October is National Kitchen & Bath Month, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is stressing the importance of hiring a certified professional for kitchen and bath remodeling projects. Because the magnitude and complexity of these projects are well beyond the typical weekend do-it-yourself job, a higher level of expertise on product, design and installation is needed. Certified NKBA professionals provide insight into design options and technical necessities that clients wouldn’t necessarily think of on their own.
Professionals certified through the NKBA must maintain specific requirements to ensure they are always at the forefront of industry knowledge. NKBA-certified members have the following qualifications:
- In-depth kitchen and bath industry experience, including proven knowledge of kitchen and bath design, as well as construction, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems
- Expertise in NKBA Kitchen & Bath Planning Guidelines and Access Standards
- Continuing education hours that enable them to remain up-to-date on building codes, safety and environmental regulations and new products
NKBA certified professionals can hold one of four titles: Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD®), Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD®), Certified Bathroom Designer (CBD®) and Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD®). Each title is classified by a different level of industry experience and knowledge. When choosing a professional for a remodeling project, homeowners must consider the level of difficulty of their projects and the type of professional they wish to collaborate with.
“Hiring a certified professional for remodeling projects is a must,” says NKBA President Maria Stapperfenne, CMKBD. “DIY sounds good on paper, but homeowners are rarely prepared for the amount of work behind a remodel project; professionals provide much-needed insight into technical regulations and design innovations that the client isn’t even aware of.”
Certified professionals have an “engineer-type” mentality, notes Stapperfenne, which couples aesthetic judgment with practicality and safety. “They understand the components ‘behind the wall’ that enable the space to function properly and efficiently, while still maintaining sleek design.”
While cost is a major concern for most homeowners, the services of certified professionals are not out of reach; typically, professional fees represent about four percent of the total project budget. Also, hiring a professional helps avoid higher costs down the road. “If the project is done incorrectly the first time,” adds Stapperfenne, “a client will spend even more money hiring a professional to fix it.”
To find NKBA members near you for kitchen and bathroom projects, please visit nkba.org/prosearch.