classical appeal, but it can be subject to water damage. Tile is extremely functional and comes in a wide range of choices but it can be a hard unforgiving surface, and it is difficult to replace. Sheet vinyl (linoleum) also comes in a wide range of choices, it is very economical, it is easily replaceable, but it also damages easier than some of the harder surfaces. We have installed all of these types of flooring in kitchens.

What are the advantages of working with a professional when remodeling your kitchen?

The main advantage to working with a professional is that the pro brings a great deal of experience and knowledge about what works and what doesn't work when it comes to kitchens. Ideally the kitchen is laid out in such a manner as to make the food delivery, preparation, and cleanup, a smooth process without wasting space, time, and effort performing those tasks.

The pro will be able to provide ready solutions to most of the common problems that are encountered when remodeling a kitchen, such as moving plumbing or electrical lines, or adding or moving gas lines and knowing how to properly ventilate the range or cook top. In many of today's high end kitchens the locations of water and electrical connections are specific to the appliance and must be installed accordingly. Good lighting is important to a functioning kitchen and the pro knows what lighting works and what doesn't. There are a very wide range of options available to kitchen designers in today's market.

The homeowner is faced with making dozens of selections for their new kitchen. A seasoned professional kitchen planner/remodeler is able to streamline the process and make life much easier and the process of remodeling a more pleasant experience for the homeowner.

In your opinion, what are some kitchen elements that are worth the splurge? What elements are not worth the splurge?

The main elements that are worth splurging on in a kitchen are the cabinets, the countertops, and the appliances. Next would be general and task lighting, and the sink and the kitchen faucet.

Those items are either difficult or expensive to replace and you want them to last. It is easy to get carried away on the cabinets but including items such as pullout shelves, self closing doors and drawers, pot drawers, spice racks, glass doors, wine racks, appliance caddy's, lazy Susan's and so on are desirable, most of those things are not necessary for a functioning kitchen.

Appliances such as under counter ice makers and trash compactors are nice but not always worth the splurges. I once had a client who loved chewable ice so we installed a crushed ice maker. The least expensive ice maker we could find cost $3,500.00.

What are some ways I can save money on cabinets?

Shop around. Many of the national pre-finished cabinet makers frequently offer specials. Don't discount using a small local custom cabinet maker as they can often provide better cabinets for a good value at the same or at a lower cost. Custom cabinets are usually finished on site so the expense to stain or paint them must be accounted for. Purchasing paint grade cabinets is also be a way to save money.

What are some ideas to increase the amount of storage in my kitchen?

Installing cabinets that go up to the ceiling is a great way to increase storage space in the kitchen. Including full size pantry cabinets is also a way to add storage space. If space allows, a walk-in pantry is also great way to increase storage.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a gas stove versus an electric stove?

A gas vs. an electric stove is purely a matter of personal preference, however I will offer what I see as a few pros and cons.

Gas heat is immediate and easy to control the setting. Some folks claim the gas heats more evenly than electric, but with today's sealed electric, and ceramic tops I think that is probably a wash. When the gas is cut off it is off although the rack will remain hot for a period of time.

Electric heats up more slowly and cools off more slowly than gas. Gas cook tops are a little harder to keep clean than smooth ceramic electric cook tops, but easier to clean than exposed element cook tops. The potential for a gas fire exists when gas is the primary source for heat in a gas stove, but a properly installed and maintained gas stove is no more dangerous than an electric stove. It may be that gas is slightly less expensive to operate but that depends on usage and location.

What is the best way for people to reach you and your company?


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About The Author

My extensive background in commercial and residential concrete, new construction,...

Phone: 512.930.5188

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