This short blog is oriented towards the homeowner that has already made the decision to remodel their kitchen, and who has also been through the decision making process to hire a professional builder/remodeler to perform the work. In my local jurisdiction, three licensed trades (mechanical, plumbing, and electrical) also have to "pull" permits on top of the general building permit while undergoing the typical kitchen remodel project. Kitchens come is many shapes and sizes. They can also be of contemporay, modern, eclectic, or transitional design. As long as the project doesn't invlove moving many walls, a good kitchen designer can provide a pleasant one-stop-shopping experience. Generally speaking, the more complicated and involved the design becomes the more practical the need for a licensed architect, and sometimes engineer, for sophisticated structural issues. For this blog, we should generalize the subject matter by assuming that we are working with an average sized project and will engage with a designer. The certified, professional kitchen designer will be able to design the kitchen around the homeowner's lifestyles (active, aging in place, disabled, etc.) select the appropriate line of cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, and even assist with the selection of appliances. Most of the "custom" cabinets that we install are actually a hybrid of handmade boxes and manufactured door panels. Tastes also differ from homeowner to homeowner on whether to use stain or paint grade material.
I am a professional homebuilder/remodeler, not a kitchen designer; therefore, I try to introduce our kitchen remodel clients to a couple of designers that I feel comfortable with for taking care of their needs, and then let the design process take its' course from a respectable distance. The kitchen design process will have both showroom and home settings. Design is critical and sometimes vision doesn't occur naturally when too much time is spent in the existing space. Kitchen design software now allows the kitchen remodel client to take a 3D tour of the proposed kitchen design. My key role in the initial kitchen design process is usually to help field verify that the existing framing is compatible with the new design and to coordinate the myriad of trade's actual due diligence during the estimating period.
Our typical kitchen remodel projects may take anywhere from 30-90 days, depending on complexity and logistics. With good coordination, the cabinets may be fabricated and all other special order items warehoused and ready to install in a very timely and efficient manner. One of our recent kitchen remodel projects had a near seemless installation by having a solid plan and by accounting for everything prior to demolition. Immediately following demolition our licensed trades cycled through their respective work, we then buttoned up the walls, installed cabinets and tops, and tiled and painted out. I beleive that our cleint's kitchen was out of order for a total of 35 days by following this tecnique.This sort of in and out process can even be shortened, but it is not for everybody.
Our typical kitchen remodel will follow these general steps:
- Decision to remodel kitchen and selection of professional builder/remodeler (projects are normally bid out to several builder/remodelers when designers or architects are retianed first).
- Site visit for initial assessment.
- Introduction to kitchen designer.
- Design and selection of cabinets, appliances, plumbing and lighting fixtures, countertops, backsplashes, flooring, and painting.
- Estimating, contracting, and scheduling.
- Placement of orders.
- Plumbing, mechanical (air supplies and vent hood), and electrical*.
- Cabinet installation, countertop installation, backsplash installation.
- Plumbing fixture installation.
- Appliance installation.
- Lighing installation.
- Punch out and clean up.
*Most jurisdictions require that hard-wired smoke detectors be installed in all bedrooms and adjacent hallways when we are doing this level of work in homes. Please verify with your local building inspections office for local rules and regulations.
***Please contact us via our contact page for first hand experiences from homeowners such as yourself that are currently in the midst of a kitchen remodel project, or whom have recently completed one.
Best of luck!