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May 25th, 2017 | Posted in Blog

Planning a major kitchen remodel is romantic, exciting and fun,
a creative process full of wish lists and swatches, showroom
visits and design consultations. But then comes the nitty-gritty
of demolition, reconstruction and installation, and with it dust, noise
and sometimes unforeseen problems.
Helping to take the surprises out of the remodeling process,
and to make it as pleasant as possible, is what the best remodeling
contractors do. At Wilmington’s Markraft Cabinets, a remodeling
manager is assigned to every job, to work hand-in-hand with the
designer, the installer and the homeowner.
“The key to our business is setting expectations up front,” explained
Kelly Smith, Markraft’s vice president of production services. He
oversees not just installation, but also follow-through on issues such
as warranties and quality control. The remodeling professionals who
work under Smith’s direction know that, “Our job is to interact with
the homeowner and discuss any issues they may encounter with the
designer and the general contractor.”
Unlike some vendors whose designers never see the space they’re
planning, Markraft ensures that a three-person team is on site and
introduced to the homeowner as the job begins. That team includes
the designer, the remodeling manager and the installer who will
actually put the cabinets, countertops and other elements in place.
“We want the customers to know it’s not just them on their own.
We’ll be there to help when decisions have to be made,” Smith said.
Sometimes the fi rst of those decisions comes during demolition,
when old cabinets and fi xtures are removed. “You don’t know what
you’ll fi nd when you’re tearing things out,” Smith observed. That’s
one reason Markraft’s installers are chosen for their skills at a variety
of construction tasks, not just hanging cabinets. When Smith hires
installers for remodeling work, he looks for the sorts of problemsolving
skills that the best general contractors have.
Number 1 on Smith’s checklist is people skills. An installer will
be in the client’s home, and needs to be able to answer questions,
address concerns and listen carefully. “The homeowners are there
every morning before the installer gets there,” Smith pointed out,
“and will have thoughts they’ll express to the installer.”
Smith outlined a number of expectations that he wants all
customers to understand.
One is that the designer and remodeling manager will carefully
measure everything in the client’s home before anything is ordered.
That will reveal the sorts of things that the most beautifully drawn
plans, or carefully composed photographs, don’t show. For example,
a corner may have a 91-degree angle, or 89 degrees, instead of a
perfectly square 90.
Another expectation is that sometimes products get damaged in
shipment. That’s the purpose of warranties and guarantees, Smith said.
One important matter that comes as a surprise to some customers
is that granite and other heavy slab countertop materials can’t be cut
until a super-accurate template is created, and that can be done only
after the supporting cabinets are in place. That means a typical lag of
a few weeks between cabinet installation and fi nished countertops.
For all those reasons, “that’s where that service and warranty
issue comes in,” Smith says. Markraft provides a one-year warranty
on installation. Depending on the make, cabinets and other installed
pieces come with manufacturers’ warranties ranging from fi ve years
to 100 years.
Having someone to call, whether it’s a week or three years after
the job is done, is important to customers who are making major
investments in their homes. “If there’s a challenge that arises, we’re
going to take care of it,” Smith said.
You can talk with professional designers about your remodeling
wish list at Markraft’s Design Center. Markraft’s designers do
consultations by appointment, but drop-in visitors are always welcome
to browse. The Design Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday
through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road.
Since 1985, Markraft has specialized in cabinet and countertop
design and installation in residential and commercial construction
and custom remodeling. To learn more about Markraft, go to Contact Markraft at 910.762.1986 and like
Markraft on Facebook at