A kitchen remodel is a big but also rewarding project. It can be intimidating to start thinking of something like this.
You worry about pricing and budget, the inconvenience of having workers in your home for a period of time, and thinking about things like safety. For example, if you hire a contractor are they going to be insured if someone gets hurt working in your home?
All huge considerations.
Do you even need a contractor, and what’s the difference in roles when it comes to contractors and designers? Do need one and not the other?
The following are some initial considerations to keep in mind.
Should You Hire a Designer?
One of the first questions you might have as you plan a kitchen project is whether or not you need a designer.
A designer is going to be able to give you perspective and help you reimagine how to use spaces. They’ll also be able to give you a visual representation of what a certain structural change or feature might look like.
While there are certainly advantages to hiring a designer, if your budget is small or you have to stick with it closely, you should probably try to do your project without a designer. Designers tend to have a start fee that’s in the thousands of dollars.
Sometimes what you can do if you really want a designer is to hire someone who offers individual a la carte services, and they can help you in particular areas.
If your remodel involves extensive work, like taking out walls, then you might actually want to work with an architect. An architect can help make sure from an engineering standpoint that your project is going to work. Architects also know building codes, regulations, and standards.
Hiring a Contractor
Unless your project is entirely DIY, you will probably need to hire a contractor.
A contractor can either make your life easier, keep your project on budget and give you peace of mind, or they can do the complete opposite, so be careful when hiring.
You should look for contractors that come with references and referrals. Also, look for membership in industry associations like the National Kitchen & Bath Association or the National Association of Homebuilders.
A remodeling contractor will help both organize and execute large-scale projects.
A good rule of thumb if you’re not sure if you need a contractor is to think about first how long the project will take. Typically, if a project lasts longer than a week, consider hiring a general contractor. If the job requires permits, again hire a contractor, and the same is true if several different subcontractors are going to be needed.
When you find a contractor you think will be a good fit, go over their estimate and contract carefully.
Preparing for the Actual Work
Once you have the professionals in place who will be doing the work, you must start logistically preparing for not having a kitchen and preparing for potentially extensive work to be done in your home.
If you’re doing a tear-out only, you’ll probably need to plan to go up to six weeks without a kitchen. If you’re doing a more extensive project, it could be several months.
The best way to prepare for either situation is to create a temporary kitchen.
Put it in another room of your home, and if you have somewhere like a basement, that may be best.
You need a small fridge and microwave, at least. Plan to make simple meals during this time, or budget for a lot of takeouts.
Invest in disposable utensils and paper plates, and try to keep your sink hooked up as long as you can. Otherwise, have another sink near your kitchen setup that you can use.
Finally, you’re going to need to prepare for a lot of noise and dust. This might be especially annoying right now since many people are working from home. You can tape off the spaces that are being worked on from the rest of your home to at least limit some of the dust and debris.
Plan for how you’ll manage with your kids and your pets during this time. You need to have workspaces sectioned off so they can’t access them, which can be dangerous.
Finally, don’t get frustrated if it seems like your project isn’t always moving as quickly as you’d like it to. Sometimes it can seem like it’s stalling out, but your contractor is likely waiting for things like your countertops or other materials to arrive.