Here's where the remodel gets messy. Old cabinetry and appliances are removed, and walls may have to be opened up for new electrical circuits. Keep in close contact with your contractor during this stage so you can answer questions and clear up any problems quickly. A major kitchen remodel can take six to 10 weeks, depending on how extensive the project is.
During this stage, haul your refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven to another room — near the laundry or the garage, for example — so you've got the means to cook meals. It is also a good idea to time this stage in the summer when you can easily grill and eat outside. That will reduce the temptation to eat at restaurants and will help keep your day-to-day costs under control.
Stage four: Install cabinets, countertop, appliances, flooring and fixtures.
If you've done your homework and bought key components in advance, you should roll through this phase. You now have a (mostly) finished kitchen.
A high-end countertop and backsplash can be a sizable sum of money. If you can't quite swing it, put down a temporary top, such as painted marine plywood or inexpensive laminate. Later, you can upgrade to granite, tile, solid surface or marble. If you know you are going to change the countertop later, consider holding off on installing a tile backsplash. The thickness of the counter is critical in placing the backsplash as they should abut carefully at the joint between the horizontal and vertical planes. A huge clump of caulk will not add to the appeal of your new kitchen!
Final phases: Upgrade if necessary.
Replace the inexpensive countertop, pull up the laminate flooring and put in tile or hardwood, or buy that new refrigerator you wanted but couldn't afford during the remodel. (Just make sure it fits in the space!)
While it may be challenging to stretch a kitchen remodeling project out over a year or so, it can be done. What is the key to a successful result? You know that answer: Plan ahead!
Architects Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the founders of Renovation Design Group, www.renovationdesigngroup.com, a local design firm specializing in home remodels.
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