Knowing when (and how) to start a kitchen remodel

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If you’re planning to renovate your kitchen, or any other area of your home, it is important to understand how essential the timeline is. Like most homeowners, you probably want to get started – and finished – with the remodel as soon as possible.

But be careful to not let your eagerness drive you too quickly past the planning phase. The level to which you iron out the fine details and establish the logistics of the project will influence the efficiency of its execution. Cutting corners, not asking the right questions and failing to assess all your options can have a ripple effect, leading to delays, miscommunication and unnecessary expenses down the road.

On the other hand, some homeowners wait until the last minute and, needing a project finished as quickly as possible, aren’t offered the leeway to make careful, thoughtful decisions. If you’re rushed, you won’t be able to spend enough time considering, for example, whether it makes more sense to replace or re-face your kitchen cabinets or why wood probably isn’t the best material to use for countertops. Plus, you may end up choosing the first contract company that calls you back – paying little mind to its experience, skills or credibility. All of this can result in regret, frustration and dissatisfaction.

“If you want your kitchen remodeled by winter, you should consult with a contractor in July.”

When should you start a kitchen remodel?
Of course, the time it takes for project completion depends on the changes you are planning to make, as well as the contract company you work with. According to remodeling experts, the average time it takes to renovate an entire kitchen is eight to 12 weeks, whereas making a few relatively minor upgrades shouldn’t take more than two. Furthermore, if you work with a business that offers services to help expedite the process, such as design imaging and visualizers, it can help get the job done even faster. Through specialty programs, you could even get your kitchen remodeled in as few as 10 days.

Regardless, to err on the safe side, it is best to start as early as possible – even a season before you may assume you need to. For example, Alure Home Improvements Designer Patricia Nicolini explained that, if you want to have your kitchen remodeled before Christmas because you’re planning to have guests over, don’t wait until October to get started. Your best bet would be to begin the consulting stage in July.

Many homeowners don’t do this – which is understandable. Having family over for the holidays isn’t usually at the forefront of people’s minds when they’ve haven’t even celebrated July 4. But thinking and acting this far in advance can have tremendous benefits. You will be able to save money, energy and ultimately have a finished product you are far more satisfied with than you otherwise would be.

Tips for developing a kitchen remodeling timeline
You’re a busy person and fitting a redesign or remodel project into your schedule may not always be easy – especially in a room you tend to use every day. However, keep in mind that many quality designers and contractors are booked out months in advance and get particularly busy during the warmer months. It would be beneficial for you to not just take into account when the best time for you is, but when the contractor will be able to give your project the attention and focus it deserves. For example, Nicolini added that teachers often choose the summer months to contact a remodeling company, but a much better time for them to begin planning would March or April.

Both homeowners and contractors benefit from a well planned timeline.
Both homeowners and contractors benefit from a well planned timeline.

Below are some additional steps to help ensure your kitchen remodel project goes as smooth as possible.

  • Get specific: The start and end dates are not the only critical points of the timeline. You need to plan and account for each task that will occur along the way. Establish when you want or need certain parts of the project completed and when, as well as how  long each job will take. This will help you gain a better, more comprehensive understanding and view of what to expect and when to expect it. It will enable both you and the designers and contractors to create a schedule that works best and will allow you to check in throughout the process to make sure everything is on schedule.
  • Plan for delays: Ideally, there will be no disruptions, delays or issues that unexpectedly arise. But the truth of the matter is that sometimes things happen that are out of our control and it is better to pad a little wiggle room into the schedule than run into issues later because your planning didn’t include any flexibility for error.
  • Be realistic: Another reason the consulting and planning period of a kitchen remodel is so important is because it can help give you more realistic expectations. Make sure you are communicating openly and honestly with your contractor. Ask the professionals working on your project what, if anything, concerns them about the project or which aspects may pose an issue at any point.
  • Prioritize: Think about what makes you want to remodel. Do you simply want a new, modern look that is more suitable for your needs? Or do you want your kitchen to be a place that makes you feel proud to have guests over? Once you know how long each part of the project is expected to take, it may help you sequence the changes based on which are more important to get done.

The more time you give yourself – and the firm you hire – to plan and prepare for a kitchen remodel, the more efficient and successful the experience will be.

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