Kitchen remodels can take years if we're honest about it. Remodeling projects start as an idea and you first have to justify the cost … to yourself. Next comes your research which takes more time than anything else, looking through magazines, books and online websites like Pinterest and Houzz.
You've also got to deal with competing interests between you and your significant other. It might take more time now but remember, you'll be living with your new kitchen for many years.
Sleek and contemporary like the kitchen shown here with dark cabinets and counter tops? Alternative layouts if you're not happy with existing workspace and/or traffic flow? With lots of structural changes, a kitchen designer can help you make decisions you'll be happy with for years. If your project is more cosmetic, pick your remodeler and get started but how long will it take?
Most kitchen remodels reuse the same space as your existing kitchen. That means step one is removing everything filling that space followed by structural changes to add or change the space your new kitchen will occupy. Then it's a matter of filling up the now empty space with all the fixtures and appliances we expect in a kitchen. So let's dig down and see what how much time each step might take — we're talking elapsed time or calendar days.
You'll need to plan for living with your temporary kitchen, typically rolling your refrigerator into another room, along with a portable microwave because your old wall microwave relied on venting through an outside wall.
Kitchen Remodels: Order Your Cabinets Early
The first thing you'll do is order products and materials with long lead times, i.e. what isn't available at your local building supply house. Take this step seriously or you may find your project takes months longer than expected. While some products may have 9 to 12 month lead times, here are more typical timeframes to plan for:
- Custom cabinets will typically take 12 to 16 weeks after you've approved the design.
- Semi-custom cabinets should fall between 8 and 12 weeks, as they're built to your specifications using standard components
- You should be able to get stock cabinets in under 4 weeks, subject to availability as more popular lines may not have all the sizes you want.
Research your suppliers and make sure they're reliable and always have a contingency plan. During one kitchen remodel, our NH builder was nervous about cabinets shipping from Oregon so we used a cabinet maker he recommended. Our cabinets (without doors) started to arrive 6 weeks late and design errors had to be fixed on site, i.e. we couldn't open one pantry door? A 6 month nightmare we shared with our builder who we loved!
Kitchen Remodels: Steps to Plan For
You're smarter if you wait for everything to arrive before starting the project, just in case there are problems. That means you'll need a place to store the cabinets (garage, dining room or local storage facility) for a short period of time, i.e. 1 to 2 months. The overall project can take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months depending on how large your project is and how complicated. The cabinet story above involved cabinets for the kitchen, extra storage, an entertainment center and 2 bathrooms as it was part of a 4 story addition. So let's look at a typical kitchen remodel.
|Typical # Days
|Structural changes, i.e. moving a wall or changing window placement (some changes will happen after cabinets removed)
|Few days to a few weeks
|Changes within your existing exterior walls will take less time, i.e. we moved a door & pushed the refrigerator into a bathroom.
|Remove old kitchen cabinets & appliances, called demolition or deconstruction
|1 to several days depending on …
|When reusing cabinets, i.e. your garage or donated to a Habitat ReStore, they must be taken out carefully.
|Rough plumbing & electrical changes for new kitchen layout
|2 to 3 days to give plumbers & electricians space
|Here's your last chance to add a second faucet next to the stove or extra outlets to your island (hidden underneath) for electronics.
|Painting ceilings, walls and trim
|2 or more days
|Painting is much easier when you don't have to cut around cabinets.
|Deliver, unpack & inspect cabinets
|There are a lot of cabinets in a kitchen …
|2 or more days
|Flooring depends on materials, i.e. wood flooring faster than tile, and room size.
|Several days to 2 weeks
|Installation time based on number of cabinets. New floors will provide level surface for cabinets & make it easier to replace appliances in the future.
|Counter top fabricator measures & makes templates to fit base cabinets
|1 day with delivery out several weeks
|Pre-schedule to avoid losing time, i.e. they may only come to your town 1 or 2 days a week.
|1 to 2 days
|Installing the physical appliances easy. The time is spent hooking up oven/stove ventilation, dishwasher for water supply and disposal, etc.
|Install lighting – ceiling and cabinet lighting
|1 to 2 days
|Pause while waiting for counter tops; Place plywood over cabinets and use your kitchen.
|Install counter tops
|1-2 days depending on materials
|Delivery varies by material & whether you're using a stock color/design – laminates 1 to 3 wks, solid surface 2 to 4 weeks and stone 3 to 5 weeks
|Finish plumbing & electrical, i.e. faucets, sinks and counter cooktop
|1 to 2 days
|Install back splash
|1 to 3 days depending on size & complexity
|While it's easier to get everything done at once, this project can wait until you've got a better feeling for your new kitchen.
|Finish carpentry, i.e. kick plates under cabinets and cabinet hardware
|1 to 2 days
|Like the backsplash, you can wait to pick hardware until you get a better feeling for your new kitchen.
Want more tips for your upcoming kitchen remodel?
- Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Kitchen
- Kitchen Remodeling Trends to Follow or Skip
- What Should You Pay for a Kitchen Remodel?
- Affordable Kitchen Updates
- Kitchen Lighting Key to Good Kitchen Design