What are the Stages of Any Kitchen Remodeling Project?

Few home renovation projects can deliver as much value as a successfully executed kitchen remodel. The chance to reinvigorate the heart and soul of your home coupled with a tangible increase in the value of your property means you’ll be itching to get started.

However, since these projects are some of the biggest you can take on as a homeowner, it’s worthwhile spending time understanding the process. You certainly don’t want any hidden surprises when it comes to your kitchen remodel!

We’ve broken it down into 12 distinct phases for you, which starts with assessing your needs.

1. Assessing Needs Against Resources

The obvious place to start is by drawing up a list of what’s missing from your current kitchen. Ask yourself what you don’t like about your current set up and what could be improved that will add value and functionality.

Is your kitchen well laid out but filled with dated and ugly appliances and cabinets? Or do you need to make serious alterations to the layout to achieve your dream set up? Either way, once you’ve made your list of desired outcomes, it’s time to assess them against your current finances and your future intentions.

If your plan is to remain in situ for the next decade then a $100,000 investment in your kitchen may be worth the initial cost, since it will serve as an attractive family space with your desired functionality for many years to come. However, if you are looking to invest in your kitchen to simply improve it before a sale, you may have to be a touch shrewder with your choices to maximize your returns.

This is also the time to get realistic about budgets for materials and finishes. Custom-built solid walnut cabinets with marble countertops may be your ultimate dream, but you can achieve a very similar look with much cheaper materials. If you’re not tough on yourself at this stage, costs can quickly spiral out of control and ruin any chance of a respectable return on investment.

2. Design Phase

Once you’ve firmed up what you’re hoping to get out of a kitchen remodel and laid out an approximate budget, it’s time to think about design. There are five main kitchen design concepts which are as follows: 

  • The One-Wall Design
  • The Corridor Design
  • The L-Shape Design
  • The Double-L Design
  • The U-Shape Design

Whilst not all kitchens conform to these predetermined layouts, it’s highly likely that at least one of these will offer a great solution for your home. Of course, even with these five generic designs, no two kitchens are identical. So you’ll want to develop these ideas further by utilizing one of the following: 

  • Kitchen Design Software

    There are plenty of relatively inexpensive solutions that are great at helping you to plan and visualize your future space.

  • Kitchen Designers

    There are two types of kitchen designers. First, there are those who will design your kitchen for little or no cost in an effort to push you into buying their products and services. Second, there are independent kitchen designers who will produce more detailed designs for a much steeper initial fee.

  • Kitchen Remodeling Contractors

    Contractors will be able to help with their in-house design teams. Although how much design help you get before hiring them will differ from contractor to contractor. Most will offer sketches and suggestions at the quotation stage.

3. Deciding On Method of Project Delivery

The next stage is deciding how you wish to proceed once you’ve got the designs, budgets, material choices and other requirements in place. Once again, you’ve got three main methods available to you:

  • Hiring a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor

    By far the easiest method. General contractors will take care of everything from gaining the necessary permits to organizing all other auxiliary trades such as plumbers and electricians. You will need to carry out background research on what type of contractor they are. For example, are they an owner-operator or a large firm that subcontracts large percentages of the works?

  • Do it Yourself

    Right at the other end of the scale is doing all of the work yourself. Unless you happen to have the skills required for a kitchen remodel as part of your day job, this is not likely to be a good option for you. First and foremost, the work will take much longer, even if you have a helping hand. Ask yourself can you live without a functioning kitchen for six months or even longer? For most, the answer will be no.

  • Hire Your Own Subcontractors

    A compromise between the two. You effectively take on the role of project manager. You’ll be in charge of finding, hiring, and supervising the works. Therefore, once again this option isn’t going to be great fit if you don’t have any prior industry knowledge. You’ll also be responsible for a lot more admin, including obtaining all of the necessary permits.

4. Project Preparation

With all of the excitement and pressures of the previous phases, forgetting that you’re about to live without a fully-functioning kitchen for several weeks can be easily forgotten. Make sure to set aside some time to work out how you are going to feed yourself during the project. It may be the case that you have access to some appliances for periods during the project, whereas some others may be disconnected from start to finish.

Moving appliances that you are keeping (such as your fridge-freezer) into another room is good idea. You can also get organized and cook meals in advance. By freezing several evening meals ahead of time, all you’ll need is a microwave to heat them up before eating. Many turn to takeaway options or restaurant dining, but be wary of the cost. Exclusively eating out for several consecutive weeks can leave a huge hole in your pocket and probably isn’t great for your health either!

5. Demolition

Once designs have been agreed, the contractor has been hired, and alternative arrangements have been made for preparing and consuming meals, it’s time to start the project!

The first phase of any kitchen remodel is demolishing the sections of a kitchen that are either no longer required or are being completely replaced. This is perhaps the messiest part of the job. There’s lots of debris, dust and potentially hazardous materials such as asbestos to deal with. Even if you are not doing any of the work yourself it can be a good idea to pick up some facemasks and protective eyewear if you need to enter the affected area for any reason.

Despite the fact that this work is quite intensive, it’s relatively straightforward unless you plan to make any structural changes – such as altering a load-bearing wall.

6. New Building Work Begins

Once the demolition phase is complete and all materials have been removed, the kitchen remodel can begin in earnest. The work to introduce new kitchen structures usually starts with the carpentry team, unless you are making some major changes such as removing or introducing new windows.

Carpenters will begin to build-out the framework for your new kitchen structures such as kitchen islands, cabinets, worktops, and any other new requested structures. Once complete, other tradesmen will move in to undertake a “first fix” or rough-in.

7. Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC Rough-In

Once all the framework is in place, plumbers will come onto the project to make any necessary adjustments to pipes, electricians will run new wires to their new locations, and HVAC technicians will alter or install the necessary ductwork. This phase is known as a mechanical rough-in which is the first phase for these types of works. These trades will perform this phase before returning at a later date to finalize their initial works.

Of course, these works should be carried out by fully-licensed tradesmen who hold of all the necessary insurances and permits. If you hire a general contractor, they may subcontract these works out to specialists, or have an in-house team that works on each individual project. Make sure you know how they operate before you agree to hire them for your remodel. These works will also be subject to inspection by the relevant authorities to make sure they adhere to code.

8. Walls and Ceilings

Once the above works have been passed by an inspector, your kitchen will slowly edge its way from a battle zone to something that more closely resembles a kitchen. This phase will see the exterior walls receiving insulation against inclement weather. Pay attention to what insulation is being used, as the best types can save you money on your utility bills.

Next, all walls and ceilings are then primed and painted. If you’ve decided to go for a textured ceiling, it’ll be applied at this stage. Remember when choosing your color that lighter shades help the space feel bigger and brighter.

9. Laying Flooring

Once the walls and ceilings have been taken care of, it’s time for the flooring to go down. This is the last stage before installing cabinets, appliances and other fixtures to minimize damage to the new surface. Once more, this will either be subcontracted by your general contractor, or they may have their own in-house team.

Depending on your budget you have several flooring options:

  • Sheet Vinyl

    A choice that offers great value for money as it can be laid in one day and the material cost is much cheaper than other flooring options.

  • Ceramic Tile

    A little more involved in terms of installation, which bumps its price up. Tilers need a cement backer board base, adhesive, and then grout to complete installation. For that reason, choosing a cheaper tile will have little effect on those high labor costs.

  • Engineered Wood

    Feels like solid hardwood, but doesn’t have the associated price tag. A tongue and groove system makes this flooring option a popular choice as it’s relatively easy to install.

  • Laminate Flooring

    One of the most common choices due to its competitive price point and ease of installation. However, make sure to choose wisely as some forms are not suitable for moist environments such as a kitchen.

  • Solid Hardwood

    Hardwood isn’t quite as popular because it’s susceptible to water damage (warping), and it’s much more difficult to install. However, when cared for properly it can give your kitchen a premium look and feel.

10. Installing Cabinets and Countertops

You’re on the home straight now! Towards the end of the project your contractor will start to install the cabinets and countertops. Whilst this may look a simple process from the outside, cabinet hanging and countertop installation requires patience. Some materials (for instance wood) can change in shape during transit in response to temperature changes.

Carpenters and other skilled tradesmen have to take their time to ensure every single join fits perfectly, every surface is 100% flat, and that everything is anchored correctly. Rushing this phase could leave you with cabinet doors that don’t open properly, or a countertop that is wonky.

11. Specialists Return to Finish Off Rough-Ins

Once you’ve got the walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets and countertops in, your kitchen will suddenly look like those designs you drew up all those weeks ago!

At this point, plumbers will return to make the necessary finishing touches to pipe work feeding items such as your sink and fridge-freezer. Electricians will finish up the wiring by connecting up all of the appliances and installing any new light fixtures. HVAC engineers will make sure all duct work is in order, and once again inspectors for each will need to undertake evaluations to make sure everything is up to standard.

12. Finishing Touches

You’ve come to the end of your project! But you can’t quite breathe a sigh of relief just yet.

All works requiring permits will need to be stamped “final” by the relevant inspectors before being deemed compliant. Next, this is your opportunity to perform a walk-through of your new space and write up a list of snags and issues that need resolving before the contractor can move on to another project.

Look for any dings, scratches, joints that don’t meet properly, doors that don’t quite hang right, or anything else that you’re not happy with. This gives the contractor an opportunity to fix these issues and leave you with a new kitchen that you’re completely satisfied with. Good contractors will then either clean themselves or employ a house cleaning contractor to get the space looking incredible before you start using it.

And that’s it! It’s time to enjoy your revitalized kitchen area!

Hire a Contractor with a Great Track Record

It’s often said that kitchen remodels are only as good as the contractors undertaking the works. That’s why you need to give the works to a company you can trust with transforming your home.

Here at CaliCabi, have over a decade of experience in delivering beautiful-designed kitchen spaces. From our initial consultation, you’ll find out why hundreds of other homeowners have trusted us with their Los Angeles kitchen remodeling projects. We are fully licensed, insured and bonded, giving you total peace of mind. We are truly proud to stand behind our work, which is proven by our hundreds of satisfied customers. 

If you would like to learn more about our kitchen remodeling services, simply get in touch with a member of our team to find out how your kitchen can be transformed into the space of your dreams.