Our Step By Step Guide To Remodelling Your Kitchen
Kitchens are single-handedly one of the most expensive rooms to remodel in many home renovation projects. “Basic” cosmetic upgrades like replacing kitchen hardware, painting cabinets and walls, and switching to pendant lights could easily cost upwards of £5000.
Nevertheless, a kitchen remodeling project can be very exciting, not to mention its potential to increase your home’s equity value tremendously. Whether you are new to kitchen renovation or need help with a subsequent project, here are the steps you should take to make the endeavor worth your money and effort.
Assess Your Needs
Unfortunately, too many kitchen renovation projects go over budget because the homeowners did not assess their needs and desires against what their allocated funds could purchase.
Draw the Line between Needs and Desires
Begin by pointing out the peskiest of issues with your existing kitchen. Does your kitchen look outdated? Is your sink leaking underneath? Do you have too little cooking space?
List such problems and more by order of priority, beginning with the most persistent. Distinguishing what you need from what you want will save you from unmatched fund allocation down the line.
Determine the Project’s Resale Value
What will be the financial payback of your new kitchen? A grand remodel may be worth the cost if you intend to stay in your current house for years to come. However, a basic kitchen renovation might be more appropriate if you want to move out in the foreseeable future.
Adopt a Flexible Mindset
Right from the get-go, establish a flexible mindset and prepare to cut costs wherever possible. While general contractors make light work of remodeling projects from start to finish, they come at a premium price.
Similarly, high-end materials like marble countertops and custom cabinets might look amazing, but they cost a fortune. You can save money by being a quasi-contractor and getting cheaper, high-quality materials.
Design Your Dream Kitchen
With a solid idea of your dream kitchen and a flexible mindset, you can begin drawing plans for your kitchen or outsource the design work to a professional. Some resources you might find useful include:
- Kitchen design software
- Professional kitchen designers
- General contractors
DIY or Hire a Contractor
Now that you have the plans for your new kitchen, it is time to turn your drawings into reality. Here are three viable options depending on your expertise and budget:
With the right experience and enough time to spare, DIY kitchen remodels can be very fulfilling and cost-effective. However, make no mistake; DIYs are not for the faint-of-heart and could seriously burn you out before reaping any meaningful fruits for your efforts.
- Hire a General Contractor (GC)
General contractors are building companies that specialize in managing construction projects. A reputable GC can handle your kitchen renovation project from start to finish without much or any of your input, but their services do not come cheap.
- Hire Subcontractors
By working as a quasi-GC – sourcing materials, hiring and supervising construction personnel – you can save money and leverage more qualified people’s experience.
Once you are ready to begin work, apply for all the necessary permits, e.g., building, electrical, and plumbing, from your city or county administration. If a GC is handling your renovation, ask them to obtain the permits for you.
Prepare to live without a kitchen for the entirety of the project. Convert a spare room with a sink into a temporary kitchen/dining area or arrange for frequent meals at restaurants.
After all the preparation is done, your first “real step” will be loud and messy. If you will handle the demolition, brace yourself for physical exhaustion, take precautions as necessary and wear the right safety gear.
Avoid prolonged exposure to asbestos and bare skin contact with lead-based paint. Also, arrange for a dumpster to haul away any discarded appliances and debris.
Arguably, “real remodeling” begins when the framing work commences. Framing may involve major construction work depending on your dream kitchen’s configuration. Although time-intensive, many DIY enthusiasts can handle framing work by themselves.
Mechanical rough-in involves laying out new or re-routed wiring, HVAC duct-work, and plumbing pipes. This phase is very technical and is best performed by licensed electricians, HVAC professionals, and plumbers.
Besides the complexity, wiring and plumbing are inherently hazardous and could cause severe consequences if done incorrectly. We recommend subcontracting this phase’s tasks to licensed professionals.
Finish the Walls and Ceilings
This step will transform your kitchen from a chaotic mess to something more presentable. Begin by insulating the exterior walls with fiberglass batt to protect your kitchen from inclement weather. Consider installing high-quality insulation now that you can access the wall cavities.
Next, install the drywall, then tape and finish the seams. Finish this phase by priming and painting the walls and ceilings.
Flooring installation is among the last phases of renovation. Ideally, you should save it for last to prevent accidental damage on your new floor.
The time it takes to complete this phase will largely depend on your flooring material. For instance, sheet vinyl might only take one day while ceramic tiles and solid hardwood might take a few days.
Cabinets and Countertop Installation
Cabinet-hanging and countertop installation look deceivingly easy, but they are better left to the experts. Let your GC handle this phase or subcontract the work to a reputable finish carpenter.
Appliance and Fixture Installation
This phase is simple, and most DIYers should be up to the task. However, if you subcontracted the earlier stages of wiring and plumbing to a team of experts, they should handle the final connections as part of their contractual obligation.
Inspection and Completion
Now that all the work is complete, go through the project with your contractors, highlighting your areas of dissatisfaction. Lastly, get all the relevant inspectors to approve your project’s completion by reviewing the work and stamping your permit applications.
Kitchen remodeling projects are usually exhilarating and rewarding if done appropriately but unnecessarily time-consuming, costly, and stressful if approached haphazardly. Plan accordingly before any actual work commences, hire the right professionals if necessary and tackle the entire project with a flexible mindset.