Black Lab Remodeling

How long does a Kitchen remodel take and why?

Trying to figure out when to start that kitchen transformation?  Not sure how long it should take?  What determines the complexity and how long a kitchen renovation/remodel will take?  These are all great questions, and that is what we’ll address in this blog.  The short answer is it depends, a complete project from design to final walk-through can take as long as six months when everything goes right.  But that same project could also take as little as three months depending on a few things.  Let’s take a closer look.

The first step in any project is to find a professional that can help.  That could be getting a designer, an architect, or a contractor who is also able to do designs.  But a design will be needed in order to make sure the vision you have can be brought to reality.  Depending on the complexity of the design, it can be anything from what is called shop drawings (basic level sketches that give a rough layout and design) to 3D graphic designs and floor plans that will be used with the local building department to have permits pulled.  These designs can take up to 2 months to finalize depending on how good the designer is at getting your vision out and put in either a paper or digital format.  It is also dependent on how much detail you are willing to give to the designer.

The next step after you have a design, if you didn’t use a contractor who is able to do the design work is to hire a contractor.  The contractor will take the design to the building department and start the permit process.  This process can be very straight forward and if there aren’t any major changes to the layout or structural components often times an over-the-counter permit can be issued on the day of application.  If you want to change the layout, including where plumbing and electrical are located, or if you want to knock out a wall (structural or not) this will oftentimes lead to a review process of the plans being needed and can take several weeks to months to get approval depending on the building department’s availability.

Once the permit is issued, it is time to order materials and finishes.  This is where things get fun and really exciting!  Depending on what materials, their quality, where they are from, and if they are special orders or stock materials will determine how long it will take for them to arrive.  Some materials might be delivered from overseas, and that can take a while.  Other materials may be local, but will still require fabrication, and that can take a month from the time of order.  This is where careful planning, and using a contractor who has a good working relationship with their vendors really pays off.  Let’s use countertops as an example.  By using the plans, we can order the materials, have them at the fabricator’s shop, and then when the cabinets are in place, the fabricator can come in, make their templates and then go and fabricate the counter with limited downtime.

As mentioned before, the overall length of the project will depend on the complexity.  What adds to the level of complexity?  If you are not changing the layout, but want new cabinets, countertops, fixtures, and appliances that would be a basic-level renovation.  If you are wanting to modify the layout, add new lighting, new cabinets and countertops, fixtures, and appliances that would be an example of a mid-level renovation.  If we are taking out a load baring wall, moving where the plumbing is, adding lighting, changing the layout completely, and new cabinets, countertops, fixtures, and appliances, that would be an example of a complex renovation.  Each of these renovations will have its own level of inspections that will need to occur, and these inspections need to be accounted for in the timeline of your project.

So remember, when it comes time to plan your remodel, find professionals who can help you design and plan the project from start to finish, and organize all the moving parts so that regardless of overall project length, it can be done as efficiently as possible.  Also, keep a copy of the design somewhere you can easily see it.  As you get progress updates from your contractor, you’ll be able to see the vision becoming a reality and that can help with the stress of doing a remodeling project.  Finally, remember the fastest way to get started is to share as much detail as possible with the designer and the contractor so they have a clear understanding of what your goal is.  This is an exciting time!  Let’s build something!

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