How to Plan Your Kitchen Remodel
A kitchen remodel is a large, expensive, and complex project that will affect almost every part of your home and your daily life. The good news is that it is worth the effort. Your kitchen remodel will pay for itself over time with added value to your house, and most importantly, a new design will fit your family’s lifestyle.
The timing of your kitchen remodel should be determined very early during your planning process. This will allow you and your family to prepare for changes in your living situation and give you a chance to coordinate your remodeling efforts with contractors and designers. Ultimately, you should determine when the remodel will happen based on your family’s upcoming schedule.
PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING
The key to a great kitchen remodel is starting with a well thought out plan and timeline. The planning stage is like building a solid foundation – don’t build it on unrealistic expectations. Your kitchen remodel will have setbacks and mistakes even after careful planning. Having a solid, yet flexible plan will help you cope with what may be a stressful few months. Below are more considerations that may affect your timeline:
- TIME OF YEAR – Your kitchen will be temporarily unusable and unless you have a second kitchen, you will want to set up a temporary kitchen with a microwave, refrigerator, and have access to water for washing dishes. An outdoor grill can provide an alternate method of cooking and a larger variety of meal options. If you plan on eating out during your remodel, don’t forget to add this expense to your budget.
- SPECIAL OCCASIONS – If you and your family love entertaining during holidays, a kitchen remodel during this time may be a bad idea. Instead, consider starting the project after the holidays. On a similar note, if you have a special occasion planned, like a graduation party or a wedding, it is wise to plan the project for completion two months prior to the event.
- FAMILY SCHEDULE – Having a kitchen torn apart can be stressful for all family members. Make sure to consider family activities and school schedules when planning your kitchen remodel. It is best to plan a remodel when your family has the least number of commitments and their schedule is flexible.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
A lot of work begins before you even think about tearing out your first cabinet. The first step is to do some research to help define your needs and wants, set a rough budget, and think about what style you’re after. Books, magazines, and the Internet are valuable resources to help you define the total scope of your project. This pre-planning stage of knowing what you want can save you a lot of time and frustration later on.
FIND A CONTRACTOR
One of the best ways to find a contractor who specializes in kitchen remodels is through word of mouth. Ask your family and friends if they have any referrals. There are other great options to consider such as Angie’s List, Zillow, Porch.com, and professional organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The NARI has its own certification process for contractors that can help ease concerns. Before you commit to a contractor, check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Your relationship with your contractor will be essential to a great remodel.
YOUR KITCHEN DESIGN
A great kitchen design always starts and ends with an experienced kitchen designer. A kitchen designer does much more than visualize how the cabinets will look on the walls. They are experts on how storage, organization, appliances, and design elements (like that big center island you’ve been dreaming of) all fit together. Kitchen designers are knowledgeable on kitchen trends such as cabinet door styles, colors, new appliances, countertops, flooring, backsplashes, and so much more. Keep in mind, a kitchen designer is not an architect, contractor, or an interior designer. However, your kitchen designer is an expert and can serve as a great resource, coordinator, and sounding board to help you finalize your remodel plans. The kitchen design process can take several weeks based on how prepared you are, and may require coordination and communication with a contractor if structural changes are needed or utilities and appliances are relocated. Be sure to allow time for the local permit process, if needed, that you or your contractor will apply for.
One thing that upsets good planning is product delays. It is advised that you order your product well in advance and wait for all of your products to arrive before starting the project. Many products that you select may require special order and can take weeks for you to receive. Also, the manufacturer may be out of stock of your product, they may have shipped the wrong model, the package could get lost, the store may forget to order something, the product could arrive damaged, or there could be a design or measurement error. Expect problems and plan for them. Upon receipt of your product, be sure to inventory and inspect your product carefully and prepare a large, safe storage area like a garage, porch, dining room or local storage facility. Note that most products, especially cabinets and flooring, will need to be stored in a climate controlled area. Excessive cold, heat, humidity, moisture, and dryness will cause damage, especially to wood products, and can void the warranty.
THE REMODEL TIMELINE
Remember that during a kitchen remodel, your timeline must be flexible. Certain things have to happen in succession and these steps may change depending on the project scope, contractor availability and your schedule. Tear out, framing, plumbing, electrical, wall prep, paint, flooring, cabinet install, countertop install, decorative accents, appliances, and more can all take longer than expected. If one step is postponed due to weather, illness, or damaged product, your timeline could extend an additional one or two weeks based on getting new product or rescheduling with your contractor. The key to keeping your sanity is to remember Murphy’s Law; anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Below is a guide to help you build your timeline.
After all is said and done, you will see that your kitchen remodel was worth the trouble. Get started today with one of CliqStudios’ professional and experienced kitchen designers.
Author: Dan Jones has been in the kitchen industry for more than 20 years between Big Box store management, showroom dealer management, and cabinetry sales. He is currently the Sr. Marketing Manager for CliqStudios.com and is the voice and face of all of CliqStudios’ videos. Dan is the father to three teenage daughters, husband of more than 25 years, and is a City Council member in his hometown.