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Do It Yourselfers – Kitchen Renovation (5 part series)

As this blog continues, we will address the various areas of a Kitchen Renovation and explain how they are completed.

  1.  Preparation and Demolition
  2.  Cabinet Installation
  3.  Counter Tops
  4.  Flooring
  5.  Hooking up appliances and completion of your kitchen

This blog article addresses the first part of your kitchen renovation – Preparation and Demolition


Research your kitchen design and costs:

Most of the time, you can research the cost of your Renovation without incurring any costs. The best way is to call the necessary suppliers and contractors for estimates and compile them together for a total cost. You should also get time lines for installation as well as lead times for  your products such as time it may take to get your cabinets to your home and how long it will take to install the granite or tile floor, etc.

  1. Cabinet - Type and Cost – there are many very competitive cabinet companies out there that are willing to work with homeowners in a variety of ways. You may want a cabinet company to furnish custom cabinets, ready to assemble cabinets, built and delivered, or built and installed. Most good companies will give you a cost breakdown for all the ways of a cabinet purchase.
  2. Counter Tops – Type and Cost – There are many types of counter tops, depending on your taste and budget. Lately, the most popular are granite counter tops for a few reasons. In the last few years, prefabricated granite counter tops were invented which caused the cost of granite to drop significantly. Most counter tops are 2’ by a certain length, so companies decided that they would prefabricate the c-top with the edging already completed and just cut the length or add the length accordingly. They have also prefabricated island/peninsula counter tops as well. There are laminate counter tops there are inexpensive, but will typically need to be custom made for your kitchen. You can buy the prefabricated laminate counter tops, but they will need to be pieced together or cut. The corners will also need to be pieced as well. Tile counter tops are another alternative. The price will vary and you should pick a tile that has all the accessories such as corners, v-caps, and field tile that match. The cost of tile is a little less than granite and a little more than having laminate counter tops installed professionally.
  3.  Appliances – Type and Cost – The nice thing about appliances is that most of them are the same size or fit in the same opening size. This is significant because it means that you can purchase them at any time and install them. Unless you are changing from a range to a cook top then that opening is usually the same size, the same with your refrigerator and dishwasher. This gives you the opportunity to shop, shop, shop for the best deals you can find. Most homeowners these days don’t keep all the same brand appliances as some brands are strong in certain areas such as a certain brand may be better at dishwashers and another brand excellent at refrigerators and so on. Most homes will have the following as a minimum amount of appliances. Range with Microwave/Hood above, dishwasher and refrigerator. However, there are other combinations to consider such as cook top with hood, oven cabinets with micro, oven and dual Dishwashers. Dual dishwashers have become popular as it relieves the homeowner from having to put away dishes and glasses into cupboards. They use one dishwasher for dirty dishes and one for the clean dishes transferring from the clean dishwasher to the other dishwasher as they are used. The cost is similar to the cost of the cabinet it would replace.
  4. Flooring – Type and Cost – There are several types of flooring to consider in your kitchen and several types to use cautiously. Large tile (16” to 24”) is the most popular today. The cost of tile has gone down significantly in the last few years and so has the cost of installation, I suspect that granite counter tops has had a lot to do with it, of course we all know what the economy has done, and tile setters are working a lot harder for a lot less, which is true for just about any of the trades in construction.
  5. Paint – Painting can take place after the demolition is completed, however, when the projected is complete there will be some touch required. If desired, you can wait until the project is done to do the painting, caution is required.

In conclusion of the preparation part of your project:

  1. Budget - Get estimates (more than 1) for the various costs of your project, evaluate what you personally can do in the project to cut down costs, such as install the cabinets, demolition, install floor tile, etc. Weigh that against the cost of having a contractor or laborer do it. Come up with a budget for your renovation. It’s a good idea to allow for unforeseen costs. Remember, advice from a professional is free. They have the experience and knowledge to help you complete you project successfully.     
  2. Players – line up your suppliers and subcontractors prior to the start of your project. Make sure that they will fit into your time line and that the lead time s for delivery is confirmed prior to starting your project.
  3. Schedule – Scheduling your project is very important for all involved. Even though, a schedule may change, it is important to have initial time lines for each supplier or subcontractor and hold them responsible for their time lines. You can figure that you’ll either be eating out or cooking in that portable microwave sitting in your garage for a few weeks or so. The average kitchen can be broken down to the approximate time schedule:

 1-2 days demolition

 1 day painting or when project is near completion

 2-3 days of installing cabinets (delivery of cabinets to be confirmed prior to start)

 7-10 days for counter tops

 2-3 days for installation of flooring

1-2 days for appliance installation and plumbing hook up ( you may install appliances after counter top installation but will have to be removed for tile installation then put back into place

Once you have completed the preparation and schedule, you can begin to work on the demolition portion of your project.


Tools Needed: Protective Eyewear, Heavy Duty Gloves, Protective Shoes, Pry bars (wunderbars), Large Hammer, Screwgun with various tips, Crescent (adjustable) wrench, Pliers, and miscellaneous hand tools.

Home protection: Cardboard, building paper to protect flooring (several layers if possible) taped down (masking tape) plastic to partition off the area from dust that may occur.

Scope of Work: First, make sure the gas, electricity and water in the kitchen are completely turned off for obvious safety reasons. Most kitchens have turn off valves for the water valves under the sink and gas valves located at the back of the range. The electricity will need to be turned off at the electrical panel, you should test each outlet by plugging in a hairdryer or similar and turning it on, then go to the electrical panel and shut off the corresponding circuit breaker. If you don’t feel safe in this fashion then you can shut off the main circuit breaker which will shut off all the electricity to your home.

Now the work begins, using your safety glasses and heavy duty gloves and other tools listed above, start by disconnecting your faucet and all necessary plumbing components including the dishwasher. Next disconnect your range at the back of the range/stove, then the hood. From here you will remove all of your appliances and save the ones that you want to re-use in a safe area away from the kitchen.

At this point, you can now start the demolition. You will want to put the debris in area where it can be disposed of properly such as taking it to the dump or local refuse disposal site for a fee for about $50 or so. Any salvage materials can be sold to help offset your cost by advertising on craigslist, backpage, etc. We will typically start with the counter top removal first. You can remove the tile or counter tops in sections, usually using a prybar to pry up the rough top up in large enough sections for 2 people to carry out.

Next, remove the cabinets that are normally screwed into the wall and each other. They can be removed in sections or piece by piece.

This article was written by Pat McGehee,  AAA Home Design, Copywrite 2012. For questions relating to Kitchen Renovation, please contact us.



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