Remodeling your kitchen can be a daunting task, even if you’re not the one putting in the man hours. One of the most frequent questions we get from homeowners considering a kitchen remodel is, “How long will the construction process take?”
As a company specializing in home remodels, Lamont Bros has installed new kitchens ranging from a simple cosmetic refresh to a fully custom kitchen expansion. In other words, we know how the construction timeline typically shakes down.
Once you know how long your remodel could take, you can start planning how to fit a kitchen remodel project around your busy schedule. Having a plan helps you get your kitchen ready to use by the time you need it!
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- The phases in a kitchen remodel
- What can delay a project’s timeline
- How you can make sure your kitchen remodel is successful
Keep in mind, this article only deals with the construction phase. Check out this article for more information on how long you can expect the design and preconstruction process to take.
Kitchen Remodel Timeline
By the time you begin construction on your project, you should already have a detailed architectural plan for what will (and won’t) change in your kitchen. You should also have a project manager who has built out a construction schedule for the project.
Most kitchen remodel projects typically take 4-7 weeks to complete, depending on the scope of work and lead time on materials. This guide uses a standard 5 week schedule to break down the total timeline so you can better understand each phase of the project.
Some kitchen projects take longer than others, so keep in mind that this is only a sample schedule of how the typical kitchen remodel looks.
The first week should be relatively easy for you. Your build team’s first day on site should consist of inspection and preparation for the big job.
Your project manager, superintendent, and design team meet with you and give a presentation on how the remodel will progress. This is the time to ask any questions you may have about how the remodel will affect your day-to-day life, and what jobsite expectations you have.
The team will also fill you in on the protection plan to ensure the parts of your house that aren’t in the remodel plans will not be affected by the work within the construction zone.
The real work begins in the second week, which focuses on preparing the space for construction. This involves enacting the protection plan, demolishing the current kitchen, and getting the plumbing and electrical ready.
Even with a capable and organized construction team, remodel projects make messes. The purpose of a protection plan is to contain the mess to the construction area so that the rest of the home remains usable.
This means putting up plastic barriers to trap dust, protective covers to prevent dents and scratches to finished surfaces, and floor runners to keep contractor’s construction boots off your clean carpets.
This phase usually takes 1-2 days depending on the size of the home and the extent of the remodel.
Once your home is properly protected from the chaos about to ensue, your build team will then demolish the existing kitchen with the surgical precision of a hurricane. Cabinets, old appliances, drywall, flooring, and anything else that you plan to replace is torn out and hauled away.
If you’re particularly averse to loud noises, you may want to stay outside while this is going on. The good news is that demolition should be the loudest part of the project, and typically only takes a day. The bad news is that your house will more than likely sound like a warzone during that day.
Rough In Plumbing & Electrical
Now that your old kitchen is gone, it’s time to start building the new one from the walls out. Any changes in utility hookups will be handled by outside contractors, including plumbing and electrical rerouting.
Depending on the changes being made, you may need to have an inspector check their work before closing the wall back up. You can expect major plumbing and electrical work to set your overall timeline back by several days.
This is the week when things really start coming together. You’ll probably see your kitchen make significant progress. Most homeowners are amazed by how quickly the project moves during this phase.
Under most circumstances, a kitchen remodel will require replacing a lot of drywall. The average project will require 2-3 days worth of drywall repair.
This factor is largely affected by the amount of drywall that naturally comes out during demolition, as well as the amount needed to be removed for plumbing and electrical work. Keep in mind that this also includes taping, mudding, and texturing the wall.
Once the drywall is in place, it needs to be painted before the cabinets go in. This is usually a quick process, with most of the time spent waiting for the paint to dry between coats. In the meantime, your build team may be prepping cabinets for installation.
Usually, this is the step where we see the greatest leap forward in terms of the kitchen taking shape. Once the cabinets go in, you can start to truly get a feel for how your kitchen looks.
Depending on the size of the kitchen and the type of material used to make the cabinets, the installation process may take several days. Cabinets are tricky in that they have to be perfectly level, not only with the ground but also with each other. This means a lot of double-checking and adjustments before setting them in place.
Don’t be discouraged if it seems like the project slows down from here. All the big things should be in place, which means the same amount of effort is now going into smaller details. If any phase of the project is extended past a week, this is typically the one that gets pushed out.
Most of the time, flooring has to be installed around the cabinetry, which takes extra time to cut and fit correctly. A small kitchen shouldn’t take more than a day to re-floor, but larger projects (or those with extra obstacles to cut around), can take 2 or 3.
Material can also affect the time it takes to install floors. For example, click-together vinyl planks typically do not take as long as hardwood floors, which have to be nailed down, sanded, and sealed.
The rule of thumb is to expect countertops after the cabinets are installed, but before backsplash. Solid surface countertops will need to be measured and cut to the specific dimensions of the kitchen, which typically takes 1-2 weeks after the cabinets are installed.
Trim & Finish
Once all the big items are in place, the build team spends the remainder of the time on the finer details. During this process, it may not look like much is getting done in your kitchen, but be not deceived; your build team is hard at work.
This is when you can expect to see new baseboards, door and window casings, backsplash, cabinet knobs, and crown moldings.
By now, everything should be taking shape, and only a few final details remain.
The best way to protect brand new appliances from dings and scratches is to install them last. It’s amazing what a new stainless steel refrigerator and gas range can do to fill out those last few empty spaces.
At the end of the project, your build team should obviously leave the site clean and ready for you to use. Some builders will go the extra mile by hiring a professional cleaning service to make sure your new kitchen is spotless for its grand opening.
What can delay a kitchen remodel?
Your build team will work their hardest to make sure your remodel is finished by its projected end date. However, circumstances sometimes arise that delay a project by at least a few weeks. Here are the most common issues you and your build team could encounter:
If you have a sudden stroke of genius in the middle of your remodel – specifically, one that may require a few changes to your build design – you’ll probably need to request a change order.
Of course, your construction team should be flexible and willing to make your kitchen fit your needs, even if it means changing a few things midway through the build. However, any changes in the construction plan almost always push the completion date out longer.
Imagine, if you will, that on the first day of demolition, your build team begins demolishing a wall that was originally thought to be non-load bearing, only to discover a support post where they didn’t expect it.
Now, your design team has to figure out how to remove a support beam without compromising the structural integrity of your house. Which means, you guessed it, change order.
Even though builders do their best to plan out a project and make sure it runs smoothly, there are sometimes unforeseen circumstances that throw a job off schedule. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do to avoid surprises.
Because of recent issues in supply chain and shipping realms, the lead times on certain materials are unpredictable at best. Some cabinet lines are currently sitting at 18 to 24 week, which means that if anything arrives broken or damaged, it can take months to get a replacement unit from the manufacturer.
How to keep your kitchen remodel on schedule
We get it – construction is a necessary part of getting a new kitchen, but you don’t necessarily want it to last any longer than it needs to. Here are some pointers on how to make sure your build team is able to get in and out of your house within a reasonable timeframe.
Plan around important events
Do you want to use your new kitchen to host Thanksgiving dinner, or throw a massive retirement party in the spring? If so, start planning your remodel far in advance.
You’ll want to give yourself as much of a time buffer as possible. We typically recommend a few months, not weeks, in between completing your project and any important events. Even if a remodel is scheduled to end 2 weeks before your big birthday celebration, any delays in the project could result in your guests mingling in an unfinished kitchen. None of us want that.
Keep your space clean
One of the most frustrating things for a builder is to show up on the first day of a job and have to clear out the workspace. The fact of the matter is that your build team is not a mover team.
Will they begrudgingly move your stuff for you? Sure. But keep in mind that every minute they have to spend not building your kitchen is another minute tacked onto the end of the project.
The same thing goes for anything that your build team has to work around or protect. If something is in the way, it will slow your remodel down.
Trust the process
There will be times during the remodeling process where your kitchen seems like it is making leaps and bounds each day. There will also be phases where it feels like almost nothing gets done over the course of a few weeks.
It is important to recognize that during the remodel – especially towards the end – you likely won’t see much of a day-to-day difference until you get up close and look at the details. Some homeowners may become frustrated with the apparent stagnancy of their kitchen project during this time. What most don’t realize is the massive amounts of time and effort that go into the fine-tuning of a kitchen remodel.
Interested in learning more about a kitchen remodel?
Now that you know more about the remodel process and what to expect when breaking ground on your new kitchen, take the next step by signing up for our Home Remodeling Toolkit! This free resource is designed to help you explore your options for a home remodel, so you can learn at your own pace and be confident in your decisions.