A kitchen remodel is a major undertaking, one worth the time and trouble. However, most people have no idea of what that entails.
If you are planning to make this smart move soon, you should find out. This will make the experience a lot less stressful. After all, forewarned is forearmed! Here is what you should know about the kitchen remodeling process.

Design and layout

3D kitchen design
The first step in the kitchen remodeling process is the design and layout. In many cases, you probably have some idea of what you want your kitchen to look like. However, expert advice and inspiration is always helpful, especially if this is your remodel.
If you check designer kitchens or receive a proposed design from a potential contractor, you might notice most follow layouts centering on established work triangles.

The basic ones are:

  • Corridor
  • Double-L Shaped
  • L-Shaped
  • One-wall
  • U-Shaped

These layouts follow an efficient workflow, and one or more of them will work with your existing space as well as the way you use your kitchen. The contractor might be able to give you some idea of this with a 3D rendering of a kitchen design. This will most probably include the minimum aisle space you need to work efficiently in the kitchen.
You might want to get several design suggestions before deciding on one. You can also provide contractors with photos of the kitchens you like from sites such as Houzz and Home and Gardens. This will give them a better idea of what you want at the end of the remodel, and guide their designs.

Building and other permits

image of building permit
Many people are not aware that major kitchen remodels would require applying for permits from different agencies. This is because most municipal laws stipulate that any structural changes made to a home, be it to the building, the water system, or electrical wiring, may pose a danger to the occupants of a home if not done properly.

You will need the design and layout plans to get approval for these, but before you start work on the remodel. In most cases, your contractor will take care of all of this for you. You would still pay the fees, unless it is included in your contract, but you will not have to do it yourself.

Temporary quarters

temporary kitchen in garage
You can hardly live without a working kitchen, and a major remodel will probably take a few weeks to complete. You have to arrange for temporary quarters to do your daily tasks such as cooking and washing up for the duration.
A garage with a working faucet is the ideal place to set up a temporary kitchen. Have the workers move your appliances there, as they will have to move them somewhere anyway.

However, if the garage is nothing more than an empty room, it might be easier to set something up in the dining room or living room. Your best bet is to move your refrigerator and microwave in there, and live off take out and frozen meals.
You could avoid getting fat and save a ton of money by preparing big batches of food you can freeze and reheat. Buy biodegradable disposables to save you the trouble of cleaning up after. You can also encourage friends and family to take this time to invite you over for meals.

Demolition

demolition work
Now that you’ve done with your preparations, the real work in the kitchen begins. In most major remodeling projects, this involves some form of demolition. The extent will depend on what you are changing. It probably involves removing your old countertops at least. At the extreme end, it will involve gutting your entire kitchen, virtually starting from scratch.

In either case, it will be messy and noisy, and it might even be a health hazard if your home is old as this might mean lead paint and asbestos insulation. You might be tempted to do this part yourself to save some money, but you should know that knocking down things is just the fun part of the job. You still have to arrange for hauling off the debris. It might be wiser and even more cost-effective to have your contractor handle this part as well.

If you are staying in the home during demolition, make sure you have a good supply of earplugs and facemasks for everybody. It should not take more than a couple of days, but it is better to be on the safe side.

Building out

build-out photo
After demolition, the next part of the process is the structural build-out, or the framework. Your contractor will be putting up the skeleton of the layout as specified in the design. In some cases, it might be as simple as marking the space for your new cabinets. However, if you are taking out a wall or putting a new one in, this might be quite complicated. Once the contractor completes the build-out, you will see the bare outlines of your new kitchen.

Roughing in

The build-out is for the layout and structure. After that, the contractor will start putting in the plumbing, wiring, ventilation ducts and other behind-the-wall stuff. This is the mechanical rough in, and typically involves one or more licensed trades people working at the same time in their specific fields. These are primarily electricians, plumbers, and HVAC experts.
Plumbing and electrical rough-ins tend to take a long time, especially in old houses, even if they are mostly along existing ones. This is because pipes and wiring may be old and need replacing, or otherwise not up to code.
For example, many old houses have low amperage in their circuit boxes because there were fewer electrical appliances back in the day. The minimum today is 200 amps, and should probably be higher depending on your appliances. This often means having to lay new lines back to the source to bring these up to code. Otherwise, the build might not pass inspection, and result in costly delays.

Inspection

After completing the rough in, work stops until the inspectors from various agencies have given the go signal. If you have a good remodeling contractor, you should have nothing about which to worry.
However, if the work does not get approval, this might mean a delay of several days. It might not mean more money if you locked in the contract, but it will mean inconvenience for you until the contractor resolves all the issues. This is why it is important to get a reliable and experienced contractor for a major remodel.

Finishing

After inspection and approval, the next thing to happen is finishing. Depending on the extent of your remodel, this can take a few hours to a few days as this might involve closing up and painting the ceilings and walls, and laying down the floor. Putting in the cabinets and countertops, connecting the pipes, and testing the outlets are the last things to happen.

Cleaning up

A reliable remodeling contractor will ensure that your kitchen will be spic and span, and ready to use. This means putting in the fixtures, cleaning up, and bringing in the appliances. At this point, you should carry out your own inspection to make sure everything is as you expected. If you have any issues, coordinate it with the contractor before making your final payment. While you can certainly ask them to come back to do any touch ups, it is more efficient to do it immediately.

Conclusion

The process of remodeling a kitchen might seem easy in television shows, but the reality is much more complicated. Knowing what to expect can make it a more pleasant experience that it would have been if you have gone into it without a clue. You can also make it easier on yourself by hiring a reliable contractor to carry it out for you.

Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond offers free consultation services and quotes, so you can have the benefit of our expertise without spending a dime.
We are a local remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois. We work only with quality natural stones for countertops as well as the best cabinet brands at the best prices compared to our competitors such as Advance Cabinets and Handsome Cabinets.
Visit us today to see what we have to offer. We service Chicago land and have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of countertops and kitchen cabinets – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.