The Kitchen Remodeling Process Guarantees Progress

the remodeling process will help you if you understand it

The kitchen remodeling process is misunderstood by most Homeowners. This article assumes that you have completed the design process, hired a contractor, and have acquired permits for your kitchen remodeling. The following list includes all steps for a complete remodel that may or may not include an addition. Most of the studs and joists will be exposed for required insulation, for electrical wiring and plumbing.

1.    Get your home ready for construction as soon as you have a definite starting date for your kitchen remodeling from your contractor.  Most homeowners don’t realize how much “stuff” they’ve accumulated until they start to pack it up for storage.

2.    Immediately before demolition begins, the dumpster arrives.  You’re on the Roller coaster!

3.    Demolition starts.  Most homeowners are amazed about how quickly a crew of workmen armed with crowbars, screwguns and hammers can tear their kitchen apart.  The full dumpster will be replaced with an empty one at least twice during your kitchen remodeling.

4.    After demolition, the contractor will pour new foundations required, or reinforce your existing foundation (depending on the scope of your kitchen remodeling project).

5.    The framers begin installing new mud sills, studs, joists, beams, and rafters if you’re adding onto your kitchen, or creating a new family room.

6.    If roof work is required, it will be done next, starting with plywood sheathing on top of framing.  Plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) may be applied to exterior walls at the same time followed by a weatherproofing membrane and the siding.

7.    New windows, skylights, and exterior doors will be installed and trimmed.

8.    Electrical wires and plumbing pipes are installed in the walls, and the subfloor will be installed.

9.  Insulation is installed in the ceiling, floors, and exterior walls.

Between Steps 9 and 10 in the kitchen remodeling process, it’s very likely you’ll be in a “blue funk.” For many weeks, there have been strangers invading  your home daily, creating chaos.  It’s exciting, and unnerving for everyone in your family (including your pets).  You may reach an emotional  low during these steps; don’t worry, it’s not uncommon.  Warning:  It may also be a low point for your contractor and his/her crew, too — a time when tempers can flare up.  It may be several months since you decided to remodel. You didn’t realize how long it would take to make the hundreds of decisions necessary. You’re tired of the emotional roller coaster.

10.    Drywall installation for a kitchen or bathroom can take several days, but the “mud” application can take twice or three times as long, especially if the mud is applied by hand (not machine).  After that, there’s the application of drywall sealer, one or two coats of primer plus two (or three) coats of paint. Many homeowners decide to do their own priming and painting. There’s a big tradeoff, though, because the D-I-Yers become one of the subcontractors, and must finish within the contractor’s schedule.

11.  At the same time as interior drywall and painting, exterior wall finish, trim, and paint (or stain) may be applied, to maximize the progress of your kitchen remodeling process.

12.  Excitement returns when new cabinets are installed and your kitchen comes to life.  Cabinet installation can be tricky, especially if there are compound trim mouldings and angles, or unique cabinets.

13.  Tile countertops and backsplashes can be installed immediately after the cabinets are installed.  For laminate, solid-surface, or slab countertops, the manufacturer will come and make a template based on the cabinet layout.  Lead time can be one week at best, but more likely, the lead time will be approximately three weeks before new countertops are installed.

14.  Wood floor installation and finishing will take a week or more, depending on the number of finish applications (it should be two, minimum), and weather conditions which can delay drying time at least 50%. If you’re using another flooring product, it will usually take less time than a wood floor.

15.  While waiting for countertops (and flooring), the contractor’s crew can be installing interior doors and locksets, interior trim, light fixtures and switches.  This should nicely fill the “void” between cabinet installation and countertop installation.

16.  After countertops and floors are installed, appliances and finish plumbing will be installed and hooked up, and painting touch-up will be completed.  If your kitchen remodeling project includes a cooktop or range which requires a new gas line, there will be a pressure test and inspection of the gas line (take-out dinner just one more night!).

17.  There will be a final inspection by the building department, after everything is installed and tested.  You should also inspect everything yourself, and make a written “punch list” with copies for everyone. You should do a walk-through with your designer and contractor to review every item on the punch list, and agree on a reasonable date for resolution of each item.

The “typical” kitchen remodeling process (without an addition) takes approximately 8-12 weeks. This should be a point of communication with your contractor, so you can adjust your personal schedule accordingly. Knowing these steps will help you communicate with your design professional and your contractor, to get the best results possible.

The text for this article was derived from the award-winning book, THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling, Pages 92 – 97. Quotations, real-life anecdotes, and illustrations were omitted.

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