How Long Does a Kitchen Remodel Take?
In my many years of renovation experience, this is a question I get a lot.
I’d love to be able to give you an exact answer, but it’s like asking how long it’s going to take to drive from Ottawa to Toronto. That estimate is based on factors like traffic, your driving speed, and how many bathroom breaks you need to take.
Renovations are the same: they have a lot of moving parts and no two journeys will be the same.
BUT… I’m going to talk about the major phases of a kitchen renovations, and do my best to give you an average time estimate.
You can decide which phases might apply to your project and get a rough idea of when you’ll be able to step into your dream kitchen.
Phase One: Designing Your New Kitchen
This is an exciting phase, because it’s the first step towards a brand new, beautiful, more functional kitchen.
Most projects have a design phase, and the length of time is highly dependent on you as the decision-maker.
When you work with a pro, decisions about the look, function, and budget will be made before a contract is signed. I’ve seen this take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years, depending on the scope of the renovation project.
A great designer will help you with navigating the options and provide you with the professional advice you need to make your decisions, so you can complete the design phase efficiently and to your satisfaction.
Some people choose to skip the design phase, which means you (or your contractor) will be making design decisions on the fly. This will save you time upfront, but you will have very little idea what you will be getting until after the project is complete – even though you’ll end up being heavily involved. I’ve seen this happen before, and homeowners are often left disappointed by the final results and shocked at the final cost.
That’s why we always recommend firming up a design plan first. A kitchen renovation is a big project, and you want to get it right.
Phase Two: Creating the Construction Plan
We’ve got the designs – now we need the materials to bring them to life.
Before we demo your kitchen, there’s a period of waiting. This is the phase where materials are ordered and any required subcontractors are hired and scheduled in for the project.
In general, you can expect your renovation to begin approximately 8 weeks after signing your contract. That being said, there are a few major factors that may lengthen this waiting time.
- Your project is very large. The more materials and people you need, the longer it will take to get everything in place.
- There are custom products/materials. This includes custom islands, cabinets, windows, etc. Custom materials and products take longer to construct, and that will add to your waiting time. In my experience, custom materials take about 6 to 10 weeks to arrive.
- Your construction experts are in high demand. If your project requires a specific skill set and only a handful of people in Ottawa have it, you may have to wait until they’re available.
It’s Worth the Wait
In theory, your project could start the day after your contract is signed. But it shouldn’t.
Any contractor that is available for a next day start should raise alarm bells.
The line, “I’ve just had a major project cancel, so I’m available to start tomorrow and I’ll give you a really good deal” may be true, but in most cases, it leads to a troubled and costly reno.
When in doubt, ask questions and remember: you get to decide if and when a project moves to the construction phase.
Phase Three: Construction
The next phase is the actual renovation. This can break down into several sub-phases, but let’s talk about the renovation as a whole first.
Again, the size of the project will dictate how long the kitchen remodel will take. Another major factor is the ability of the renovator. If it is a one-person company, and he/she does all the work, it will take much longer than if there is a team of people and they are bringing in specialists to complete your project.
This phase is so dependent on variables, I can’t even venture a guess at an average timeline. The best I can do is suggest that you have a very open and clear discussion with your contractor or renovation company and get the expectations for your project in writing.
Diving more deeply into phase three, here are some of the sub-phases that will make up your kitchen remodel.
- Job-site preparation. This includes:
- Setting up dust protection.
- Protecting valuables near the renovation zone.
- Finding a location for the garbage container.
- Figuring out what bathroom the team will use (nature calls even on the job site!)
- Setting up a temporary kitchen.
- Making parking arrangements.
- Demolition. This is usually a comparatively short time period depending on what needs to be removed. Once the demolition is complete you will see your home as a blank slate – and be glad that you had a designer who could see it that way without the biases from your pre-existing kitchen.
- Tip: Homes built in the middle of the last century (mid-1940s until the late 1960s) in Canada may require the removal of asbestos*. Asbestos is not harmful until it is disturbed, which a renovation has a tendency to do. Talk to your contractor about this possibility and make sure that everything is good to go.
- Rough-In. Now it gets interesting because we’re finally moving onto creating your new kitchen. This is the time for running electrical wiring and plumbing – like for your kitchen sink – to the locations where they will be needed in the re-designed space. This is another phase that benefits from a finalized design plan from phase one.
- Installation. We’re getting to the good stuff! There’s the drywall (okay, not the most exciting part), flooring, cabinetry, windows, and more depending on the features of your design. Don’t expect everything to look pretty yet. You will see a lot of changes from day today, but most contractors will focus on getting everything in, and then step back and work on making things look pretty.
Once the construction phase is complete, we enter the final stretch.
Phase Four: Final Touch Ups and Cleaning
The final phase is the most frustrating phase. The work is ALMOST done and you really want the contractor out of your home, but you also want the last list of outstanding issues or touch ups addressed.
This is another area where I can’t give you a proper time estimate – it’s entirely dependent on your contractor and the final tasks. I can say that our team always tries to get you into your new kitchen as quickly as possible after construction, but we won’t leave anything unaddressed.
Talk to Copperstone About Your Own Kitchen Remodel
While timelines differ, it will take months (not days) to complete a kitchen remodel. The important thing is that you don’t rush any of the phases, but work with your contractor to get the perfect new kitchen. Trust me – you’ll have amazing storage, fantastic dinner parties, and jealous friends before you know it!
At Copperstone, we have designers, carpenters, and project managers who specialize in projects just like yours. If you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel, or just want to find out more about what we do, let us know – we can’t wait to hear from you!
President, Copperstone Kitchens
* A note about asbestos: It was banned in 1977. While not common, it is possible to see asbestos in homes built into the 1990s.