Homeowners who are dissatisfied with their kitchen or bathroom may decide that a major overhaul is in order. Instead of updating the finishes or doing other modest upgrades, they’ll want to strip the room down to its four walls and build it back up as something completely new.
This type of remodeling, known as a rip-out or tear-out, opens up a great deal of possibilities. A homeowner can add new features, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and even change the layout if necessary.
Courtney Smith, office manager at Rogers Kitchens, says rip-outs are common in bathroom remodeling. It is becoming more popular to replace a bathtub/shower combination with a single shower, and removing the bathtub opens up a considerable area of the bathroom. It doesn’t take much extra effort to upgrade the entire room.
One of the key benefits of a rip-out remodel is that a greater number of home features can be updated. Instead of simply swapping out the bathtub, the work can also update the plumbing, add more electrical outlets, improve the insulation, and repair any water damage that may have been caused by undiscovered leaks.
Smith says the extent of a kitchen rip-out typically depends more on a customer’s desires and budget. If the room has been well-maintained, the customer may be able to update the look by replacing the cabinets, updating the appliances, or completing other more limited work. However, customers may also want to complete a full kitchen remodel to make the space more functional, especially as the kitchen has become a more popular place for families and guests to congregate.
An open floor plan is often part of a full kitchen upgrade. Smith says Rogers Kitchens often removes peninsulas and replaces them with islands. These offer a versatile space, such as an area for children to do homework or guests to enjoy appetizers. They also allow more mobility in the kitchen and make the space appear larger.
In some homes, particularly older residences with more compartmentalized rooms, achieving an open floor plan may require the demolition of walls. Smith says customers generally don’t add on to the property as part of a kitchen or bathroom remodel, since this step makes the process more complicated and expensive.
“Most of them are happy with the home the way it is,” she says. “They just need some better functionality.”
Smith says kitchen overhauls usually keep the sink and stove in the same place, since plumbing and electrical connections are already present. The refrigerator is often moved to a new location, however, and the same can be done for electric stoves.
Smith says the most popular upgrade in any complete kitchen remodel is a built-in trash can. This feature frees up floor space by providing a cabinet compartment specifically for the garbage. She estimates that built-in trash cans are included in 99 percent of the work Rogers Kitchens does.
In the bathroom, shower upgrades frequently add a shower seat and lower shelves. Most modern showers use glass doors instead of curtains, making the bathroom feel larger and making cleaning easier. Full bathroom remodels also tend to incorporate comfort height toilets, which are lower to the ground and easier on the knees.
Heating upgrades are popular in both rooms. Toe kick heaters can be surreptitiously incorporated into a baseboard. These heaters can replace bulky radiators, which take up a considerable amount of floor space.
Since bathrooms tend to have a number of materials that reflect heat, many customers have been requesting upgraded ventilation which can blow warm air into the room. This feature makes it much more comfortable to step out of a shower on a chilly morning.
“That’s definitely one we’re seeing a lot more than we expected,” says Smith.
Customers can decide whether they want to install completely new appliances and features or reuse some items from the previous space. For one kitchen project, Rogers Kitchens remodeled the room around an heirloom Hoosier cabinet.
“Once it was done, it looked like the space was made for it,” Smith recalls.
When considering a kitchen or bathroom rip-out, it is important to contact the remodeling company at least three to six months in advance. Smith says that even if a customer knows what they would like to do for the project, the company still need time to order supplies and line up the schedules of subcontractors.
The timeframe of a rip-out depends on the scope of the project. Some work may require additional effort—such as providing new supports after removing walls or tearing up particularly tenacious tile floors—but the space is usually functional within two to three weeks.
Smith says Rogers Kitchens keeps the refrigerator hooked up during a kitchen remodel, even if it needs to be moved to a new spot. Electric stoves can sometimes remain connected as well. Many customers plan their remodeling work for the summer so they can rely on the outdoor grill during that time.
Customers getting a complete bathroom remodel should be prepared for two or three days where the shower will be out of commission. If there is only one bathroom in the home, Rogers Kitchens makes sure the toilet is always usable at the end of the day.
“It will not be a pretty room. It will be functional only,” say Smith. “But you will have a toilet. We will never leave you without that.”
A complete rip-out is often easier than upgrading only certain features, since workers have easier access to the plumbing and other features. Smith says customers can also save money on their heating costs, electricity, and water bills through the installation of more efficient lighting, appliances, plumbing, and insulation.
Rogers Kitchens was founded in 1955 by Jerry Rogers. James Smith, who began working at the company in 1985, purchased Rogers Kitchens in 1998.
Customers can review a wide range of available materials as well as five complete and many partial kitchen displays in the Rogers Kitchens showroom. They can also say hello to Blaze, the 13-year-old Husky-Labrador mix who serves as the company’s mascot.
“He loves when customers come in and visit him, and he has many of our delivery men trained to carry treats in their trucks,” says Smith.
Rogers Kitchens is located at 130 Chestnut Street in Norwich. For more information, call 860-886-0505 or visit rogerskitchens.com.