• Should I upgrade the insulation and utilities at the same time? Remodeling is also the perfect time to add insulation, bring the electrical system up to code, and check out the domestic water lines. Some Eichler owners today are replacing their wood paneling with sheetrock and insulation, due to safety and other issues. The old wood paneling is much more vulnerable in a fire than sheetrock, and it is not insulated. The old wood paneling, he says, is much more vulnerable in a fire than sheet rock, and it is not insulated. For safety reasons alone, homeowners may want to consider replacing the paneling with sheet rock. However, there are aesthetic considerations to take into account here. Most original Eichlers were built with paneled walls, and it is still preferred by many owners and want-to-be ones as well.
Some contractors also suggest conducting professional pressure tests on both the domestic water and radiant-heating systems to assure that they are leak-free and in proper order, though this is optional and depends on the situation. Key points out that it may not be necessary for basic kitchen remodels unless you suspect there is a problem. On the other hand, Key says, if you are doing a radical remodel and will be jack-hammering your concrete, "we would recommend testing—it is just a prudent thing to do. You may have a leak and not know it."
There is also the electrical system to consider. When Eichler homes were originally built, the need for power was much more modest, especially in terms of kitchen appliances. Microwave ovens or professional-grade double convection ovens were yet to be developed for home use. But the future is now. As a result, electrical systems certainly need to be upgraded as part of a kitchen. "At the time Eichler built, code was very different, and it was common for several rooms or areas to be wired on the same circuit," pointed out Christopher Gay of AAA Christopher Electric, Inc. of Redwood City, an electrical firm experienced in working with Eichlers. "Today's code requires more dedicated circuits in order to keep up with newer technology."
Gay also indicated that "the old two-pronged electrical outlets were not grounded. For remodels that involve pulling the walls, code now requires electrical updating to include replacing the old outlets with three-pronged, grounded outlets." Ground fault circuit interrupters, or "GFCI" outlets, are also required for areas near water, such as kitchen, bathrooms, garages, and outdoors. These prevent electrical shock by interrupting the circuit.
In conclusion, Gay said, "Remodeling projects also provide a great opportunity to add further enhancements, such as wiring for the new technologies, like computer networking, home entertainment systems, and so forth."
When it's time for kitchen renewal, consider the Eichler Network service team:
No one is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. The trick is to minimize the mistakes, especially when they can cost one time and money. Here are some tips for avoiding common mistakes when upgrading or remodeling your Eichler kitchen.
• Get to know your home. If you purchased your home recently, live in the home for a while and really get to 'know' it before embarking on a remodel. This is especially true in terms of how you want to use the space. For those who have owned their homes for many years, this would not be an issue.
• Do your research. Be sure to do your research well in advance of beginning the project. Understand all the options available, and the expected cost of each one. It would be a shame to find out after your remodel is complete that "if only I had known about those halogen track lights, or that cork flooring..."
• Plan ahead. Have all decisions finalized and all fixtures and materials on site before work begins. Failure to do so can delay work while construction crews wait for back-ordered items to arrive. It could even lead to expensive change orders in the middle of the project. When ordering materials and appliances, allow a time cushion to account for the possibility that something may arrive damaged and may need to be replaced.