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Kitchen Remodeling

So you want to completely update your kitchen and you don't know where to start?
I wrote this page to give you a basic understanding of the kitchen remodeling process.
I've included a list of the various trades that may be involved.
For the uninitiated homeowner, the kitchen remodeling process can be a daunting experience. Armed with a little useful information at the beginning, the experience does not by any means have to be a negative one. The goal, of course, is to end up with a beautiful and functional space in your home in as little time as possible and by spending the least amount of money for the level of quality you expect. Your family's survival during this period is essential also, with as little disruption of family routine as is necessary.
The key to having your goal realized is having people involved in the project that you feel comfortable with and that you trust to give you a fair price for the work they do and do their work conscientiously. These people must be able to perform their job with consideration for and in coordination with other tradesmen. They must take into account the many details and aspects of their part that overlap with another's part.
Above all, it will be important to choose the general contractor well. This is the person that you will have the most contact with, and will be in charge of every other workman in your home. He will need to have the capacity to have a firm grasp of the "big picture", and at the same time, focus on the hundreds of tiny details throughout the course of your project. He will stay in communication with you and help you make large and small decisions. In the end, he will be responsible for the entire project. This is what he gets paid for.
Let me briefly touch on the subject of communication again. In order for you to end up with "the kitchen of your dreams", your contractor must have a clear understanding of what is important to you. Your contractor relies on you to communicate to him the information he needs in a clear, concise manner. You must be able to rely on him as well. Sometimes people have an idea in their mind of the way a thing should be and they assume that others see it that way also. They may be so convinced that they have been clear in their communication, but in reality, not. This will invariably lead to disappointment when work is performed that doesn't line up with how it "should" be. This is why written instructions, detailed contracts, design drawings, and even magazine pictures play such a vital role in keeping a clear and mutual understanding throughout the project. All of this applies to every other workman in your home also. You need your contractor to clearly relay important information to them on your behalf.
If by now you are starting to get the idea that your contractor will play a vital role in the success of your remodel project, and that your choosing the right person for the job is of maximum importance, you are right. This is exactly the reason why price cannot be the sole determining factor in choosing the contractor, or any other tradesman for that matter.
At this point I'd like to list the different aspects of construction that may take place. These are in basic chronological order.
Kitchen Design
The first step will be to have someone help you to arrive at finished kitchen design, complete with a floor plan drawing and elevation drawings for each view in your kitchen. This needs to be a very detailed and comprehensive set of documents that your general contractor will need in order to accurately bid your project. With these scale drawings you will be able to see exactly how your kitchen will look.
I specialize in kitchen layout design, and I offer this service at a fraction of the cost that an architect would normally charge.
Order Cabinets, Appliances and Fixtures
In order to avoid any delays, you'd want to make sure all the critical components are ordered. Your cabinetry is one component that will take some time to produce, so you'd want to get the process started as early as possible. You probably want to have your project completed in the shortest amount of time, so it would be a good idea to try to avoid as many problems as possible by taking someone else's room for error out of the equation. This means ordering the appliances and fixtures and then verifying that they have actually been ordered and asking for delivery dates.
Someone will have to carefully remove and store the existing appliances, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, etc. Then remove and discard (or not) the old counters and cabinets, flooring(?), walls that need relocating, furrdowns and so on. There needs to be adequate protection for adjacent rooms and flooring or wall surfaces that will remain, as well as furniture, automobiles, artwork, etc.
This only applies if you are enlarging your kitchen by adding square footage area.
Rough Carpentry
This will include framing any new walls, adding any load-bearing support members below, in or above your kitchen, moving windows and doors, raising ceilings and adding skylights, and any other structural changes you can think of.
Electrical Work, Plumbing and HVAC
Depending on how extensive your project is and how much you are varying from the original layout, you may have need of very little work done in these categories or a lot. Also there may be communications wiring such as phone lines, speaker wire, security system components, and any built-in computer wiring such as cable or other networking lines. Usually there will be switches to be moved and new light fixtures, including counter top lighting, to be wired for and installed.
Insulation, Drywall and Drywall Finishing
Self explanatory
Wood Floor Installation
If wood strip flooring is what you've selected, this is the time to have it installed. This allows the new wood floor a period of time to acclimatize before it is finally sanded and finished. We will come back to this later.
Cabinet Installation
After the drywall has been finished, your cabinetmaker delivers and starts his installation. Depending on the size of your project, this may take one week for a small kitchen, to a month or more for a larger job. Most kitchens take about one and a half weeks. When the installation is nearly complete, the countertop fabricator can be scheduled to come and take his measurements.
Finish Carpentry
Any additional trimwork such as door casings, baseboards, etc.
Paint and Cabinet Finishing
Cabinet finishing is best accomplished after the cabinets are installed and the counter top fabricator has measured for counters. The finisher will use plastic and masking tape and create a little spray booth in your kitchen. The finishing process often takes about a week.
Countertop installation
Depending on what type of counters you've chosen, the counters are either fabricated elsewhere and then installed, or fabricated in place. Granite and other natural stone counters, solid surface counters such as Corian, hardwood butcherblock counters, and stainless steel counters are all fabricated at your counter guy's shop and then installed when ready. Concrete, tile and plastic laminate counters are all fabricated on site. Many times there will be a combination of materials such as granite counters with a natural stone tile backsplash and maybe stainless steel or butcherblock for a smaller separate area.
Finish Floors
Depending on what type floors you've selected, this is the time to complete them. The wood floors are sanded and finished and tile floors are installed. Then the finished floors are protected against any possible inadvertent damage.
Appliance Installation, Plumbing and Electrical Fixture Installation
This includes all applicable major appliances as well as your kitchen sink and faucet, light fixtures, vent hood, electrical switches, plugs, and cover plates, telephones, security devices, etc. Also, any glass work you're having done such as the glass for cabinet doors or bathroom mirrors can go in.
Cabinet hardware
After you've selected and purchased your cabinet door and drawer pulls, you'll have your cabinetmaker come back and drill for and install the hardware and make any final door alignment adjustments, put in the adjustable shelves, put on the door bumper pads, and any other final touches.
With the exception of some minor paint touch-up, and some major cleaning, your kitchen is now finished. That wasn't so bad, was it? Now comes the really exciting part! Now you can move all your stuff back into your new, more efficient kitchen! You can find new ways of organizing the items that make sense to you! You can restock the refrigerator and cook your first meals! You can have that big house warming party and invite all your new construction worker friends!...... (kidding)!
Alright then! Are you ready to tackle the bathrooms?
Many times people decide that they'd like new kitchen cabinets and so they get in touch with me. They've either gotten my name from their neighbor or co-worker or they've found my website. This is an excellent first step. I believe that the quality and design of the cabinetry as well as the overall kitchen layout can either make or break a kitchen renovation. So then, with that most important hump behind you, now is the time to find, if you haven't already, your general contractor. If you would like the names of some people that I've worked with and feel would be a good match, I'd be happy to help.