Are you planning a kitchen remodel and starting to feel overwhelmed?
It’s no wonder — kitchen renovations are no small task. A kitchen is unlike any other room in the home. Not only does it need the necessary walls and flooring to make it a separate, dedicated space but it also needs a variety of electrical and plumbing hookups, as well as space for appliances.
With so many moving parts, kitchen renovations can quickly go from a fun project to a major headache.
Fret not, however, as this guide is here to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.
In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about kitchen renovations and how long they take to complete. We take you through the 7-step process of a kitchen renovation, starting from the planning phase and ending at the installation of new appliances and fixtures.
Read on to find out all about planning your kitchen renovation and creating a realistic timeframe.
The 7 Stages to a Complete Kitchen Remodel
To best take you through the kitchen remodel process, we have divided it into seven key stages:
Obtaining a permit
Electrical wiring and plumbing
Installing cabinets and countertops
Finishing walls and flooring
Installing appliances and fixtures
Each of these stages comes with its own unique considerations, all of which we cover below.
Without further ado, here are the seven essential stages of a kitchen renovation, including time estimates for how long each stage should take to complete:
1. Kitchen Renovation Planning
Remodeling projects are no joke — some renovation professionals dedicate their entire careers simply to helping home and property owners to create an effective remodeling plan.
As such, the first crucial stage of your remodel is planning everything out. This process can include:
Obtaining up-to-date blueprints of your kitchen or having blueprints created
Determining a high-low budget that gives you clear financial goals and limitations
Mapping out existing electrical wiring and plumbing
Creating several rough drafts of what you want the final result to look like
Researching building and finishing materials, such as flooring and countertops
Deciding which (if any) of your appliances need to be replaced with new ones
Contacting carpenters, architects, interior designers, and any other professionals you may want to consult with on your remodeling project
Obtaining the proper permits to begin your renovation (more on that in stage two)
At the end of the day, having a solid remodel plan in place before beginning your project is the key to ensuring the project is completed with efficiency and quality.
The amount of time it takes for you to complete the planning stage is ultimately up to you. Some homeowners like to plan months or even years in advance, while others prefer to wait until their ideal renovation date is closer. You should aim to give yourself at least one to two months of total planning time during this stage of your renovation.
2. Obtaining a Kitchen Renovation Permit
As we touched on above, before you can begin your remodel, you must obtain the appropriate permits.
Permit requirements can vary depending on where you live. In North Vancouver, for example, the city requires you to obtain a permit in the following scenarios:
New constructions (which includes the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing buildings that create a new area, such as expanding a room).
Changing the land use of an existing commercial space
Adding a secondary suite to an existing house
Any renovations that include moving interior walls, as well as moving existing plumbing, electrical, or gas lines.
Drywall repairs to fire separations in multi-unit residential buildings
Construction or altering of a garage, shed, or deck
Renovation or tenant improvements for a new or existing commercial space
Not obtaining the necessary permit for your project can result in a variety of consequences, from delayed renovations to hefty “work without permit” penalty fees. As such, it is always in your best interest to double-check with your city authority on whether or not your project falls within the scope of a permit.
In terms of how long it takes to apply for and receive a permit, this can once again vary depending on your location and how busy your city’s permit office is when you apply. Generally, permits for basic renovations have an initial processing time of 2-3 weeks, whereas permits for more complex renovation projects can take around 8-10 weeks to receive. However, it's important to note that the duration could extend further based on the workload of city officials.
For anyone in North Vancouver, visit the city of North Vancouver website to learn more about permit requirements.
3. Kitchen Demolition
If you’re lucky, you can get through your kitchen remodel with minimal demolition needed.
Yet, in many cases, a kitchen remodel requires the partial or total demolition of the kitchen’s layout and structures. What makes a total demolition advantageous is that it allows you to reimagine your kitchen however you like best. However, total demolition can be more costly and time-consuming than just a partial demolition (i.e. removing current cabinet fixtures but leaving appliances in their current positions).
Determining what your demolition needs are is the first step to figuring out how long the demolition phase will take. We have broken this into three main categories to help you estimate:
Minimal Demolition: Minimal demolition means you are changing very few structural elements within your kitchen. For instance, you may opt to keep the existing cabinets and simply paint them a different color, with the removal of maybe or two sections of the cabinet system. For a minimal demolition, plan to spend one day on your demolition efforts.
Partial Demolition: In a partial demolition, you may make significant structural changes that impact the functionality of your kitchen while leaving major appliances in place. For example, you may tear down all the cabinets and counters around your sink and fridge but leave those two items in the same location. For a partial demolition, set aside at least one to three days.
Full Demolition: A full demolition means you are essentially wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch. Not only does this include the removal of structural elements like cabinets and counters, but it can also include the relocation of some or all of your appliances. Depending on your kitchen’s current setup, this may require some electrical and plumbing work to move appliances to the desired location. For a full demolition, plan to spend at least three to five days on the project. Full demolitions of large kitchens can take a week or more to complete.
4. Kitchen Electrical Wiring & Plumbing
Changing up the electrical wiring and plumbing lines that lead to your kitchen can be one of the more complex tasks involved in a renovation project.
While you can certainly try to complete these tasks on your own, if you are not trained as an electrician or plumber, the job can quickly become overwhelming. Moreover, if you are not familiar with these systems and how to properly install them, you may end up creating hazards that will require costly repairs later on.
This makes it of the utmost importance to find professionals who can take on these tasks for you, such as individual contractors or renovation groups that have licensed electricians and plumbers on their teams.
As for how long this stage of the renovation will take, it depends on several factors, including:
The availability of the contractors and/or renovation companies you want to hire
The complexity of the electrical and plumbing changes you wish to make
The time needed to receive all the proper supplies, permits, and equipment
If you have taken the time during the first stage to plan out who you will hire and contact them, you may not be as limited by a contractor or company’s availability, as you will have already contacted them earlier in the year and gotten on their schedule during your renovation timeframe.
Regardless, you should give a contractor or renovation company at least one to two weeks to get you on their schedule — though some may require service reservations months in advance.
For the total completion of the electrical and wiring changes, once again, it depends on the complexity. Simple projects may take between one to three days, while more complex projects can take around one to two weeks to complete. Dedicating the necessary time to this stage is crucial, as botched electrical or plumbing work can spell major trouble for your kitchen down the line.
5. Installing Cabinets & Countertops
With all of your structural, electrical, and plumbing changes taken care of, you can move on to installing your new cabinets and countertops for your renovated kitchen.
If you have opted to keep the existing cabinets and countertops, then all you need to do is repaint or refinish them with the colors and substances of your choice. This can take around one day to one week to complete, depending on how quickly you work.
For partially new cabinets and countertops, give yourself at least one week to complete installations. If you have had your cabinets and countertops custom-made for your kitchen, this can cut back on installation time, as the structures will already be designed to fit perfectly according to your dimensions.
In scenarios where you are replacing the entirety of your cabinets and countertops, give yourself at least one to two weeks to finish this process completely.
Additionally, you need to factor in how long it will take for your new cabinets and countertops to arrive. If you have opted for out-of-the-box options from a hardware store or online seller, these items will likely arrive fairly quickly. Meanwhile, custom-made cabinets and countertops can take significantly longer to be constructed, completed, and delivered to your home.
For anyone going down the custom-made path, plan for at least one to three months of time for your cabinets and countertops to be designed, completed, and delivered.
6. Flooring & Wall Finishes
Once your cabinets and countertops are in place, you can finally move into the last two stages of your kitchen renovation. For this second-to-last phase, you need to install any new flooring and finish your interior walls (which includes finishing any new drywall and applying the final coats of paint).
Finishing your kitchen walls can take between one to two weeks in total. If you have only made minor changes to the existing walls, then this step may only take one to three days to complete.
Installing flooring can be either quick or extremely time-consuming — it all comes down to the type of flooring you have selected. For example, laminate flooring can be installed very quickly, typically within one to two days. Meanwhile, hardwood flooring can take several weeks to install, especially if you plan on varnishing and sealing the hardwood after installation.
All-in-all, you should plan to set aside at least one week to one month’s worth of time to complete your flooring and wall finishings in your kitchen.
7. Installing Fixtures & Appliances
The last stage of the kitchen renovation process is re-installing appliances and final fixtures.
Appliances are pretty straightforward to install — however, there’s never anything wrong with getting help from a professional to make sure the installation is done properly. Typically, if you purchase an appliance from a major hardware store, that store will offer you an installation service as well.
Plan to set aside at least one to two days for appliance installations, as well as the time needed to order and receive your new appliances.
As for your final fixtures, this mainly refers to lighting fixtures around your kitchen. Lighting fixtures can be both simple and complex, so it is once again best to turn to a professional for help if you are unsure about how to properly install your lighting fixtures.
Like with appliances, you should plan on at least one to two days for installing light fixtures, as well as the time needed to order and receive these fixtures.
Still feeling stressed about your kitchen renovation?
Hopefully, this guide has served as a useful tool for helping you along the way to planning an efficient and effective kitchen remodeling project. However, if you want to take the complexity out of the process entirely, your best bet is to work with a renovation specialist for your kitchen remodeling needs.
With the help of a professional renovation specialist, you can ensure all your bases are covered, from planning blueprints to obtaining permits. Plus, a specialist enables you to dream to your wildest imagination without worrying about how you will pull off your craziest ideas.
No matter what route you take in the end, the key is to put careful planning and consideration into your kitchen renovation before beginning the process.