I'm a fairly proficient woodworker and general do-it-yourselfer. What single kitchen remodeling task--new laminate flooring, countertops, refacing, windows, etc.--that I can do myself might save the most money so I can spend more on hired help?
Chuck T. ~ Chicago, Illinois
Chuck, if you want to save some money by completing portions of your kitchen remodeling project yourself, then I would consider tackling those jobs which have high labor costs relative to the costs of the materials. These tasks could include installing new kitchen floors or constructing new cabinets and counter-tops, because these jobs require significant carpentry skills in order to do a quality job.
If you enjoy woodworking, then building your cabinets could be a fun challenge which would really give your kitchen a custom look. Another option would be to purchase stock cabinets from a home improvement warehouse and then install them yourself. These types of cabinets are relatively inexpensive, and you could dress them up by installing a crown molding or setting them next to some custom built-in shelving. Likewise, if you have the talent to manufacture some new counter-tops, then you might give that a try.
Another way to save some money when remodeling a kitchen is to act as your own general contractor. If you have the organizational skills to hire and manage the needed sub-contractors, then you can be the hub of the wheel and keep the project moving. Whichever task you choose to complete yourself, you can be confident that your skilled labor is taking a big chunk out of the overall project budget. Good luck with your new kitchen and let us know how it goes!