Common Remodeling and Restoration Questions


  1. What types of cabinets are available?
  2. How do I choose which cabinet type is right for my kitchen?

General Remodeling Questions

Do I need an interior designer for my remodel?

OTR has experience designing basic kitchen, bathroom, and additions and offers this service for no charge. We are very well aware of construction costs and design costs therefore can help clients make their remodel look beautiful, practical, and efficient! For the more complex design services, we have an interior designer we work with who is very affordable and experienced. Many clients have used both options and been extremely happy!

Are Estimates Free?

OTR give free estimates on all jobs. We feel it is important to offer our knowledge and experience to our customers and future customers. Many times customers think the cost is a lot more expensive than reality so give us a call on your next project! We have given free estimates for clients in Lake Oswego, Tualatin, Carlsbad, and other area where we did not hear back for over a year before we started the job. However, keep in mind that estimates given have a 90 day price guarantee as materials and labor rates tend to fluctuate, usually less than 5% in any given year.

How many estimates should I get for a remodeling project?

I'm sure you have heard to always "get three estimates" for any work you are going to have done. This advice depends on a lot of factors. If a contractor has been recommended by a friend or family member and you have seen his work and are satisfied with the quality, and YOU have met and talked with the contractor and are comfortable with him, then maybe you only need to get his estimate. If you feel his price is reasonable and within budget, we recommend to "go for it". On the other hand, if you are getting bids from contractors that you have no personal experience with the recommendation is to get three bids and meet all three of them personally.

If the bids are within 10-15% of each other we recommend choosing based on your comfort level with the contractor and his indications of customer service. If the three bids are really different, more investigation needs to be done. Either, a contractor forgot something and the bids are not "apples to apples" estimates, or there might be something suspicious about a contractor with an "out of range" bid. OTR has seen homeowners choose the "other" lowest cost contractor for their project only to see the time of estimated completion double and the cost go up significantly. OTR has also been called in to "rescue" projects that had selected the lower priced contractor that did not go as planned. Look closely and buyer beware.

I want to remodel my home on a budget and am capable of doing some of the work, can I help with some of the work to save money?

This happens often with very capable men/woman who are on a tight budget but would like to have a kitchen or bathroom remodel. OTR always works within the customer's budget and gives several options to cut expenses off the total bill. To name a few are painting, clean up, and some of the demolition. Many people think demo is very easy, but any remodeling contractor knows, there actually is a method to demo in order to minimize more work on the complete end. Keep in mind the total scope of the job detail as well, such as hauling and disposing of the materials in the demolition. Painting is very easy, just detailed, and we are 100% OK with customers saving a few dollars by painting walls and trim themselves. OTR takes the approach of working with the customer's needs, wants, and pocketbooks and being flexible to attain the bigger picture.


What types of cabinets are available?

There are three types of cabinets available: stock, semi-custom and custom. Stock Cabinets
The name stock comes from a time when cabinets where made in large quantities and stocked in a warehouse and years ago, there was a limited number of colors and door styles to select from. Today all that has changed. Stock cabinet lines now offers over many doors styles, wood species, dozens of finishes and optional plywood sides and dove tailed drawers – and they can deliver the cabinets in as quick as the same day!  Stock isn't what it used to be. Stock cabinets are what you will find at Home Depot/Lowe's and are in the isle, ready to put on a cart and install with a hope that the exact measurements will be there. Most times "filler" pieces are required to make a 36" cabinet fit into a 38" space, for example. Still, the extra options and features offered by stock cabinets are relatively limited, compared to the other cabinet types. But the quality of stock cabinets is good, with solid construction and reliable hardware. Overall, stock cabinets are a good value, making them the right choice for people looking for good quality while remodeling on a tight budget.
Semi-custom cabinets are the most popular type of cabinet today. The big difference versus stock is that semi-custom cabinets provide minor modifications to their standard cabinets (reduce or increase the depth, install glass, stain them the color you request). They also offer more door styles, cabinet options, cabinet types, and finishes than a stock cabinet line. Semi-custom cabinets are high quality from top to bottom, with a moderate price range – an affordable cabinet and a great value.
Custom cabinets can be made to meet any need or desire you have, but the cost can be significantly higher than stock cabinets. Most custom cabinet companies will provide the custom drawings and design blue prints to show you the cabinet size at each space. There are many styles of doors and drawer fronts to choose from. Still, custom cabinets usually don't have EVERY door style, although some companies will modify the edge detail and size of their door offerings. The benefits of custom cabinets range from high quality to endless options, so you can create a one-of-a-kind dream kitchen with features galore.

Keep in mind that they are more costly than stock cabinets as they are not factory production made. They typically take 2-4 weeks to create the order, and for large orders with custom staining can even take up to 6 weeks. Plan accordingly for your project and desired time line.

What type of countertop should I choose for my kitchen?

There are many types of countertops to choose from: granite, quartz, solid surface and laminate. What surface material you choose should depend on factors such as how you plan to use your countertop, your expectations for the surface and your budget.
Use this countertop guide to help you narrow your selection:

Why choose Granite?

Granite is a natural stone, and the look and feel of real stone is hard to match. It is very durable, it handles heat well and it comes in many variations – over 200 to choose from. The cost of granite has decreased significantly over the last few years and the average starting price is about $60 per square foot, installed.  It requires periodic sealing, depending on the granite selected, and will have visible seams. If your kitchen or bathroom has a standard layout, you can even reduce the cost with "pre-fab" granite, or granite that is pre-fabricated with a bullnose edge and ready to install, without having to buy the large raw slab. The color options are also extensive with "pre-fab" granite.

Why choose Quartz?

Quartz is a blend of quartz and resins that form a hard, durable surface, with a feel that is much like granite. The colors and patterns that are created typically have little variation and provide a consistent appearance. In addition to its durability, quartz tops need no sealing chemicals, require little maintenance and will have visible seams. Quartz does not handle high heat well and can warp with the direct contact placement of pans or pots above 200 degrees. Quartz countertops begin at about $75 per square foot, installed.

Why choose Solid Surface?

Solid surface (Corian is one brand) countertops are typically acrylic products that are durable and very adaptable. There are hundreds of colors and a large variety of edge profiles to choose from. It has moderate heat resistance and hard-to-find seams. And while solid surface tops can scratch, they can be repaired easily. The average starting price of solid surface countertops is $59 per square foot, installed.

Why choose Laminate?

Laminate is the most popular material used for a countertop and is in the most American homes. It offers thousands of colors and a number of textured finishes. It wears fairly well and doesn't require any sealing. The seams are visible and it has almost no reparability. Laminate tops with a square edge start at about $20 per square foot, installed. There are other installation methods of laminate that include rounded corners and less seams, so that water intrusion is less of a worry.

For further answers to questions not listed here, please contact OTR for a prompt response!