So you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen. How exciting! But before you roll up your sleeves and pick up that hammer, realize you need a little planning. First, there are basically two types of renovation: all at once and in stages. Both require a lot of organization, but the latter takes even more.
Some Pros and Cons
- With renovations happening all at once, pieces fit together with less guesswork.
- Materials are bought at once and in stock.
- The kitchen is dysfunctional for the shortest amount of time.
- It takes a mound of money all at once.
- The mess can be overwhelming.
Remodel in Stages
- Budget is easier to manage.
- The kitchen may be usable for the majority of each stage.
- A few months down the road, the funds may dwindle from a layoff or reduced hours at work.
- Subcontractor, roofer, woodworker, etc. might not be available when you are ready for the next step.
- When one stage is finished, you might realize the measurements are off for the next portion.
- You might be overcharged for skilled labor, in the early stages.
- Appliances or materials may be available now, but out of stock or even discontinued a few months later.
Know Your Limitations
Folks are not born knowing how to remodel a kitchen! There’s nothing wrong with asking professionals for help. And there are lots of horror stories about people who avoided a subcontractor, or other skilled worker, to save money, only to lose more in the long run because of costly mistakes. So figure out now where you require assistance - realistically.
Set Real Timelines
It’s all about schedule. If working in stages, this is critical. Expect projects to take longer than what you write on your calendar. And, when scheduling the cabinet maker or plumber, it may prove prudent to schedule those tasks during their slow season, if you are going in stages. Generally, the really skilled folks like finishing a project all at once, as other projects are already in their sights. Fitting yourself into their calendar may look more attractive to them.
This is a toughie! Make a list of all the appliances you want, and total them. Figure in labor, all materials and outline everything. Make sure you like it. Changing gears halfway through a project is monumentally expensive! Also, it is best to avoid trendy designs. What might look good at the store may be miserable to actually use, or a tough sell ten years from now when the house goes on the market.
For stages, if you don’t have a big budget now, don’t fool yourself into believing you will later. We all hope to be better off financially next year, with raises, promotions, finding a better job, etc. Yet, it doesn’t always happen, so don’t count on it.
Play it safe - pad the budget. Add an extra gallon of paint, figure the countertop will be at least a foot longer, that some materials will be damaged, and that appliances will cost more when you go to buy them later. Have money left over instead of scrambling at the last minute!
You need physical strength for working the project. But not so obvious is the mental stress. Your kitchen will be a mess. Cooking and cleaning will be a challenge. Do you have a BBQ, a sink in the garage or a makeshift one in the backyard? Will you eat out most of the time (budget)? Job is your normal schedule and the project only on weekends? Ask every conceivable question for a successful outcome.