The average full kitchen renovation is about six to eight weeks from start to finish. The scope of your remodel and the size of your kitchen have the biggest impact on your kitchen remodel timeline.
Kitchen remodels are one of the most popular home improvement projects for good reason. In a recent survey of renovation experts, Orchard found that kitchen remodels are the most worthwhile projects for boosting home value.
Not only that, but the kitchen is the focal point of many homes — an area where you’ll spend a considerable amount of time making memories with family and ensuring you’re all well-fed. It makes sense that you might want to freshen up the kitchen, but it can be an intimidating project. The time it takes is time you’ll have to find an alternative kitchen and it can be very disruptive to your everyday life.
From updating appliances to adding new finishes to fully gutting and renovating, not all kitchen remodels are the same. As such, it’s hard to say exactly how long a kitchen remodel takes. It all depends on what you’re doing and how you’ve prepared.
Depending on the size, scope, and complexity of your kitchen, a full gut and remodel could take anywhere from four weeks to six months. The average full kitchen renovation is about six to eight weeks from start to finish.
The reason kitchen projects are so time-consuming is because there are many moving parts. You might want to redesign the room to better suit your needs, which requires bringing in an architect to help you figure out what you can and can’t do within the structure of your home. When you get down to work, you’ll need to coordinate with subcontractors, plumbers, and electricians to work on different parts of the kitchen at different times. Kitchen materials are also large and heavy, making the work more slow-moving than a bedroom or living room reno.
The most complex projects that include completely reorienting your kitchen’s design, changing electrical service and plumbing, and installing new appliances and finishes could reach that six-month timeframe.
You should always plan for a longer timeframe and hope to be done sooner because major home improvement projects rarely go without a single hitch. Make sure to have an open dialogue with your contractor to get realistic estimates of how long your kitchen remodel will take.
Related: All about kitchen remodel costs
Again, the timeframe of a kitchen remodel ranges between projects, and each stage will take more or less time depending on size, scope, and complexity. If you aren’t altering the footprint of your kitchen, the actual work may only take a couple of weeks. If you’re moving your kitchen to another part of the home or completely gutting and refinishing, you should expect to be without a kitchen for several months.
All kitchen projects, however, should go through a planning phase before you get into the actual work.
The period during which you meet with contractors or design firms is the exploratory phase. During this time, you’ll find the people you think are right for the job and get some quotes for the job depending on the scope of your project, desired timeframe, and builder availability. This could take a week, or it could take months depending on how your meetings go.
When you have the team in place, you can move into discovery and design. You’ll walk your builder(s) through your kitchen, explain what you’d like to do, and they’ll take notes to see what will and won’t be possible. This phase may require architectural development, design planning, and coordination with the city permits office. Again, it could be quick, it could drag.
When you complete your design plans, you’ll get an estimate from your builder(s) for the cost and timeframe of your kitchen remodel. But just because you sign an agreement doesn’t mean the work starts right away. It could, but usually, it takes two to eight weeks to finalize construction plans, submit for permits, build a detailed project schedule, and determine a start date. So, before any ground has even been broken, it may have taken up to three months to get to that point.
After all that planning, it’s finally time to build! Depending on how big and complex your kitchen remodel is, it could take another four weeks to as long as six months.
Generally, yes, you can stay in your house while doing most home improvement projects. However, you won’t be nearly as comfortable as you would be in a fully complete house. So, the question may be better phrased as will you want to stay in your house while remodeling a kitchen.
You need to ask yourself a few core questions.
Before diving into your kitchen remodel, it’s smart to set up a “temporary kitchen” in another part of your house to ensure you can still cook and eat in your home. Appliances like hot plates, slow cookers, microwaves, electric skillets, Instant Pots, and mini-fridges are all useful for creating a makeshift kitchen. Maybe you’ll use the grill in the backyard more and wash your dishes in the bathroom sink. Paper and plastic utensils could also be your friends.
Some contractors provide kits to help you create a temporary kitchen and may be able to move appliances like a fridge or freezer to another part of your home so you can still have easy access.
If you can’t set up a temporary kitchen, you’re probably going to be eating a lot of takeout and frozen meals during your renovation. That can add to the cost of your project considerably.
Not only is it incredibly inconvenient to not have a kitchen, but it can also be expensive to live off of takeout. So, depending on how long your remodel will take, you may have to make some real sacrifices.
Any home improvement project comes with regular interruptions and distractions to your daily routine. The water, electricity, or gas may be shut off at times, contractors may need you to move things, and you’ll very likely run into each other when trying to use the bathroom or grab a snack.
Not to mention, kitchen remodels create a ton of dust, waste, and noise. Of course, your contractors will clean up at the end and will only work during hours that you approve, but if you’re working from home, you’re going to notice the contractors. This can be especially distracting and stressful for kids or pets, too.
Not everyone can afford to simply up and leave their home for three months. Housing isn’t cheap and is near unattainable in some parts of the country. It’s much more affordable to stay with a friend or family member for a little while, although a few weeks is an easier sell than a few months.
Even if you find a good rate for an extended stay at a local hotel, you’ll be without the amenities of a home. You still won’t have a kitchen and will have to live off takeout and frozen meals, adding to the overall cost of the renovation. Finding somewhere else to stay isn’t cheap or easy!
That said, living onsite during the project period might actually add to your costs. If contractors must work around your schedule and do daily cleanups to ensure your safety, they’ll make slower progress. Some contractors also implement additional dust mitigation measures if families are onsite during the project, adding a cost to the project.
All told, if you can afford temporary housing or stay with a friend, it’s a good idea to take advantage.
Any contractor will set up a barrier between your kitchen and the rest of the house to keep you and your family safe from dust and the construction site.
Barriers aren’t impregnable, however, and curious children and pets could still wander into a construction zone. That is a big safety concern. Make sure your kids understand how dangerous it is to go past the barrier and set up additional barriers to keep pets away.
Likewise, if you have immunocompromised family members in the house, they may not do well with dust, and it will likely be safer to relocate.
A kitchen remodel can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to half a year. It all depends on the size, scope, and complexity of the project. As such, the inconvenience levied on your life can significantly vary as well. If you’re planning for a major kitchen remodel, you should also explore ways to build a temporary kitchen or find alternative housing during the period you’ll be without a kitchen.
You should remodel your kitchen if it’s out of date, if you don’t enjoy cooking in it, or if you’re thinking about listing your home for sale within the next year or two. (Homebuyers love a nice kitchen.)
Ultimately, only you can decide if you should remodel your kitchen, and it completely depends on the state of your current kitchen. Of course, if it’s barely usable, then you should remodel. If you’re looking for ways to raise your home’s value before going to market, a kitchen remodel is a good option too. Over 89% of experts cited a kitchen remodel as the most worthwhile home improvement in a survey about ROI.
Discover answers to frequently asked questions about kitchen remodel timelines and factors influencing the duration of your project.
The duration of a typical kitchen remodel can vary based on factors like the scope of renovation, kitchen size, material and contractor availability, and unforeseen issues. As a rough estimate, a standard kitchen remodel might take around four to eight weeks to complete. The process typically includes two to eight weeks for planning and design, two to six weeks for ordering materials, one to three days for demolition, one to three weeks each for electrical, plumbing, HVAC work, flooring installation, cabinet installation, and countertop installation, one to two weeks for backsplash and painting, one to two weeks for fixture installation, and one to two weeks for finishing touches.
Keep in mind that these timeframes are approximate, and it's crucial to work closely with your contractor to get a more accurate estimation for your specific kitchen remodel. Unexpected delays or changes to the project can also influence the timeline.
The scope of the remodel plays a crucial role, as minor updates might take less time compared to extensive renovations. The size of the kitchen also matters, with larger kitchens generally requiring more time. Design complexity, permits, and material selection can introduce delays, while contractor availability and seasonal factors can impact scheduling. Unforeseen issues like hidden damage or structural concerns can extend the timeline, and client changes or budget constraints may affect the project's progression. To ensure a smoother remodel, it's essential to plan meticulously, work with reliable contractors, communicate effectively, and be prepared for unexpected challenges.
Unforeseen structural issues like water damage or mold can require additional time for repairs. Material availability, especially for custom or specialized items, can lead to waiting periods. Obtaining necessary permits and approvals from local authorities can cause significant delays, as can inclement weather affecting exterior work and deliveries. Coordinating different tradespeople and their schedules may lead to hold-ups. Change orders requested by the homeowner can add time for adjustments. Unexpected wiring or plumbing challenges can require extra work. Elaborate or custom designs may take longer to execute accurately. Delays may occur if clients take time to make decisions on materials and finishes. Labor shortages can impact the availability of skilled workers, and holiday periods might cause slowdowns in the construction industry. To mitigate these potential delays, close collaboration with contractors, proactive planning, and effective communication are essential to keep the remodeling process on track.
The size of your kitchen can significantly affect the remodeling timeline. Larger kitchens generally require more time for demolition, material installation, and finishing touches compared to smaller ones. More square footage means more cabinetry, flooring, countertops, and possibly more appliances, all of which take additional time to install. Moreover, the complexity of the layout and the need for additional structural changes may arise in larger kitchens, contributing to potential delays. However, regardless of the kitchen size, proper planning and efficient coordination of contractors can help ensure a successful and timely remodel.
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