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How Long Should a Kitchen Remodel Take?

At one time I kept a Far Side cartoon on my fridge. A contractor lay with chest open and lungs exposed on the operating table while his doctor walks away with the comment, “l’ll be back in two or three months to finish the job!”


You may have experienced this feeling with a home remodel in the past. Material delays, your contractor vacationing at Disney, and unfortunate discoveries in newly opened walls can all contribute to a project that seems like it won’t ever reach completion!


Here are a few guidelines to look for when considering both average timing and delay’s related to kitchens.


First, a word or two of caution. Kitchens are complex creatures and while it’s easy to speculate from my writing desk and from experience, each one includes it own little time monsters. This article shouldn’t be used to bludgeon your contractor but it can provide a helpful guideline.


A kitchen remodel involves more interaction between trades and more potential code gotchas than a room full of kittens and delicate plants in glass vessels provides disasters. Every system in a home is usually touched on in a kitchen remodel including electrical, plumbing, mechanical systems, gas, insulation, framing, drywall, flooring, and finishes. A good outfit will provide specialists in each field on staff or through subcontracted services.


Multiple permits must be pulled and extensive remodels can trigger replacing non-code compliant systems in adjoining rooms or throughout the house.


Open up an outside wall and discover mold incursion or rotted framing.


Each adds time and money and some can’t be predicted at the initial estimate although good remodelers will have the trades come through before significant work begins and will let you know when they think you might need a system-wide upgrade to plumbing or electrical systems.


Design and planning should take from two weeks to a month. If you’re having trouble getting financing or just can’t decide between blue shaker and antique white cabinets then it might take longer!


Permitting usually takes from two to three weeks. Most often, you will pay a large deposit after design and prior to permitting. This will get your cabinets and custom items under way. Standard cabinets can take 4-6 weeks with some suppliers and custom work can add another 6-8. Eagle usually is at between 2-3 week’s for standard layouts with an additional 3-4 for custom work.


Mobilization day is big. A team shows up and removes everything that is not staying and the fun begins. When demolition is complete, trades come in and do all work behind walls and under floors. This is called the “Rough” stage and ends when all relevant inspectors sign off on putting your kitchen back together again. This stage can range from 2-4 weeks depending on complexity and it’s the time when you’ll discover all the unexpected elements as you peek behind walls and under floors.


After rough inspections are complete, finish work begins from the top down. Drywall is replaced, finished, and painted, and floors are laid and finished prior to installation of cabinets. This consumes another 2-3 weeks but is marked by hope as you see things coming together.


Cabinet installation and trim work usually takes less than a week but can run more for complex and custom kitchens.


As soon as your cabinets are installed the countertop installation crew will come out and template your counter area. This MUST wait until the cabinets are in as installation changes can require adjustments and precut countertops can cost everyone lots of money when the precuts aren’t exact to the final product. Expect countertops to take a week or two before they are installed.


After counters are in, the final finish line is in sight but we’re not there yet. Backsplashes, final plumbing hookups, touchups to paint and finish work, final wiring and hookup of electrical outlets and final permit sign offs by all trades are still required. This can take an additional 2-4 weeks.


In summary, from initial design to your first big meal cooked in your new kitchen may run between 14 and 22 weeks depending on complexity and discovery along the journey.


Ultimately, a good kitchen partner will communicate often and respond quickly to adjustments and changes, keeping you abreast of updated timelines and costs so that you’re not left in the dark.


Reach out to Eagle if you’re ready to begin your journey. You can get started with our design and finance team by contacting us at leckert@eagleinteriorsgroup.com.

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