The Seven Stages of H***...I mean A Kitchen Remodel!

Post date: May 10, 2018 9:53:55 PM

Why does it really take so long to remodel a kitchen?

One of the biggest frustrations expressed by homeowners on remodeling a kitchen - besides how much it costs - is how long it takes. There seems to be a belief (or fervent prayer perhaps?!) that it should be easily completed in just a week or two, and homeowners are often quite literally shocked when informed it could well take over three months depending on the how extensive the customization, the size of the kitchen, and whether or not the footprint is changing or plumbing and electrical is being moved.

The Seven Stages of the Kitchen Remodel

Alright, the design and planning stage is done. Everything is agreed on. Materials are ordered. We have a schedule and we are ready to get started. You are excited to get started! We are looking at about four to eight weeks from getting the space gutted to the “new” kitchen. Lets break the process down into stages now.

Stage One: Demo

Day one the dumpster shows up and all of the existing materials in the kitchen – cabinets, flooring, appliances, countertops, etc. – are removed and tossed. Then a careful examination of the exposed space is conducted to assess the condition of the floors, walls and ceilings. Was there any unforeseen damage exposed? Are walls and floor level? It is important to catch these issues at this stage rather than later, especially if it requires alterations to the framing to bring the ceiling or walls back to level or repair damage. When found at the time the contractor and homeowner can put their heads together and determine the best course of action before proceeding.

Stage Two: Electrical Location Mark Outs

A new kitchen more than likely means new lighting and new outlet locations, and maybe even new locations for the appliances. So during this stage we very carefully mark the exact locations for outlets and power sources so our electrician does not have to guess or try and determine location based on our sketches. By the time the electrician is on site, all electrical placement is fully identified and approved by us. We have full responsibility of this and have 100% confident in their location and know we will not have to move them later.

Stage Three: Mechanical Installation

During this stage the new plumbing, electrical and HVAC is installed. Also, if any custom sound or security system is being installed this is the stage that would happened. It could take between 5 and 7 days for this work to be completed, depending on scheduling of subcontractors. However, time for municipal inspectors is generally required before we can move on to the installation of insulation and drywall and that can add further time to the schedule. For this we are at the mercy of the inspector. However, here in the more rural part of Southern Wisconsin, that is generally not the issue it can be in more major metropolitan areas.

Stage Four: Insulation, Drywall, Flooring

Now that the inspector has given the mechanicals the thumbs up we can begin to insulate the space and put up the sheetrock, or drywall. The room really begins to take on its new shape or dimension at this point. After the drywall has all been hung the next thing is to tape and prime the walls, readying them for paint. Finally, in this stage is the installation of the flooring.

Stage Five: Cabinets and Countertops

This is when things really start to get exciting…the installation of cabinets! And because of taking the time in Stage One to make sure all the walls, ceiling, and floor were straight and level, the cabinets and crown molding will install perfectly with little or no need to caulk any gaps.

Once the cabinets are installed, the countertop folks can come in with their laser levels and precision measuring devices and do the templating for the countertops. Once the meticulous templates are completed they will go back to their fabrication shop and craft a countertop that fits perfectly. Then the countertop will be delivered to the home and installed. Things are starting to look awesome now…

Stage Six: Final Interior Work and Painting

In this next to the final stage, the plumbing fixtures, decorative back splashes and final trim is installed. Also, if there is hardwood flooring involved, the finishing on the wood is completed in this stage, being sure to allow adequate time in the schedule for drying between coats. And finally, the walls and ceiling are painted.

Stage Seven: Install Appliances, Touch Ups, Clean Up

This is the end of the road stage…we can see the finish line. The appliances will be put in place and plugged in, any minor touch ups needed will be addressed, and the room will be given its final polish before handing the keys to new range to the homeowner!


It has been a process. But with careful planning, good homeowner participation, and strict adherence to plan the kitchen looks gorgeous, the work is quality and the homeowners are happy!

How could it possibly take so long to redo a few walls, swap out some cabinets, slap on some paint and do some tiling? Well, the reality of a kitchen remodel is far different than that view. But, a good design/build contractor is aware of the huge inconvenience a remodel project puts on a family, especially a kitchen remodel, and attempts to be as organized as possible throughout the process to reduce the amount of time the family is exiled from the stove and fridge.

Good pre-planning, and homeowner involvement from the get-go, is critically important in achieving that objective.First and foremost, we want to make sure our homeowners don’t have to move out of their home during the remodel, so we work with them to find ways to adapt their home so they can remain in residence throughout the process. Maybe they take over an office, or mud room, or temporarily convert a laundry to accommodate the fridge and microwave, hot plate and crockpots. Where there is a will there is always a way!

Before the construction process starts, clients are encouraged to take as much time as needed in the planning and design stage. It is much easier to make changes at this point that after construction has actually begun…better an eraser than a sledge hammer! At this point its not just about deciding on layout, but also things like cabinets and countertops, appliances and tiles as well.

Many of these items have a direct impact on layout, timelines, and project coordination. Some items like custom cabinets and specialty tiles may have a particularly long lead time and you want to get a jump on the ordering of these so you don’t have a long gap in the production schedule later on.

Design It. Build It. Love It.