Step Three: Construction Planning for Your Kitchen Remodel

The ultimate guide to planning a kitchen remodel presented by Home Depot & Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Kitchen-remodeling projects should follow a logical work sequence, as those that don’t are subject to problems down the line. In this post, we’ll provide a typical progression of work for a moderate remodeling project. While your remodeling might not encompass all of the steps shown, this construction list will give you a good idea of what to expect:

Tip: Create an indoor staging area for storing materials and supplies, including lumber, tools, paint, flooring and cabinets. If you don’t have space inside the house, use a garage or enclosed porch. If neither is an option, rent a storage pod.

DIY or Not

Remodeling an entire kitchen isn’t a do-it-yourself project, but there are certain parts of the job that you can tackle.

For example, if you’ve got the tools, time and inclination, you can save a significant amount of money by demolishing the old kitchen. It’s a dusty, dirty job, but it doesn’t require specialized skills. Just be sure to wear the proper safety gear and work carefully.

A. If your old appliances have plug-in cords, begin by removing them. Disconnect the sink and pry off the countertops.

B. Next, remove the doors, drawers and shelves from the cabinets. Remove the cabinets by first unscrewing them from one another and then unscrewing them from the walls. It’s easier and less messy to remove the cabinets intact rather than busting them into pieces with a sledgehammer.

C. Once the kitchen is cleared of all the cabinets, check with the contractor on how to handle the old floor. Whether it stays or goes will depend on several factors, including the type and thickness of the existing floor, the type and thickness of the new floor and the condition and thickness of the subfloor.

D. Not every project will require it, but removing drywall or plaster from walls and ceilings is another good DIY job. Just be careful not to cut into or damage any structural framing, wiring or pipes.

Do-it-yourselfers should not attempt to do any wiring or plumbing; that’s best left to a professional. Also, let the pros tear down and reframe walls, fabricate counters, install cabinets and lay new flooring.

Seeking Professional Help

We all need a little professional guidance from time to time, and that’s especially true when remodeling a kitchen. Here are several professional services that are available to help your dream kitchen become a reality:

Kitchen designers can create a kitchen design and working plan that meets the needs of your home and family. Free design help is available at most home centers.

Design and build contractors are skilled at both designing and building projects. Just be sure to hire someone who’s experienced in kitchen remodeling.

Cabinet refinishers provide free evaluations to determine if your existing cabinets can be refinished or refaced. If they can, then you won’t have to buy all new cabinets.

Countertop fabricators specialize in building and installing counters. Your general contractor or kitchen designer will be able to recommend someone they’ve worked with in the past.

Lighting designers will custom design a lighting scheme specifically for your kitchen. They can also help find fixtures that best suit your kitchen design and budget.

A building engineer is required to approve any structural work, such as removing walls, relocating doorways, raising ceilings and building out from the house.

Flooring contractors can remove or refinish old floors and install new flooring. Hire someone who has experience installing your type of floor.

Water-treatment specialists will design, install and maintain a water filtration system for your kitchen. Options include a water filter, reverse-osmosis system and hot-water dispenser. They can also install whole-house water softeners for homes with hard, mineral-rich water.

Surviving a Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling a kitchen can be a very stressful, traumatic time. Living without a functioning kitchen for a few weeks can be maddening, especially if you have young children. Imagine scavenging through stacked boxes to unearth the cereal, washing dishes in the bathtub, or finding creative ways to microwave yet another meal. Those are the realities of daily life when your kitchen is under construction.

While no one enjoys roughing it in their own home, it is possible to survive a remodeling with a minimal amount of inconvenience and disruption—but only if you plan ahead.

1. First, set up a temporary kitchen in an adjoining room using a few of the old base cabinets and the long section of the countertop.

2. Pack up all but the most essential kitchen items and store them in the garage or basement. Keep countertop appliances, frying and sauce pans, food-storage containers and a few plates and utensils. Suitcases and plastic bins can be used as dust-free storage boxes for nonessential dishes, pots and pans.

3. Find a spot in the provisional kitchen for the old refrigerator (or small dorm fridge), coffeemaker and trash can.

4. Plan meals around the microwave oven, electric skillet, toaster oven and barbecue grill. Of course, eating out at restaurants is an option, but only if you’ve budgeted for it.

5. Be aware of any upcoming holidays. Make arrangements to dine with relatives or friends. Lastly, accept the fact that most remodeling projects take longer than originally planned.

Check back tomorrow for our final installment of our kitchen remodeling guide which will focus on picking the right products for your kitchen remodel.

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