Armchair Builder

Kitchen Remodel Checklist, Part I

I am about to finish up a kitchen remodel in my own home so I thought I would share my checklist with you while it’s fresh on my mind.  Anyone can take charge of their own kitchen remodel as an owner-builder.  You will just need to be thorough in your planning and follow my checklist below.

  • Decide on a rough Layout:  This includes overall design including location of walls, windows, appliances, islands, and built-ins.  You may want to work with a kitchen designer on this one.  A professional that designs kitchens for a living can come up with some very interesting ideas that you might not have thought of.   This includes creative storage solutions for your cabinets and lighting that changes the mood of your space depending on each particular use (i.e. food prep vs. entertaining).
  • Check on Permits/HOA:  Depending on how extensive your project is, you will probably need to get a permit from your local building department.  Check out this post if you want to answer the question…Do I Need a Permit for My Renovation?  You may want to go over the general design with them to see if they have any special requirements before you get too far along.  You will also want to check with your community association to get approval if your remodel affects the outside of your home or if you live in a condominium or townhome.  Multi-family dwellings typically have specific design criteria…I once remodeled an older condo whose board required special noise abatement for any new hard floors installed on a second floor. They may also have special requirements for any modifications to the structure and almost always require you to start and end work at certain times of day to keep the noise levels down.
  • Select Your Finishes…

Cabinets: including crown, light rail, end panels, glass panels, hardware, & special storage solutions

Lighting: including undercabinet, overcabinet, in-cabinet, pendants, and recessed (don’t forget about artwork lighting)

Countertops: including material, color, edging, finish, thickness

Sinks: including mounting (undermount vs. drop-in) or the farmhouse style (the kind with the front edge exposed) which will require a special sink base cabinet

Faucets: including instant hot water, filtered water, soap dispensers, sprayer, pot filler

Flooring: Stone, ceramic tile, hardwood (including engineered), laminate, vinyl

Appliances: including wine chillers, built-in coffee makers/cappucino maker,water dispensers, double ovens, microwaves, dishwashers or dishwasher drawers, warming drawers…etc.

Wall colors:  I like to get a sample or two of these on the wall and let them dry before committing.  (I’ve painted too many walls twice in my day)

Trim Details: includes crown at ceilings, chair rail, door casing (these can affect the cabinet layout)

  • Finalize Layout:  Now that you have your appliances, sinks, faucets and lighting you can finalize the cabinet layout.  Some people like to finalize the cabinet layout first…this is a matter of preference.  I personally have found that most people have specific appliances and sinks in mind so it’s more practical to finalize the cabinet layout after the model numbers are selected.  That way, we can design the kitchen around them.  The actual cabinet layout is typically done by the company supplying the cabinets.  They have first-hand knowledge of standard sizes, storage options, trim options…etc.  So, don’t bother paying your kitchen designer for this as the cabinet supplier will typically do it for free.
  • Bid out the Work: Since we have all our specifications and our overall design, we can now get a minimum of three bids per activity.  Never get any less than three bids.  Just to give you an example of how different bids can be, let me share with you the bids from my kitchen.  My granite bids were$1800 different on an overall job cost of $3800. That’s almost 47 percent!  For the cabinets, the difference was 40 percent!  So, always, always, always get a minimum of three different bids.  Make sure you include in your bid request lead times.  This tells you how long it takes to get a product after ordering… which might affect choices.  For videos on how to bid out work go to our video at our main site…Bidding Out Work.
  • Select your vendors:  I wise home builder told me when I was young…”The sweetness of a low price quickly fades but the hassles of poor quality can last a lifetime.”  Don’t forget, value is more than price alone when selecting your trades and suppliers. Be sure to always check references and preview past work whenever possible.  Check out this video titled…Finding Quality Subcontractors.
  • Sign Subcontracts:  I’ve said it a hundred times before and I’m sure this won’t be the last…get everything you expect to happen in writing and have the trade sign and date it.  You don’t need selective memory on your project.
  • Order Materials: My cabinets took four weeks to get…which is pretty standard.  Flooring and appliances can be all over the board so get those ordered early as well.  This is a good time to select your granite slabs from the supply yard.

Stay turned to our next post “Kitchen Remodel Checklist, Part II” as I will share with you my schedule and a few tips for living in the house as you remodel.

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1 Comment for Kitchen Remodel Checklist, Part I

Kitchen Remodel Checklist, Part II- Armchair Builder :: Blog :: Build, renovate, & repair your own home. Save money as an owner-builder. | January 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

[…] the last post (Kitchen Remodel Checklist, Part I) we talked about all the necessary steps to tackle before you start demolition/construction of your […]