Restoration Guide: Introduction to Kitchen and Baths

Susanne Clemenz

Editor's Note: This is article 1 of 16 in Chapter 6: Kitchen and Baths of Old House Web's Home Restoration Guide. This guide was developed and edited for old homes from original materials in the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rehab guide.


The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants to bridge the time lag in the home renovation industry between the introduction of new ideas and their widespread use in the field. To facilitate this for you, Old House Web has condensed each of nine home restoration topics contained in a series of guides published by HUD. Collectively they are called The Rehab Guide.

These guides address professionals in the home renovation industry--those, like you, involved in bringing older homes into good condition, as opposed to those who remodel to add features to up-to-date homes. You can scout many other references from industry associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association, manufacturers, trade shows, print and online magazines, and building research centers. These are great sources for innovations in:

  • New technologies for building
  • Materials
  • Components
  • Techniques

The U.S. Department of Energy can also supply energy-conserving techniques and technologies.

Lead Paint Issues

A high percentage of house renovation projects are for pre-1978 structures. While lead paint removal isn't included in this guide, you must test homes built prior to 1978 for lead paint. Even small amounts of it can poison children, causing damage to the brain, intellect, and organs. Workers removing such paint should also be trained and protected. Resources on the topic include:

  • HUD's publication, "Lead Paint Safety: a Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance and Renovation Work." This an essential read.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's brochure, "Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home."
  • Online downloads from the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control
  • The National Lead Information Center (800) 424-LEAD

You can learn about new regulations on lead-based paint that must be followed if you're renovating any of the following:

  • Federally-owned housing
  • Housing receiving federal assistance
  • Projects you do using HUD funds such as grants, insurance, or other types of assistance
  • Projects that fall under state or local guidelines

The above sources cover regulations and techniques for the following:

  • Controlling lead hazards
  • Lead paint and rehab work
  • Risk assessment
  • Monitoring
  • Inspections
  • Resident and work-site preparation
  • Worker protection
  • Routine building maintenance

Organization of This Kitchen & Bath Guide

Old House Web has condensed the nine guides that make up HUD's The Rehab Guide to organize the information in a very accessible way. "Kitchens & Baths" is the sixth guide. These guides aim to maximize the efficiency of home rehab cost and time. They are aimed at home renovator professionals and cover a spectrum of advice on the following:

  • Repair materials, including recent innovations
  • Criteria for selecting replacement products
  • The latest techniquesTools needed
  • Regional climate concerns
  • Energy efficiency
  • Accessible design for the handicapped
  • Sustainable products and practices
  • State-of-the art building technologies, products and materials
  • Management techniques
  • Software
  • Home renovation ideas borrowed from commercial, industrial and institutional construction projects.

Each chapter is organized into three topics:

  1. Essential Knowledge: Covers basic knowledge you need for all important aspects of the topic.
  2. Techniques, Materials, Tools: Highlights advantages, disadvantages, and comparisons of the best approach for a particular project. This is an overview of approaches to a project, not a "how to" guide.
  3. Further Reading: A listing of some reliable sources where you can find more information.
  4. Product Information: A listing of selected manufacturers of products, materials, systems and components that are mentioned in the guide.


  1. Introduction
  2. Cabinets
  3. Countertops
  4. Sinks & Lavatories
  5. Tubs & Showers
  6. Toilets & Bidets

Kitchen & Baths Information Sources

While some of the information sources in this guide are specific to each chapter's content, others provided ideas relating to the overall topics of kitchen and bath renovation. Industry and government sources include:

Bathroom Industry Technical Manual, Volumes 1 through 5, MaryLee McDonald and/or Ellen Cheever, and/or Nicolas Geragi, National Kitchen and Bath Association, 1997.

Kitchen and Bathroom Installation Manual, Volumes 1 and 2, Walter W. Stoeppelwerth, National Kitchen and Bath Association, 1995

Kitchen Industry Technical Manual, Volumes 1 through 5, MaryLee McDonald and/or Ellen Cheever, and/or Nicolas Geragi, National Kitchen and Bath Association, 1996.

The Healthy Household, Lynn Marie Bower, Healthy House Institute, 1995.

Annual Directory and Buyer's Guide, Kitchen and Bath Design News, 1999 (Look for current issue)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Program, Washington, D.C.

This information was adapted from the U.S. Department of Urban Development's Rehab Guide. For more information visit: http//


About the Author
Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and remodelled her newly-purchased home, working with contractors on the floorplan, electrical changes, painting, installation of wood laminate flooring, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system and a landscaping. Researching and keeping up on issues and products related to home design and maintenance is an ongoing avocation.

Search Improvement Project